The tendencies we have mentioned are something new for America. They arose when, under the influence of the two World Wars and the consequent concentration of all forces on a military goal, a predominantly military mentality developed, which with the almost sudden victory became even more accentuated. The characteristic feature of this mentality is that people place the importance of what Bertrand Russell so tellingly terms “naked power” far above all other factors which affect the relations between peoples. The Germans, misled by Bismarck’s successes in particular, underwent just such a transformation of their mentality–in consequences of which they were entirely ruined in less than a hundred years.
I must frankly confess that the foreign policy of the United States since the termination of hostilities has reminded me, sometimes irresistibly, of the attitude of Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm II, and I know that, independent of me, this analogy has most painfully occurred to others as well. It is characteristic of the military mentality that non-human factors (atom bombs, strategic bases, weapons of all sorts, the possession of raw materials, etc.) are held essential, while the human being, his desires and thoughts–in short, the psychological factors–are considered as unimportant and secondary. Herein lies a certain resemblance to Marxism, at least in so far as its theoretical side alone is kept in view. The individual is degraded to a mere instrument; he becomes “human material.” The normal ends of human aspiration vanish with such a viewpoint. Instead, the military mentality raises “naked power” as a goal in itself–one of the strangest illusions to which men can succumb.
In our time the military mentality is still more dangerous than formerly because the offensive weapons have become much more powerful than the defensive ones. Therefore it leads, by necessity, to preventative war. The general insecurity that goes hand in hand with this results in the sacrifice of the citizen’s civil rights to the supposed welfare of the state. Political witch-hunting, controls of all sorts (e.g., control of teaching and research, of the press, and so forth) appear inevitable, and for this reason do not encounter that popular resistance, which, were it not for the military mentaility, would provide a protection. A reappraisal of all values gradually takes place in so far as everything that does not clearly serve the utopian ends is regarded and treated as inferior.
– Albert Einstein, The Military Mentality, 1947
Much of what I cover here at Liberty Blitzkrieg could be categorized as “depressing,” “frustrating,” “shocking” and “terrifying.” That said, I want to reemphasize the key reason I do this in the first place:change.
Not politician speak “change;” real change. Genuine, lasting, paradigm level change, which I believe starts with understanding and consciousness. You can’t be conscious and caring if you are brainwashed by greedy, statist psychopaths, so I fundamentally believe that change starts in the mind and in the heart and then becomes expressed in the material world around us. If I thought all were lost and hopeless, I wouldn’t bother doing this. Not only do I think real, positive change is possible, I think is very likely.
Today, I bring you a very encouraging story of 45 U.S. military veterans coming together to ask current servicemen and women to stand down when it comes to drone strikes. This is very good news, and come on the heels of several former drone pilots speaking out about the horrors of their “profession.”
Brandon Bryant is one of the most well known, and I covered his plight back in 2013 in the post: Meet Brandon Bryant: The Drone Operator Who Quit After Killing a Child. Recall the beginning of that post:
Here’s another: This is What Really Happens in the Drone Program from an Insider
Moving along, there seems to be considerable backlash building to the military drone program. This make a lot of sense. At least the soldier who is flying in an actual plane on a mission faces the real possibility of death. As such, killing becomes more justifiable in one’s mind. In contrast, when you are sitting a few miles from your home, bombing children like its an X-Box game, that can quickly lead to mental and emotional death.
The Guardian reports that:
Forty-five former US military personnel, including a retired army colonel, have issued a joint appeal to the pilots of aerial drones operating in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and elsewhere, calling on them to refuse to carry out the deadly missions.
In a joint letter, the retired and former military members call on air force pilots based at Creech air force base in Nevada and Beale air force base in California to refuse to carry out their duties. They say the missions, which have become an increasingly dominant feature of US military strategy in recent years, “profoundly violate domestic and international laws”.
Among those who signed the letter are retired US army colonel Ann Wright, who resigned in 2003 over the invasion of Iraq. She is joined by several anti-war veterans and former members of diverse ranks from the air force, army, navy and marines.
The new protest comes as the US military is facing a crisis in its armed drone program as a result of a steady decline in the numbers of trained pilots available to fly the missions. The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the air force was planning to cut the number of its daily drone flights from 65 to 60 as a result of the drain of pilots.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) first sounded the alarm in April 2014 when it said that more drone pilots were quitting the armed forces than were being recruited and trained. Though the air force has set a target of 1,700 drone pilots to fly the desired 65 missions a day, overall numbers are now down to 1,200.
The letter of the 45 former military members is part of a campaign dubbed “refuse to fly” coordinated by the website KnowDrones.com.The campaign has also aired 15-second TV commercials urging air force pilots to quit their desks at drone mission control, which have been shown in the regions of Beale and Creech air force bases and are currently airing near Hancock air national guard base and the air guard base near Niagara Falls in upstate New York.
The graphic ads show footage of the aftermath of drone attacks and say “no one has to obey an immoral law”.
See the video clip here:
As Henry David Thoreau so accurately noted in Civil Disobedience:
If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth, — certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.