Class Discussion Notes from Sept. 7

Most people died from war, not in war.
Mostly, people die from famine and disease but we’re most familiar with the killing and violence itself rather than the (not necessarily) inadvertent effects of war.

Raphael Lemkin (very important dude) is the guy that coined the term Genocide to describe what was being done to the Jewish people in Europe by the Nazis in 1944
Genus: race
Cido: kill

The holocaust was the first genocide that we really knew about real-time

Genocide was a new category; it wasn’t because new things were happening but it was because it was a new thing that he wanted to become illegal

Genocide Convention: 1948, right after WWII- genocide became a legal term

Is rape just something that happens in conflict?
What ends up happening to the mass psychology and the mass identity; the purposeful introduction of STD’s to women so that they couldn’t reproduce
Rape is a tactic and rape itself could be considered genocide

Mongols: if we totally kill everyone in City A, then if we show up in any of the other cities B, C, D, E they’ll just submit and do what we want out of fear that we’ll do to them what we did to those in City A

Modality: modal quality

When war is happening away from your home front societal expectations aren’t as enforced and combatants don’t feel like they have to follow these “rules”

Whenever people see other people at different “levels” bad things happen. Dehumanization at its finest

Chapter 2 vs. Chapter 3:

Physical vs. psychological, direct vs. indirect

You lose your assets, your reserves, whatever is tied to that certain space- whatever is in the house; the car, the shelter (when you’re displaced)

Besides just losing physical things, there’s a psychological impact of going somewhere new and adaptation to possibly rough circumstances
People start doing things among their friends and family that they wouldn’t normally do- they don’t have what they need and that changes their psychological mindset and how they act
People stop living and start surviving- they think less about the future and more about the present- it impacts the rest of their lives
Dirt-poor people only live for the next day; middle class and upper class people think more into the future (aka. credit scores) (day-to-day vs. planning)

Chapter 4

Ideologies- there’s a spectrum.
The civilian is the enemy —– The civilian should only be killed when it’s expedient —– Don’t kill civilians, be reluctant

Genocidal thinking: arguments that sound genocidal, arguments and thoughts that lead you down a genocidal road

When purity becomes a main tenant- when someone talks about purifying or making an area a homogeneous
Collective thinking; purity, eugenics
People would commit genocide because it works as a military strategy; If people recognize that it works as a military strategy then they don’t really have to acknowledge that it’s a really shitty thing to do
The ends justify the means; utility; if the goal is a worthy goal, then however you get to that goal is totally fine
Revenge; people strike harder than how they’ve been hit so that they’re not hurt again
Pres. Bush- if you’re not with us, you’re against us.
Social Darwinism: all of the races are fighting each other for survival: you or me; everyone is fighting for each other, we’re all in competition and only the winners are going to survive
Necessity: we have to do it
Profit: we make money from it

Chapter 5: Civilian Ambiguity

It’s impossible to just label as someone as entirely innocent; you can lose your status as a civilian if you do x, y, and z
Ways that you can lose your civilian status: relationships; social ambiguity; economic support for terrorism; if someone shares the same ideological views as the person who is seen as the enemy; military ambiguity: it’s difficult to say that “if you’re unarmed then you’re a civilian”- You can’t really draw a constant line between when you’re fighting and when you’re supposed to be fought against; Maybe just when the dictator or the person in charge decides your status as a civilian

Osama Bin Laden: “If you let me win, I’ll let you be a civilian”

Chapter 6: How you transform into a killer

Case studies of how you motivate killing: 80% of people will commit violent acts if they’re put in the right psychological conditions to do so
A lot of people might go into war thinking that they won’t be that person but then change into that once they’re in the actual situation

The power of authority figures: very famous
Authority, obedience, and conformity

Chapter 7:
Promoting Civilian Protection

  • Reason
  • Research
  • Resonance
  • Representational re-description
  • Resources and rewards
  • Real world events
  • Resistance

Reasons for protecting civilians!

  • the preciousness of human life
  • mercy
  • a fair fight
  • innocence
  • civilian obligations
  • recognizing ambiguity
  • resonance
  • tolerating civilians
  • resources and rewards
  • power points and tipping points
  • levels and arenas