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The U.S. Military Should Stop Training Police and Stick to Slaughtering Innocent Foreigners

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Here's what should happen now, judging by what I see on social and other media.

The U.S. Military and the National Guard and other war-making outfits should clear out of the streets of the United States, get on some airplanes, and head off to properly murder lots of men, women, and children very far away. It's simply inappropriate to kill people in this enlightened land where we've figured out that lives all matter.

War making should not be based on lies about protesters being violent or black people being savages or Trump needing his religion fix. Wars should be based, as established by long tradition, on lies about foreign governments and terrorists and fossil fuels and babies in incubators and WMDs and phantom missiles and chemical attacks and impending massacres.

Therefore, the Israeli military should stop training police in Minnesota and across the U.S. in how to wage war against the local people. So, for that matter, should the U.S. military and private U.S. companies. And the U.S. government should stop giving war weapons to police departments. Those should be given to vicious foreign dictators and coup plotters and mercenaries and secret agencies.

It's a little less clear what should be done about someone like Derek Chauvin who learned to be a policeman in the U.S. Army, both at Fort Benning, where plenty of murderous coup plotters have been trained and other good proper deeds done, and in Germany which of course needs to be kept down. Once he's a local police officer, Chauvin is not in the military anymore, right? So, he's not a problem. And if he shoots people on the job, well that's just the way it goes. And if he likes to use pepper spray on the black folks at his other job as a "security guard" well, nobody's perfect. Eighteen complaints is not that many, considering that he was never prosecuted by a single respectable racist prosecutor who hoped to be vice president someday.

The important thing is for the police to be police, and the military to be military, and the weapons and tactics of war to be used exclusively on dark-skinned people in distant lands who cannot possibly disrupt my evening news or block any intersections near here or topple any white supremacist war monuments where I might see them.

Wait, is that right?

Or perhaps the real problem is murdering people however and wherever and to whomever it's done. Perhaps members of the National Guard and U.S. military should refuse orders to fight in the United States, but also refuse orders to fight anywhere else. There's nothing more moral or legal about one over the other.

I often wish that there were stories of distant wars to match the stories of horrific tragedies closer to home. Perhaps that would bring people around, I often fantasize. Well, I just picked up a copy of a new book called War, Suffering, and the Struggle for Human Rights by Peadar King. Here's a guy from Ireland who traveled to twelve different countries to get their stories for television, and who has now turned them into a book. I can't recommend it enough.

These are the voices of wars of all sorts. These are victims of both sides of the same wars. They're not chosen to make a point about a particular culprit or tactic or anything other than the need to see the suffering and work to end it. In Libya, we hear about the suffering recently caused by the United States and its allies, but we hear a lot more about the suffering that had been caused by Gadaffi not because it was worse in some way, but because King met those victims and he clearly felt compelled to tell their stories.

In Syria we learn about the intense pain brought to a family by the shooting of one woman, but we're never really told which side of the war the shooter was on. It's not the point. The point is the evil of war, every war, from every side and not just the waging of it, but the creation of the tools and training for it. The Syrian woman's father ends up exclaiming that the weapons dealers are the ones he blames.

Beyond the voices of war's victims, we also hear Peadar King's voice indignant, outraged, disgusted by hypocrisy, and sickened by evil, both the banal and the sadistic varieties. The United States uses the "death penalty" at home, then wages a war that generates, among other horrors, a group called ISIS that also uses the "death penalty" and the outrage over this from the U.S. is laid out as grounds for yet more war. King like the people of the poorest U.S. neighborhoods has had enough and is not inclined to take it anymore.

"There is never justification for war. To know that means to do something about it. Stand up for justice!" Thus speaks Clare Daly, Member of the European Parliament, in the book's foreword.

"I hope this book will be a small reminder that we have the vision and the capacity to not just imagine but to create a world beyond war," writes King in the introduction.

"Within Palestine/Israel," King writes later in the book, "there are people, as elsewhere in the world, who refuse to countenance that war is an inevitability. . . . Rami Elhahan told me, 'I devote my life to express this one message, we are not doomed, it's not our destiny to keep on killing each other.'"

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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