Monday, June 26, 2006

Core Warrior Values

Like military intelligence, it is an oxymoron, though not devoid of (unintended?) resonances.

Core Warrior Values.

Isn't it a wonderfully macho phrase? Staunch. Robust. Muscular. Just look at those rippling core warrior values. Cor.

Why 'Warrior'? Why not 'Soldier'? Or 'Military'?

The word choice will have been deliberate.
Somebody thought about it, probably more than one somebody.
A public relations officer somewhere mulled it over, showed it round the office. Asked their manager, "Hey. What do you think? Warrior? Or Soldier? I wondered about 'Military' but - meh - it just doesn't have the right ring to it. Too stodgy. Too organisational."
Maybe they even did a focus group.

Warrior. Not Soldier.

Perhaps 'soldier' also had too much of that organisational reek. 'Soldiers' follow orders, do what they're told. They permit their autonomy to be erased. They consent to be reduced to cogs within a very particular kind of machinery. That's not nearly as cool as being a 'warrior.' The term 'warrior' lends itself to associations with nobility, with heroism.

And also, 'soldier' might lead to further inconvenient questions. Like "But were they not being cog-like then, when they murdered that toddler?" and "But weren't they just 'completing their mission' when they shot that man in the wheelchair?"

It might lead us to the conclusion recently drawn by the peerless Gary Younge that "These atrocities are not contrary to the ethics of this particular occupation but the natural and inevitable consequence of it." As he said in the same article "This is what occupation is; this is what occupation does."

Let's look at the phrase holistically for a second: "Core Warrior Values."

What are they? Well the PR machine would have it that they're about things like not killing civilians (or at least not killing the conspicuously unarmed ones, unless you have to hand an adequate supply of shovels and AK47s with which to appropriately outfit your victims. It remains advisable, however, to remember that no matter how many shovels you lay down beside that little pre-schooler's corpse, the total effect is always going to lack a certain verisimilitude). In other words -- well, for all the obvious reasons, 'core warrior values' training is not going to be about persuading warriors to act decently. At best it's an effort to persuade them to refrain from the most egregious forms of indecency in those situations where discovery and publicity is likely.

But like so many of these resonant phrases, 'core warrior values' turns truth on its head. Up is down. In is out. Speech is silence. War is peace.

If you want to know about core warrior values, go ask the Sabine women (and wasn't it just too cute for words how that worked out?) Go ask the inhabitants of any of a wide array of towns and cities after the Mongols came. Or those from Constantinople just after the Fourth Crusade. Or the estimated 12, 000 Jews who died in the Rhine Valley, killed during the First Crusade by Crusaders en route to Jerusalem. Ask those who fled to al-Aqsa mosque what those crusaders did on arrival. I suspect they would prove quite informative about what -- traditionally -- have been 'core warrior values.'

Evidently, it's a tradition embraced with some enthusiasm by the U.S. military and their (I'm not quite sure what the right word should be. Colallies? Allonies? Coalitionies? Colonition? I think that last might be my favourite) Colonition.

And as for 'Core?'

It could mean 'hard' -- I suspect that was what that PR officer was going for. Like 'the solid unshakeable core.' Or 'hard-core.'

But I find myself thinking of a different core that's kind of squishy and surrounded by something even squishier (maybe even a bit mouldy in places -- not green or black mould like you get on bread, but that white, powdery-looking stuff that collects on the particularly brown, almost liquidy-soft spots like mini-snow-drifts). The whole thing smelling somewhat fermented. Maybe a bit vinegary. A bit like cider, come to think of it.


Anonymous supersoling said...

Hi Dove, I just wanted to let you know that I finally posted the diary on Hatian Immigrants at BT.;sid=2006/6/28/225946/653

Thanks for the encouragement,


6/29/2006 4:18 am  
Blogger thepoetryman said...

All those loose WMD, ,right, and Bush is giving the Iraqis guns, very big guns, which were illegal under Saddam, (for obvious reasons)... Now why would the US government want to arm the citizens of Iraq? Right to bear arms? Ha! The excuse for us to occupy eternally! All else is a smoke screen!

6/29/2006 5:55 am  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Hi Dove,
How are ya? I haven't seen you post in few (maybe more) days, and was just concerned. Yes, it's true :o) Nothing to do with my diary at all...and I don't profess to know your blogging habits. Just a feeling that came up on me a few minutes ago. Just checking in :o)

7/03/2006 2:18 am  
Blogger dove said...

Hi supersoling,
just to let you know I'm fine -- thanks for checking in. I ended up being out of town over the weekend and have been - I don't know -- missing DTF and poco, dealing (or rather failing to deal) with writer's block and being my generally distrustful and deja vuish self about MLW.

I do want to make substantive (if belated) comment on your diary, -- which was brillant BTW -- don't you ever dare say you aren't a good writer again! -- but at this point, may do so through email.

7/03/2006 7:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From poco:

Love colonition--implies so many things so efficiently.

(Actually, also love cor! Always wanted to use it, along with "chase my aunt fanny up a gum tree!")

Hmmm...core warrior values--is that what attacked 15 year old Abeer Hamzeh when she was raped, shot and burnt? And her 7 year old sister, Hadeel Hamzeh, who was also shot along with their parents? I dunno, dove, soft and squishy and shit-like, seems inadequate to represent the rage and utter despair that reading about Abeer and Hadeel arouses.

Or, maybe this analogy (to fecal matter) is the best way of denigrating "core warrior values;" let the term become one of distaste and contempt in future, so that no one may be able to invoke it with any seriousness.

But right now such a blinding anger fills me upon reading of such atrocities that a barbaric, irrational response seems the only way to go. (Yeah, I know I am using the stereotypes evoked by all the occupation armies throughout history, but I think I can understand how these labels came to be in use)

7/04/2006 6:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From poco:

On other issues--I am going to be engaged with the parental units till mid-August, so my posting is going to be spotty at best. And y'know what--DTF was right re the whole cleaning routine--I needn't have bothered--they were still struck by my slovenly housekeeping. (sigh!)

7/04/2006 6:45 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Thank you Dove,
Like I said, it was just a weird feeling that snuck up on me that day. Glad to hear you're alright. And no need to make any further comments about the diary. Although they would be welcomed :o)

About MLW, I just registered there not long ago, and already some things about it seem mighty familiar. Apparently Lilian (Stark) was banned, then un-banned. Problems wih Arthur Gilroy's style too. Same S&it, different blog.
Too bad.

And this is for Poco if she's listening. I posted a diary at BT about a short notice meetup, centered around the Riverhead Blues Festival on Long Island this coming weekend. AG is a tentative yes. Spiderleaf, CookTing, CabinGirl, her boys, and possibly Booman, are coming out for it. If you're interested in hanging out for a while give me a shout at colorsplash62 at


7/04/2006 11:00 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Hi poco,

So good to hear from you -- I'm sorry to hear that DTF was proved wrong on the housecleaning front, but hope their visit is going well.
And come mid-August you will have no excuses ;)

"let the term become one of distaste and contempt in future, so that no one may be able to invoke it with any seriousness."

Yes. For what it's worth, this was written in anger. But in order to disrupt organised/militarised violence (and I do want to) I think we somehow have to find ways of making 'core warrior values' and soldiering more generally, risible. Laughable. A bad joke of a job, not worthy of respect and certainly not something that an honourable person or responsible person would involve themselves with.

I think that because I think that a large part of militaries' allure (around the world) lies not only in their promise of financial benefits for a willingness to kill people, but rather that they promise respect and honour to people who desire those things and often don't see other ways of getting them. I think it's a case of finding other ways to meet that need and challenging militaries' self-portrayals so that those organisations aren't seen as a credible way of gaining respect or demonstrating that one is an honourable decent person.

I think that much of the power of militaries comes not from their weaponry (though obviously that's a huge part of it) but from the ways in which they have been able to make dominant their self-portrayal of themselves and their interpretations of their actions.

That is to say, their ability to promulgate the belief that soldiering is honourable, worthy of respect, a demonstration of loyalty and courage, that becoming a soldier is a way to develop self-respect and self-discipline (now there's a bad joke!) and that soldiers automatically deserve the respect of civilians (Think of all those U.S. civilians who obsequiously say 'thankyou for your service' to uniformed soldiers. And yes, a fair number of those whom that subset of U.S. civilians have collectively thanked will be child rapists, murderers of toddlers, killers of unarmed civilians, torturers. That is what Occupation is; that is what Occupation does; that is what Occupation makes.)

Anyway, I'm ranting. But I think
the idea of soldiering as an honourable profession needs dismantling -- needs to be made laughable, a ridiculous notion prima facie.

7/04/2006 11:11 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From poco:

I agree, dove, that "challenging militaries' self-portrayals so that those organisations aren't seen as a credible way of gaining respect or demonstrating that one is an honourable decent person," is one of the more important tasks that we need to do. I am glad you lay it out so clearly.

This reminds me of another post of yours in which you said that the reason that the militaries are seen as worthy of respect is precisely because it is the victors (in this case victorious armies) that control the writing of their histories.

Interesting though that now the names of the Huns, Vandals, Visigoths etc are terms that evoke repugnance (even if most of us are apparently descended from Chengez Khan, lol). The way of the militaries these days is to insist on their differences from those that sacked, looted, ravaged and plundered, while they go about doing exactly the same thing.

The problem may be fairly deep-rooted--according to Carole Pateman, a feminist political philosopher, the initial contract between the State and its citizens was that the State would undertake to look after the citizens in return for the men citizens' willingness to fight the enemies of the State and for women citizens to produce sons willing to defend the State. If this is the basis of our "social contract" it will be rather hard to interrupt the self-aggrandizing narrative of the militaries.

Supersoling--I did read that diary at BT and was filled with envy. I am going to be out of town (travels with family) during that time, so despite my desire, it will be impossible to meet up. darn!

7/05/2006 1:17 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

Blinding anger and writer's block. That about sums it up for me.

Esteemed honorary great-granddaughter, you have, as usual, written a symphony.

7/05/2006 8:19 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

sorry to hear you won't be able to make it this weekend. But maybe we'll try to do that Gilroy, jazz in the city meetup we talked about a few months ago.
Oh, and forget trying to please your parental units with a clean house. It's your house, no? Let them adjust to you ;o)

I guess the writer's block has fallen away. One thing is certain. You are a catalyst for emotional and challenging discusion. FWIW, I'm hearing you. I really am.

7/06/2006 2:26 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

poco, good to see you back (even a little bit!) again.

There is so much in this essay and in the comments, but what struck me most while reading was...

Abeer. Hadeel. Abeer and Hadeel... two little girls. Abeer and Hadeel, two lost lives... but they existed. They had names. Abeer and Hadeel. Not, as one so often reads (and probably done with no intention of harm at all by many) "the 15 year old girl". Her name was Abeer.

How rarely we ever hear the names... or if we do, how rarely are victims (non US) ever referred to by their names after the first report. Unless they are evil doers, of course.

Unlike when we are constantly bombarded with the names of other people we don't know, but who are referred to in intimate terms by those that also don't know them, until the point where when someone says "Natalie" or "Laci" or "Chandra" or any of the other ones, we know exactly who they are speaking of. And I understand why they do it (besides ratings and such)... it makes them more real.

Some even begin to think they *do* know them... will follow the trials of their accused killers from beginning to end, write the victims families, take personal affront if the accused are acquitted, and in general consider them (even though met after they are dead) a part of the family.

Abeer and Hadeel. I'll not forget those names anytime soon. Thanks.

7/06/2006 3:38 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

supersoling, I too read your Haiti diary and thought it was brilliant! And I think you should write more, too.

7/06/2006 3:40 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

Nanette, it would not be considered good taste to dwell on the reality of Abeer and Hadeel. To interview people who loved them, bring the camera down as a hand smooths the hand-sewn dress of a now-motherless doll, to show, if such were available, home videos of Abeer and Hadeel at play, Abeer's solo from festival day, Hadeel's face as she danced with her playmates to celebrate the birth of someone's baby brother, a baby brother who now writhes screaming from the pain of his cluster bomb wounds.

It would be considered cheap and underhanded to point out that there are seldom painkillers available to give to these children, many take days, weeks, months to die.

To name them, to show them on American television, complete with the sound of their screams, would be a blatant attempt at the crudest kind of propaganda whose only intention would be to weaken America's Resolve, and undermine support for the war on terror.

To even think of such things is essentially nothing more than giving aid and comfort to the enemy. It is exactly what Al Qaeda would want.

7/06/2006 4:17 am  
Blogger dove said...

You're absolutely right Nanette, about the importance of names, and that telling distinction between who gets named and who doesn't.

Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali and Aisha Younis Salim were the people I was thinking of, which I had to look up because I did not know them. Both were murdered in Haditha.

7/06/2006 4:44 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

Ductape, yes... the last thing that they want is to humanize the Iraqis. Unless we can make a PR show out of it, like the little Ali boy whose arms and legs (or at least legs) we bombed off, then fitted with prosthesis. Taking care of one little boy substituted, in some minds, for taking care of the rest of the children.

dove, thanks for mentioning Abdul and Aisha. For some reason, at least in my convoluted brain, saying them in conversation just seems...more.

I agree about removing the mystique and attraction of warrior core values, making it something laughable. So much of what is taught in (at least US) schools seems to be wars and what occurs between wars. But the wars themselves are the anchors, going way back.

This we need to change, too.

7/06/2006 1:58 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

Well! I'd say that Alex is in an absolute tizzy, in so many places.

Interesting... I wonder what is going on? Not just the various diaries we see and the reactions to them - much of that is to be expected, I think. We're (in the US) well wedded to our xenophobia, nationalism, bigotry and whatever else, and we've a nice bright flag to wrap it in.

But in the fact that it seems to be happening in so many places on the left, in tinder box fashion, with people zooming! up into flames at the least provocation or appearance of unacceptable or inconvenient others.

Interesting to watch... and really, really freaky.

7/06/2006 7:14 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Is Alex ever having a tizzy, Nanette!

Something you said a while back has had me thinking there's this thing about who has the luxury of that kind of un-consciousness -- to just say whatever comes into their head, without reflection or even a desire to do a bare minimum of fact-checking so as not to look silly. I remember you saying something along the same lines once, I think.

Yes, the question is 'what's going on?' in that beneath the surface way. As usual, I have no answers ;)
I have a 'not answer' though. I don't think it's just the race to the centre before the election that we all know and love. It seems more visceral than that and possibly less orchestrated.

The dustups at BT and at MLW -
to be brutally honest, it feels like a bunch of white U.S. people (not entirely, perhaps, but mostly) saying "This is white U.S. space. You are only welcome here if you make white USuns feel safe, or don't make them feel unsafe (The rhetoric about safety, but I think it's actually about comfort). Obviously not all white U.S. folks on those blogs are part of that bunch -- at MLW some were among the targets.

And one of the perks of having that white privilege or that U.S. privilege is that they don't have to actually say the "This is white U.S. space" bit -- or even that it's white USun's who are the ones who are to have that safety. Hmm. I seem to be stating the glaringly obvious tonight.

In the 'Music' discussion you said

"And then comes the internet... folks still attempting to operate within their safe, comforting boundaries (all the while insisting that of course they are not doing any such thing... and they might actually mean it), but because there are no physical boundaries or police or enforcers to make sure these boundaries are kept, people are being somewhat forced to adjust to the fact that there is no going home, or back behind their boundaries because they don't exist well online."

Yes. Or else they're becoming their own enforcement, while claiming not to be? That takes some gymnastic ability, but yes, I saw some photos that AG put up of dKos (I thinkit was dKos) and they seemed frighteningly white.

It seems to me that at BT the emphasis might be slightly more around preserving U.S. privilege (right this minute, anyway) whereas at MLW I think that (right this minute), it's more about preserving white privilege. (Ductape's diary, for example, did not generate the level of 'shock! horror! a generalisation!' at MLW that it did at BT -- despite the fact much of the bru-ha-ha over there centred on accusations of over-generalisation. Now possibly that could be because they're all tizzied out right now. But I don't think so).

But why now -- or these past few weeks -- particularly?

7/06/2006 10:40 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

Yes, I was thinking the same thing about the difference in reception between MLW and Bootrib.

I think what they are both reacting to is not so much race and white privilege (although that is part of it) and not so much American exceptionalism... (although that too is part of it, and speaking of... what in the world is up with BooMan's diary on that! egads). Anyway, I think it is still more of a 'coming smack dab up against "others" ' type of thing... and it seems that some are meeting their personal boogeymen as well.

All this anti Muslim garbage we are fed day in and day out has its affect... demonizing works, which is why it is used time after time after time after time, no matter how many people say they deplore it.

"This is white U.S. space. You are only welcome here if you make white USuns feel safe, or don't make them feel unsafe (The rhetoric about safety, but I think it's actually about comfort).

Yes, that is exactly it.. the inconvenient or unacceptable other is the one that some people are least likely to be able to have discussions with or to listen to because they challenge the very idea of some people's selves and their place in life (some of which they may not even be aware of).

I don't know why now tho... this worries me a lot. The blowups as well as some of the complete dismissal of the importance of getting to the root of whatever it is... it's just very, very strange. And not good at all.

7/06/2006 11:34 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

Another thing I think it is, counter intuitive as it may seem, is Katrina. Not sure how to explain why I think that, but... I remember reading an article a couple of weeks or so after 9/11, by a British journalist who was over in the US visiting. He'd been here a few times before, had friends in various parts of the country and so on.

He talked about his New Yorker friends, and how depressed they were, and his desire to get a bit of other perspective on things.. so he called friends in California, and they were also depressed. And he thought, surely the entire country couldn't be depressed over what, after all, was one incident on one coast... so he called friends in a small town in some middle state (Wisconsin, I think it was)... and sure enough, they were depressed too. So he came to the conclusion that yes, even in a country the size of the US, everyone can be depressed over the same event.

We may be big enough for 10 nations, and have many disparate regions thousands of miles apart that mostly have nothing at all in common with each other, but we do have a national psyche. And Katrina shattered that a bit. Left people feelings of shock, shame, horror and distaste.

The last very carefully manufactured, I think, cuz people were beginning to look to closely at themselves and at policies and think too hard about the hidden poor and our responsibilities and so on. So, the people of Katrina were almost immediately turned into thugs and criminals, the trenchant poor that no one could do anything with, people too poor (or too stupid) to leave, those unable to care for themselves or each other, those unable to keep a packed football stadium clean and fresh smelling and full of light and wonder for days because they preferred to live in filth and were used to it and so on.

Totally removed humanity from them... from the disabled that there was no provision made for, to the teachers and business owners that stayed for this or that reason and the many others that were there. This reducing them to the lowest common denominator is why Bush and company have (in reality) paid very little price for Katrina, and won't in the future either, if it happens again.

This stuff is very worrisome, as is the rhetoric regarding undocumented immigrants... it really really bothers me, this stuff about "well, if we don't let them in, who will clean your toilet, and who will wash the dishes" and all that. Why don't we, especially on the left, ask... who can we train who will be the next doctor in the poor village they left, or the next teacher that will help the children to thrive, and so on?

Even on the left we are sucked into the language of a sort of servant class type thing, and by using that language we set expectations for both the latino immigrants and the poor black workers... as if there is no place else for either to go.

Hmmm... well I've gone far off from my original point, whatever that was, but it all relates... the language of exclusion and of... "none of this is your fault, it's all their own faults, aren't you tired of being blamed for it?" is very insidious and I think it has a wide ranging and lasting effect.

7/07/2006 1:24 am  
Blogger Man Eegee said...

I think there's a prevailing wind of sniping at the moment because we are approaching another 'moment of truth' here in the U.S. If the majority of Americans were truly disgusted by the actions of our government, then there will be a landslide of support for candidates who support human rights and peace. It's hard enough to get Democrats elected in primaries who support those positions, let alone in a general election. George Bush should've been defeated soundly in 2004 and he wasn't. It was close enough for the shenanigans in Ohio to make a difference. That is appalling to me.

I wish it were not so, but even talking with people here in the blue part of my state, there's casual remarks thrown about towards Others that make my skin crawl. The horrific reality is that there is a 53% support of an Iraq withdrawl because the war isn't "going well", instead of it being recognized for the atrocity it was to begin with.

I wish I had more faith in my countrymen and women, but when I see them go on with their lives without a flicker of outrage on the current state of the gulf coast region, or the unending deaths in the desert here in the southwest, or the fact that poverty is soaring, or even the horrendous state of Native American reservations, I have a hard time seeing the U.S. as the beacon of light that many hold onto. That bubble burst for me a long time ago.

I think that is why I don't take offense to posts like Ductape's latest, or others from international authors, I agree with the reality described because I see it all around me.

7/07/2006 3:43 am  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

supersoling, thank you for the Haiti piece, too little attention is paid to this particular long-term beneficiary of US attentions, and I include myself in the number who fail to pay enough attention to it.

I remember listening to Pacifica Radio, I think it was, on the day that the gunmen kidnapped President Aristide, and all the other little mechanical minutiae of couphood. There was something at once so surreal and terrible about sitting there hearing it all on the speakers of a descendant's modern laptop. I could not stop the tears, nor could I stop the pain of knowledge that they were useless, what could an old man with an old sword do, so many miles away?

It reminded me of the day CNN treated the world to live viewing of the bombing of Baghdad, as the little green deathballs fell, shredding flesh, crumbling to dust art that had survived for millennia, from the loudspeakers of every mosque in the city, prayers. It was not prayer time there. The people were asking God to help them.

Nanette, the only word for your observations is "unerring." Many of them are wrestling with their demons. Who will win? The demons of indoctrination? or the inborn nobility of soul, the humanity that they possess? - though they have been taught all their lives that to possess it is to sin against the rich men by whose grace they are permitted to live. It is a "divisiveness" that will drive some of them deeper into that mass illness, and blessedly free some of them to be the human beings they were intended to be.

dove, it is a White American's space, and I have alternately occupied, conducted sorties, loitered, and otherwise engaged in various flavors of unauthorized, unwanted and unacceptable intrusion into it. As have you, as has Nanette, and Manito, as have we all, who are not White Americans :)

For me, the defining comment, one that crystallizes the ambience, not only of that particular website, but the larger zeitgeist of mainstream American culture, is one that I rather roguishly added to my blog testimonials. It begins:

Middle Eastern countries are so much more barbaric today and preAmercia than America can ever hope to be..

And while there were many replies to the comment, not one took exception to the refreshing candor and unexpectedly frank insight into the poster's view.

In a way, I was glad to see that. Honesty is always the best policy, and I would much rather be surrounded by a thousand people who are transparent enough to be open about it, than a handful of politically correct smiling faces with daggers in their sleeves, waiting for you to turn your back.

The danger is not to us. The danger of the process of dehumanization is not in the harm done to the target group. The lasting harm is done to the dehumanizer, for even if he kills his victim, that victim dies no less human than he ever was, but whether he kills his victim or not, the dehumanizer has eternally lost some of his own humanity. He can undergo and Ephiphany, recant, repent, and spend the rest of his life attempting to make reparations. But as long as he lives, he will do so with the knowledge that he gave away something very precious, that he can never recover.

Thus the real danger of anti-Otherism, when it degrades itself to the point of dehumanization, is to the perpetrator. His victim may die, but the perpetrator is doomed to Death in Life.

7/07/2006 5:37 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

Hi Manny!

Yes, I think something like that is it... some sort of moment of truth. Then again, we've had a few of those and nothing seems to get through.

People, I believe, bury themselves in apathy and celebrity blah blah sometimes out a sense of helplessness. Or the 'no matter what you do, nothing will change, so why bother?' type attitude.

We are so connected... seemingly, but so far apart. Yet still with both the false feelings of closeness and of distance. I'll have to follow that thought a bit more before it'll make any sense, i think ;)

Ductape, yep, the danger is the destruction of self (inner, etc).

7/07/2006 2:46 pm  
Anonymous supersoling said...

Thank you for reading it, assuming you did ;o) I have to give much of the credit to Dove though, because it was her idea and encouragement that caused one of my infrequent diaries.

About Alex, and the comment from your diary above. I wanted to challenge that comment. I did. But I have a soft spot in my heart for that person. It doesn't justify ignoring it, but I just didn't want to be the one. In other words, I'm an Ostrich. A visually pleasing Ostrich ;o) but an Ostrich all the same. I'm really very shocked to hear those comments coming from that person. And there's something to be learned there as well. I know it. The enemy of my enemy isn't my friend apparently. Only as long as the tough stuff is avoided will we remain friends. And that's not a real friendship at all. This isn't easy stuff to deal with. But I appreciate your diaries all the same. Deep down I always have.

7/07/2006 3:31 pm  
Blogger dove said...

Going way back myself -- that phrase 'anchors of war' is brilliant. The idea that history is 'wars and that stuff that happens between them,' the wars being the main event. It's hugely important as a strategy for naturalising the practice of war.

And yes -- the 'but we need an underclass' argument for open borders just doesn't cut it.
It's akin to the 'leave cos 'we' lost' strand of anti-war stuff.

Although, I do think there's sometimes a need to point out to those who are anti-immigrant that as things currently stand they are by-and-large maligning people on whom -- or rather on whose exploitation-- they probably depend. But without allowing that slide into "well, if we don't let them in, who will clean your toilet, and who will wash the dishes" Or do we need to be able to make that point? Maybe we don't -- at least in that particular argument -- given the way they one could easily slip into the other.

And it's not as though the desired end of opening the borders is a world where people are compelled for reasons of survival to be economic migrants -- the point -- in part at least, is to disrupt that.

Hi Man Eegee -- (I tend to mostly lurk at your place too, but the appreciation is mutual and it's great to see you in full voice here). This may come across strangely and somewhat incoherently, but I'll say it anyway: are they your countrymen and countrywomen?

What I mean is -- well, yes, you were born on the same patch of earth as most of them, but when push comes to shove what does that coincidence mean? What I guess I'm trying to say is that you may find that it's not actually 'your country' per se -- just the place that you happen, for now, to live and which you have, perhaps, considerable affection for. That change in perception doesn't alter your political obligations or responsibilitise any -- we all have political obligations that are local as well as trans-national -- but it might be liberating in other ways. Hmm. Does that make any sense at all?

FWIW, I've been in awe of you lately.

As for your diary, let the credit rest where it should: with you. Yes, I said 'go write a diary about this' -- but why did I do that? Because of your words.

7/07/2006 9:41 pm  
Blogger Man Eegee said...

are they your countrymen and countrywomen? Yes and no. They are in the sense that their actions affect my life directly, as well as the life of my family and friends. I've written before, but it's becoming increasingly clear to me that I subscribe to a similar code of ethics as yours listed on your main page that you are "a citizen of the world." When casual terms of American culture are thrown about I have to laugh because it I were to make a list of my influences and the quirky ways my life has been lived through family/environmental influence, it's a better bet that more similarities would be found with Mexican culture than East Coast Americana.

I guess that's why being labeled "Anti-American" is not something that bothers me very much. I have no idea what they're talking about as the term has little bearing on the Me that is present and engaged.

7/07/2006 10:36 pm  
Blogger DuctapeFatwa said...

I'm kind of in awe of supersoling too. He has been incredibly honest about one of the most grueling and agonizing processes he will ever go through.

The trick with Alex, if it can be done, is to save her from herself, and for those who are in danger of such, not letting her pull you under the water before you can drag her to shore, even though she insists she wishes only to be one with the sea. :)

We know that humans cannot breathe water. Such a thing is to Alex, alternately inconceivable and so sad and terrible that she cannot bear to acknowledge it.

7/07/2006 11:24 pm  
Blogger Nanette said...

But without allowing that slide into "well, if we don't let them in, who will clean your toilet, and who will wash the dishes" Or do we need to be able to make that point? Maybe we don't -- at least in that particular argument -- given the way they one could easily slip into the other.

I don't think we do need to make that point. Mind you, people highly involved in this matter and who have lots of experience may completely disagree with me, lol. But it seems to me that that is operating, in a way, within the right wing frame of the issue - and as I always say, when you're operating in a right wing frame there is no place to go but wrong ;)

I think there should be (and there probably already are, I am just not aware of them) lefty ways to talk about this issue that turns the story around a bit. Somehow the language, in my way of thinking, should reflect a beginning, not an end. Many undocumented immigrants do do those jobs, as well as others, as do other economically distressed people of various groups.

But the way it is spoken of -that I have seen, and I of course have not done a thorough reading with this in mind... I need to do that. But anyway, the way it's spoken of is sort of as an end in itself. And I think that buys into the notion of a permanent "underclass", when one of the goals is and should be to not have that sort of underclass at all.

This sort of all ties into the dignity, humanity thing... the lack of caring for the people dying in the desert, and the story Manny has up now about the grapes, and the one in comments about the water, and all the others we see... and don't see, like the Asian immigrants, some of whom are also in a very, very bad way.

I think this sort of shadow thing, in many countries... not only with the acceptance of the label "illegal", but also with the acceptance of the low status placement of the people themselves.. as if they are to only be fitted into certain slots (although in reality, many undocumented immigrants work in many different slots, from offices to kitchens, to construction to yes, cleaning toilets) just furthers the 'less than' image.

And it's not as though the desired end of opening the borders is a world where people are compelled for reasons of survival to be economic migrants -- the point -- in part at least, is to disrupt that.

Yes, exactly. Also this ties into the war thing, somehow! Or rather war fodder.

7/08/2006 5:00 am  
Anonymous Arcturus said...

O man, I just found this convo through Manee's site. Man do I wish I'd known about it earlier this week. Great dialogue here, much appreciated.

7/10/2006 2:57 am  
Blogger Nanette said...

Arcturus, old conversations never die here! Well, sometimes they do, but often they are just continued if not in the same post, in another.

I hope you come back to add whatever it was you were going to add, on any of the issues discussed.

7/10/2006 1:50 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home