United States military interventions have historically been justified using the rhetoric of moral right. More recently, they purport to combat the terrorization of the American public. However, Zoltan Grossman, a professor specializing in geopolitics and globalization in Olympia, Washington, encourages us to rethink the invasion and occupation of foreign nations by the U.S. as “opportunistic responses to events, which have enabled Washington to gain a foothold in the “middle ground” between Europe to the west, Russia to the north, and China to the east, and turn this region increasingly into an American ‘sphere of influence’” securing American corporate control over oil supplies for both Europe and Asia.
If there was any doubt regarding American ulterior motives, Mother Jones published an article in July illuminating the nearly 50 military bases built since 2000 in countries like Honduras and Australia. Affectionately called “lily pads” (as in, a frog jumping across a pond toward its prey), these bases are the strategic smaller cousins of the over 1,000 bases around the world the United States already maintains. American military bases have a long legacy of negatively impacting women and communities of color across the globe. Indeed, the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracting conducted a comprehensive inquiry into the performance of contracts supporting military operations abroad. They found over 70,000 people were recruited from countries like Bangladesh, Fiji, and the Philippines to work for contractors and subcontractors of the U.S. military at the over 500 bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most importantly, these indentured slaves, a cohort the New Yorker calls “the invisible army,” are exploited for their labor while frequently experiencing sexual abuse.
Considering the ways American militarism disenfranchises and perpetrates violence against communities of color and women specifically, we may want to reconsider the inclusion of women on the front-lines of battle a feminist advancement. According to the World Health Organization, situations of conflict, post conflict, and displacement potentially “exacerbate existing violence and present new forms of violence against women.” The effects of broadening American militarism not only disadvantage women, but also are downright dangerous for women.”
Rethinking Women in Combat, Kim Tran
File this under: things that should be obvious.