Reconsidering War, Video Games, and the Nonviolence Playbook
by Diane Lefer
One morning in October I waited at the gate of the Air Ground Combat Center Marine training base in the Mojave Desert, Twentynine Palms, CA. I’d been invited with a community group about to take a public tour of what is essentially a grad school for combat. Marines from around the country — units 1,000 members strong — who’ve already completed basic training and are almost ready to deploy come here for 35 days of intensive work, including live-fire training and urban warfare practice in “Little Iraqi villages.”
“I don’t care if you learn anything today,” said the retired Marine who would lead our tour. “I’m here to keep you entertained. At the end of the day, if you don’t have fun, it’s my fault.”
But first, our drivers licenses were collected. Quick identity checks “just to make sure you’re not a terrorist.”
We waited. A woman near the front of the parking lot stared, scrutinizing me.
For a few years, my emails carried an automatic tag at the end: I am a terrorist. By paying US taxes, I provide financial support to State-sponsored terrorism and torture. I don’t remember when I deleted the statement, but it occurred to me my past might have caught up with me.