Now comes a powerful report from the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA). The authors note the gradual erasure of boundary lines between battle zones and what used to be called “civil society”. The tendency to accept widespread civilian casualties (including children) and damage to civic structures (including schools) as an inevitable by-product of asymmetrical warfare has served to accelerate this process, whereby all of society becomes absorbed into the violent space of the forever war.
Though not discussed in the report, the United States has a long history of crossing the line, so much so that one might identify the practice as a distinguishing marker within our military DNA: indiscriminate massacres such as Wounded Knee; “scorched earth” campaigns such as Sherman’s march to the sea; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; carpet bombings of villages and food supplies in Vietnam and Cambodia; and most recently, the widespread use of UAV drones which expose entire populations to the psychological trauma of unceasing threat and scrutiny.
Yet as the GCPEA study extensively documents, the USA hardly retains a monopoly on such violent transgressions, as attacks on schools have become increasingly central to a wide range of conflicts from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The entire document is worth a careful review; below, we publish a montage of excerpts, including (most importantly) measures used by communities to protect against such attacks.
And now the response…