Open letter from an Army vet to military servicepeople: what will you do when they send you to fight Occupy?

Mitch Green, a US Army vet and economics PhD candidate, has written an open letter to members of the US armed forces, who, he believes, will soon be called upon to put down the Occupy movement in America:

Those that take this oath seriously are faced with a terrible conflict. You must battle internally between the affirmation that you will place your body between the social contract embedded in the Constitution and those that seek its destruction, while maintaining your loyalty to the government you serve and the orders issued by its officers. Sadly, society has placed a twin tax upon you by asking that you sacrifice both your body and your morality. This tax has been levied solely upon you overseas, and soon they’ll come to collect domestically. Your government in its expression of corporate interests relies upon your tenacity to endure, and your relentless willingness to sacrifice. And so you do.

Now, more than ever we need your sacrifice. But, I’m asking you to soldier in a different way. If called upon to deny the people of their first amendment right to peaceably assemble and petition their government for a redress of grievance, disregard the order. Abstain from service. Or if you are so bold, join us. Make no mistake: The consequences for such decisions are severe. You will be prosecuted under the full extent of the law. But sacrifice is your watch word.

An Open Letter to the Winter Patriot


    1. Yeah, we’ve already crossed that bridge; ask Anwar al-Awlaki. Oh wait, he’s dead. Ask his teenage son. Wait, he’s dead too…

      Ask Vicki Weaver? Dead. David Koresh? Dammit!

      And if you say to yourself, “yeah, but those people were…” then GOTCHA! That’s how citizens condone the slaughter of fellow citizens.

  1. Not sure what good this’ll do. Isn’t the modern Army leadership Christianist? Isn’t Rush Limbaugh one of the few permitted sources of media input into the modern Army? How can they refuse to fight the dirty hippies? Or is it not yet that far gone?

    1. You have about as accurate a mental image of today’s military as other people have of those “dirty hippies.”

  2. This is so not going to happen. In fact, it is a nice piece of propaganda to pretend that Occupy is at a point right now where THIS is the concern, and not that anarchists and cold weather will cooperate to end most of the occupations.

    1. and not that anarchists and cold weather will cooperate to end most of the occupations.

      In what way?  Particularly interested in the “anarchists” part.

      1. Protesters (as opposed to a-hole police) interested in directing violence toward the Occupy camps will make the camps more dangerous for protesters, as well as bringing the movement into disrepute among more people. Those people so far seem to be “Black Bloc” anarchists.

        1. It doesn’t seem to have been a problem so far.  I think the movement is pretty good at policing itself in that regard.  Of course there are always going to be police infiltrators pretending to be “anarchists”.

  3. Hogwash. Why break the law when you have a militarized police force. All the need to do is authorize live ammunition.

  4. I’m not being so quick to dismiss the author’s premise, as I believe that state governors have the power to call out National Guard troops as they see fit. It wouldn’t happen in California or (probably) New York, but if Occupy decided to make a concerted effort in, say, Philadelphia, PA’s current governor would call the troops in a heartbeat.

  5. “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
     ― Frank Zappa

  6. “The weapon of the American establishment is complacency and fear.” “That’s two weapons.”

    Anyway, the point is, they’re both in effect right now, and an argument could be made that complacency is much, much more effective. Calling in the military would be to throw that away and switch over to a totally fear-based strategy which, I think, they know is way too risky.

    1. “The weapon of the American establishment is complacency and fear.” “That’s two weapons.”

      Nobody expects the American Army!

  7. “Mitch Green is a Ph.D. student at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.  He earned his B.S. in Economics at Portland State University in 2010.”

  8.  It might do our military well to remember that “I was just following orders” didn’t work in the Nuremburg trials and won’t work now.

  9. I recall a conservative soldier a few years ago who refused orders because they came down from NATO or UN or something. (Michael New, 1998?) Either way, I would think the simple and unfortunate explanation for this is that soldiers are only asked to make a show of swearing loyalty to the constitution or government or the people or whatever. When push comes to shove, they are always expected to follow orders from their superior, not to second guess, whether it’s a matter of superiors submitting to some other group like NATO, or superiors ordering soldiers to torture or commit other war crimes.

    How to solve this problem? With 100% volunteer military. That doesn’t mean a person volunteers and then gets thrown in prison if they try to back out. That means able to end their participation at any time. Oh noes, but how will they maintain troop cohesion when some people run away from battle? They don’t. If soldiers were free to participate or split at any moment, and if they’re really defending their family or land from hostiles, they will vote with their feet. It becomes an instant vote of confidence for that government or leader or battle.

    1. While I’m no war monger, I gotta say, this is the dumbest thing I’ve read all night.  First off, if you have any idea of what the consequences of military loss were, you would not be advocating some sort of “throw them on the field and let their conscience sort it out.”  In fact, imho, a more intelligent (and more radical solution) would be to :
      1.Make it a national plebiscite when we go to war, with votes open and public. 
      2.Those that vote for the war at the legislative level have to fight it. Period.  We simply replace them.  If it’s important enough to authorize a war, it’s important enough for the authorizers to go participate in it at some level.
      3.Those that vote for it on a public level have to REGISTER FOR THE DRAFT, no matter what age, up to the age of 62. 

      Regardless of all this, once you are in the military, you need military discipline to win battles.  You can’t just “hope for the best.”  Soldiers have never been, ever, “free to split.”  Even irregulars, such as the Lincoln Brigade have orders.  Why?  Because in battle, OTHERS DEPEND ON YOU, and not coming through is not only treason, but murder.  If you flee, for example, while on a mission to deliver a letter, you might, as a consequence, kill many other soldiers.  Usually,  warriors sign up for stints, during which they submit to outside authority.  They live in a “chain of command” until allowed to become civilians again.  It completely denies the immediacy and finality of war to talk about everyone “doing their own thing.”  If victory is desired, iron discipline, coupled with superior strategy, is the only thing that wins battles.

      1. I concede you’re not necessarily a war monger because of your view on how the military should operate. However you use the same argument that has been put forward to defend aristocracy and authoritarianism and hierarchy in governments. For the government to stick together, some people need to make decisions and others need to follow them, etc. We’ve seen some examples in practice of how democracy can succeed and be a lot better than arbitrary hierarchy.

        I realize there would have to be some agreement or consensus among troops, maybe even elected leaders, in order for a military to fight even a legit defensive action, but I think that’s possible without the kind of arbitrary hierarchy that has been traditionally used, even if the Spanish anarchists used it too. And I realize that a process of consensus takes time, and would be difficult to implement on battlefields. The alternative is military with arbitrary hierarchy, where some leader orders soldiers to retake Hamburger Hill no matter what the costs, then give it up a few hours later, then retake it again. Or the same problem applies at higher levels, a general or dictator ordering an illegal or immoral or unpopular invasion for no good reason, and you’d have soldiers obey just because the hierarchy demands it. As the Brits supposedly sang in WWI, “We’re here because we’re here because, we’re here because we’re here….” Or Tennyson: “Theirs not to reason why,
        Theirs but to do & die…”

        Like I said in my earlier comment, each battle or “command” would become a vote of confidence, and some battles would not be fought. That’s a good thing. How many soldiers would have continued in Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan if they had the chance to stop participating when they saw how fruitless or harmful their actions were? How many soldiers would need to be conscripted or threatened with prison or being shot if they were actually defending an attack on their neighborhood or state or nation? My argument is that battles that really needed to be fought, ones that were really matters of defense, people will volunteer for it and keep at it without those threats or coercion.

        Re: “treason”, that’s a function of nationalism and patriotism, which can do more harm than good. Why should we feel devotion to arbitrary political boundaries set up by elites hundreds of years before we were born? Why should I feel a closer bond to my countryman living 3700 miles away in Alaska than a Canadian who lives on the other side of Lake Huron from me, or a person who lives next door to me but doesn’t have papers to be officially a citizen of the US? If everyone participating in a voluntary military understood this upfront, and were reminded that their actions in combat could determine whether their fellow soldiers live or die, most of them would avoid the kind of “treasonous” situations you’re talking about.

  10. Hrm – so far NOTHING that has happened has warranted military troop involvement. This should be a completely civil matter and should only involve the police. I can’t even see a good reason to send in state militias (National Guard).  Only Washington DC is a location where Federal troops might be appropriate.

    So yeah – no military enforcement needed.

    1. so far NOTHING that has happened has warranted military troop involvement.

      That’s the thing: nothing has yet happened that has warranted tear gas and grenades from the police, either.  The police response (not everywhere) has frequently been undeservedly harsh and brutal, and that’s what leads some to think that a military response might soon be in the offing, maybe especially since the police overreaction has only increased the public’s support of the protesters, which has the effect of increasing the numbers of the protesters.

      The question will come down to the governers and the President: who will respond like Hoover in 1932, and who will respond like Roosevelt in 1933?

      1. Wait. The police overreaction has backfired and strengthened the movement, so the next expected option is a massive military overreaction.

        How does that make sense? It’s doubling down on a strategy that has not worked well. Who would do that? Why would they do that? Why would they not at least wait to see how Generals January and February do?

        1. “How does that make sense? It’s doubling down on a strategy that has not worked well.”

          Judging by recent history, doubling down on failed strategies would be completely in character for the US govt and military.

        2. And, of course, doubling down on crack-brained stupidity has always been an unusual response from reactionary politicians?

      2. I agree that a lot of the police action has been heavy handed and inappropriate in a lot of places. But what exactly would be the purpose/reasoning behind federal troops? That would be a bad move across the board, pissing off people on both sides of the aisle. Obama would like a second term, I can’t see him doing something that would guarantee him losing (hell, maybe even losing the whole Democratic nomination).

        I agree federal troops would be a horrible thing to use. But so would dropping napalm on the protestors. But neither scenario seems that likely at this point, so I have to question why one would get too worked up over a very unlikely scenario.

        Again – local cops being jackasses is a liiiitttlllee different than a federal order mobilizing federal troops.

        ETA – having the governors pulling out the National Guard would be a likewise political death blow. Unless there are violent riots, the people aren’t going to support that action.

        1.  Unless there are violent riots, the people aren’t going to support that action.

          You’re right.  And that’s what remains to be seen: if the powers that be (i.e., the people with the authority to mobilize troops) realize where the public’s sympathies lie.

          Local cops are jackasses every day, but it is not every day that local police forces are ordered to don their riot gear and be prepared to crack heads and use chemical weapons against nonviolent, mostly noncriminal protesters.  People in authority, from Bloomberg to Jean Quan to Chancellor Katehi, have made the mistake of overdeploying their jackasses, and will pay a considerable political cost for this.  But they didn’t do it simultaneously.  Bloomberg and Quan didn’t learn from each other and Katehi didn’t learn from either of them.

          I don’t think it’s very likely that anyone will be foolhardy enough to call out the Guard.  But I don’t think the possibility is unthinkably remote, either.  There have been a lot of bad judgment calls lately.

          Edit: Anyway, nobody wants to believe the military will be mobilized. But lately we’ve been seeing a lot of things that we can’t quite believe we’re seeing. We’re used to seeing (or pretending not to see) the heavy hand of law enforcement used against our darker-skinned citizenry for, say, whistling along the wrong sidewalk, or against our less-sober brethren for altering their body chemistry out there where everyone can see. And we’re becoming used to the idea of our government murdering its own citizens without due process when they take up particularly unpopular causes. Many of us are new to the sight of our educated youth being brained and gassed for having the brass balls to hold hands, camp out, sing songs, and wonder aloud why their cost of education has skyrocketed at an even greater rate than the bonuses of Wall Streeters. And weirdly enough, these rotten little communist brats aren’t even squawking the loudest about tuition hikes and crushing student debt. For some reason, they’re hollering about the injustices being visited upon every little soul in the nation who has to bust ass to rub two pennies together, while the bailed-out bastards who brought us to this pass demand more money and our ungrudging respect.

          At this point, I don’t think anyone can predict what we’ll see next.

    1. Yeah – there is just a tiny, barely noticeable difference between a local cop (were these campus cops, because that is just one notch above mall cop) with an inappropriate use of force, and some sort of federal order mobilizing federal troops.

  11. This reminds me of the conversations I had with my civilian friends after the 2000 presidential election. “What happens if the Army is called in to decide?!?” I… guess we’d all laugh and not do it? I asked around, to see whether I was in the minority (I often was, generally being the most liberal guy in my unit), and everyone else agreed. Posse comitatus is ingrained into the military psyche from bottom to top, I assure you.

  12. I couldn’t ever expect the President to mobilize the military in a case like this.

    I could see a State calling out the National Guard maybe. It would have to get really bad. Like several days of unchecked riots bad, imo.

  13. If the Occupy movement continues to grow, National Guardsmen will be called up next. My guess would be in California, likely Oakland. Economics are as much a part of this as any need to show authority: California is extremely cash-strapped and the police departments are being strained in terms of personnel and overtime.

    As the police reaction has clearly demonstrated so far, Occupy doesn’t have to grow violent to attract this. It just has to grow.

    ChicagoD, above, is likely (and sadly) correct: violent protesters not connected with Occupy will probably be attracted as the movement grows. And don’t be surprised if agitators are seeded among the protesters by the banks themselves.

    I have faith the Occupy movement is self policing enough to not only disavow such people, but weed them out and disaffiliate themselves from them on the spot.

  14. Of course it will never happen!  And we all say that because it would be unimaginably horrible.

    Worth noting… two key laws which would prevent a President from dispatching military domestically without Congressional approval have both been recently changed to give the President more authority to act unilaterally. (EDIT – they were repealed. Thanks retchdog for encouraging me to RTFA.)

    Insurrection Act
    Posse Comitatus Act

    And they were repealed in 2008.

    1. thanks for the links which, you know, explain that those changes were completely repealed in 2008, under bush nonetheless.

      1. I missed that they were repealed. Bush/Obama — doesn’t matter to me when it comes to any president’s ability to dispatch military domestically. I don’t trust any political party with that power. Police and military should be separate. I’m glad that the changes were repealed.

        1. Yeah, I didn’t mean Bush as in “that evil republican.” I meant Bush as in “the same president under whom the changes were introduced in the first place.” That’s important to me for some reason.

  15. I can’t see a need to bring in the actual military. Civilian police departments already regularly train in urban assault tactics alongside the military, so they have it covered. The only reason I could see bringing military in would be if shit really hit the fan and you had city blocks on fire. Then, all hell will break loose.

    As far as the question goes, though, I think you might have a few troops hesitate, but I think far more of them will have no problem at all. Especially considering how the targets will be portrayed to them in the build-up.

    1. A good reason to call in the military, however, is that many of them HAVE killed and sacrificed for the “common good”, and quite unlike the Lt Pikes of the world, are somewhat aware of the personal cost of having done so.

      Not saying it’s a good idea, but it’s a better idea than providing military weapons and tactics to law enforcement who are just itching to enforce their authoriTAH.

  16. Such drama!!  Revolutions dont happen when he vast majority are quite comfortabe in their current condition, and when the majority are annoyed by the “revolutionaries.”

    I don’t even think this is using much police overtime in most cities. Sorry guys.

  17. Should be no problem. Their oath says they will support and defend the constitution. They are expected to follow orders BUT they are not to obey UNLAWFUL orders and can be prosecuted for following such orders. Hopefully most will have enough common sense and courage to know what an unlawful order is.

    1. “Their oath says they will support and defend the constitution. They are expected to follow orders BUT they are not to obey UNLAWFUL orders and can be prosecuted for following such orders.”

      By that reasoning, Abu Ghraib and systematic torture should not be happening, ethnic cleansing and free fire zones in Fallujah should not have happened, etc. Not all soldiers know the laws or Geneva Conventions, but it seems pretty clear that they are more often told to obey orders unquestioningly, than to worry their pretty little heads about whether orders are lawful.

      1. Abu Ghraib happened because they put people in charge of a ‘prison’ who had no training or experience doing so. If you grabbed everyone who worked at a Walmart and put them in charge, it would have had a similar out come. It wasn’t some systematic event, with orders to act like they did. The people running the place didn’t have a clue and the situation devolved as it so often does in those classic psychology experiments. The failure of the higher ups was not having trained personnel for such a place.

        No idea wtf you’re talking about ethnic cleansing, unless you’re talking about Darfur or some such.

        Someone touched on it – and it is the theme of “We Were Soldiers Once… And Young” –   soldiers primarily fight for each other.

        1. We disagree about the facts of what happened at Abu Ghraib and why. In addition to the inexperienced guards saying they were told by interrogators to help “soften up” the suspects, I would just point out that Charles Graner worked as a prison guard before joining the military and becoming an instigator of some of the abuses at Abu Ghraib. It’s so systemic that some of these practices extend beyond the military and into civilian prisons.

          Re: ethnic cleansing, one of the operations in Fallujah involved the US announcing that they would bomb and take over the city. They allowed women, children and elderly citizens to leave but wouldn’t let men of fighting age leave. Then they turned it into a “free fire zone”, which is a way that the US military sometimes gives itself license to kill all civilians indiscriminately in an area, because that’s okay as long as you give fair warning. See also the “strategic hamlet” program in Vietnam, where civilians were forcibly removed from their homes to “strategic hamlets” (surrounded by barbed wire, place where civilians could be contained, euphemism for concentration camp). Their old villages would be bombed as “free fire zones”, and we’re supposed to assume/pretend that everyone who stayed behind was a Communist sympathizer. Forcibly removing civilians from places where they live is considered an aspect of genocide or “ethnic cleansing” when it’s carried out by countries that the US doesn’t like, but defended as necessary when the US does it.

          I’m willing to back off using the phrase “ethnic cleansing” or “genocide”, but forcibly removing civilians and bombing them when they don’t move is bullshit no matter what euphemism sounds nicest.

  18. I’d love it if we could have a reasoned national dialog about things like this. Maintaining a free democracy takes constant vigilance.  Governments have used their military against their own citizens throughout time.  We have to do more than say it could never happen here.  We have to be sure we all agree we will never let it happen here.

  19. You don’t have to go back to the Bonus Army to find US combat troops used against civilians on US soil. Out of fear that non-existent armed gangs would hijack the aid trucks, the Bush administration recalled the 82nd Airborne from Afghanistan and sent them into New Orleans to “pacify” it before Red Cross trucks were allowed in. I complained about that at the time, but I don’t remember a whole lot of people joining me.

    If Obama uses the 82nd Airborne or any other combat unit to “establish order” in the streets, it will be under circumstances of extreme enough disorder that it will probably be equally uncontroversial. And I’ll still think it’s wrong.

    The Occupiers moved against Wall Street without checking to see, first, whether the police and the army were on their side or on Wall Street’s side, without checking to see if the leaders of the police and the army had their own personal grievances against Wall Street rule. I know of no reason, sadly, to think that this will end any other way than it has in any other country where oppressed citizens rose up against a government that still had the support of its generals.

    1. “Out of fear that non-existent armed gangs would hijack the aid trucks, the Bush administration recalled the 82nd Airborne from Afghanistan and sent them into New Orleans to “pacify” it before Red Cross trucks were allowed in.”

      No one was “recalled” from Afghanistan to go to New Orleans. A brigade of the 82nd, which had returned from Afghanistan more than two and a half years before, went to New Orleans after Katrina.

    2. There was, and is, no real way to determine what “side” anyone is on, but by forcing them to choose one.  That is not the purpose of OWS.

  20. Edit: Reply to Razzabeth

    Not a problem for the US Government. Double standards is their bread and butter e.g. WMDs  (We can have them but you can’t) or torture ( = bad – unless we do it).

  21. Didn’t like the casual pepper-spraying. But OWS hasn’t even reached fire-hosing yet. Don’t see much need to jump-cut to “hey, soldier, are you with the 1% or the 99?”

    1. Scott Olsen may have liked his odds against a water hose better than the hyper-militarized police force shooting him in the face.  I see your point though.

    2. Fire Hoses make great TV. Cause, effect, sympathy.

      LRAD, otoh, makes no for TV. All you see are crowds dispersing.

  22. “and obey the lawful orders of those placed above me.” Doesn’t sound like they’ld be LAWFUL to me. Sounds treasonable. Which is punishable by death. Might be time to bring back fragging as a hobby.

  23. So the wingnut soldiers of the past couple years who were worried about that dirty Kenyan Obama sending the army in against tea party protesters were nuts. But the  soldier(s?) worried about that Wall Street stooge Obama sending the army against OWS are perfectly sane and upstanding folks. Uh huh.

      1. Right. So, since OWS demonstrators are being attacked by the cops (a fact that I am not disputing and rather horrified by), it is entirely rational to think that the army may be sent in next. Maybe they’ll even nuke one of the protest sites. Gotcha.

    1. I happened to have just read a Mother Jones piece on the Oath Takers. They’ve been waiting (drooling?) for Obama to declare martial law so they can fight from their bunkers in rural Idaho (WOLVERINES!).

      I find that every bit as (un)likely as troops suddenly being tasked to take out OWS.

  24. Big deal, this is what the military forces of so many nations have been doing for many years (even in “democracies”/allied nations).  And, now, we (America) are not special/the regal “gold standard” to aspire to anymore.  We’ve lowered our standards for a buck (or a blow) – the example set rolling all the way down from the top of the (Capitol) Hill.  What a circus we’ve become.  The skull-cracking you see happening “over there,” in other countries, is coming to your once cush neighborhood.  Wake up, insular countrymen!

  25. Seriously, this guy thinks the military is going to be called up for a police matter dealing with the few protesters who have chosen to become squatters?  Ooooookay.

    1. hey, riot cops trained in military tactics, using military grade hardware, have been assigned to punish non-violent protestors for assembling freely, and in a way that precludes the prosecution of protestors.

      How many steps IS it from there to martial law? And would you rather count the steps, or walk back to where we should be?

  26. Honestly, I’ve been hoping for a couple weeks now that some governor will grow tired of seeing the citizens’ rights abused, and call out the National Guard to protect the protesters from police harm.  What a grand statement of support for 1st amendment rights that would make!

    “Sorry officer, this area is off limits to your kind.  Move along or I will be forced to detain you.”

  27. As a military man, I’ll respond thusly:

    I’ll do exactly the same thing I’m planning to do when Jesus returns and tells us to fight the Zombie horde.

    (And after reading many of the comments here I’m saddened and frightened at the perception you all happen to have about the leadership imposing their religious views on us, and limiting our access to news.  Guess I really DIDN’T see CNN and MSNBC programming daily when I was in Iraq earlier this year.  And maybe I’m not REALLY a practicing atheist.  The things you learn about yourself every day…)

  28. At this time, the idea that the military is going to be called out to deal with OWS looks like a case of extreme optimism on the part of OWS. 

    In Minneapolis, I look at the morning traffic jam on I-94 and see 100 times as many people as there are occupying downtown Minneapolis.  In the unlikely event that the number of commuters is 1/100th the number of protestors/occupiers, it might be worth spending time wondering what the Military will do when called to suppress the protest.

    I suspect winter temperatures will end OWS in northern cities more quickly and effectively than the police.

  29. I’m glad so many of you think this will never in a million years happen.  I hope you’re right.  I’ve seen too many things happen this last decade I never thought would happen.  

  30. Sometimes it hurts figuring out the future.  I remember about 4 years ago when the neighbor kid grew up and left for the marines.  Being that he was well informed about the worlds problems and scams going on I asked him a question.  I said what are you going to do when the government ultimately turns you against your own people, against American citizens.  He swore up and down there was nothing that could make him go against Americans.  He also stated that he didnt see anything like that happening.  Well now it seems almost obvious.

  31. By the way, this question or discussion should come up for soldiers as soon as they enter the military. It shouldn’t be limited to times when there are extended demonstrations. If you’re joining the National Guard, preferably even before that, you should think about what you would do if ordered to fire on students at Kent State, or what situations you would put down demonstrations, or participate in torture, etc. How about six weeks of remedial civics and history classes before boot camp, so they recognize when they’re being ordered to forcibly relocate civilians (i.e. ethnic cleansing) or establish “free fire zones” or engage in other crimes?

    1. How the hell is relocation the same thing as ethnic cleansing?

      And Falluhjah was one of the largest, bloodiest battles to date. People were told to GTFO because shit was going down. I am not sure what you consider a “free fire zone”, but a war was going on – that is what happens in war. Terrible – but hardly a ‘crime’.

      1. Genocide and ethnic cleansing, by some definitions, include forcibly relocating populations against their will. It’s not the same as trying to exterminate everyone of a certain ethnic group, but if you can push them or terrorize them into moving off their land, that helps give you an ethnically cleansed space in the end.

        If that language is too inflammatory, we could just try to talk about the situation in other terms. Apart from unpopular and unnecessary imperialist invasions, is there ever a time when it’s necessary for a large group of civilians to be moved out of an area against their will, in order for some military force to better fight the guerrillas in that area?

        Civilians fleeing from a potential battle site like Fallujah isn’t necessarily a crime. Allowing the women, children and elderly people to flee but telling the men of fighting age to remain — that’s basically redefining all the civilian males as “enemies” and sentencing them to death in the battle and bombing of the city. If that’s not genocide or ethnic cleansing, maybe we can call it “mass killing of civilians.”

        Siege, April 2004
        “The occupying force on April 9 allowed more than 70,000 women, children and elderly residents to leave the besieged city. … At least one US battalion had orders to shoot any male of military age on the streets after dark, armed or not.”

      2. Terrible – but hardly a ‘crime’.

        You’ve chosen your side, History has chosen its. Rail all you want, the leveling of a city in a war of aggression is a crime when it’s done to our allies. Ergo.

        (also, why IS it the British pulled out of Iraq, exactly? Was it that they realized what they had enabled, and had shame?)

      3. How the hell is relocation the same thing as ethnic cleansing?

        Seriously, dude, read the history of the United States. Relocation was one of the primary tools of genocide against Native Americans.

        1. I have ancestors who survived the “Potawatomi Trail of Death” (sort of a smaller Trail of Tears). A valid point they used relocation as a tool and a weapon – but relocation in and of itself doesn’t equal genocide.  A good example of the relocation of Japanese-looking people on the west coast during WWII. Not right,  but not ethnic cleansing nor genocide.

          And more within the context of the statement – it certainly wasn’t being used as a tool for ethnic cleansing in Iraq.

  32. This is largely why our commitment to non-violence is so important. No subset of society can equal the Nation-States capacity for industrialized violence.
    The black bloc, and other sporting anarchists, play into the hands of the adversary. The primary characteristic of the adversary is simply the belief that all relationships are adversarial.
    If we approach this as a fight, as a war against injustice, we are subsumed in the adversaries metaphor. We lose before we begin. That the adversary loses as well does not signify for the adversary, as a zero sum mentality assumes that there is always a loser, and that if the other guy has lost, then I must have won. Much better to view this effort as a home improvement project.

Comments are closed.