Military tourism in Israel

It was only a matter of time before local entrepreneurs figured out they could channel Israel’s vast experience in war and counterterrorism in this direction. Today, about half a dozen facilities around the country offer tourists the opportunity to learn from Israeli combat officers, in most cases graduates of elite units. (Understanding that they have nothing to sell the locals because military service is compulsory in Israel, these businesses only target tourists.)

At Caliber 3, the two-hour “shooting adventure” – for which the group from Hong Kong has signed up – includes a simulation of a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem marketplace, immediately followed by a stabbing attack, a live demonstration with attack dogs and a sniper tournament. The cost of this basic package is $115 per adult and $85 per child, with discounts available for large groups. Continue reading

‘Ready, aim, smile!’

Police have been accused of glamorising weapons after children as young as seven were pictured brandishing plastic machine guns to take aim at ‘ terrorist targets’ at a mock firing range.

West Midlands Police invited a class of pupils from Kings Norton Primary School, in Birmingham, to visit a firearms training facility for an event entitled ‘Ready, aim, smile!’
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TNI: War Profiteers Are Now Refugee Profiteers

The report (pdf), Border Wars: The Arms Dealers Profiting from Europe’s Refugee Tragedy, released jointly by the European Stop Wapenhandel and Transnational Institute (TNI) on Monday, outlines arms traders’ pursuit of profit in the 21st century’s endless conflicts.(Image: Stop Wapenhandel)

“There is one group of interests that have only benefited from the refugee crisis, and in particular from the European Union’s investment in ‘securing’ its borders,'” the report finds. “They are the military and security companies that provide the equipment to border guards, the surveillance technology to monitor frontiers, and the IT infrastructure to track population movements.”
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How Civilian Control of the Military Has Become a Fantasy

Important piece.

The essence of the situation begins, but doesn’t end, with civilian control of the military, where direction, oversight, and final decision-making authority reside with duly elected and appointed civil officials. That’s a minimalist precondition for democracy. A more ideal version of the relationship would be civilian supremacy, where there is civically engaged public oversight of strategically competent legislative oversight of strategically competent executive oversight of a willingly accountable, self-policing military.

What we have today, instead, is the polar opposite: not civilian supremacy over, nor even civilian control of the military, but what could be characterized as civilian subjugation to the military, where civilian officials are largely militarily illiterate, more militaristic than the military itself, advocates for — rather than overseers of — the institution, and running scared politically (lest they be labeled weak on defense and security). Continue reading

China: Who is militarising the South China Sea

China’s view.

It is the U.S. that has been enhancing military deployment in neighboring regions of theSouth China Sea.

The U.S. not only acquired access to eight military bases in the Philippines, thesuperpower has also continued increasing its military presence in Singapore and sentwarships and aircraft to the South China Sea.

What’s more, it has repeatedly pressured its allies and partners to conduct targetedmilitary drills and patrols to play up regional tension.

Besides selling weaponry to the Philippines, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries,the U.S. also repeatedly sent missile destroyers, strategic bombers and anti-submarinepatrol aircraft to approach or even enter relevant reefs and islands, as well as the adjacentwaters and air space of China’s Nansha and Xisha Islands. Such acts betray ambition toprovoke China.

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From a welfare state to a warfare state

But money in politics is not the only major institutional factor in which everyday and state violence are nourished by a growing militarism. As David Theo Goldberg has argued in his essay “Mission Accomplished: Militarizing Social Logic,” the military has also assumed a central role in shaping all aspects of society. Militarization is about more than the use of repressive power; it also represents a powerful social logic that is constitutive of values, modes of rationality and ways of thinking. According to Goldberg,

The military is not just a fighting machine…. It serves and socializes. It hands down to the society, as big brother might, its more or less perfected goods, from gunpowder to guns, computing to information management … In short, while militarily produced instruments might be retooled to other, broader social purpose – the military shapes pretty much the entire range of social production from commodities to culture, social goods to social theory.

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