“If McCain is elected, I’m headed back home,” stated a classmate this week during a discussion about the elections.
The assumption behind the plan, of course, is that moving away would insulate you from the effects of Bush-McCain’s policies. But if anything, the deleterious effects of this administration’s military policies are magnified for marginalized populations in the Global South.
For example, there has seen a sharp increase in birth defects among children born after the 2004 US bombings in Fallujah. These defects include congenital spinal cord and renal abnormalities, septicemia, and meningitis. Cancer rates among different age groups have also increased. Iraqi researchers and medical professionals point to the US Army’s use of white phosphorus and depleted uranium, which has increased the population’s exposure to environmental pollutants.
Furthermore, Bush’s “war against terror” extends all the way to the southern Philippines, where US troops have been deployed to fight against supposed Islamic terrorist groups. This militarization in Mindanao has led to massive displacement of the Mindanao residents, including Muslims and indigenous Lumads.
For many women and children, even the most mundane facets of life, such as walking to school, become militarized. untold territories writes,
Although their house was located in a relatively safer place, [Babylab] had to endure two-hour walks everyday going to school. It was also not a steady schooling because every time the war sparks at the area of the school, classes are always suspended and students were asked to stay at home so that they will not be harmed in the war.
Not only are the burdens of preemptive war shouldered by marginalized populations like women and children in conflict zones. The effects of war are also very intimate. Militarization determines where they live. How far they have to walk to school. Whether they could sleep lying down in their homes or in a sitting position in crammed evacuation centers.
And in the case of the babies born in Fallujah since 2004, the effects of war are inscribed into their very bodies.