Are Flagan on Tue, 1 Apr 2003 10:01:01 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> We interrupt this broadcast...

Prior to annoying people on the nettime list, among other places, I spent a
couple of years digging trenches and commandeering troops. It was without a
doubt the most useless time of my life. However, it gave me some despairing
insight into how armies work and how they think, who they really are beyond
the insignia and neat battle plans seen and spoken of on TV. That bold blue
arrow of the 3rd Infantry, for example, represents something more than a
vector toward victory to me; it viscerally combines faces, sleep derivation,
hunger, fear, explosions, and so on. (But no death, thankfully, as my
war-gaming service was honestly more like seasons of extended camping trips
with dysfunctional army units.)

I mention this because the patriotic farts that emanate out of Washington
these days, speaking proudly of glory and sacrifice, is ideology at its most
hollow, at its most hostile toward the individual, just as all the hoo-hah
about the Geneva Convention, inserting rules where they are already denied,
is hot air for the news feed. Every conflict of this kind has had, and will
always have, its cruel civilian massacres. I notice that much is said and
forwarded here on nettime about the war, but only really within the purview
of failed or alternative politics, corrupt regimes, media blunders, and so
on. One of nettime's brightest even graced us with a block quote from his
book, explaining the last Gulf War just when this one started. I presume, in
principle, to assure us that all is well in the faculty offices and that
some sort of reasonable order will prevail on the bookshelf when the dust
has settled. This mindset does not even remotely understand war or what it
does to people, both here and there, in terms of damage. War is not only a
suspension of politics, or a shift in its means, or a diversionary change of
its course; it is inevitably the suspension of humanity in face of a most
basic and selfish survival instinct.

In my experience, any army already has its unfair share of psychopathic
personalities that actually look forward to killing, quite indiscriminately.
War is a dream come true for them. Many of those that enter the battlefield
with a more nuanced view of being trigger happy quickly travel down the same
path, as limbs of friends are wrapped up and sent back home for some pompous
farewell. Survival becomes the name of a game that abruptly ceases to be
conceived as such -- a better safe than sorry instinct provokes the index
finger to point and fire, often. As all the talk of political futures and
ideological choices is passed around, it is worth bearing in mind that we
deal not only with a leave of civilized politics, apparently to be restored
in a more favorable form upon the onset of peace, but also of humanity. The
larger and far more challenging question is really how to rebuild human
beings on all sides of this conflict, unless we accept Corporal Ryan Dupre's
words below as desirable. He may indeed speak in national and ethnic terms,
but his proposed action is not exactly motivated by fancy reasoning. The
article linked below is an eyewitness account of one of the early battles
around Nasiriya. It is the war in words you never ever want to see, but they
are very indicative of this onset of murder, where no ideologically loaded
consideration or lawfully defined rule applies, that I first and foremost
associate with the fancy million-dollar Centcoms and blonde-ambition news
anchors that speak of war in glowing terms. Intellectuals may also give this
snapshot view of war some heed in their clinical rationales and conference
dialectics. Unfortunately, there will be many more of these accounts, as
reality gradually penetrates the stumbling and stuttering march to Baghdad.



...Martin's distress was in contrast to the bitter satisfaction of some of
his fellow marines as they surveyed the scene. "The Iraqis are sick people
and we are the chemotherapy," said Corporal Ryan Dupre. "I am starting to
hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin' Iraqi. No, I won't get
hold of one. I'll just kill him."...

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