What if mourning on 9/11 included empathy with wars’ victims?

When will Americans regain our collective capacity for empathy? How many Americans honoring the dead of 9/11/2001 do not see the families of the millions of dead in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya? 9/11 does not exist as an attack separate from the US vengeance in response to that attack. It cannot be disconnected from the 1.3 million Iraqi dead from a U.S. war of revenge against a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack against the U.S. Who cares about the one million war widows in Iraq from three decades of war there? Why do they not have an international day of mourning for their losses at the hands of the US? If you have not already, watch “Beyond Belief,” (netflix), the story of two New York widows from the 9/11 attack who began to imagine what life was like for Afghan widows. And then they did something about it. Empathy took them beyond their own suffering.

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Women Demilitarize the Masculinity of War in Libya

Finally, Libyan women and their families take over and DEMILITARIZE Martyrs Square – the rebels guns and gunfire gone… if only from the Square.
Women celebrate in Tripoli’s Martyrs’ square

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Libya and the Masculinity of War: Whose Victory?

Libyan rebels have established their National Transitional Council. Without women. No surprise considering the parades of victorious men driven by the blinding macho of their rebellion against Gadhafi who continue to shoot off their guns in celebration. The rebels make their victory indistinguishable from their fighting. With significant proportion of arms from NATO forces who were reported to have slipped into ground fighting in the last weeks to assure the full and final victory they need to take control of Libyan oil fields, they have been waging war from the air. Their bombs explode upon Libyan families and Gadhafi forces alike, hospitals as well as military bunkers. Despite the Geneva Conventions, there are no “innocent lives” or protected civilians in today’s wars.

Welcome to the masculinity of war. It is not only that these rebels in ousting the hated Gadhafi are faced with being reduced to the US, French and British pawns in the game of who gets the best oil on earth, but that the violence of the rebels who made this war have reduced them to the dregs of masculinity where killing and fighting are elevated above all human values. Shall we expect enlightened rule from them? Or are they Libya’s next psychopathic leaders?

Those rebels are coming to power as Gadhafi did when he overthrew the existing monarch in 1969. He then turned himself into a dictator with what I call psychopathic leadership in Unmaking War, Remaking Men. From this book, here is the progression we that must be aborted if the blinding macho of the 2011 victory is not to repeat its past:

1. Presidents and prime ministers in remorseless disregard for human
life provoke and bully other states and powerless peoples.

2. At the orders of the leaders in #1, armed forces wage wars terrorizing
less powerful states and vulnerable peoples.

3. At the orders of leaders in #1 and the forces in #2, soldiers in
combat wage war against relatively defenseless people, making
enemies of humiliated men through their aggression and killings.

4. Men attacked and humiliated by the leaders of #1’s militaries
resist and fight back. (The leaders in #1 call them insurgents or
terrorists to delegitimize their struggle and their claim to their
right to self-determination against the occupation authorized
by the leaders of #1 and enforced by the forces in #2.

5. Leaders of the invaded, attacked, and humiliated men frequently
invoke religion and culture to assert their domination, and
psychopaths emerge from the ranks with terrorist tactics.

6. If the resistance prevails, its leaders will likely become the leaders
in #1. (Unmaking War, Remaking Men, p. 121-122)

This is not what we saw in the nonviolent rebellions of Tunisia and Egypt which is where we saw women. So, the rebels of Libya are not violent “people” but, for the most part, they are violent men caught up in the masculinity of war, encouraged and supported by US dominated NATO forces to fight violence with violence. In their neighbors, we are seeing that there is another way.

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Gaza Flotilla versus Psychopathic Leaders – Obama and Netanyahu

Today, President Assad spoke on the uprisings in Syria. He attributed them to extremists. But we have been following the Syrian revolution on television and over the internet. When we hear comments like that, preceded by former President Mubarek’s claim that the Egyptian Revolution was provoked by Al Qaeda, we see just how ridiculous these leaders are. We know better. We know these are people’s revolutions, mostly sparked by non-violent protests until as in Syria, under attack by Assad’s police, the rebels arm themselves. Few ever take these leaders claims of terrorist or extremists insurrections seriously. Media speaks of them as out of touch with reality.

What will we say when the world hears from Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama, when we see the likely virulent resolutions from the US Congress, justify their same dictatorial, brutal attacks. That is what Israel is promising, on The Audacity of Hope the 2nd Freedom Flotilla that in coming days is heading toward Gaza. And we have every reason to believe that Netanyahu knows that Obama will back him. The organizers of this Gaza freedom flotillahave released this statement: “Though the flotilla has the right under international law to do exactly what it is doing and has made abundantly clear its commitment to nonviolence, the government of Israel has publicly stated that they are prepared to act illegally and violently and take severe, even potentially life-threatening, action against the boats and their passengers.” (ustogaza.org)

Will we once again watch the Prime Minister of Israel, the head of the Israeli Defense Force, President Obama, mimic the behavior of President Assad and President Mubarek, all of them acting from the remorseless inhumanity of what I have called Presidential Psychopathy?
In other words, we cannot find Assad and Mubarek ridiculous, heartless leaders who are contemptuous of their people without recognizing it in our own President of the U.S. and the Prime Minister of Israel. Lets expose them now before the best of our human rights advocates are exposed to their psycopathic wrath. Let them know we see through them just as we see through their kind in Assad, Mubarak.

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Speaking on Unmaking War, Remaking Men in Berkeley

Come join us at Revolution Books in Berkeley 7pm Tues. July 19 for another talk on this new book.
Revolution Books
2425 Channing Way
Berkeley, CA 94704-2260
(510) 848-1196

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A Feminist Looks at Masculine Rage and the Haditha Massacre

A Feminist Looks at Masculine Rage and the Haditha Massacre
by Kathleen Barry

Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich will be in military court this summer of 2011 for a massacre that killed 24 in Haditha, Iraq in November of 2005. Six years after the massacre that killed more than two dozen civilians, he is scheduled to be tried by a military jury made up of combat veterans. Charges against eight others involved in the massacre that day in Haditha have been dropped. The question of whether anyone will be convicted for the massacre drives deeper than the question of justice for Iraqis under U.S. occupation. It strikes at the very core of the masculinity of war. Click link to read the rest of the article.

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This week in America there has been something distasteful about the joyful celebrations of the killing of Osama Bin Laden. More than distaste, it has been filled with macho and the elation of revenge. Worse, it has obscured American’s attention from how actually Bin Laden died.
I am among those millions of people around the world who are relieved that this terrorist responsible for repeated heinous acts that have taken thousands of lives, but I am also hearing who are speaking quietly, as if it would be anti-American, about “being sickened,” or “revolted” or “appalled” by the jubilation. And we have more reason than might be immediately evident from news reports and White House announcements for our reactions.
Bin Laden is dead. But he was unarmed when the US Special Forces stormed in on him, killed him and then buried his body at sea before we even knew he was dead not to mention before we even were able to ask how he was killed. Follow the Pentagon and State Department announcements: first, it was stated that he was unarmed. Then a few days later announcements included that an AK47 was nearby in the room. Sometime after that, as some of us began to question the killing, we were told that a pistol was “within his reach.”
What we do know is that Bin Laden’s courier was killed but that although firefights were described by the President, no Navy Seal was fired upon. If Bin Laden was unarmed, surely he could have been taken as a prisoner. Legally, it would then be the work of the International Court to try him and bring him to justice, for justice resides in our courts, or it is suppose to reside there. Whatever his punishment, it would not have resulted from a President authorizing vigilante justice.
Instead, from what we know today, the picture we are piecing together looks like he was assassinated, killed in cold blood. That is what the President of the United States referred to as “justice.” That is what Americans celebrated in the streets for days. With that the President dragged the US to a new low in our standards of justice. Assassination follows from war crimes already committed by this President and his predecessor in Iraq and Afghanistan.
War crimes, assassinations and Americans flooding the streets celebrating vengeance, the President’s ratings in the polls take a leap upward for his “strength” (read macho), pundits confident of his re-election, and congratulations from Dick Cheney – – – That sordid atmosphere leaves an air of suspicion surrounding anyone calling for real justice in relation to Bin Laden, the kind of mentality we experienced in the US with the invasion of Iraq in 2003 when many of us knew that war against Iraq was a war crime and that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction there. No matter. Americans wanted revenge for 9/11 even though Iraq had nothing to do with that crime against humanity masterminded by Bin Laden. They got it at the cost of 1.3 million Iraqi and almost 4,500 American soldiers lives. Then the celebration of war virtually drowned out the massive global anti-war protests before the invasion in 2003.
As long as the US and its deadly military are the final arbiter’s of justice in the world, we will all be dragged down and sink into its amorality. That is why in Unmaking War, Remaking Men I have proposed a plan for a global peace-making military whose special forces would use the least force necessary to bring down leaders engaged in ethnic cleansing, genocide and other crimes against humanity. Until we make that kind of change we will be doomed to macho revenge masking as justice.

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Anti-War Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day was originally started after the Civil War, as a protest to the carnage of that war, by women who had lost their sons.

The following is the original Mother’s Day Proclamation written by Julia Ward Howe in Boston, 1870:

“Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have heart, whether our baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly:
“We will not have our great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limits of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consider with its objects to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

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Kathleen Barry Speaking at Moe’s Books May 19 7:30pm

Come join us & Please forward to your Bay Area lists. Thank you.

Kathleen Barry
Speaking at Moe’s Books
May 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm


May 19, 2011, 2:00 pm, Berkeley, CA
Moe’s Books
2476 Telegraph Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
(510) 849-2087

Kathleen Barry, Professor Emerita of Penn State University, is the author of five books including Female Sexual Slavery which launched a global movement against trafficking in human beings.

Her latest book challenges the masculinity of war and reveals through the ongoing wars of today how and why peace is only possible with the remaking of men. She looks to those soldiers who have resisted and refused to fight as models for the new masculinity already in the making.

In a world where Arabs are often being demonized, it is soothing to read a book by such a fine Western intellectual with so much empathy who offers us a unique perspective on how we could untangle the knots of an explosive situation. A must for anyone trying to find solutions to war. —Evelyne Accad, Sexuality and War: Literary Masks of the Middle East

“With the courageous vision, scrupulous scholarship, and heartfelt writing that has illumined her books on female sexual slavery, Kathleen Barry here focuses her laser-like intelligence on violence, militarism, and core masculinity. Unmaking War, Remaking Menmakes the connections that could save us all. Ignore this book at your peril.”
—Robin Morgan

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Military Cadets’ forced pornography called ‘consensual sex’


27 Apr 2011
A “sex scandal” broke open at a military academy in Canberra, Australia, when some cadets viewed via Skype sex between a male and female cadet. Newspaper accounts refer to the event as “consensual sex.”

How can sex be consensual as claimed in this case when, as part of the act, the male cadet had arranged for other male cadets to watch in another room which was then streamed via Skype. That turns the “consensual sex” into voyeurism and forced pornography. But how can we count how many crimes were committed here when the initial premise of consensual sex is so flawed?

No worries – as there has been no discussion of charging the boys involved (one was under the age of 18, none behaved with adult maturity). But the woman cadet upon whom sex for public viewing was had, was brought in on a disciplinary hearing on supposedly unrelated matters right after the event was made public. She was even made to apologise to her peers which was interrupted only when one of the male cadets shouted ‘Slut’. And for days afterward, the Australian Federal Police had not yet determined if any laws had been broken.

But since the Skype scandal broke in early April, and it has been called the Skype scandal as if Skype had violated the law, the woman and military regulations, as if the voyeuristic boys and their buddy in bed in front of the Skype camera had no responsibility or involvement in the incident. Neither their names nor any other reference to them appear in Australian media accounts which name the woman by her first name and do not hesitate to represent her previous behavior as if it were the cause of this invasion of her right to privacy.

Defence Minister Stephen Smith has been the public voice of reason and has expressed sensitivity to the woman cadet. An investigation was immediately launched and six enquiries are currently ongoing. But as of late April there still have been no arrests of or charges filed against the boys.

A military culture of rape? some wonder. The culture of rape is so normalised, so accepted that, in this case, we have yet to see a question of the boys behaviour or action on the number of sexually related crimes they have committed. But if you follow the Australian reporting on this case, and if Australian media at all reflects its society, the military culture of rape is a reflection of an Australian culture of rape.

There is more to the question of rape in the military than that. The military’s goal in training cadets is to produce killers and to do that, killer soldiers are trained to be remorseless for the act of taking the life of another human being. Remorseless killers are grunts, they carry with them the gang mentality one might find on the streets, destruction for the sake of itself. Whatever kinds of human beings these cadets were before they entered the military, their training for war, for why else do we have militaries but to fight wars (in the US our government makes up wars for our soldiers to fight and our armament companies to do business), dehumanises them to bring out the worst of human behaviour – the killing of another human being.

While those of us outside the military tend to see the precision of military parades complete with smart, perfectly fitted uniforms, those representations are meant for us to gloss over the grunts underneath that come out in combat, not because they were born that way but because the military trains them.

Yes, an investigation is taking place, but until we rethink the entire venture of making militaries and turning out killing machines named “the troops” for combat, we can expect little to change. That is why in my latest book I’ve called for both ‘unmaking war’ and ‘remaking men’.

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