Monday, 13 July 2015

Terror toys and nightmare enemies - building that young militarist mind

Stuck for an inspiring, mind-developing toy for your child? How about the Character Building Predator Drone and Remote Operator set?

Touchingly, the lego model base comes complete with a female RAF drone operator. 

Buyers at the HM Armed Forces site also learn that the real RAF M-Q Reaper aircraft can fly for 13 hours, provides real time intelligence and fires laser-guided missiles.

There's plenty of other additions in the Character Building series for your eager-to-learn-the-mechanics-of-killing toddler, such as the Army Royal Artillery Mega Set, including artillery gunners, guns and mortars, not forgetting those enemy soldiers waiting to be bombed in their enemy bunkers.

Parents might also consider the Character Building Army HVM LML Missile Platform, complete with High Velocity Lightweight Missile Launch.

Or maybe the RAF Tornado Fast Jet Set, capable of delivering a wide variety of weapons.

Watch with pleasure and pride as your child develops from inquisitive, keyboard-flicking drone-operator to full-on weapons fetishist.

(Information on the number of human beings murdered, and detail of life extinguished, by such weaponry - not included.)

What next, one wonders, for the HM Armed Forces Character Building series? Perhaps an RAF Grim Reaper RP2 Multiple Directing Annihilator Drone Missile Set, with Advanced Political Stealth Evasion Radar, and This Year's Terrorist Guidance Selector System. (Instructions on usage for Middle East region included. A UK/US/Saudi axis product, suitable for disturbed politicians of all ages.)

Campaigners close down Elbit's factory in Kent

Alternatively, there's more healthy, life-asserting figures for young minds to admire, such as the recent anti-militarist activists who closed down a number of UK factories run by Israeli arms company Elbit.

Hopefully, that kind of 'drone strike' will help save some lives.

Shamefully, the UK government sent £4 million worth of weapons parts to Israel in the immediate months after its killing spree in Gaza last year. Netanyahu must be very pleased with the delivery of those 'toys' and the political support for Israel it signifies.

Why aren't more of the public outraged by this death trade and the special treatment reserved for corporate arms profiteering? Largely because of how weapons and war are wrapped and bow-tied in a culture of 'giving' militarism. 

As the Queen led a minute's silence for the British victims of the Tunisian hotel attack, who would think this anything other than a noble, humanitarian gesture? But, like so much royal-militarist appropriation, while we're urged to observe the loss of 'ours', there will be no such remembrance for all the victims of Britain's economy of death, no media marking of those in foreign lands blown to bits by the jets, drones and missiles delivered by the UK, its allies and proxies.

And of '7/7', the same dismally-evaded truth, the same political, royal and militarist seizure of a commemoration. As John Pilger wrote in the immediate aftermath of that atrocity:
The bombs of 7 July were Blair's bombs. Blair brought home to this country his and George W Bush's illegal, unprovoked and blood-soaked adventure in the Middle East. Were it not for his epic irresponsibility, the Londoners who died in the Tube and on the No 30 bus almost certainly would be alive today.
Defence Minister Michael Fallon's latest call for bombing Syria, this time against Islamic State rather than Assad, returns us to the same weapons-obsessed 'solutions'. And it's not just the Telegraph, Mail and Sun banging the drums of war. The Guardian, too, is never short of war-promoting comment.

Loaded imagery. BBC's 'good-weapons' caption: 
'RAF jets have been involved in air strikes
against Islamic State targets in Iraq'
And, of course, there's the ever-dutiful British State Media amplifying the terrorist nightmare, repeating here, without a word of counter-comment, Cameron's plans to increase spending on drones: 
Mr Cameron wants the defence review, due to conclude by the end of the year, to prioritise resources that will help to protect the UK from evolving threats - not only extremism but also a more aggressive Russia and the risks posed by cyber attacks.
While reiterating Fallon's call for increased, Nato-advised 'defence' spending, the BBC also give helpful voice to the case for extended drone deployment: 
The prime minister will also visit RAF Waddington, the UK's drone base in Lincolnshire, from where operators fly unmanned aircraft over Iraq and Syria. The RAF's jets and drones are part of the coalition attacking IS in Iraq, but in Syria the drones are limited to a surveillance role - although ministers have begun setting out the case to extend the bombing campaign to the terror group's strongholds in that country.
Meanwhile, as our militarist-minded media turn a blind eye to drone terror, teachers are being asked to keep a vigilant eye on pupils with 'terrorist tendencies'. All, in the process, helping to keep dissenting young minds in check, while promoting 'British values'.

In the same Orwellian mode, here's an interesting account from one teacher (in a letter to Media Lens) who dared question the motivations behind the minute's silence for the victims of the Tunisian hotel:

Subject: Re: Propaganda in education

Hi David,

Very interesting discussion with my Head teacher this morning. She asked me to read the statement that will be read out to the school before a minutes silence at midday. I told her what I thought and said that I wouldn't be 'honouring' the dead in this way She has says that the group I teach at 12 will be covered by another teacher. I didn't think I'd ever see this kind of knee jerk politics infecting our schools.
[Name withheld]
From media-encouraged 'interventionism' to medal-draped royals, children and a propaganda-bombarded public at large are being sold a catalogue of militarist ideology. From demonic toys to sanitised remembrance, nightmare fears are being peddled about the 'terror enemy' and Britain's role as a 'benign' Action Man.

Isn't it all very reassuring? Alongside expanding civil surveillance, from monitoring classrooms to watching online chat sites, it's good to know those silent drones and roaring bombs are all helping to keep us safe and sleeping easier at night.

Unless, of course, you're a traumatised child in Gaza, or a wedding party in Afghanistan, or just walking down a road in Yemen, Pakistan or Iraq.

Still, it's all - our political guardians, military minders and mitigating media remind us - part of the 'necessary fight against terror', the 'dutiful deployment' of 'our good weaponry', and the 'character building' encouragement of our children.