Why Air Shows Are a Very Effective Place to Protest Drone Killing and Drone Surveillance

By Joe Scarry, from Scarry Thoughts

Coming off our experience this past weekend once again protesting against drone killing, drone surveillance, and related acts of militarism at the Chicago Air and Water Show, I am more confirmed than ever in my view that air shows are a very effective place to get our message out to the public.

I should start by saying that the Chicago event is a free public event that takes place on public space along the Chicago lakefront, so it is especially suitable for public speech.  Understanding that other venues may not afford the all of the same characteristics of the Chicago event, I offer several observations:

Chicago Air and Water Show

(1) The perfect nexus

When the war planes are roaring overhead, it is very easy for people to understand why you are there talking about war and weapons of war.

This is very different than the situation we so often encounter trying to speak to people on a street corner, where people rush on by, eager to get on with their busy lives.

There’s nothing like an F-22 coming in low over the reviewing stand to focus people’s attention on the problem of war.

Continue reading

Posted in Events, Death, Drone Warfare | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What Will “Strategic” Mean in Our Children’s Lifetime?

“High-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles pre-pared and stored
by the 2d Battalion, 401st Army Field Support Brigade, stand ready at
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.” (Photo by Galen Putnam, 402d AFSB Public Affairs)
(From “Commanding an Army Field Support Battalion” by Lieutenant Colonel
Michael T. Wright, Army Sustainment, March-April 2012)

We are likely to wake up some day and realize that we have succeeded in evolving our economy away from fossil fuels — toward a zero carbon economy — and that means our “interests” in the Middle East will no longer be so strategic any more.

What will be strategic then?

Despite the temptation to name some other part of the world — to pivot to the idea that now China is where we need to be in control — perhaps the answer is: “strategic” will no longer have to do with how much stuff we can get, but with how successful we can be at spending less.

This leads me to wonder: will the next revolution lie in reining in the out-of-control network of U.S. military bases around the world?

U.S. Military Bases
Posted 24th October 2012 by Toni Nicolle

Just like a family that has extra rooms in its house which inevitably become filled with stuff, the U.S. has thousands of bases — here, there, and everywhere — that inevitably create the “need” to spend.

It’s a very Zen idea — that perhaps the most impactful thing we, as a nation, could “do” is to “do” less.

But perhaps it’s necessary to explore. Perhaps we have gotten caught up in the wrong argument, i.e. whether this or that military action is right or wrong, justified or misguided.  Perhaps we’re fiddling while Rome burns. Perhaps we have to simply cut the discussion off at the knees and say, “What would be good would be a massive paradigm shift in what constitutes desirable activity — economic and otherwise.”

How could we possibly make this happen in our lifetime?

 

Posted in American Military Culture, End of the Empire | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

[Poem] Walking

Why doesn’t the

perspiring

Ferguson police chief

Michael

talk about how many

teens

have been shot

hands up

a block from home

walking

Brown

while white?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Neocon Plan for Iraq is Working Perfectly

–A Review of Errol Morris’ film The Unknown Known
By Michael Troncale

“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.”
–Ron Suskind, quoting from a conversation he had with a ‘senior advisor’ to President Bush

“War was a sure safeguard of sanity, and so far as the ruling classes were concerned it was probably the most important of all safeguards. While wars could be won or lost, no ruling class could be completely irresponsible. But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous. When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity. Technical progress can cease and the most palpable facts can be denied or disregarded.”
–1984, George Orwell

Errol Morris’ latest documentary, The Unknown Known, is basically a two hour monologue from Donald Rumsfeld, often in narration played over Morris’ usual visual pyrotechnics. The film is broken occasionally with a question from the unseen Morris, but this is Rumsfeld’s show, and he relishes the chance to explain himself and engage in the linguistic obfuscation and near madness that were the hallmark of his time as Secretary of Defense.

Continue reading

Posted in Film, George Bush, Iraq, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Reps. Fattah and Cartwright: Support the “Come Clean on Drones Killing” Bill!

By Joe Scarry, from No Drones Pennsylvania

People in Pennysylvania who oppose the U.S. program of drone killings in countries around the world have been vocal on calling on Congress — especially Pennsylvania progressive members of Congress Chaka Fattah and Matt Cartwright — to bring the Administration to heel.

Now a bill is pending in Congress — the The Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act (HR 4372) — also known as the “Come Clean on Drone Killing” Act. At this writing, quite a few of Rep. Fattah and Cartwrights’ fellow progressive caucus members have become co-sponsors for the bill. So where are Reps. Fattah and Cartwright?

Rep. Fattah’s constituents need to contact him and urge him to co-sponsor the bill today.

Rep. Cartwright’s constituents need to contact him and urge him to co-sponsor the bill today.

Additional resources to help:

Identify your member of Congress

Example letter to a member of Congress in support of HR 4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act (the “come clean on drone killings” act)

Posted in Drone Warfare | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Rep. David Loebsack: Support the “Come Clean on Drones Killing” Bill!

 By Joe Scarry, from Scarry Thoughts

Rep. Loebsack at a Rock Island Arsenal Joint
Manufacturing and Technology Center (RIA-JMTC)
event.

Rep. David Loebsack, representing Iowa’s second congressional district, has strong progressive credentials.

He is reputed to have called for more scrutiny over military drones. (See “Congress examining non-military use of drones,” in The Gazette, March 20, 2013)

A bill is pending in Congress — the The Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act (HR 4372) — also known as the “Come Clean on Drone Killing” Act. At this writing, quite a few of Rep. Loebsack’s fellow progressive caucus members have become co-sponsors for the bill. So where is Rep. Loebsack?

Rep. Loebsack’s constituents need to contact him and urge him to co-sponsor the bill today.

Additional resources to help:

Identify your member of Congress

Example letter to a member of Congress in support of HR 4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act (the “come clean on drone killings” act)

Posted in Drone Warfare | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

American Fire: Still Spreading, Still Inextinguishable

By Joe Scarry, from Scarry Thoughts

The New York Times ran an obituary of Harun Farocki the other day.

Was it a coincidence that I had just been talking about his provocative film, Inextinguishable Fire, which is about napalm? Perhaps not; I find myself talking about that film a lot.

As we work day after day to try to get Americans to recognize some responsibility for the injury done to others in their name — by drones, for instance, or by various warplanes made by Chicago’s star corporate citizen, Boeing — I frequently think about Farocki’s film.

First, there is the famous recognition that being made to look at the injury one is doing is something that one will almost certainly feel a desire to resist.

 

How can we show you the injuries caused by napalm?

 

If we show you pictures of napalm burns, you’ll close your eyes.
 
First you’ll close your eyes to the pictures.
 
Then you’ll close your eyes to the memory.
 
Then you’ll close your eyes to the facts.
 
Then you’ll close your eyes to the entire context.
 
If we show you someone with napalm burns, we will hurt your feelings.
 
If we hurt your feelings, you will feel like we’d tried napalm on you.
 
We can give you only a hint of how napalm works . . . .

(Translation from the German, reproduced from “Harun Farocki’s Inextinguishable Fire” by Ben Davis on ArtNetNews)

This feels so familiar to me from the work we do throughout the country, trying to get people to  confront such phenomena as drone assassinations.

The other part of Inextinguishable Fire that feels so familiar to me is the “interviews” with “employees” of Dow Chemical.

“Because of the intensified division of labor,” the narrator explains, “many technicians and scientists can no longer recognize the contribution they have made to weapons of destruction.”

“Our department extracts lareic, oleic, and naptha acids . . . . ” “I’m a chemist. What should I do? If I develop a substance, it can be good for humanity . . . .”

“Besides napalm, Dow Chemical produces 800 other products . . . .”

Does this sound familiar to you?

I invite you to watch Inextinguishable Fire for yourself. I hope that I won’t hurt your feelings.

Posted in Death, Drone Warfare | Tagged , , | Leave a comment