Sunday, August 10, 2008

Have we looked in the mirror lately?

“Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate--and quickly.” ~ Lazarus Long from “TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE”, By: Robert Heinlein


The above quote from Robert Heinlein came to mind recently while vaguely listening to TV news. The story was about the 'heroes' returning from Iraq. It caused me to recall reading news stories and watching German newsreels about the Wehrmacht 'heroes' returning from the occupation of the Soviet Union. I recalled how all the Russians who were fighting against the Nazi occupiers were referred to as either 'bandits' or 'terrorists'. Odd, isn't that the same way we refer to the Iraqis who are fighting our 'heroes' in their country? Even more odd, I recalled the story of one of the Afghan detainees now in Guantánamo who is being held as a terrorist because he threw a hand grenade at the invading U.S. troops. As I seem to recall, those wascawy revolutionaries (Americans) were doing exactly the same thing to the British troops during the Revolutionary War. Oh, and BTW, the Brits were calling our Founding Fathers and the American Revolutionaries 'bandits' and 'terrorists' as well.

Though Thom Hartmann, among others, has made the point more than once, it needs to be repeated; what is going on in Iraq and Afghanistan is in no wise a war, it is occupation, pure and simple. By all rules of civilized war (what an oxymoronic expression!) defending yourself, your family and your country from invaders is sanctioned under the Geneva conventions. And, to make matters worse, what we, America, have visited upon Afghanistan and Iraq is the prime war crime of 'waging a war of aggression'. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq threatened nor could realistically be called an existential threat to the United States, and that would be the only legal justification for waging war without UNSC imprimatur, which we did not have. Not that that makes any difference to us, it counted for absolutely nothing when the U.S. (NATO) engaged in a 79 day bombing war against Yugoslavia. The U.S. is now raising all kinds of accusations against the Russians for rushing troops in to South Ossetia to defend their own countrymen (cca. 90% of the population of South Ossetia are ethnic Russians), decrying Russia's intervention on it's own border (oh BTW, riddle me this, why do we never hear of North Ossetia? Maybe because it is part of Russia?). The intervention of the Russians was asked for by the leaders of the “breakaway Georgian province of South Ossetia”. Yet, somehow, while the Americans are decrying Russia's intervention in South Ossetia (after 10 Russian peacekeepers had been killed by the Georgian military), they can't seem to see the utter hypocrisy of this position, especially while America is engaged in illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan stemming from illegal invasions. Odd, isn't it?

We 'love' the Iraqis (and Afghanis) so much that we call them “towel heads”, “hadjiis”, “camel jockeys”, etc. ad nauseam. Of course, to make it easier to murder fellow human beings, it helps to denigrate them and make them less than human. After all, didn't we call the American Indians “redskins”, “savages”, “beasts”? Didn't we call the Germans “Huns”, the Japanese “Nips”, “slant eyed devils”, the Vietnamese “gooks”?

I recall in my youth how Americans were puzzled how so cultured, educated and civil a people as the Germans could have possibly backed a regime as murderous and monstrous as the Nazis. Have we really looked in the mirror lately?

2 comments:

Gray Falcon said...

Perhaps the "SS" comparison is a bit strong; the Wehrmacht is more appropriate. Still, it stands: America wages wars of aggression, yet bristles when Iraqis, Afghans, Russians or Serbs defend themselves. That's because the traditional morality, wherein the deeds were good or evil, was replaced by the post-modern one, in which the identity of the perpetrator makes the act good or evil. Hence, anything Americans do is a priori all right, but anything the Designated Enemy does is automatically reprehensible.

Anonymous said...

'...history is written by the victorious...' -Howard Zinn

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