Articles

Militarization Has Become Our National Religion

Civilians dead after US bombingsAugust 13, 2019 / William Astore / The Nation - When I was a teenager in the 1970s, I looked to the heavens: to God and Christianity (as arbitrated by the Catholic Church) and to the soaring warbirds of the US military, which I believed kept us safe. To my mind then, they were classic manifestations of American technological superiority over the godless communists.

With all its scandals, especially when it came to priestly sexual abuse, I lost my faith in the Catholic Church. I would later learn that there had been a predatory priest in my parish when I was young, a grim man who made me uneasy at the time, though back then I couldn’t have told you why. As for those warbirds, like so many Americans, I thrilled to their roar at air shows but never gave any real thought to the bombs they were dropping in Vietnam and elsewhere, to the lives they were ending, to the destruction they were causing. Nor at that age did I ever consider their enormous cost in dollars or just how much Americans collectively sacrificed to have top cover, whether of the warplane or godly kind.

The MAGA Face of JROTC

January 18 2021 / Gary Ghirardi / Op-ed / NNOMY - With the violence  witnessed in the beginning of 2021 at the nation's capital,  we have been forced to acknowledge the culture war that exists in the United States in full expression. We also witnessed in the subtext of that event, and the emerging crisis that will follow it, the government's promise of increasing securitization as a reaction to it. That process did not start at the "surge on the capital"  but has been in a steady progression of growth for many years. This latest event only provides an additional justification for the need to  increase the militarization of our "democracy."

Nowhere is that trend more evident as in the Junior Reserves Officers Training Corps (JROTC) military cadet program slated for a massive expansion. What is billed by the Pentagon as a character building and good citizenship program designed to instill leadership qualities in young people, now is being funded to expand from 3500 nation-wide units to over 6000. JROTC corps are constructed increasingly of ethnic minority and black youth disadvantaged with a lack of opportunities to jump start their lives. This is not an organic development. Those poorer youth lacking in programs designed to prepare them for college are specifically profiled and targeted for JROTC programs. In Chicago that targeting has gone a step further in configuring actual public schools as military academies complete with military school uniforms, protocols and curriculum.

From Student Debtor to Soldier

How the student loan debt crisis forces low-income students of color into the military.

Anna Attie / In These Times - When James Gard­ner got injured play­ing bas­ket­ball as a DePaul Uni­ver­si­ty fresh­man, he lost his finan­cial aid pack­age and was dropped from his class­es. To stay in school, he took out a $10,000 loan.

Soon, Gard­ner (a pseu­do­nym request­ed in fear of reprisal) and his fam­i­ly real­ized they couldn’t afford the uni­ver­si­ty. Instead, he trans­ferred to a pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty out­side Chica­go and enrolled in the Reserve Offi­cer Train­ing Corps (ROTC) of the Air Force. The mil­i­tary paid for his entire col­lege edu­ca­tion — on the con­di­tion he serve at least four years after graduation.

Gard­ner is a mem­ber of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Social­ists of Amer­i­ca (DSA) and says the mil­i­tary is geared toward ​“resource extrac­tion and resource allo­ca­tion.” When DSA col­leagues learn about his mil­i­tary back­ground, he says there is a ​“lit­tle bit of a gasp.”

“Would I be in the same predica­ment,” he won­ders, ​“if col­lege and uni­ver­si­ty were tuition-free? Would I have gone through ROTC? I don’t know.”

Gardner’s sit­u­a­tion isn’t unique. Amer­i­cans owe more than $1.67 tril­lion in stu­dent debt, and the cost of col­lege has increased by more than 25% in the past 10 years. Accord­ing to a 2017 poll by the Depart­ment of Defense, pay­ing for edu­ca­tion is the top rea­son young peo­ple con­sid­er enlist­ing. In 2019, the Army cred­it­ed the stu­dent debt cri­sis with help­ing it sur­pass its recruit­ment goals.

INFLUENCIADORES EN EL RECLUTAMIENTO MILITAR DE JÓVENES


Fabiola Cardozo / NNOMY / English  -  Existen elementos que hacen posible la popularidad, frecuencia y aumento del alistamiento militar de muchos jóvenes, uno de los más importantes es la influencia que reciben de su entorno por parte de aquellas personas  que fungen como consejeros y maestros dentro de las escuelas  a las que asisten y sus padres o familiares en el hogar. La normalización de la militarización de la sociedad estadounidense, conlleva a pensar el alistamiento militar como una gran opción de futuro para la juventud, sin embargo, poco se habla de las dificultades reales que enfrentaran. Un adulto que asesora o aconseja el alistamiento militar a un chico está impregnado de una naturalización de la guerra que resulta no conveniente para  tomar decisiones más acertadas en los jóvenes y que impide explorar alternativas menos violentas. (Ver:http://peacefulcareers.org/index.html).

Dentro de la escuela, algunos maestros y consejeros reciben estímulos por parte del Pentágono para influir y propiciar un interés en los jóvenes en el sector militar, como sabemos, entre estudiantes y maestros o consejeros, existe intrínsecamente una relación de poder, que otorga a los educadores cierta validez casi incuestionable, lo que resulta en una peligrosa influencia. Así mismo, las constantes visitas de reclutadores militares y la implementación de programas en las escuelas para fomentar el ingreso al servicio militar hacen que los jóvenes estén siendo influenciados permanentemente con esta idea. (Ver: https://nnomy.org/en/what-is-militarization/school-militarization.html).

INFLUENCERS IN THE MILITARY RECRUITMENT OF YOUNG PEOPLE

Fabiola Cardozo / NNOMY / español - Some elements make the popularity, frequency, and increased rate of the military enlistment of many young people possible. One of the most important is the influence they receive from their environment on the part of those people who act as counselors and teachers within the schools they attend, as well as from their parents or relatives at home. The normalization of militarization in American society leads us to think of military enlistment as a great option for young people’s futures. However, little is said about the real difficulties they will face. An adult who advises a teenager on military enlistment has naturalized war in a way that is not conducive to better decision-making on the part of young people, preventing the exploration of less violent alternatives. (See: http://peacefulcareers.org/index.html).

Within the school, some teachers and counselors receive encouragement from the Pentagon to influence and foster an interest in the military sector in young people. As we know, between students and teachers or counselors, there is an inherent power dynamic that gives educators almost unquestionable validity, leading to a dangerous influence. Likewise, the constant visits of military recruiters and the implementation of school programs that encourage entry into military service mean that young people are being permanently influenced by this idea. (See: https://nnomy.org/en/what-is-militarization/school-militarization.html).

El Discurso Permanente Para Guerras Interminables

Fabiola Cardozo /  NNOMY / English  - La retorica sobre la necesidad del reclutamiento militar en la sociedad estadounidense se pierde de vista en la historia. La lucha patriótica por defender la nación de posibles amenazas y aquella urgencia por desmovilizar supuestos intentos de terrorismo o llevar la democracia a otras latitudes, ha servido para implementar políticas que perpetuán la guerra y que invisibilizan o menoscaban la posibilidad de mecanismos más democráticos y pacifistas en las relaciones internacionales.

Tal ha sido la recurrencia de dicha retorica que la sociedad estadounidense en ocasiones no cuestiona las acciones conducentes a los conflictos bélicos propiciados por el gobierno de turno.  Como menciona se menciona en este artículo:

Sin embargo, celebrar a los militares, nobilizar la experiencia militar, encontrar un propósito y significado en una guerra continua, es la definición misma del militarismo.


Una verdadera democracia tiene al ejército como una opción reticente y lamentable, impulsada por la necesidad de defenderse en un mundo hostil y violento.


    ... Nos hemos acostumbrado tanto a vivir con los golpes de tambor de la guerra que ya no los escuchamos... Hoy los escuchamos todo el tiempo: es el ruido de fondo de nuestras vidas. Para algunos, incluso se ha convertido en música dulce. Pero la guerra y el militarismo nunca son música dulce para una democracia en funcionamiento

(Ver: https://bracingviews.com/2015/07/23/the-united-states-of-militarism/)


Pese a las potencialidades que posee EEUU y que podrían ser desarrolladas más eficientes para proporcionar mayor bienestar social a sus habitantes y al resto del mundo, mediante la inventiva e innovación tecnología, es un país que ha asumido el militarismo y que busca liderar con exportaciones de armas en los escenarios de conflictos a escala planetaria.  

The Permanent Discourse For Endless Wars

Fabiola Cardozo /  NNOMY / español  - The rhetoric about the need for a military draft in American society is lost sight of in history. The patriotic struggle to defend the nation from possible threats and the urgency to demobilize alleged terrorism attempts and take democracy to other latitudes, has served to implement policies that perpetuate permanent war and make invisible or undermine the possibility of more democratic and pacifist mechanisms in international relations.

Such has been the recurrence of this rhetoric that American society sometimes does not question the actions leading to warfare caused by the government in power. As mentioned in this article:


Yet celebrating the military, nobilizing the military experience, finding purpose and meaning in continuous war, is the very definition of militarism.

A true democracy has a military as a reluctant and regrettable choice, driven by the need to defend itself in a hostile and violent world.

…We’ve become so accustomed to living with the drumbeats of war that we no longer hear them…We’re hearing them all the time today — it’s the background noise to our lives.  For some, it’s even become sweet music.  But war and militarism is never sweet music to a functioning democracy.

(See: https://bracingviews.com/2015/07/23/the-united-states-of-militarism/)


Despite the potential that the US has, and that could be developed more efficiently to provide greater social welfare to its inhabitants and the rest of the world through inventiveness and technological innovation, it is a country that has assumed militarism and that seeks to lead with exports of weapons in conflict scenarios on a planetary scale.

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