The Will to Resist

Dahr Jamail
Haymarket Books (2009)
Reviewed by Paul J. Comeau

 

 

 

Haymarket Books’ 2009 release, The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, by Dahr Jamail, is the most important nonfiction book published this year. In Will, Jamail captures the lives of our men and women in uniform, in their own uncensored words, as they relate the true situation of the occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He underscores the burgeoning resistance movement within the ranks of the armed forces.

Soldiers consistently face attacks from insurgents, supply shortages, and confusion about the purpose of their mission in Baghdad or Kabul. They question the ability of the US Military to push the restart button in Afghanistan, and Iraq is still a dismal place to be. Occupation duty is still in a dangerous region with a lack of infrastructure, clean water, or decent food.

The Obama White House promised to withdraw US forces from Iraq. That hasn’t happened to the extent people demanded. And while Defense Secretary Gates promised to review ’stop loss’ policies last year, the program continues to mean one deployment after another, longer tours, and exhaustion for men and women who have lost homes, spouses, and jobs in America.

All this leaves many US soldiers questioning the US war strategy and skeptical about the latest justifications from their superiors for remaining overseas. More potent forms of dissent arise, ranging from anti-war petitions to “seek and avoid” missions protesting the futility of their assignments. At their most resistant, soldiers refuse to deploy or seek to declare Conscientious Objector status. Jamail demonstrates that soldier’s stories are more than just isolated incidents of dissent, but rather, represent a growing resistance movement. Jamail cites a February 2006 Zogby poll that indicates that 72 percent of troops favored withdrawal within the year, and one in four favored immediate withdrawal.

The Will to Resist does more than reveal growing dissent against the wars within the armed forces. Jamail demonstrates resistance among service members to continuing social problems like racism, sexism, homophobia, and other dehumanizing conditions. Servicemen and women tell heartbreaking stories, and demonstrate that the institutions of the armed forces themselves perpetuate oppressive conditions. Meanwhile, the government does little to defend the rights of service members who find the courage to speak out against adverse conditions. Will also covers the struggle many veterans go through when they return from overseas, both to secure VA benefits, and to exercise their civil liberties. Says one soldier interviewed by Jamail: “There appears to be an ongoing effort by the U.S. military to censor overt displays of dissent by veterans upon their return to the United States.”

The Will to Resist is an essential read. Jamail captures the true conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan from the mouths of the American soldiers themselves, and the oppression they face from both the military apparatus and their fellow servicemen. The Will to Resist expresses our need to stand in solidarity with all active duty soldiers and veterans, in particular those who find the courage to speak out.

This review originally appeared on http://plungeboldlyintolife.blogspot.com

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– The TSI Team

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TSI to exhibit and host paper session at ESS Baltimore 2009. Come see us!


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Fleas dream of buying themselves a dog, and nobodies dream of escaping poverty: that, one magical day, good luck will suddenly rain down on them – will rain down in buckets. But good luck doesn’t rain down, yesterday, today, tomorrow or ever. Good luck doesn’t even fall in a fine drizzle, no matter how hard the nobodies summon it, even if their left hand is tickling, or if they begin the new day on their right foot, or start the new year with a change of brooms.

The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing. The nobodies: the no-ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits, dying through life, screwed every which way. Who are not, but could be. Who don’t speak languages, but dialects. Who don’t have religions, but superstitions. Who don’t create art, but handicrafts. Who don’t have culture, but folklore. Who are not human beings, but human resources. Who do not have faces, but arms. Who do not have names, but numbers. Who do not appear in the history of the world, but in the crime reports of the local paper. The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.

– Eduardo Galeano

A wonderful time — the War:
when money rolled in
and blood rolled out.
But blood
was far away
from here —
Money was near.
 
– Langston Hughes

A wonderful time — the War:
when money rolled in
and blood rolled out.
But blood
was far away
from here —
Money was near.

– Langston Hughes
 

http://transformativestudies.org/langston-hughes/

THINK TANK SEEKS BILLION DOLLAR ENDOWMENT

New Jersey December 5, 2008 — In 2006, the Director of the Transformative Studies Institute (TSI) predicted the Great Collapse of 2008-09 (Globally Segmented Labor Markets: The Coming of the Greatest Boom & Bust, Without the Boom). As thousands stand in food lines and wait for government bail-outs that will never come, the Transformative Studies Institute announces an initiative to establish a scholar-activist university whose goal is to create a global society beyond the demise of capitalism.

“Every western society is now realizing the failures and false promises that have been offered to them through capitalist rhetoric,” said Dr. John Asimakopoulos, Director of TSI. “The Transformative Studies Institute will not only offer a ray of hope, but the tools to build a brighter future.”

An endowment for TSI will allow for a university where students are educated not trained; where faculty teach and conduct research rather than face political purges and retaliation; and where administrators administer, not govern.

The pursuit of social justice, respect of diversity of all, and human and labor rights are the founding principles of TSI. We do not believe in the privatization of education, health care, utilities, transportation, public infrastructure, defense, housing, and social services. We will promote community decision making over corporate governance; eliminate corporate involvement in news media and the creation of an independent public foundation with tax funds to finance free and independent journalism; zero tolerance for conflicts of interests at all levels of government and prohibition of all political patronage positions; zero corporate involvement in the political process at all levels; nationalization of all private (especially elite) universities; direct action to foster meaningful change and social justice based on self-organization and self-direction. 

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