Consider the current outrage at the 'military conduct' or let's say 'murder' commited by US forces in Iraq... whether we're thinking of Abud Grab or civilian massacres in November 2005 or March 2006.
What do these events and our responses to them tell us about how we SEE WAR?
As I listen to radio coverage and disucssions, the common theme is outrage at this "unacceptable" behavoir. To me, what this suggests is that there is an "acceptable" way to conduct war! For all their good intentions, the rants of human rights agencies seem to participate in the militarization of our perspectives. By militarization I refer to the normalization of war.
In suggesting that there's a wrong way to conduct war we imply that there is a right way and hence, that war is justified.
Cynthia Enloe, Clark University, defines militarization as as a process by which a person or thing becomes controlled or dependant on or derives its value from the military. That's a loose paraphrasing from her chapter "Conclusion: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions"in her book Maneuvers: The international politics of militarizing women’s lives (UC Press, Berkeley, 2000, pp. 288-300). This text is about women, gender and militarization.
She's referring to the NORMALIZATION OF WAR... not just things related directly to the military or the amassing of weapons power, but to the race, class and gender relations that help produce and are reproduced in a cutlure of militarization. According to Enloe militarized things include marriage, massacra, gortex, prostitution or cargo pants!!! Check it out!
Cynthia Enloe gave a lection titled "How Can You Tell If You're Becoming Militarized? Some Feminist Clues" on Marcy 29, 2006, at the University of Toronto.
PHOTO: two little girls near Gurgaon in the state of Harayana, India where I did my MA field work. They were lovely!