We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, August 11, 2013

US Wars, Dehumanization, and Me

Click here to access article by Brandon Toy from Information Clearing House. (Note: I departed from my usual practice of posting articles from their original sources because this website offered more intelligent comments following the article.)

This article is particularly relevant given that veteran suicide rates are skyrocketing even though military operations in Afghanistan are winding down and have ceased altogether in Iraq. Of course, the same thing happened during and after the Vietnam War with more veteran deaths caused by suicide than were killed in the war. But is it really so surprising? 

First of all, the indoctrination that children receive in their schools, media, and entertainment industry are all crafted by the ruling class who have an interest in preparing children for war and the adults in supporting their wars. They falsify history, glorify their wars, refer to soldiers as "warriors", and encourage mindless obedience to authority figures. Then they are ready for induction into military training (read "Structured Cruelty: Learning to Be a Lean, Mean Killing Machine) where the indoctrination process is completed to make them into mindless killing machines.
The process of dehumanization is central to military training. During Vietnam, the enemy was simply a “gook,” “dink,” or a “slope.” Today, “rag head” and “sand nigger” are the current racist epithets lodged against Arabs and Muslims. After every command, we would scream, “Kill!” But our call for blood took on particular importance during our physical training, when we learned how to fight with pugil sticks (wooden sticks with padded ends), how to run an obstacle course with fixed bayonets, or how to box and engage in hand-to-hand combat. We were told to imagine the “enemy” in all of our combat training, and it was always implied that the “enemy” was of Middle Eastern descent. “When some rag head comes lurking up from behind, you’re gonna give ’em ONE,” barked the training DI. We all howled in unison, “Kill!” Likewise, when we charged toward the dummy on an obstacle course with our fixed bayonets, it was clear to all that the lifeless form was Arab.