a posted long delayed on the us military and
February 14, 2013
So, read this post on the us colonial occupation of the Philippines this history and background is important.
Not too long ago, I ended up backing myself into a very slight corner with two people I like and respect on tumblr. Both are Black and both are involved with the american military (they’ll probably know who they are upon reading this… if they remember the event at all).
I can’t remember the exact start of it, but I know I said something about ‘i’m just following orders’ not being a viable excuse for war crimes, but in direct context of the american military. Now. I definitely stand by this, because, I don’t need to know the specifics of the american military since this is an international standard (ie: the Nuremberg defense didn’t work for Nazis and it doesn’t work for anyone else).
I do know (not the best but well enough) my history well enough to know that the american military did a lot of horrific shit while they occupied the Philippines. And, honestly, the military bases currently still there remain responsible for a lot of horrific shit (if of a different kind).
So i’m not a fan. I’m also not a fan of their continued imperialist military actions in other parts of the globe.
It is a careful line that needs to be tread between understanding and criticizing this on a global scale
and shaming some of the people who are involved in the military right now (and I say ‘some’ because I have no isssues shaming white people about anything, tbh).
Because. While “i’m just following orders” is not a defense. I also have little patience for people who focus on those people and not the entire industrial complex behind it. Because. Who is giving the orders matters more. It does. And, for the most part, because this is america we are talking about.
Those people are rarely the people who enlisted to escape poverty. Or because they had little other options. Or the people at the lower levels of the military hierarchy.
I say I backed myself into a corner because after my initial comments, there were people involved in the military that started speaking of their lives and experiences and I quietly backed out of the conversation.
Because the time for general comments about shit isn’t when people are talking about their experiences. Because the moment you set yourself up to shame people for the decisions they made so that they could survive, is a moment you want to avoid (or at least i do).
Anyway, i wrote this all out ‘cause it matters. But also because it has been on my mind. Because more people need to remember that you can criticize everything without shitting on individuals. That there are times and places for certain discussions. That staying in your lane is a good thing.