The other interesting aspect of the FTAA protests was how they were disappeared by the media. This combination of ridiculously overwhelming force combined with strict perception management is classic Powell Doctrine, that is, a military doctrine that exposes the seamless connection between state violence and the political necessity of legitimation.
[JVB] You've recently put up a web site. On the center of the home page, it says:
De Oppresso Liber
"To liberate the oppressed"
The Special Forces Motto
Can you tell us why you put this quote on your site?
[SG] Irony, and as a kind of teaser to military folks who might visit.
[JVB] In our previous interview for Truthout, you told me that you considered yourself a bridge builder between the military and the general public. (Feel free to correct my recall.) Is this still your purpose? Is it your main purpose for speaking and writing against the Bush military machine?
[SG] I'd like to be a bridge builder between the military and the left. It's a way for me to have my past without dissociating from it, and it's important.
I think military people have very valuable skills and experiences, and I want them to embrace a politics of resistance.
Admittedly, my military career was a little more intense than most, but still my political work has been a kind of personal redemption and a way for me to continue growing past that experience without denying it.
And I want the left to quit stereotyping the military. Their thinking in the main about the military has been simplistic. One cannot confront a system one does not understand concretely. The military is a key institution in this system. It just amazes me that people think simple and often sanctimonious moral pronouncements, based on that same media misrepresentation we talked about earlier, is sufficient to the task of understanding the military. No one on the left would consider trying to describe imperialism without describing finance capital, but they are all content to dismiss the military as some ahistorical blunt object.
We are contesting for other institutions when we contest for social power, and I think we should contest for the loyalty of the rank and file in the military, beginning with people of color and women.
[JVB] Your son is serving in Iraq right now. Are you worried about him? Is there anything else you want to say about him?