The Moral and Legal Case for Sabotage
A worker at a munitions factory, wondering about the morality of creating weapons, inquires about the proportion of civilian and military deaths caused by any particular bomb he has created. His superior reveals that in Iraq, casualties are roughly 44% women and 39% children; at least 85% of those killed are thus highly likely to be civilians. This realization would require at the very least the worker's conscientious objection and immediate refusal to continue work on the bombs. But the bomb-maker is in a unique position to go farther...

Though more than a million Iraqis and Afghans have died under their respective occupations, the number of U.S. soldiers who have even been charged in connection with civilian deaths is scant, and the number who ultimately serve any jail time is scanter still. This is a reflection of several unfavorable factors: the oft-relaxed rules of engagement, the reticence of commanders to investigate and prosecute the murder of civilians, the ease with which drop weapons and other methods of cover-up can be undertaken, the inability of the military justice system to function due to a strictly-enforced code of silence among the enlisted, and—most problematic—a general disrespect for civilian lives and livelihood, most pointedly reflected in a 2007 poll by the Office of the Surgeon General of the US Army Medical Command. This survey found that just 40% of Marines and 55% of soldiers would report a unit member for killing an innocent noncombatant. The same poll found even lower numbers for the acts of stealing from civilians, mistreating them, and damaging their property, as well as for generally violating the rules of engagement. Worse, the poll only covers those soldiers who would admit their derelictions; the real figure is likely lower.

This startling data is corroborated by a number of veterans, notably by those in the Winter Soldier movement. Sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Winter Soldier testimonials are well-corroborated accounts of violent and unprovoked attacks in which dozens to hundreds of civilians have perished. In the wake of Wikileaks' release of Apache footage depicting one such massacre, others such as Ethan McCord (a member of the unit depicted in the footage) have come forward, claiming variously that they were told to kill any civilian nearby when an I.E.D. goes off, that civilians speaking on phones or holding shovels were valid targets, that any Iraqi thought to be associated with the insurgency could be killed, and that commanders would cover for them if they committed murder or abused prisoners. By our soldiers' own admission, it appears that the only unique aspect of the relaxed, cheered-on New Baghdad massacre is that it has since seen the light of day thanks to one conscientious whistleblower.

In this anything-goes climate, abusive soldiers can operate with impunity, and the civilians suffer. It is no surprise that violent soldiers, from Matthew McCabe (acquitted of the crime of assaulting a detainee despite eye-witness testimony) to Jose Luis Nazario, Jr. (tried as a civilian for his role in the deaths of four Iraqis yet acquitted due to lack of evidence and the refusal of his squadmates to testify) to Michael Hensley (who admits that he ordered a member of his squad to kill a civilian and then place an AK-47 on his body; this same underling later claimed to have no memory of the incident, and had earlier communicated to Hensley that he would protect him) to the Haditha butchers (of which only one of eight is still charged despite the conclusion of an official Pentagon investigation that the Marines deliberately killed a total of 24 unarmed civilians), have gotten away with it. Many more cases of this type exist, and each calls into question the ability of the military to effectively police itself. More numerous still are officially-sanctioned incidents, such as the siege of Fallujah, in which the massacre of civilians and the damaging of civilian infrastructure was undertaken deliberately as part of a strategy of pacification and subjugation, what one American advisor in Baghdad, quoted by Seymour Hersh, called "Terrorism versus terrorism." "We've got to scare the Iraqis into submission," he said.

This has been the general tenor of the occupying force for some time: the U.S. military kills civilians, offers a perfunctory apology and promise to amend its ways, and then continues killing civilians, in the process betraying its true goal of subjugation. Aerial bombardment, night raids (increased by McChrystal despite his carefully-cultivated image as a reformer), checkpoints (about which General McChrystal famously said, "We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."), White Phosphorus and cluster munitions, and the heavy use of unaccountable contractors and glorified death squads have all been the subject of criticism for their lethality to civilians and in turn the focus of military and political crocodile tears.

If we cannot expect the military to police itself (the legal and moral reason it has been granted the privilege of doing so), and the civilian authority is unable or unwilling to do it, then the policing falls on our shoulders. And indeed, there are some encouraging signs that sabotage of U.S. military facilities with the intent of stopping a greater crime is legal as well as moral.

In 2007, for example, two English protesters were acquitted of all charges relating to a 2003 break-in of a Royal Air Force base in order to sabotage U.S. bombers. Toby Olditch and Philip Pritchard successfully argued to a crown court that the planes, which carried cluster munitions and depleted uranium rounds (both noted killers of civilians), would have been used to commit war crimes in Iraq. There is legal precedent in the U.S. as well: in 1987, a group of protestors including Abbie Hoffman and Amy Carter were acquitted of trespassing and disorderly conduct, charges stemming from their attempted disruption of C.I.A. recruitment on the University of Massachusetts campus. The jury found their actions to be protected civil disobedience, undertaken to thwart the commission of greater C.I.A. crimes in Latin America and elsewhere.

In a more general philosophical sense, the case for sabotage can be found in a widely-held consensual value: that of self-defense.

Let us entertain a hypothetical: a worker at a munitions factory, now beginning to wonder about the morality of creating weapons for use in two invasive foreign wars, inquires about the proportion of civilian and military deaths caused by any particular bomb he has created. His superior reveals that in Iraq, casualties from U.S. bombing raids are roughly 44% women and 39% children; at least 85% of those killed are thus highly likely to have been uninvolved in any armed conflict. This realization would require at the very least the worker's conscientious objection and immediate refusal to continue work on the bombs. But the bomb-maker is in a unique position to go farther; his proximity to the engines of destruction affords him relatively safe access to the means of their undoing. In order to make up for his relatively greater hand in the unnecessary deaths of Iraqis and Afghans, he must decommission as much machinery as he is safely and reasonably able to destroy.

This is not, in fact, a hypothetical: U.S. bombs are overwhelmingly more lethal to women and children, according to a 2009 Iraq Body Count survey. If the victim of any single U.S. bomb is more than 85% likely to be a noncombatant, there is no moral or legal reason not to dismantle it, and then the factory which produces it. Reflecting this high probability, more than half of all child deaths in Afghanistan in 2009 were caused by N.A.T.O. forces. If the two English saboteurs were legally justified in delaying the employment of U.S. cluster munitions, then any passing Samaritan would be likewise justified in wreaking havoc in any stateside military installation.

A crucial dimension of self-defense is proportionality, the requirement to pursue the least violent method of resolving conflict before any others are attempted. It is in fact this aspect of self-defense which empowers the use of force against others who violate the rule—reactive violence loses its defensive attribute if it is not strictly necessary to preserve one's life or the life of others, and only the previous consideration of less violent means can constitute a reasonable belief that force is justified. Applying this to the U.S. military, any saboteur can note that protests against the Iraq War set a number of turnout records, but were ignored and downplayed in the U.S. media. Protests, even large scale ones, are simply not sufficient to thwart wars of aggression, let alone the routine killing of civilians in the course of waging them. In the final analysis, we must ask: who are we to stand peacefully and ineffectively in the streets holding picket signs while Iraqi, Afghan, Yemeni, and Pakistani civilians are dying at the hands of the occupying U.S. force?

Civilians make up the vast bulk of casualties in the present wars. To argue the immorality of sabotage undertaken with the goal of preventing such civilian slaughter is to place human lives below the very convenience of their U.S. killers. It is to argue that the serial killer's knife should remain long and lethal, for breaking it would constitute grave property harm.

Even the rationale of the military itself can be turned around to offer a self-sufficient case for using force against its own machinations. Look, for example, to the case for torture offered by the Bush Department of Justice. This legal rationale was transparently thin, compiled with incomplete information (and ignorant of the fact that the torture techniques were derived from training manuals which prepared soldiers for the possibility of their own 'torture' by other forces, manuals which note explicitly that these methods produce many false confessions), and relied upon naked assertions that legality is immaterial if charges are never pressed, essentially telling the torturers "you will get away with this regardless, because no one will charge you." Indeed, no one has charged the torturers or their enablers, and the Obama administration has moved to prevent any legal action against them—likely because his own administration would be caught up in any sufficiently wide-reaching legal proceeding.

When pressed to defend this sloppy reasoning, Yoo (and Assistant Deputy Attorney General David Margolis, the Justice Department official who reversed an earlier O.P.R. finding which held that Yoo's poor judgment in the memos constituted professional misconduct) cited the post-September 11th panic as an excuse to relax the rules of engagement and set aside legal prohibition of torture with careless reasoning. Legal precedent now holds that one can play fast and loose with the law if a nebulous security concern can be created (the torture of mostly-innocent detainees produced no useful information, and several torturers admitted that they were told to manufacture a confession linking Iraq to al Qaeda). Thus the one aspect of state-sponsored destruction which could conceivably distinguish it from justified sabotage—its putative legality—evaporates.

If we can torture innocent detainees delivered to us by bounty hunters in order to combat the trumped-up threat of terrorism, if we can excessively punish petty criminals in hellish jails in order maintain a nebulous crime deterrent, if we can disregard the law when panic sets in and continue to do so long after it has abated…why then can we not turn our attention to the torturers, the rape-enablers and wardens of America's brutal, overcrowded prisons, the politicians who sanctioned violence and theft and got away with it, the corporate robber-barons and bankers who held taxpayers hostage during the recent meltdown and proceeded to use bailout funds to lobby the government and overpay executives (reinforcing the cycle of poverty which has claimed untold lives), the insurance giants who are nakedly pursuing greater profits at the expense of patients (50,000 of whom die each year due to lack of health insurance), or the polluters who endanger us all?

This is to say nothing of blowback, which also provides a self-defense rationale for altering our imperialistic foreign policy. Bin Laden has cited U.S. involvement with Israel and the Muslim world as the impetus for the September 11th attacks; more recently, would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad echoed these points and added a criticism of U.S. drone attacks in which hundreds of civilians have been killed. To discount the actions of these men as the product of extremist indoctrination is to commit the grave error of forgetting that our actions have repercussions. And these repercussions, like the real outcome of our foreign policy, are felt by civilians.

In his Korematsu v. United States dissent, Justice Robert H. Jackson argued that the military was capable of making its own decisions and should not be subjected to the rulings of a civilian court (and neither should a civilian court be asked to approve its actions). Jackson later commented that he was aware of the danger of this precedent because it rendered the military unaccountable to civilian authority:

Much is said of the danger to liberty from the Army program for deporting and detaining these citizens of Japanese extraction. But a judicial construction of the due process clause that will sustain this order (323 U.S. 214, 246) is a far more subtle blow to liberty than the promulgation of the order itself. A military order, however unconstitutional, is not apt to last longer than the military emergency. Even during that period a succeeding commander may revoke it all. But once a judicial opinion rationalizes such an order to show that it conforms to the Constitution, or rather rationalizes the Constitution to show that the Constitution sanctions such an order, the Court for all time has validated the principle of racial discrimination in criminal procedure and of transplanting American citizens. The principle then lies about like a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need.



Recent events in the extended military emergency known as the War on Terror (now the Overseas Contingency Operation), some legally sanctioned, have borne out his fear. Jackson felt that the court of public opinion would be sufficient to reign in any military-judicial overextensions, but although public opinion has been at times set sharply against military action, both jurisdictional and not, it has continued to torture, invade, kill with impunity, collude, remove rights, and generally behave in a similar manner to the mafia. What expression of public opinion is equal to the task of reigning in the military if even record-setting protests are to be marginalized and ignored by the corporate media? How can military justice exist as a concept if commanders and comrades are unwilling to enforce the rules (which are fluid to begin with)?

We must ask ourselves a troubling question: when a known offender begins eyeing a loaded weapon which has been carelessly left behind, what can a concerned party do?



It must finally be noted that humans, even violently immoral ones, are distinct from tanks, bombs, and guns. This remains true, despite the common excuse used to defend the participation of American soldiers in a war anyone can and should know is grossly immoral—that they know not what they do. This is admittedly true in many cases. Young Americans are subjected to an intoxicating culture of soldier-worship and jingoistic propaganda, and recruiters have been caught lying to potential enlistees. But this is a case of ignorance being used to excuse evil, and can only be remedied by better education coupled with an emphatic rejection of that propaganda, and part of this necessarily entails the rejection of the soldier-as-hero myth. A mafia assassin who was brought up on gangster films which glorify the lifestyle is dangerously ignorant, and the same could be said of a soldier who has been subjected to romanticized accounts of war.

The factual humanity of U.S. soldiers, despite their arguments otherwise, is paramount—it informs the rationale of saboteurs in the first place and must thus be taken as a self-sufficient reason to forego any well-intentioned attacks upon them. Destroy their transports, their weapons, their equipment, their dignity, and their convenience, but never their bodies.

Discussion of The Moral and Legal Case for Sabotage on tHE r H i z z o n E:
#1
v.nice sir! I see where you're coming from but I want to know what defining characteristics separate this current imperative to sabotage from past imperatives? a Neoliberal would argue that though civilians continue to be the largest number killed in large-scale conflict, the overall number of dead has been reduced since vietnam, korea, wwii, etc. is civilian death more acceptable now than it once was because we justify it in that we kill less? are our wars less lethal? has it ever been alright to go to war? I guess I want to know if you are taking a pacifist stance or if there is anything to tell the difference between this contemporary definition of conflict and a Just one.
#2
thanks. it's always a problem trying to hash out an exact percentage of civilians among the overall dead that constitutes an injustice, and in order to be anything approaching a consistent pacifist, we have to resist any organization that targets even one civilian, or allows them to die through gross negligence. by this definition of course there hasn't been a moral army in history, and this is a conclusion i'm fine with making, given the organizing structure of any military organization. i think that if you're killing the civilians of the opposing side, you have to wonder about the necessity of going to war in the first place, i.e. that it's obviously not a just war or one of self defense
#3
this is a great article but i have to say that the argument of legality was far more interesting than the moral one.
#4

On December 4, 1989, thirty people, including appellants, gained admittance to the IRS office in Tucson, where they chanted "keep America's tax dollars out of El Salvador," splashed simulated blood on the counters, walls, and carpeting, and generally obstructed the office's operation. After a federal police officer ordered the group, on several occasions, to disperse or face arrest, appellants were arrested.

At a bench trial, appellants proffered testimony about conditions in El Salvador as the motivation for their conduct. They attempted to assert a necessity defense, essentially contending that their acts in protest of American involvement in El Salvador were necessary to avoid further bloodshed in that country. While finding appellants motivated solely by humanitarian concerns, the court nonetheless precluded the defense as a matter of law, relying on Ninth Circuit precedent.

In political necessity cases involving indirect civil disobedience against congressional acts, however, the act alone is unlikely to abate the evil precisely because the action is indirect.* Here, the IRS obstruction, or the refusal to comply with a federal officer's order, are unlikely to abate the killings in El Salvador, or immediately change Congress's policy; instead, it takes another volitional actor not controlled by the protestor to take a further step; Congress must change its mind.

* Obviously, the same may not be true of instances of direct civil disobedience. For example, if the evil to be abated was a particular shipment of weapons to El Salvador and the protestors hijacked the truck or destroyed those weapons, the precise evil would have been abated. Because our case does not involve direct civil disobedience, we do not address the applicability of the necessity defense to such incidents.


http://openjurist.org/939/f2d/826/united-states-v-d-schoon

#5

babyfinland posted:
this is a great article but i have to say that the argument of legality was far more interesting than the moral one.

i hope you didn't get a takeaway that any contemporary american court would acquit a saboteur on the grounds of self defense or a right to civil disobedience (which in hoffman's case was based on a state statute)

#6

thirdplace posted:

babyfinland posted:
this is a great article but i have to say that the argument of legality was far more interesting than the moral one.

i hope you didn't get a takeaway that any contemporary american court would acquit a saboteur on the grounds of self defense or a right to civil disobedience (which in hoffman's case was based on a state statute)


yeah, i didn't focus too heavily on the legal argument because it's all arbitrary horseshit anyway, i was more concerned with showing how sabotage was morally necessary and in some surprising cases, legally tolerated

#7
i'm imagining what the smug scalia opinion striking down any remnants of political necessity would look like and it's making me super mad
#8
Someone should sabotage a weapons shipment to Bahrain or something.
#9
do human beings even really manufacture bombs anymore? or do robots do it? I don't mean all that crazy stuff in the khyber pass. semiserious question actually... I don't know as much as I should about arms and munitions manufacturing (bad american)
#10
what potential for sabotage is offered to everyday citizens not working in munitions factories etc. i'd argue that sabotage is a moral imperative but action must be directly efficacious or its useless
#11
didnt the dudes who wrote the coming insuurection get arrested for tampering with train lines or something. which doesnt really damage the architecture of capital that much
#12

deadken posted:
didnt the dudes who wrote the coming insuurection get arrested for tampering with train lines or something. which doesnt really damage the architecture of capital that much


the people who can actually change things on a wide scale by themselves (as opposed to only through a widespread group effort, such as that which can be undertaken by a number of munitions factory workers) are effectively beyond reach and i've stopped even trying to address them

#13

deadken posted:
what potential for sabotage is offered to everyday citizens not working in munitions factories etc. i'd argue that sabotage is a moral imperative but action must be directly efficacious or its useless

perhaps this suggests a moral imperative to establish a covert organization with a clandestine relationship to a hostile nation-state whose resources and intelligence capabilities could conceivably bring about efficacious sabotage.

#14

gyrofry posted:

deadken posted:
what potential for sabotage is offered to everyday citizens not working in munitions factories etc. i'd argue that sabotage is a moral imperative but action must be directly efficacious or its useless

perhaps this suggests a moral imperative to establish a covert organization with a clandestine relationship to a hostile nation-state whose resources and intelligence capabilities could conceivably bring about efficacious sabotage.



I'm an israeli art student

#15

babyfinland posted:

gyrofry posted:

deadken posted:
what potential for sabotage is offered to everyday citizens not working in munitions factories etc. i'd argue that sabotage is a moral imperative but action must be directly efficacious or its useless

perhaps this suggests a moral imperative to establish a covert organization with a clandestine relationship to a hostile nation-state whose resources and intelligence capabilities could conceivably bring about efficacious sabotage.

I'm an israeli art student


oh raeli??

#16
don't make legal arguments unless you're a lawyer. it will only end in tears
#17
tpaine the book i'm writing right now is a little bit about this.. but in my usual style i ruined all my little terrorists' plans even though they weren't that bad
#18

gyrofry posted:

deadken posted:
what potential for sabotage is offered to everyday citizens not working in munitions factories etc. i'd argue that sabotage is a moral imperative but action must be directly efficacious or its useless

perhaps this suggests a moral imperative to establish a covert organization with a clandestine relationship to a hostile nation-state whose resources and intelligence capabilities could conceivably bring about efficacious sabotage.

#19
you don't know if you didnt go
#20
there's no coherent philosophical reason to stop short of killing soldiers. they are armed volunteer combatants, the laws of war of every nation and culture consider them such people to be perfectly valid targets
#21

Lykourgos posted:
don't make legal arguments unless you're a lawyer. it will only end in tears

the difficulty of legal reasoning and arguing is vastly overstated

#22
No
#23
the system as we live it now will soon be dead - why bother orientating yourself legally or morally towards it? historians will agree w/ u but now shouldnt we be getting prepared for picking up the pieces after they scatter?

the coming financial crash + global restructuring will strip the military of its funding.
i reckon we'll see a reborn east india trading company emerge, made up of financial elites + privatized military units, enforcing corporate rule in little islands of privilege under their control.

the us population will likely react the same way as any other under such rule - grudging complicity w/ simultaneous low level insurgency.

i guess i would make a case for sabotage today as practice for insurrection tomorrow
(using the moral/legal defense in case you get caught of course! )
#24

Lykourgos posted:
No


going to law school because "oh i'm smart and like to debate and i killed the LSAT" was the biggest mistake i've ever made, and i made it because of the false fetishism of the difficulty of legal thought (and b/c i'm dumb). certainly some training and intelligence is necessary but anyone here could get it down in about 6 months. the only extraordinary legal skill is the ability and motivation to write at great & painstaking length about banal, arbitrary bullshit that you don't care about

edit: tpain could have found the flaw in his argument the same way I did--spotting that something was off by knowing that the american legal system doesn't give a fuck about any ethical consideration higher than the law and going to abbie hoffman's wikipedia page to find out that the verdict was based on a very specific local statute. don't need to pass the bar to do that! the only reason he didn't was because he didn't care enough (nor should he have).

Edited by thirdplace (Nov. 18, 2011 12:52:05)

#25
No

also,

there are a lot of terrible law students and law schools. did you pick a school that can get you a job afterwards in the legal market? being a lawyer can be more fun than being a student

edit: yes, tpain could have found that detail on a wikipedia page where it is laid out for him. only he didn't despite apparently wanting to include a serious legal argument in his essay

Edited by Lykourgos (Nov. 18, 2011 13:13:22)

#26

goopstein posted:
there's no coherent philosophical reason to stop short of killing soldiers. they are armed volunteer combatants, the laws of war of every nation and culture consider them such people to be perfectly valid targets



agreed.

#27

goopstein posted:
there's no coherent philosophical reason to stop short of killing soldiers. they are armed volunteer combatants, the laws of war of every nation and culture consider them such people to be perfectly valid targets


but are those laws/customs valid? i argued that they weren't in the op

now if you want to extend the self-defense reasoning to their person in addition to their equipment and such, thats another thing

#28

Lykourgos posted:
edit: yes, tpain could have found that detail on a wikipedia page where it is laid out for him. only he didn't despite apparently wanting to include a serious legal argument in his essay


i couldn't care less about whether something is legal or not, it was an interesting aside to me but i'm fully aware of how arbitrary the law is and how saboteurs now would probably be executed or something

#29

Crow posted:

gyrofry posted:

deadken posted:
what potential for sabotage is offered to everyday citizens not working in munitions factories etc. i'd argue that sabotage is a moral imperative but action must be directly efficacious or its useless

perhaps this suggests a moral imperative to establish a covert organization with a clandestine relationship to a hostile nation-state whose resources and intelligence capabilities could conceivably bring about efficacious sabotage.

don't troll

#30
the raytheon 9 broken into the software dev office of raytheon in derry (the north of ireland) in 2006 as protest against israel's war on lebanon. they occupied it for like a week i think then smashed the shit out of all their servers. at their trial they argued that the 'bunker buster' bombs raytheon produced were directly assisting in the commission of war crimes - a raytheon bomb was used in the 2nd qana massacre - and were not only acquitted but raytheon actually had to close their derry plant a couple years later. the legal part i didnt really care for but that was a pretty decent outcome all the same

#31

gyrofry posted:
Crow posted:
gyrofry posted:
deadken posted:
what potential for sabotage is offered to everyday citizens not working in munitions factories etc. i'd argue that sabotage is a moral imperative but action must be directly efficacious or its useless
perhaps this suggests a moral imperative to establish a covert organization with a clandestine relationship to a hostile nation-state whose resources and intelligence capabilities could conceivably bring about efficacious sabotage.

don't troll

*floats like m. bison* U think i'm trolling? Ha ha ha ha ha

#32

pow posted:
the raytheon 9 broken into the software dev office of raytheon in derry (the north of ireland) in 2006 as protest against israel's war on lebanon. they occupied it for like a week i think then smashed the shit out of all their servers. at their trial they argued that the 'bunker buster' bombs raytheon produced were directly assisting in the commission of war crimes - a raytheon bomb was used in the 2nd qana massacre - and were not only acquitted but raytheon actually had to close their derry plant a couple years later. the legal part i didnt really care for but that was a pretty decent outcome all the same



the irish get it right sometimes imo

#33
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/donald-smith/10/987/31a

ceo of the company supplying teargas to egyptian military


e: we need to start strangling the logistical tail of the global security state

Edited by xipe (Nov. 19, 2011 19:48:06)

#34

tpaine posted:

Lykourgos posted:
edit: yes, tpain could have found that detail on a wikipedia page where it is laid out for him. only he didn't despite apparently wanting to include a serious legal argument in his essay

i couldn't care less about whether something is legal or not, it was an interesting aside to me but i'm fully aware of how arbitrary the law is and how saboteurs now would probably be executed or something



#35
nah
#36

internationalist posted:

tpaine posted:

Lykourgos posted:
edit: yes, tpain could have found that detail on a wikipedia page where it is laid out for him. only he didn't despite apparently wanting to include a serious legal argument in his essay

i couldn't care less about whether something is legal or not, it was an interesting aside to me but i'm fully aware of how arbitrary the law is and how saboteurs now would probably be executed or something


#37
tpaine, you brought up why the military is an abusive entity and should be hindered but let me add some of my own points explaining why the military is being so awful.

If you want moral and legal support for reining in the military there has to be a political will and for there to be a political will you have to have a clearer understanding of what the military did in Iraq for example.

What was the overall strategy in Iraq?

Keep in mind this wasn't the plan from the beginning, just sort of happened. But basically what happened was the military began hoping Al Qaeda (less than 5% of the insurgency, mostly Saudis) would gain a foothold and kill innocent Iraqis so the U.S. military would have a common enemy that made the U.S. military not look as bad by comparison and then they could "save" the Iraqis from a problem the U.S. military itself created. If Al Qaeda didn't gain a foothold the U.S. military would have been fucked because the insurgency would have been Iraqis against a foreign military which was violating all of their rights so basically dead civilians was vital for the U.S. military strategy.

Think about it: If the U.S. military had a choice between innocent civilians dying and winning and innocent civilians living and losing, which would the average soldier choose? Do I really need to ask?

Note the average Iraqi citizen couldn't hide like a coward in a military base when things got tough and so they had to bear the brunt of the hatred the U.S. military created. Why is that?

Well, unlike their victims, those soldiers have a political voice and representation in this country. Someone like me can't act as a proxy for people who deserve far more sympathy than the average soldier ever did because the United States is a nationalist country.

The United States also won't subordinate itself before an international legal body which would give the weakest and poorest who are against what the U.S. military does any legal or political rights so any real change has to happen with individuals here who take it upon themselves to go against the inhuman majority. Your job is to drag those people out of subhuman territory by acting as their voice; basically somebody who would call the U.S. out for murdering all those Iraqi and Afghan peasants because the U.S. is too cowardly to face the Saudis who finance and produce most of the world's terrorists as a byproduct of their corrupt and illegitimate rule because they provide the United States with its cheap oil and high standard of living.

Now let's look at another decent political argument against the military.

Using this nation's own history and the average right-wing nationalist soldier's beliefs, you can make them look like ridiculous hyprocrites. Here's an example of how to do this:

Three major historical reasons why soldiers have zero credibility politically.

1. The United States had a revolution becaused it was taxed without representation after the British military saved the colonists from the French and Indians and (gasp) the colonists had to pay for it. That was considered the height of injustice.

Soldiers can go into places like Iraq and Afghanistan and torture, imprison, and kill people with no political or legal rights, no voice or representation in this country and have no mechanism through which they can punish soldiers and hold them accountable.

And soldiers are fine with it.

2. Ever hear of when the large standing army of the North infringed on Southern state's rights during the War of Northern Agression? Well, most of these soldiers themselves come from the South. What do they do when that mean large standing army infringes on the rights of foreigners?

First to sign up for it, first to hate and ostracize anyone who would speak against it.

3. Remember when a tank was used at Waco? Not to fire on it, but to take down the side of the wall of the compound? Civilians did die but I personally doubt the federal government wanted to burn dozens of civilians to death on live television in front of the entire world on purpose.

Didn't stop the Oklahoma city bombing. It's almost as if it didn't matter that it was an accident and that killing civilians still provokes a violent response regardless.

Now, how many people were punished for the Oklahoma city bombing? Two: Terry Nichols and Tim McVeigh. Were there airstrikes on every right-wing militia compound in the country? No. If there were would federal buildings be blown up all over the Midwest? You better believe it.

If the Oklahoma city bombing was done by foreigners how many have been killed? Judging by the aftermath of 9/11: thousands.

Notice that when Tim McVeigh is brought up it's put within a domestic argument involving racial profiling (white people can be terrorists too) rather than a broad humanistic context illustrating that it really doesn't matter if you're an American citizen or Afghan or Iraqi, killing a bunch of innocent people is likely to have the same violent response. That's because the average American and, of course, the average soldier is nationalist and considers non-Americans different (read: subhuman).

See? Not hard.

Also note that 1.7 million Cambodians died because the U.S. military was considered top priority since the Viet Cong were using Cambodia to attack precious U.S. soldiers. The average Cambodian had no voice or representation in the United States and none in any international body that could exert reasonable pressure on the United States.

30,000 Pakistanis have also recently died because of the hatred protecting soldiers with predator drone strikes has created. If the Taliban are attacking U.S. soldiers then their deaths are a small price to pay for protecting the Pakistani population who have to deal with the terrorist backlash those strikes create. Of course, innocent people dying is vital to U.S. strategy and that fact would have to be pointed out and confronted in any argument against the U.S. military.

800,000 Rwandans died because the U.S. military lost 18 precious soldiers in Mogadishu. Once again the United States has proven that any ideal involving actually caring about genocide is worth nothing compared to the life of a precious troop.

Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans died because soldiers are considered top priority rather than civilians and ideals. Changing this is vital to any real political change against the U.S. military.

Occupy protestors are meandering around in the middle of the street and getting arrested on a misdemeanor because the majority don't care about what they have to say so they have to block traffic, but if you have a viable argument involving the considering of ideals and civilians over the lives of soldiers then that would likely have a more resonate effect. It's just then most people would want to kill you than just ignore you but at least you would have a real argument rather than "rich people bad, me want be more equal but economics hard so me no have specific demands."

Edited by internationalist (Nov. 22, 2011 01:45:21)

#38

internationalist posted:
800,000 Rwandans died because the U.S. military lost 18 precious soldiers in Mogadishu. Once again the United States has proven that any ideal involving actually caring about genocide is worth nothing compared to the life of a precious troop.



careful with this

#39

discipline posted:

internationalist posted:
800,000 Rwandans died because the U.S. military lost 18 precious soldiers in Mogadishu. Once again the United States has proven that any ideal involving actually caring about genocide is worth nothing compared to the life of a precious troop.

careful with this



Having soldiers die for a humanitarian reason is supposed to be a lefty/liberal thing but that notion has been ruined by the fact that soldiers always make others sacrifice for them because the left in powerful countries are always nationalistic or have to pander to them to gain any sort of voice or power.

To illustrate the difficulty consider this:

If you tell soldiers to invade an island and there'll be 90% casualties they'll do it almost without question as long as it's based on right-wing nationalism and is predicated on a likely stupid, selfish, or hateful reason, but if you tell them to subordinate their own lives on behalf of those who are suffering because they are our fellow human beings - even if it cuts casualties to a tenth of what they normally would be and shortened the war dramatically - it would be considered intolerable because they refuse to die for the ideas of what they perceive to be liberal faggots who aren't true Americans.

Also, it's discouraging when you consider someone like Samantha Power who went into the Obama administration and started doing business with General Petraeus. It's hard to believe humanitarian intervention is even feasible when one of the few who may have genuinely cared about genocide did business with a person who, if given the order, would have exterminated every single Iraqi on the planet.

If I'm not too depressed and lazy I'll get into how military intervention affects the truly oppressed and how they are taken advantage of in an essay post. I've writted about 1600 words already. I may be done in a week or a month or two months or whenever but I think I have a really good take on it.

#40
a lefty/liberal thing
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