DRONES OR BOYS AND THEIR TOYS: THE USA’S LATEST STRATEGY FOR UNENDING WAR

The work of the US military is to kill, its pretext – defense of the homeland. It has succeeded in training soldiers, mostly young men, to kill without remorse, that is until they leave the military with flare-ups of psychological trauma or PTSD. But neither the military nor the White House has convinced a war weary American public to accept men returning home from war in caskets or deeply wounded physically and psychologically. Americans’ increasing distaste for war presents serious problems for a state committed to on-going, unending war which includes feeding military industries, a mainstay of the American economy. What to do?

Drones to the rescue! With drones, unmanned aerial vehicles, Americans need not worry about their own soldiers being killed. Those who drop the bombs do so from any one of a number of military bases somewhere in the United States. Research and common sense show that the further away soldiers are from those they kill, the less likely they are to feel guilt or remorse. Drones, it seems, solve the PTSD problem.
Since so many Americans now turn off the news of war, they will not know of how, as they do not know about combat on the ground, of the many civilians killed in drone attacks – most are women and children. But those victims are not Americans, specifically, they are not American men. So who cares? As John Brennan, Obama’s counterterrorism chief, in the cold sociopathy of an increasingly US militarized stated, “Sometimes you have to take lives to save lives,” and I would add, as long as most of the lives you take are of brown people and are not American men. War is, after all, gendered and racist violence.

The day after Brennan announced that the USA is conducting CIA drone warfare, on May 1 President Obama spoke to Americans in what most pundits agreed was a campaign speech from Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan where he and President Karzai had just signed a Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement. So you might wonder what is all the fuss about drones anyway. Aren’t Americans on our way out of Afghanistan? Looking closely at the details of the agreement that Obama did not mention in his television broadcast, we find that it actually “commits Afghanistan to provide U.S. personnel access to and use of Afghan facilities through 2014 and beyond. … for the possibility of U.S. forces in Afghanistan after 2014, for the purposes of training Afghan Forces and targeting the remnants of al-Qaeda.” (White House, Office of the Press Secretary. May 1, 2012.)

There is every reason to believe that not only the US war in Afghanistan, but the US policy of ongoing, unending war is, under Obama’s leadership, morphing into a drone war. For years the USA has been launching drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia even though the US Congress has not declared war on those states. Since 2002 the CIA has conducted up to 321 drone strikes in Pakistan, killing up to 3,100 people. In December, 2009 US drones dropped cluster bombs on a village in Yemen and killed 40 people, 21 children and 14 women, 5 of whom were pregnant were killed.

Killing women and children and killing brown people intersects misogyny and racism upon which the military is built. A few weeks ago, a case opened in British courts of a CIA drone strike in Pakistan in March 2011 which killed up to 53 people in an open air meeting of the local jirga (parliament) in that region. US intelligence that directs drone strikes is focusing not on specific people anymore. Rather as journalist Jeremy Schahill exposes, they study the “pattern of life” of groups of people who gather in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. That is exactly how the CIA defended its drone strike: ‘The fact is that a large group of heavily armed men, some of whom were clearly connected to al Qaeda and all of whom acted in a manner consistent with AQ [Al Qaeda] -linked militants, were killed,’ even though Al Qaeda’s not known to hold its meetings in public, open air places.

Drones are a growth industry but the chief companies are familiar in the military industrial complex: Northrupp Grumman, Raytheon, and General Atomics with a powerful lobby in Washington. In February, 2012, Obama, the President most responsible for escalation of drone warfare, brought war home when signed into law a Federal Aviation Reauthorization Bill. Heavily lobbied by the drone industry which stands to gain between $12 and $30 billion in sales, 3,000 drones for surveillance will within a few years be filling the skies of the U.S.A.

For years Americans were told that drones were only used for surveillance, for intelligence gathering, in places like Pakistan, all the while the US military is making enemies they then have to kill and labels them insurgents or Al Qaeda when the CIA drones bomb them to smithereens. Now the CIA turns its drones on us. So Americans (or anyone anywhere on the earth) watch your “patterns of behavior” for on our home ground, ‘we have met the enemy and they are us’.

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A letter to the people of Australia

My condolences to the People of Australia

My warnings to the women of Australia, especially northern Australia

Last week’s visit of US President Barack Obama’s to your country and his announcements to your government to deploy 2,500 US Marines to northern Australia has put the people of Australia, especially women in northern Australia, in grave danger. While I understand that Australia has its own military, allow me to suggest that no state military approximates the danger of the US military in the world today. It got to be number one through its ruthless disregard for human life under a government, the US that is, that has flaunted all international humanitarian law.

First of all allow me to point out that because the US invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan are war crimes and violate both the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Charter, the US military trains its soldiers and marines in preventive killing (i.e. murder). As the US was not under imminent threat of attack by either of these countries, the military escalated wars in part through random killing of civilians. As you can imagine, young recruits many of whom are unemployed and others who are seeking to gain access to a college education do not sign up for such barbaric fighting. Therefore to train its recruits to kill without remorse while convincing them that they are defending their county, the USA, brainwashing techniques are employed by the US military as I document in Unmaking War, Remaking Men (Spinifex, Australia, 2010). In combat zones, they have, by and large, abandoned all concern for civilian life.

Further, in their training, US soldiers and Marines trained to believe they are superior to ordinary (American) civilians. This is part of their training for remorseless killing as believing in their own superiority aids young recruits in justifying their behavior in combat which ranges from remorseless to preventive killing. Now think about it Australians – if US Marines understand that they are superior to American civilians, what do you expect of them while they are in Australia. Acting from the understanding that they are above state and international law, do not expect them to respect your laws – on or off duty.

I ask you urgently to consult with your Pacific neighbors, especially in the Philippines, and the decades it took them to free their soil of US troops. The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific would be a good place to being. Their offices are in Manila. Learn how Philippine women were reduced to prostitution for US soldiers and Marines. Brothels were organized by the soldiers for themselves around their bases. And they were not even in combat there in the Philippines, as they will not be in northern Australia. When the Marines finally shipped out, women used for soldiers’ sexual satisfactions were then trafficked to countries like your own for prostitution.

Violence against women is significantly higher in the US military and within military families than it is in civil society. Americans who are asked to honor the soldiers’ service and turn away from the reality of the violence veterans and soldiers still in uniform bring home and into our lives.

That will be the result of US military training of your own Australian soldiers. Remember that most recruits in the military do not enlist with the “blinding macho” that the US military encourages in them. Your new recruits will similarly be reduced to the lowest forms of violence and as a reward will learn that they are acting with honor when all they have become is your state’s expendable lives. Please look to the effect on Okinawa of US forces there and see the spate of rapes in 2008 that included a 14 year old school girl.

President Obama might even naively believe that he is sending the US Marines to you for peace and security of the region. But US military build-up in a region is usually a prelude to war. The US military does not build up to sit idly by and when it does sit idly by, it can wreak havoc on the area. While Obama is drawing down US troops in Iraq and more slowly in Afghanistan, with Israel he is preparing for war against Iran. The US likely will not attack Australia, but Obama’s peace and security talk is meant to menace China. Don’t be drawn into this ruse.
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Encourage your Prime Minister to not take the route of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Given the opportunity to partner with the most powerful leader in the world, former US President George W. Bush, he made his country complicit in US war crimes. In the process, he became a laughing stock in many parts of the world.

Before it is too late, please consider the risks of your country and especially your women to having US military deployed on your land.

Respectfully,

Kathleen Barry, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita of Pennsylvania State University

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Male Bonding—Military Massacres By The Book

Category: International, Media, Violence against Women
Male Bonding—Military Massacres By The Book

By Kathleen Barry | April 2, 2012
title
Afghan born journalist Yalda Hakim reported from the villages where the massacre occurred.

The author of “Unmaking War, Remaking Men” writes that the behavior in Afghanistan of alleged killer Robert Bales was anything but unexpected.

For two weeks after the March 11, 2012 Afghan massacre, its 17 dead victims and several wounded were anonymous to the world. Americans read daily about their alleged killer, Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, his multiple deployments, his wife’s worries, her pregnancies—even in the few days before we learned his name.

At the end of March, Afghan born Australian journalist Yalda Hakim found her way to the villages where the massacres took place. The Afghan Army working with the U.S. military was reluctant to let her in. She prevailed. Then, to speak to the survivors, she had to appeal to President Hamid Karzai, after the U.S. military refused her permission. And finally, although her report is not aired on major U.S. media, we see the surviving children speak of their fathers and mothers being shot in front of them, villagers telling of a crying baby getting a bullet to the head, an elderly grandmother being shot down when she opened the door.

All speak of many American soldiers, from 15 to 20 according to the initial Afghan parliamentary investigation report shortly after the massacres. President Obama said “it appeared you had a lone gunman who acted on his own,” not wanting it compared to the My Lai massacre in the Vietnam war.

In one of the houses, we see rooms dotted with bullet holes and splattered blood. We see the now the empty village, its surviving inhabitants now refugees someplace else in Afghanistan. Step by step we can reconstruct those victims experiences that night bringing them out of anonymity, engaging our empathy.

Even with this information that allows us to begin to feel for Afghans and their losses, in the United States concern for Robert Bales’s mental health looms larger. Daily, extensive reports connect us to his subjectivity in a way that continues to render the victims invisible, denying us empathy for those nine children, dead execution-style, each with one bullet in the head.

Why the anonymity of those victims? Why is the media almost uniquely focused on Bales’s multiple deployments? Why the insistence on Bales as the lone killer in the face of Yalda Hamkin’s report and the initial Afghan investigation? Because these were revenge killings, a by-the-book military trained response of male bonding.

One of the buddies at the base, a particular friend of Robert Bales, lost his leg when a roadside bomb exploded a few days before, according to both Afghan military accounts and that of Bales’s lawyer. As I have argued in Unmaking War, Remaking Men, male bonding (expected of women in the military as well) is drilled into new recruits during training at they same time they are learning to kill without remorse, killing their own souls. It is a clever military technique to invoke shame in order to prevent soldiers from deserting or refusing to fight. In combat, if your buddy is hurt or killed, it is because you did not protect him. Even if there was nothing you could have done, your manhood is violated, your soldier’s honor is stained. What else is there to do but to avenge his death or the attack against him? Military male bonding knows no boundaries. Since the massacre of Afghans, U.S. soldiers are being targeted in revenge for the massacre of 17. War perpetuates itself.

For decades feminists have been exposing male bonding when guys join together for a gang rape and then cover for each other, when men close women out of decision-making in firms or hang together to pass them over in promotion, when policemen ignore wife beatings. When male bonding engages with racism, we see how police officers and departments cover for each other. The killing of African American teenager, Trayvon Martin, by a neighborhood watch captain, has gone unchallenged and without an arrest since February. Although Trayvon Martin was unarmed, the Sanford Police Department accepted George Zimmerman’s explanation that he shot in self-defense.

What will happen to Robert Bales or “our Bobby” as the New York Times reported friends described him? Will there be a repeat of the outcome of the 2005 Haditha massacre? When Frank Wuterich saw his buddy blown to smithereens in the Humvee in front of him, he took command and went into action. In a short time 24 Iraqis, mostly women and children, were dead. The military cover-up went high up the chain of command. But quietly over the years the charges against eight of the soldiers were dropped. In mid 2011 Wuterich was convicted of “dereliction of duty” and sentenced to serve no time in jail.

Bales like Wuterich responded to an attack on his buddy just as many men enlisted right after the 9/11/ 2001 attack on the United States to avenge those American lives taken that day. If we can predict from the Haditha case, most Americans will have forgotten about the latest Afghan massacre by the time it comes to court. Forgetting is how Americans collude with their country’s war crimes, their soldiers’ crimes against humanity even as they spill over onto our own city streets. The African American community and those committed to anti-racism will not rest until there is justice in the killing of Trayvon Martin. But for most Americans, war, if regrettable, is over there someplace else. We cannot afford to turn away. Until male bonding is exposed, disgraced, and disrupted we will be drawn into colluding with its crimes or chiming in with such excuses as multiple deployments.

The most fundamental defense of violent masculinity is that men must be aggressive and violent to protect women and children upon whom they turn their violence. Women and children, including teenagers like Trayvon Martin, will always be their most likely victims. There is another way, the one chosen by men who refuse to kill in war, who suffer humiliation and beatings for “not being a man” but who, in resisting war and killing, make it possible for us to expect that of all men.

The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author alone and do not represent WMC. WMC is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse candidates.

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HOW THE U.S. MILITARY SPAWNS MASSACRES AND DAILY ACTS OF DEPRAVITY

‘Are our soldiers seeing too much combat?’ as one retired military general asked after the most recent Afghan massacre of 16 civilians. How much combat – organized and spontaneous killing, destruction – is too much? Enough so that US killing in Afghanistan is just short of being caught massacring civilians? Enough so that anyone any soldier considers a threat for any reason can still be killed just in case they might pose a danger? By now Americans are used to such reports, most turning the other way either because they don’t care or because they feel impotent to make change, both reasons leaving the US military virtually untouched while one investigation and court judgment after another exonerates the murders.
And why was this massacre horrendous? Because “innocent” lives were taken? That is the question regarding the US supported Israeli war against Lebanon in 2006 that prompted me to write Unmaking War, Remaking Men (2011) where I found that soldiers, whether they are US military, NATO or resistance forces, are duty bound to kill their enemies on terrain where everyone who is not of their military is their enemy. That means all Afghans in Afghanistan, all Iraqis in Iraq, and potentially, if Prime Minister Netanyahu has his way, all Iranians in Iran are the enemies of invading troops whether they are bombed from the air or killed in house to house raids.
Combat is not someplace out there in Afghanistan. When the US invades or attacks through NATO which it controls, it turns the entire state into a war zone – villages and cities, countryside and remote mountainous routes. Consider the difference between this massacre and one event I described in Unmaking War, Remaking Men where a group of Marines were off duty and returning to their barracks after a day of combat when, walking down a road, they saw a pleasant Iraqi home complete with a lovely, carefully attended garden. Just because they could, because it was what they were doing everyday, they went in and destroyed the garden, then the house on the pretense that they were looking for some connection to insurgents. They had no reason to suspect the residents of anything and they did not have orders to do this “house cleaning” it was just something to do on the way home. It’s the kind of thing they did every day. Had the homeowner resisted, or had the soldiers just decided to destroy lives as well as property, they could have been killed. It was the soldiers’ call under conditions where there were no restraints on them and all the soldiers would have closed rank to protect each other against any accusations. In countries invaded and occupied by the United States, the line between life and death is so thin as to exist only at the whim of the soldiers.
Did the soldier who killed those 16 women and children in Afghanistan this week suffer from traumatic brain injury? Possibly. But why? Too many combat missions? No. U.S. military training breaks the bonds of soldiers humanity when they turn them into remorseless killers. That massacre could have happened on a soldier’s first week in combat, on leave at home with his wife and children, or after several combat missions.
The problem begins with the depravity of the U.S. military in its mission, its training and its purpose. It is fed by the cult of masculinity that daily plays out in violence against women throughout the world. There is another way: Consider the possibility of state demilitarization. In Unmaking War, Remaking Men I consider the possibility of another kind of protection, a global peace-making force built upon the international declaration of human rights which grants and should protect every human being in their right to live in dignity and in peace. Only when we begin to consider another possibility can we unshackled the U.S. and the world from military depravity.
Kathleen Barry
Professor Emerita
www.unmakingwar.net

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World Congress of Women? Yes!

Support a UN 5th World Conference on Women Petition | GoPetition“>

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Hadith massacre: how the Wuterich trial let the military off the hook

See how far the military will go to normalize Marine massacres and cover-up their own inhumane training of soldiers:

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Wuterich’s plea, the masculinity of war affirmed: kill without remorse!

For his part in the 2005 Haditha massacre in Iraq, today Marine Frank Wuterich pled guilty to DERELICTION OF DUTY, a plea bargain that allowed the several manslaughter charges against him to be dropped. From blinding macho to his apparent remorselessness for his actions, Wuterich’s actions, the military coverup and today’s plea reveal the extent to which the masculinity of war edges very close to sociopathic behavior, an expectation of US military training. Here is my story of the Haditha massacre.

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Scott Olsen Was Not Shot Because He Is a Veteran: Honor His Humanity

Scott Olsen Was Not Shot Because He Is a Veteran: Honor His Humanity

http://my.firedoglake.com/kathybarry/2011/10/31/scott-olsen-was-not-shot-because-he-is-a-veteran-honor-his-humanity-not-his-service/

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NOTES ON THE MAKING OF WAR CRIMES IN TODAY’S WORLD

NOTES ON THE MAKING OF WAR CRIMES IN TODAY’S WORLD
By Kathleen Barry
Does this sound familiar?
Middle East country to develop weapons to terrorize the world
Rumors of various assassination plots and other rogue actions by that country
Unable to locate weapons development means they are more cleverly hidden
Racial/ethnic slurs escalating among the worried countries peoples “They are hotheads.” “They cannot be trusted,” etc.

Then invasion,” just-in-case war,” that is, PREVENTIVE WAR
March, 2003 the US invades Iraq, by 2011, 1.3 million dead Iraqis blood on Americans hands
July, 2006, Israel, with military and political US support, invades Lebanon
To prevent Hizbullah in Lebanon from attacking Israel if Israel attacks Iran
PREVENTIVE WAR TO PREPARE FOR A PREVENTIVE WAR AGAINST IRAN
NOW, November, 2011
After a rumor of an assassination plot by Iran against the Saudi envoy to the US, a sign that those out of control people are at it again to engage people’s racism against Iranians.

With so much US military funding to Israel that Israel has been able to decrease its own military budget, 2011.
Today we learn that a new unspecified report is about to be released to International Atomic Energy Agency members on Tuesday or Wednesday this week, and is believed to allege that Iran did theoretical modeling on nuclear warheads and is developing missiles.

PREVENTIVE WAR IS NOT PRE-EMPTIVE WAR WHICH IS ALLOWED UNDER THE UN CHARTER WHEN THERE IS IMMINENT, VERIFIABLE THREAT OF ATTACK. PREVENTIVE WAR IS A WAR CRIME

URGENT PRESSURE REQUIRED ON WHITE HOUSE TO STOP THE MOMENTUM TOWARD AN ISRAELI-US WAR AGAINST IRAN

See Mohamed El Baradai, The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times (2011) and Unmaking War, Remaking Men, Chapter 10, “Colluding in Preparatory War,” (2011)

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Scott Olsen Was Not Shot Because He Is A Veteran: Honor His Humanity Not His Service

Scott Olsen Was Not Shot Because He Is A Veteran: Honor His Humanity Not His Service
By: Kathleen Barry Monday October 31, 2011 9:40 am

With all of you I am horrified and sickened over the shooting of Scott Olsen by the Oakland Police, a particularly brutal police force known for its racial profiling.

I may be going out on a limb here, but in the multitude of announcements of the brutal shooting that I have seen in these last few days, the outrage against this shooting were headlined with phrases like “Veteran Shot” which immediately pushes those old American patriotic buttons that valorize those who serve in the US military over all other human beings.

I believe, as I discuss in Unmaking War, Remaking Men, that this slippage of language into that of the very state we oppose for its ongoing wars, Americans, even those struggling for peace and justice in this world have not yet come to terms with how to relate to or understand our war veterans. We have seen our country shift from blaming soldiers/veterans for serving in the Vietnam war, to medicalizing them with diagnoses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder allowing us to feel sorry or sympathetic for their suffering or worshipping , as our politicians do, “the soldier’s sacrifice.” ”Veteran” is supposed to signal to us a special human being because s/he served our country to rally patriotism for U.S. war crimes.

The horror of Scott Olsen being shot in the head and face is that he is a human being and because he is a human being should not have been subjected to that brutality. That he served two tours of duty in Iraq and came home to be savagely attacked on the streets of Oakland reveals the extent to which the US has become a militarized state, its citizens being its enemies. To see that it was wrong to shoot him because he is a veteran, because he “served,” is to play the language game of those who would perpetuate war by honoring the military in the way that patriotism requires of us.

My mind still goes to the image of Scott Olsen that was captured by the media when he was standing silently, unmoving, witnessing the police descend on the occupy Oakland encampment. In that image he is to me more like the hundreds of thousands of victims of the US military who are shot down for just being there – in the line of fire. As I see it, our soldiers who become our veterans are our country’s “expendable lives,” those who are expected to protect us and sacrifice their lives if necessary to do so, even when we do not need protection from Iraq or Afghanistan. We instead need protection from US foreign policy that makes enemies against our country in order to perpetuate ongoing war (keep an eye on the US preparations for attacking Iran).

But soldiers in combat are not our only expendable lives. Racial profiling in the Oakland and San Francisco police leads to justified headlines indicating an African American or Hispanic male were killed. They were killed because they are of a non-white race. Scott Olsen was not shot because he is a veteran.

If we are going to identify human beings who are the subject of brutality by any terms and rationale such as “because they served” then should not those women who are in encampments, and there would be one in four of them, who were raped by their fathers or stepdads or grandpas regularly, sometimes for years, lives expended to another form of male power and domination, be identified as sexual abuse survivor if they are subjected to police brutality. Should one of them be protesting and shot in the head by the Oakland Police because she is protesting, we would not likely be announcing that brutal act as “Sexual Abuse Victim Shot by Oakland Police.” On the other hand, if she is raped in one of the occupy wall street encampments around the world, as has happened, then, of course, lets identify her as a rape victim. That was the crime committed against her.

The horror of the shooting of Scott Olsen lies in the fact that he is a human being. The shooting is not more horrible, could not be more horrible, because he is a veteran or for any other identifying factors. Meanwhile, we who oppose war and desperately search for peace in all the ways we know how, must disavow the very patriotic language of the US military and the state that elevates some human being because they serve in the military.

http://my.firedoglake.com/kathybarry/2011/10/31/scott-olsen-was-not-shot-because-he-is-a-veteran-honor-his-humanity-not-his-service/

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