Series in Critical Security 4
The previous post, SCS 3, outlines a recurrent topic in my research, the role of borders in globalilzation, governing through security, and identity formation. I really only have this one case study (i.e. American Southwest & Iraq) to go from, but I am continually finding new sources that sorrowfully reaffirm my hunches that something meaningful is circulating between these two places creating influences on how security policy is both made and implemented.
What inspired the paper, which lead to the previous post, was a video I found on Google Video. The video shows a slideshow set to a Kid Rock song, which at the end turns suddenly violent and switches to video clips of destruction, violence, and combat. The author of the video is a BORTAC (SWAT Unit) agent of La Migra sent on contract from the DHS to serve the DoD in Iraq on one of the many border security missions. Notice the iconography of desert patrols mixed with American periphenalia - very a la frontera. There are some important messages here about who BORTAC agents believe themselves to be: authors of violence and destruction, deliverer of law and order, and models of hyper-masculine heterosexual patriotism(contains graphic scenes). Go to video HERE.
[see comments section for more about this video]
US Border Patrol missions to Iraq are a small portion of Operation Steel Curtain, a tactical operation designed to gain control over the Iraq/Syria border region. Steel Curtain is still a larger part of Operation Hunter, designed to control the whole Anbar region. One could continue this scaling excercise to bringing Hunter into Operation Iraqi Freedom, the War on Terror, U.S. imperialism, and right back to Huntington's domestic/international racial hierarchy of civil-military relations (SCS 2).
Here you'll find a series of links to an official military news site HERE, a blog entry with first- and second-hand accounts of Operation Steel Curtain HERE, and a home video by a Marine from the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines of the 81st Platoon HERE (contains graphic scenes) (try to pay attention to the lyrics of the soundtrack). My intent, is to offer a the multi-dimensional perspective on this "event."
I believe this layered and dimensional perspective is important to see and recognize becasue these "voices" are all contributing to the formation of security discourse. What is particularly interesting about the home videos from both the BORTAC agent and the US Marine is that they provide a glimpse into the interpretations, representations, and explanations that they tell to themselves and each other about thier experience. These are immensely important if we are to understand "what" the agents and soldiers are bringing back to la frontera with them from the Middle East. As the author of the Marines home video states on his website,
"From Cali to Falluja, San Diego Naval Station to the Syrian Border, 2/1 has been around the block."
The following links go to other videos. Someday this will turn into a real research paper comparing the discourse and rhetoric of these home videos and how they speak to the state-terrorism of border policing and the fascade of "national security."