What do we learn from history? That we are repeating it.

It’s funny where voluntary work can take you.

Yesterday I was helping someone put together words for inclusion in a United Nations report, responding to Human Rights Council resolution 20/2, proposing conscientious objection to military taxation be considered a form of military service thereby including it under article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  The Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1998/77 can then be used to advocate people be permitted to say they want the military part of their tax to be spent on peacebuilding.

Meanwhile Donald Trump is getting around human rights legislation and treaties by recreating the CIA’s secret overseas detention and interrogation centres for unrecorded and untried undesirables.  Their “black site” prisons where they humiliated, tortured, murdered and detained people without trial for years.

It must take an awful lot of volunteers to overcome the work of one powerful man’s pen.

It’s topical because I’ve been learning about the history of the SA, SD, SS, Gestapo, Gefepo and other Nazi tools of security and oppression.  They were granted authority above the law by order of the top executive.  Just like Donald Trump is about to do for the CIA.

Remember what they say about absolute power?  It corrupts absolutely.

War causes social breakdown, allows us to be worse than animals, and to get away with it

I decided to go into war prevention because I suspected it was not cost effective and because it creates a generation of people wanting vengeance.  The Iraq War was sold to us as a great way to make money from reconstruction (by destroying what already existed), to support international development (i.e. take their oil industry) and produce peace (by turning a militarised country into a terrorist region).

What I have since learned about is some of the human cost.  I had some idea, of course, but there are murkier aspects that do not get talked about.

One example is male sexual abuse.  I did not think it likely to be a big deal: rare and hardly very damaging.  All a bit “Fnarr, fnarr, you’ll get over it.”  I was very wrong.

The scale of the problem and the nature of the physical damage to the body are described in this Guardian article from 2011 entitled The rape of men: the darkest secret of war.

I wanted to cherry-pick some quotes about the marital breakdown, humiliation, physical consequences of the permanent damage caused, lack of support and lack of recognition, but the article itself if pretty relentless in providing these itself.  Essentially, it is not about sexual gratification, it is about the perpetrator being so dehumanised that they routinely perform the most degrading torture on innocent strangers and war both creates the environment for such cruelty and makes it possible to hide the act both at the time and later.  If interested, I suggest you read it for yourself.  It’s all quite sad.

I thought Sven Hassel’s books about what went on at the Eastern Front were bad; reality is worse.

War causes social breakdown and allows us to be worse than animals and get away with it.  It makes one wonder what the agenda is for those people who promote it.