Tuesday, July 12, 2005

War is peace

Bush, yesterday, on his "war on terrah":

The heart of our strategy is this: Free societies are peaceful societies.
Arundhati Roy, in War Talk:
The U.S. empire rests on a grisly foundation: the massacre of millions of indigenous people, the stealing of their lands, and following this, the kidnapping and enslavement of millions of black people from Africa to work that land. Thousands died on the seas while they were being shipped like caged cattle between continents. ...

Here is Chomsky, writing in the essay “The Manufacturing of Consent,” on the founding of the United States of America:

During the Thanksgiving holiday a few weeks ago, I took a walk with some friends and family in a national park. We came across a gravestone, which had on it the following inscription: “Here lies an Indian woman, a Wampanoag, whose family and tribe gave of themselves and their land that this great nation might be born and grow.”

Of course, it is not quite accurate to say that the indigenous population gave of themselves and their land for that noble purpose. Rather, they were slaughtered, decimated, and dispersed in the course of one of the greatest exercises in genocide in human history...which we celebrate each October when we honor Columbus—a notable mass murderer himself—on Columbus Day.

Hundreds of American citizens, well-meaning and decent people, troop by that gravestone regularly and read it, apparently without reaction; except perhaps, a feeling of satisfaction that at last we are giving some due recognition to the sacrifices of the native peoples.... They might react differently if they were to visit Auschwitz or Dachau and find a gravestone reading: “Here lies a woman, a Jew, whose family and people gave of themselves and their possessions that this great nation might grow and prosper.”

In the best-selling version of popular myth as history, U.S. goodness peaked during World War II (aka America’s War Against Fascism). Lost in the din of trumpet sound and angel song is the fact that when fascism was in full stride in Europe, the U.S. government actually looked away. When Hitler was carrying out his genocidal pogrom against Jews, U.S. officials refused entry to Jewish refugees fleeing Germany. The United States entered the war only after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Drowned out by the noisy hosannas is its most barbaric act, in fact the single most savage act the world has ever witnessed: the dropping of the atomic bomb on civilian populations in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The war was nearly over. The hundreds of thousands of Japanese people who were killed, the countless others who were crippled by cancers for generations to come, were not a threat to world peace. They were civilians. Just as the victims of the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings were civilians. Just as the hundreds of thousands of people who died in Iraq because of the U.S.-led sanctions were civilians. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a cold, calculated experiment carried out to demonstrate America’s power. At the time, President Truman described it as “the greatest thing in history.”

The Second World War, we’re told, was a “war for peace.” The atomic bomb was a “weapon of peace.” We’re invited to believe that nuclear deterrence prevented World War III. (That was before President George Bush Jr. came up with the “pre-emptive strike doctrine.”) Was there an outbreak of peace after the Second World War? Certainly there was (relative) peace in Europe and America—but does that count as world peace? Not unless savage, proxy wars fought in lands where the colored races live (chinks, niggers, dinks, wogs, gooks) don’t count as wars at all.

Since the Second World War, the United States has been at war with or has attacked, among other countries, Korea, Guatemala, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Grenada, Libya, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan. This list should also include the U.S. government’s covert operations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, the coups it has engineered, and the dictators it has armed and supported. It should include Israel’s U.S.-backed war on Lebanon, in which thousands were killed. It should include the key role America has played in the conflict in the Middle East, in which thousands have died fighting Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territory. It should include America’s role in the civil war in Afghanistan in the 1980’s, in which more than one million people were killed. It should include the embargos and sanctions that have led directly and indirectly to the death of hundreds of thousands of people, most visibly in Iraq. Put it all together, and it sounds very much as though there has been a World War III, and that the U.S. government was (or is) one of its chief protagonists. ...

Most of the essays in Chomsky’s For Reasons of State are about U.S. aggression in South Vietnam, North Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. It was a war that lasted more than twelve years. Fifty-eight thousand Americans and approximately two million Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians lost their lives. The U.S. deployed half a million ground troops, dropped more than six million tons of bombs. ...


At 7/12/2005 01:28:00 PM, Blogger Mixter said...

Free societies are peaceful societies.

Yup, that's us...


At 7/12/2005 04:04:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Ah hell, those Injuns were probably all a bunch'a commies anyway.

At 11/25/2005 06:08:00 PM, Blogger austin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11/25/2005 06:09:00 PM, Blogger austin said...

To our credit though, every country/empire has been founded by violent means. I guess it's just our sad human nature. Too bad we have to celebrate it..

Im not sure a true utopian society could be created peacefully anymore. Everyone has laid their claim to land and will fight to the death to keep it theirs.

Maybe in 500 years.


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