Tag Archives: militarism

Our Challenge

by K. Blaqk, ’14


The title of this piece is “Our Challenge.” Over fall quarter I discovered the “Nu Rainbow,” which replaces the traditional ROYGBIV spectrum with one representing the variety of colors  of human beings. This move felt especially important to me, as I was starting to see the urgency in queer politics taking on an explicitly anti-racist agenda as well. Lumped into queer issues and racism are also structural class inequality, problems of imperialism and militarism. So, “Our Challenge” is first to build a coalition of marginalized and oppressed peoples and then to channel that organization into a form of resistance and way of remaking the world around us. Continue reading

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THE MORAL FABRIC IS INSIDE OUT! : What CIA Chief Petraeusʼ Resignation Reveals about our National Moral Fabric

by ABCrane, former Stanford employee

church and state 2In November, CIA chief David Petraeus allegedly resigned due to his guilt over engaging in an extra marital affair. “After being married for over 37 years”, Petraeus said in a letter to colleagues, “ I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours.”

Speaking in his defense, Obama stated, “By any measure, he was one of the outstanding general officers of his generation, helping our military adapt to new challenges and leading our men and women in uniform through a remarkable period of service in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he helped our nation put those wars on a path to a responsible end.”

While Petraeus’ affair did not faze me, Obama’s praise of his involvement in our foreign wars chimed loud the great bells of historical irony! What occurred to me on such a deep level was just how archaic the moral fabric of modern society and politics truly are. Why is our country outraged over an extra marital affair while either indifferent or supportive of our illegal, cruel, and corrupt military involvement throughout the Middle East? How does one man stepping out on his wife even begin to compare to that same man leading a war effort that destroys countless lives, the environment, and the economy?

Continue reading

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Thoughts on Our National Grief in the Wake of Newtown

by Erika Kreeger, ’15

My family and I were watching the 49ers’ football game last week when, like all major networks, the coverage switched to the President’s address to roughly 1,000 members of the Newtown, Connecticut, community who lost loved ones in the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. I was playing Minesweeper on our family desktop in the other room, not paying too much attention (I’ll be honest, I was trying to avoid the football), and I did not even register the program swap until about half way through the President’s talk.

What was clear from the speech is how personally sorry the President felt for the loss of those 20 young pupils and their 6 administrators. I could hear my mom tearing up on the living room couch. My Facebook feed was filling up with heartfelt comments and remarks on the President’s speech; more generally, since the incident, my feed has been mobbed by touching memes, statuses and posts from people extending condolences to fellow citizens, to people sharing the inspiring stories of how the students and staff reacted to Adam Lanza’s rampage. Continue reading

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Mourning Our Murders

by K. Blaqk, ’14

This piece originally appeared on K. Blaqk’s personal blog, Blaqkliberation.

Pakistani children light candles to pay tribute to Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims.

Mourning and demanding a new system do not need to be – nor should they be – separate.

At issue today (more publicly than most days) are multiple layers of violence in our world:

the violence of a political system that treats each new shooting as an isolated incident and tells us we are jumping the gun when we talk reform—
the violence of an economic system that produces guns and missiles knowing the destruction they bring to individual and collective lives—
the violence of a cultural system where the radio plays on blaring top 40s, stocks and scores, as though nothing is happening as our wars kill on.

There are also the violences of a world where so many feel so alienated as to commit the ultimate violence against others – and themselves—

and, most immediately, of being told during the moment of rawest pain that “this isn’t the day to demand change, this is a day to mourn.”

If today is the day of mourning and a mourner cannot make demands, what do we do tomorrow? Continue reading

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Lives Under Drones: Civilian Consequences of Drone Warfare

By Cole Manley and Ebony Childs

“Hayatullah stopped, got out of his own car, and slowly approached the wreckage, debating whether he should help the injured and risk being the victim of a follow-up strike. He stated that when he got close enough to see an arm moving inside the wrecked vehicle, someone inside yelled that he should leave immediately because another missile would likely strike. He started to return to his car and a second missile hit the damaged car and killed whomever was still left inside. He told us that nearby villagers waited another twenty minutes before removing the bodies, which he said included the body of a teacher from Hayatullah’s village.” [1] 

“Because whether we are driving a car, or we are working on a farm, or we are sitting home playing . . . cards–no matter what we are doing we are always thinking the drone will strike us. So we are scared to do anything, no matter what.” [2]

Drone warfare is stressed by government officials as being scientific and precise in its killing of “militants”, but as recent investigative publications reveal, civilians in Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, and other countries bear the heaviest emotional, physical, and psychological toll. Continue reading

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The Strength of Obama’s Foreign Policy

by Nick Ahamed, ’14

I am not here to make excuses. I recognize that my beloved President Obama has arguably struggled in addressing many difficult, complex issues facing the United States throughout the past 4 years. However, on at least one issue, foreign policy, he has done the best we can expect of a president. As I outline the last 12 years of foreign policy, I would like you to keep two things in mind. First, Obama was not given a mandate to govern. Though he won overwhelmingly in the Electoral College, only 53% of the country voted for him. Presidents represent the whole nation to the world, not just their own party. Second, context is everything. As a student of economics, I view everything as a series of trade-offs. And so while the outcome that occurred may not be our optimal policy preference, we have to ask if it was better than the practical alternative. With these two premises acknowledged, I argue that it is vitally important to reelect President Barack Obama in the context of foreign policy.

The Bush years were a period of militant American unilateralism. In those 8 years, we were not afraid to use our Armed Forces, regardless of international opinion. The most notable cases are obviously Afghanistan and Iraq. Continue reading

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V-day and Militarism

by Pr. Geoff Browning, Campus Minister

We all know what V-Day is, the day that victory was declared in the wars against Japan and Germany in WWII. Eve Ensler, in her book and play, The Vagina Monologues has reclaimed the meaning of “V” to mean “Victory, Valentine, and Vagina” and to build V-Day into a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Stanford V-Week just presented an extraordinary production of The Vagina Monologues that was profound, hilarious and heart-rending all at the same time. But I would like to call attention to a seldom-acknowledged connection between militarism and sexual violence.

As Stanford V-Week has been working to communicate, violence against women is epidemic. Among the grim statistics, one in three women globally will be the victims of battery and/or sexual abuse sometime in their lives. Somewhere in America, a woman is battered every 15 seconds. Globally, four million women and girls are trafficked into sexual slavery every year.

According to a recent Defense Department report, there were over 3,100 sexual assaults in our professionally trained military in 2011. But these are only the reported assaults; the Pentagon believes the actual number is much higher. Non-Pentagon sources say it may be as much as 10 times this number. Think about that: more than 30,000 sexual assaults. This means that every woman who serves in the military is at greater risk of being assaulted by her fellow soldiers than being killed or wounded by the enemy! Continue reading

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Environment and War Week at Stanford

by the Environmental Justice subgroup, Students for a Sustainable Stanford

Many people at Stanford can probably agree that war often leads to terrible consequences.  We tend to think of the horrors faced by soldiers in the battlefield, the tragic civilian casualties, the resulting political strife, and the great economic cost.  However, it has become increasingly evident that war also takes an enormous toll on the environment, an issue often overlooked in discussions of militarism and conflict.  That is why the Environmental Justice subgroup of Students for a Sustainable Stanford has partnered with Stanford Says No to War to put on Environment and War Week.  Through our events this week, we hope to raise awareness about the ways in which the environment is linked to conflict, and to educate Stanford students about the enormous environmental destruction that results from modern warfare.

As the film Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives explains:  “In all its stages, from the production of weapons through combat to cleanup and restoration, war entails actions that pollute land, air, and water, destroy biodiversity, and drain natural resources. Yet the environmental damage occasioned by war and preparation for war is routinely underestimated, underreported, even ignored. The environment remains war’s ‘silent casualty.’”

The examples of war’s impact on the environment are numerous. Continue reading

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