In 1983, the National Film Board of Canada produced a 57-minute film, "Anybody's Son Will Do". Arguably the best anti-war film ever made, and tailored for public television, it scared the hell out of the U.S. military machine, which has done its best to "disappear" it. For years it has been nearly impossible to find a copy, but some kind soul has posted it on YouTube where it can be seen in six segments.
The film shows the process by which young men become psychologically engineered to kill or die on command. While the model used is the U.S. Marine Corps, it's made clear that the modern techniques for creating soldiers are refined, dehumanizing and universal.
Military forces will take boys as young as the law allows, as witness African militias that, unrestrained by regulation, recruit children as young as ten. People into their twenties, having begun to think for themselves to too great a degree, tend not to be sufficiently malleable. In the U.S., recruitment below age 17 is not legal. However, as war has become ever more computerized, need is growing for tech-savvy recruits who can kill coolly and indiscriminately from great distances, as if playing video games. The military has become very good at video games.
What this leads to in the real world is exemplified by this recently publicized footage of the slaughter by U.S. military of 12 civilians. The video has been a much-needed awakening for many. But as distressing as the carnage itself is the callousness with which the people go about their work: "Alright, hahaha, I hit 'em... Nice, good shooting.... Thanks"
AsGlenn Greenwald has correctly declared, the tragedy of this is that it's not aberration but commonplace. What is unusual is that this particular episode was made public.
What is also tragic is that it represents precisely what the U.S. military wants to make of recruits who will be
reeducated -- brainwashed -- to see it as manly, patriotic, heroic. And what youngsterwith percolating hormones, negligible life experience and no basis for critical thought doesn't want to be like that?
Go to http://www.americasarmy.com/ and click on "America's Army Graphic Novel" to see what age group and level of education the Pentagon is aiming for. The "novels" are 28-page comics with text bubbles over GI Joe action figures and brightly colored noise representations: "KRR-AKK", "BLAM", "RATATATAT, CHAKA CHACKA CHAK...".