My condolences to the People of Australia
My warnings to the women of Australia, especially northern Australia
Last week's visit of US President Barack Obama's to your country and his announcements to your government to deploy 2,500 US Marines to northern Australia has put the people of Australia, especially women in northern Australia, in grave danger. While I understand that Australia has its own military, allow me to suggest that no state military approximates the danger of the US military in the world today. It got to be number one through its ruthless disregard for human life under a government, the US that is, that has flaunted all international humanitarian law.
First of all allow me to point out that because the US invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan are war crimes and violate both the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Charter, the US military trains its soldiers and marines in preventive killing (i.e. murder). As the US was not under imminent threat of attack by either of these countries, the military escalated wars in part through random killing of civilians. As you can imagine, young recruits many of whom are unemployed and others who are seeking to gain access to a college education do not sign up for such barbaric fighting. Therefore to train its recruits to kill without remorse while convincing them that they are defending their county, the USA, brainwashing techniques are employed by the US military as I document in Unmaking War, Remaking Men (Spinifex, Australia, 2010). In combat zones, they have, by and large, abandoned all concern for civilian life.
Further, in their training, US soldiers and Marines trained to believe they are superior to ordinary (American) civilians. This is part of their training for remorseless killing as believing in their own superiority aids young recruits in justifying their behavior in combat which ranges from remorseless to preventive killing. Now think about it Australians – if US Marines understand that they are superior to American civilians, what do you expect of them while they are in Australia. Acting from the understanding that they are above state and international law, do not expect them to respect your laws – on or off duty.
I ask you urgently to consult with your Pacific neighbors, especially in the Philippines, and the decades it took them to free their soil of US troops. The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women – Asia Pacific would be a good place to being. Their offices are in Manila. Learn how Philippine women were reduced to prostitution for US soldiers and Marines. Brothels were organized by the soldiers for themselves around their bases. And they were not even in combat there in the Philippines, as they will not be in northern Australia. When the Marines finally shipped out, women used for soldiers' sexual satisfactions were then trafficked to countries like your own for prostitution.
Violence against women is significantly higher in the US military and within military families than it is in civil society. Americans who are asked to honor the soldiers' service and turn away from the reality of the violence veterans and soldiers still in uniform bring home and into our lives.
That will be the result of US military training of your own Australian soldiers. Remember that most recruits in the military do not enlist with the "blinding macho" that the US military encourages in them. Your new recruits will similarly be reduced to the lowest forms of violence and as a reward will learn that they are acting with honor when all they have become is your state's expendable lives. Please look to the effect on Okinawa of US forces there and see the spate of rapes in 2008 that included a 14 year old school girl.
President Obama might even naively believe that he is sending the US Marines to you for peace and security of the region. But US military build-up in a region is usually a prelude to war. The US military does not build up to sit idly by and when it does sit idly by, it can wreak havoc on the area. While Obama is drawing down US troops in Iraq and more slowly in Afghanistan, with Israel he is preparing for war against Iran. The US likely will not attack Australia, but Obama's peace and security talk is meant to menace China. Don't be drawn into this ruse.
Encourage your Prime Minister to not take the route of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Given the opportunity to partner with the most powerful leader in the world, former US President George W. Bush, he made his country complicit in US war crimes. In the process, he became a laughing stock in many parts of the world.
Before it is too late, please consider the risks of your country and especially your women to having US military deployed on your land.
Kathleen Barry, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita of Pennsylvania State University
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