INDENTURED update: March 24th Hearing in D.C.

On March 24th of this year there was a hearing in Congress (video above) to address labor abuse and human trafficking on our bases in the war zones. The witnesses included State Dept. and Pentagon officials who described their respective agency's measures to deal with the crimes perpetrated against hundreds of thousands of laborers who worked on our bases. If you listen closely what you'll also hear, with the exception of a few speakers, is an illustration of the total impotence these leaders actually have in addressing a crime that our government, through a lack of oversight, aided and abetted against hundreds of thousands of impoverished men and women. In 2009 there were 90,000 people (categorized as TCNs: Third Country Nationals) working on base support for us in Afghanistan and Iraq. In everyday language, that means there were 90,000 foreigners (mostly men, mostly south Asian) doing things like cooking, cleaning and construction on our bases in 09'. When you consider the unbelievable length of these wars and that there is a high turnover rate of workers - that's a whole bunch of people who lived and worked as modern-day-slaves on our bases. They weren't bound in chains; they were bound with debt. Pardon me, they are bound in debt – it’s still happening - 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Here is a picture of the numbers for Iraq on 09’, the lion's share of the base support number are TCNs. That's just one year in Iraq alone.

The hubris of the people who designed these wars is beyond me. In addition to the violation of the revolutionary legal principles championed by American attorneys at the Military Tribunals at Nuremberg after WWII (The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg called the waging of aggressive war "essentially an evil initiate a war of not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." It’s during the tribunal that the term Act of Aggression was developed – a war without the justification of self-defense. This work was led by American military attorneys and it’s a great big feather in our foreign policy hat. (I mean was) the Bush admin also used the wars as a free market experiment. You know what a free market military base in a war zone looks like? From a distance it looks like a normal military base but it’s flanked on all sides by little company towns (see: slums), which are dirt lots boxed in barbwire where impoverished men from impoverished nations live in trailers stacked like cordwood – these are the stateless, rightless, faceless bodies that do a house wife’s work, that is to say: they do everything. They cook, they clean, they make the coffee in the morning, they lift the bricks, dig the holes, clean the latrines, wash the clothes – they are the worker drones, the underclass and the untouchables of the war zone society and there are tens of thousands of them in little pens huddling the flanks of the bases. The destinies of these men are defined by their manyness, which in the context of free market makes them valueless. And that is just one reason why a free market war is a really terrible idea.

It’s appropriate that today is Easter. I’m not religious but I have lived through a few Lithuanian winters and experienced the total euphoria of spring at that latitude and with that a lesson – resurrection is a real event in our everyday lives but it always comes later than we want it. It feels late, like the wars are well over but we’ve just got to fix this stuff before we can move forward as a society. They weren't bound in chains; they were bound with debt. Pardon me, they are bound in debt – it’s still happening on our bases in Iraq and Afghanistan - 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

Please send the link to INDENTURED to your representation with a short note. They do read your mail.

INDENTURED from Cy Kuckenbaker on Vimeo.