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Sunday, August 14, 2011


We were shocked when, in Iraq, some soldiers began to rape and kill simply to prove they could do it and get away with it. Today, in Afghanistan, such atrocities are still going on. I hope that a tale like this one still has the power to shock.

Why did the men of this unit conspire to kill innocent civilians? Because in their view, the Afghans are "savages."

Even in prison, those soldiers probably will never understand the irony.

But those soldiers aren't the only ones responsible. I also blame every Republican who sought political advantage by capitalizing on anti-Muslim bigotry. They too are savages.

For God's sake, what are we doing in Afghanistan? We have no business there. We have invaded a foreign country where the people simply do not want us.

Of course Afghan fighters are trying to kill our soldiers. Why wouldn't they? Can anyone honestly make the case that the Afghans have no right to kill an army of unwanted outsiders? If a foreign power had invaded Texas, wouldn't the Texans be trying their damnedest to kill the foreigners?

We have become the savages.
Having read Zizek and Virilio and Baudrillard on this I reply that it is a planned Deterrence. Virilio writes on politics, war, speed and space. Now there is no space on the planet to fight a war. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are really war games, Deterrence, even though real people get killed and maimed. Both are simulations of war. That is, they both are simulacra. A simulacrum is a copy of a copy without an original. Welcome to Virtual Reality, which is where a dlot of the rioters were during the riots. Inside a video violence game.
Oh and the same can be said of our military. They are also in a video violence game. This is what Cronenberg gives us in his comic and film eXistenz. The ability to distinguish reality and the game disappears as the machine is interfaced with the organic. This is where we are, folks.
Have you talked to actual soldiers? The propaganda they are fed is that they are ensuring that Muslim girls get to go to school. When I explain to them that since our intervention women in Iraq were forced back under the veil they get confused and defensive. I talked to another soldier who learned the language there....he did see brutal treatment of Muslims but did his part to communicate instead. What's up with the stereotyping here? There are plenty of soldiers convinced they are helping the Muslims against extremists. It's not helpful to lump all the soldiers in one mindset OR paint all anti-Muslim "rhetoric" as bashing. If we named what is completely unacceptable about the MAINSTREAM oppressive Islamic society we would have a metric by which to measure if we're helping or harming. But of course that's not going to happen.
They got rid of the draft so what do you expect?
"what are we doing in Afghanistan?". What are the chances of the US maintaining global economic and military hegemony in the 21st century in the event that China gains direct, secure access to oil and gas from Iranian fields and from the Caspian basin? What would happen to your economy if the US had to *compete in the open market* for access to those energy sources?
When I read this article earlier this year it threw me a bit offstride. The upside though is that your depressive mood of last week can be replaced by rage this week. Usually this results in some kind of action, maybe a chapter in your book or a bit of inspiration for Chalice.

To Abbeysbooks,
I find your comment interesting but don't agree with your virtual video focus. I think the mind and imagination can extrapolate violence from any media, words and books and blogs come to mind. Do you really think it was games which "desensitized" these Alaskan hunter children?
Just to clarify: I do not subscribe to the simplistic notion that these occupations are "all about the oil". I think oil and gas are a circumstantial part of the picture; the crux of the matter is that the US is trying at all costs to prevent the emergence of a cultural, economic and military strategic alliance between the Far East (basically China and India) and the Caucasus nations plus Iran and the rest of the Middle East. An alliance like that, which makes all the sense in the world if you just look at a map of the region, is a real existential threat to the role of the United States as a global superpower. The US is all over the place in that region precisely because it desperately needs to make sure that such an alliance never comes together.
From the Rolling Stone article: "Following the routine Army procedure required after every battlefield death, they (...) Next they scanned his iris and fingerprints, using a portable biometric scanner."

Is collecting iris and fingerprint data using a portable gadget (like this) standard US army practice throughout every warzone, or is it still spreading? Are Google involved somewhere in the loop? Just askin'.

The blurb says the "person of interest" must already have been "enrolled in BAT" (Biometric Automated Toolset) - and also that BAT "provides identification of Third Country Nationals".
What are we doing in Afghanistan? or Iraq? or Libya? or Syria? isn't it obviously about oil? see Robert Newman's History of Oil here
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