What if we woke up and smelled the war? (Bodies of War part 5)

The US military has been falling short of its recruiting goals by huge margins. This shortage is undoubtedly due to the rising opposition to the current war from soldiers and military families specifically, and the US public more generally, as well as to the fact casualties continue to rise despite the promise long ago that this war would be a “cakewalk.”  Of course, this news is  not covered by the mainstream media.  Nor does the MSM cover the rising number of conscientious objectors.

Thus, recruiters have had to ramp up their tactics. This includes visiting elementary schools to sell the war message, putting firing ranges on public high school campuses, and delivering personal calls to likely candidates-who, due to the wealth/race inequality of the US, are often young people of color. As the analysis of Fernando Suarez del Solar reveals, the recruitment and subsequent death of his young son are not an aberration, but part of recruitment tactics aimed at securing young bodies of color to enlist as war fodder.

Related to expanding military recruitment initiatives are the stories and images the MSM sell to the public so that our era of infinite war can continue.  The administration delivers such messages via its mass media mouthpiece, selling its war machine to the US populace by disembodying the war on the one hand and championing ‘macho’ American power on the other. For this infinite war and the accompanying corporatization, militarization, and hypermasculinization it engenders to successfully continue, we need only continue to believe that what the mainstream media offers us as ‘news’ and to buy into the disembodying rhetoric of war that so successfully numbs us to the real human costs.

Should we decide to end this war, on the other hand, we need to start paying attention, to seek out real news in those places it is still being published, and to widely and loudly voice our dissent.  We need to pay attention to the human bodies killed, injured, raped, made homeless and country-less by this war.  We need to pay attention to the ways the MSM attempts to divert us from caring about putting an end to this unjust war. As war theorist Cynthia Enloe reminds us, “Inattention is a political act.”  As such, we must ask ourselves: do we want to continue on our current trend of criminal inattention, or do we want to wake up and smell the war?

If you choose to wake up, here are a few useful authors and cites with which to (further) educate yourself about this criminal US war:

Authors and activists:

Websites and blogs:

These are just a few — please add your suggestions in comments if you wish! And, have a peaceful, peace building weekend!


5 thoughts on “What if we woke up and smelled the war? (Bodies of War part 5)”

  1. What if…?

    A Personal Opinion from a career Soldier- I find it interesting how quickly people are willing to attack Recruiters. First and foremost, show me a Soldier that likes War and I’ll show you and idiot! Last time I checked, I am the one leaving my family for months at a time. I am the one in harms way. However, instead of being worried about America’s sons/ daughters / husbands/wives, you are concerned about politics! We are a voluntary Army. We have been at war since 2002; to say that Recruiters are promoting war is insane. Soldiers/Recruiters do not make policy. The National Security Strategy is approved at the White House. We are civil servants committed to serve the nation at a time when 98% plus of the country’s populace is not willing to do so. The purpose of the Military is to ensure that the policy made by politicians (appointed by you) is carried on. I served as a Recruiting Company Commander for 24 months. Our Soldiers/Recruiters have Values. One of the Army Values is Integrity! Do recruiters target minorities? Recruiters target everyone within the ages of 17 and 26 years of age. A recruiter’s mission is to tell his Army story to whoever listens, regardless of race, gender, or social status. Recruiters are an easy target; we Americans love the blame game. I have an idea on how recruiters can stop approaching today’s youth, establish MANDATORY Civil Service. I bet the mere thought of a draft or mandatory service runs chills down the spine of many. Well, guess what? You can’t have your cake and eat it too. I would rather have hard working recruiters bust their butt to find willing and qualified young men and women that are willing to serve. If you want to make changes run for office! Instead of just complaining about it like most people do. Next time you see a Recruiter Thank him and buy him a cup of coffee. It is Service Members like him that allows you the privilege to wake up free every morning. Remember, Freedom is only free for those who enjoy it without sacrifice. Lastly, know why I have served for more than 12 years. Ultimately, I do not do it for the President; I serve to ensure the safety and freedom of my wife, child, family, and neighbors. I defend neighbors like you, regardless of our differences in opinion. At the end of the day, our differences are what make us a Great Nation.


    A Proud Soldier.

  2. MAJ,
    Thanks for reading and commenting.
    In regards to your comment, “show me a Soldier that likes War and I’ll show you and idiot!”, well, I have known many men (and I say men meaning men literally, as I have only personally known males with this view) that enjoy war. I knew a guy in college who was devastated when actions in the Gulf War ended (mainly because he hadn’t got to kill anyone yet). Currently, I have a student whose dad and brother each keep a “kill count.” They are competing as if their war killings are a video game. While you name such people who enjoy war “idiots,” are not these people TRAINED to enjoy war and killing? Are they idiots, or is the system that glorifies militarized violence itself idiotic?
    As for your accusation that ” instead of being worried about America’s sons/ daughters / husbands/wives, you are concerned about politics!”, well, everything is political. I am concerned about ALL people — not just Americans. War is harmful to humanity. As is a xenophobic view that places Americans above all other humans…
    I must point out that your claims that this is a legal war carried out due to decisions made by politicians appointed by the populace is faulty on at least two levels. For one, this is an illegal war — read up on impeachment proceedings at all? Two, Bush STOLE the election as was not appointed by the populace.
    While you may have guided your work as a recruiter with integrity, I know of many who do not. How about the recruiter who promised a student of mine that military service would “take him to all the pussy ports in the world”?
    And, because of the nature of recruitment, MORE minorities are targeted. Heard of Fernando Saurez del Solar? The story of his son’s recruitment is a mere drop in the bucket. All my lower class latino students tell me stories of recruiters CALLIng THEIR HOMES since they were age 15. How come the rich white males don’t have the same story? How come three high schools in my area have SHOOTING RANGES and the military recruits in elementary schools — all of these schools are located in lower socio-economic parts of town. Coincidence? I think not.
    Run for office to make changes? Are you serious? Do you really have that much blind faith that our government is above board? Heard of AIPAC, PNAC, Bohemian Grove?
    While I respect your opinion that your service is protecting your loved ones and the nation, this is not the way I wish to ‘serve’ the world. Rather, I endeavor to change hearts and minds about the “necessity” of war. This fiction has caused so many deaths. Ever read the classic “War is a Racket” or viewed the film Why We Fight? How about Mark Twain’s “War Prayer”?
    War is not a necessary evil — but certainly a very profitable one.

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