Monday, May 28, 2012

Win/Win? More on the Problem of Permawar and "Good Jobs" in California

Memorial Day
Yesterday I wrote about the drone industry in California, and the difficulty of putting a stop to a military technology that holds the allure of "good jobs."

The drone industry in the U.S. is currently centered in the San Diego area, home of General Atomics. But the area just north of Los Angeles is an equally important source of "good" military aerospace jobs.

See for instance the video that is being used as part of the #SaveDefense campaign on Twitter. A leading proponent of #SaveDefense -- i.e. "save defense spending" -- is Buck McKeon, representative from California's 25th congressional district. McKeon also happens to be co-chair of the 50-plus-member Unmanned Systems Caucus in Congress.

I was particularly struck by the statement in the video that military aerospace jobs offer a "nice American win/win type of situation." I wonder if the person speaking considered -- for even a moment! -- the victims of U.S. military action.

I suspect he didn't, so I offer here some images and text about civilian victims of a recent U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan:
Both President Hamid Karzai and NATO commanders ordered an investigation on Sunday into reports that a family of eight had been killed in a coalition airstrike in eastern Afghanistan. NATO and Afghan provincial government officials gave somewhat divergent accounts of the episodes. The casualties took place in eastern Paktia Province on Saturday night when the family’s home was hit by a bomb, said Rohullah Samoon, a spokesman for the governor of Paktia. Six children were killed, four boys and two girls, as well as their mother and father, whose name was Safiullah.
(More at Inquiry Ordered Into Deaths of Afghan Family.)

My prediction? When we ultimately stop thinking like "Americans" and instead recognize that we must think as fellow human beings, the "win" and "good" in those military aerospace jobs is going evaporate before our eyes.

More at: Can we stop the DRONES?

* * * * *
Images from Naharnet (victims) and Times Live (rubble)

Related posts

It is time now to turn to the dirty secret of American life and the primary dilemma of the antiwar movement: the military money that flows to EVERY Congressional district, and in particular the "good jobs" that members of Congress think they are protecting when they vote for ever-higher levels of military spending.

(See Drones, Permawar, and the Problem of "Good Jobs")

In my opinion, the reason to focus on drones is this: when we focus on drones, the general public is able to "get," to an unusual extent, the degree to which popular consent has been banished from the process of carrying out state violence. (Sure, it was banished long ago, but the absence of a human in the cockpit of a drone suddenly makes a light bulb go off in people's heads.) It takes some prodding, but people can sense that drone use somehow crosses a line. And that opens up the discussion about how our consent has been eliminated from the vast range of US militarism.

(See "Why focus on drone attacks?")

Isn't the real problem that fully half of Boeing's business consists of making and selling war materiel? Is it really necessary to identify the one, or two, or three most egregious weapons that Boeing makes? Do we need to pick and choose?  Isn't the real issue that nice, all-American, fly-the-friendly-skies Boeing is one of the core purveyors of war and misery in the world today, by virtue of its Military Aircraft division? I mean, look at their own sanitized version of what they do -- "Strike, Mobility, Surveillance & Engagement, Unmanned and Missile Systems, Global Support" -- even in their own words its readily apparent that they're peddling poison.

(See The Wrong Labor Struggle at Boeing )