global politics, relationally

The Carnage of Carnage (at Fort Hood)


At Fort Hood yesterday, four people died and many more were injured in a shooting spree by active duty soldier Ivan Lopez. This is the third shooting on a US military base in seven months, and comes just a few years after an even more gruesome shooting spree at Fort Hood.  The dozens of people who have died in these mass murders have names, identities, and families – most of them are also active duty military.

These victims have names, identities, and families like the tens of thousands of civilian victims of the “war on terror” that the US military is “fighting” abroad; or the tens of thousands of victims of Cold War proxy wars, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Gulf War, and the like.

It is not only their humanity that these victims have in common – it is that they are victims not only of the perpetrators of the crimes or wars that kill them, but of militarism itself.

Its not a coincidence that shootings occur on military bases, or that PTSD is a constant オンライン カジノ result of the trauma of turning ordinary people into killers, or that both of those phenomena are highly gendered. Instead, militarism is itself a violent force used to breed violence into people who are going to be used to kill. As Cynthia Enloe once explained “relationships between governments depend on the construction and reconstruction offender and that such relations produce certain notions of masculinity and femininity” which are then deployed in the traditional modes of state interaction – diplomacy and conflict.  

Theoretically, that makes sense. But violence on military bases makes sense even without the depth of context provided by feminist theorizing. Militaries train people to kill people. They train them to do it without regard for the humanity of the victim of the killing – neither is understood to be the soldier”s decision, or the soldier”s problem. They teach people to make a fine line between the “us” that they don”t kill and the “them” who are not only killable but to be killed. They teach that masculinity means ignoring any physical or emotional trouble one might have with hardship or killing; and that manifesting it is a sign of weakness. Then we wonder why a struggling, mentally ill soldier has trouble attaching the appropriate gravitas to killing strangers on his base? Perhaps, instead, I wonder if the words “appropriate gravitas” loose sense in the complexities of training to kill, and how more soldiers don”t get it “wrong” more often? And how, of all of the “lessons” that have been learned in the history of warfare, the basic lesson that carnage produces carnage still remains elusive?

But none of that makes the deaths at Fort Hood yesterday less tragic.