“Abolish ICE”? Then Why Not Abolish All US Militarism?

by Doug Noble, originally published on CounterPunch, August 21, 2018

US antiwar and antidrone activists have for years bumped up against a major obstacle in our organizing of fellow citizens: Namely, the chasm of disconnect between our own understanding (shared by most of the world’s population) of the US as the most evil, dangerous militarized threat in the world, on one hand, and a majority of Americans’ ingrained belief, on the other hand, that the US is the (necessarily militarized) number one force for good in the world (despite My Lai, despite Abu Ghraib, etc. etc.)

Because of the US mainstream media’s relentless patriotic propaganda and celebration of “heroic” US soldiers, it’s hard for most Americans, especially those with family in the service, to see the US military machine as a force for evil rather than for good.

So they either ignore or justify the massive worldwide threat posed by US military bases and its nuclear arsenal, and by America’s still escalating, mostly in secret, “war on terror” that rains unimagined horror and atrocity over innocent men, women and children in farflung countries throughout the world, with its drones and special forces and its bombs dropped somewhere on the planet, invisibly, every twelve minutes.

But meanwhile the evil of the US war machine has become increasingly visible inside our borders, in the form of a racist militarized police presence and now in the form of an unspeakably cruel, militarized immigration apparatus. Many diehard American patriots, and even their war-prone Congressional representatives, have now come to recognize and detest the undeniably evil family policies of a militarized ICE, which brutally tears families apart, mindlessly separating children from their parents. There is in fact far more concern about targeted immigrant families than about all the innocent families the US targets elsewhere around the globe.

A June 2018 CBS News poll found that two-thirds of Americans say separating children from their parents at the border is unAmerican and unacceptable. Sixty-eight percent of Americans say they care “a lot” about what happens to the children who are separated from their parents at the border. This widespread outpouring of concern might yet open their eyes to the horrors visited on such children and families around the globe, where US drones and US bombs mercilessly tear not only families apart but the very bodies of the family members themselves.

If we can draw this connection for people, making visible the same militarized evils the US inflicts on (literally) countless children both here and abroad, we might help rekindle a desperately needed US antiwar and antidrone movement in this country. If millions of American citizens and their Congressional leaders are sufficiently outraged to “abolish ICE,” they might finally be ready to contemplate abolishing drones and the war machine itself.


Doug Noble is a long time activist in his hometown of Rochester, NY where he is a leading member of Metro Justice Peace Action and Education and a member of Upstate Drone Action, an organization that educates about drone warfare and has been using civil resistance at Hancock National Guard Base, a national Reaper Drone hub, for nearly a decade.

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