[Marxism] "The Road to Guantanamo"

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at yahoo.com
Tue Jul 4 13:08:57 MDT 2006

Saw it last night. This film should be heavily promoted to members of the US Armed Forces, active or reserve, and their families, as well as kids in high school thinking of joining. Not only to expose them to the horrors of Guantanamo, but more generally to get across the notion that joining the US military means putting yourself in a situation where you're almost sure to end up a brutalizing asshole even if you don't murder (or rape) any civilians.

I'm reading Jonathan Schell's "The Real War," about Vietnam. He describes how a "suspect" picked up in an area that "was considered hostile," often had his hands tied behind his back and a sandbag put over his head (sound familiar?). (Schell himself makes clear that these were areas of dozens of square kilometers containing many villages with men and women of all ages, any of whom could be a suspect just by virtue of being there.) From there on in as the "suspect" went up the chain of interrogation and imprisonment, the assumption was reinforced at each step that this was a dangerous bad guy. This scenario exactly parallels assumptions made about Arabs and Muslims today anywhere in the world by the military and intelligence (sic), and depicted so well in this film. 

It's not just the racist ideology that's so dangerous, the notion that all "gooks dinks camel-jockeys jihadis" are enemies, regardless of sex or age. The situations in which soldiers are placed and the decisions they have to make in those situations, are what gives practical effect to that ideology. And there's no way in wars like these to avoid making the immoral decision most of the time. The situations are unavoidable.

This, of course, is denied by those who call for "better," more "moral" tactics against the "enemy." But of course they ignore the most important fact: in these wars WE are the enemy and there is no way to make the right decision in most individual situations -- except to get the f*** out (and for enlistees to get the f*** out of the military as soon as they can). (The "right" decision DOES include, of course, telling a fellow soldier about to commit a war crime that you'll report or even shoot him if he does. But the only guarantee you won't be placed in that position over and over again is for the war to be over.)

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