• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

vrijdag 30 september 2016

U.S. WARS AND RACISM

We Can’t Have War Without Racism. We Can Have a World Without Both. 

Posted on Sep 29, 2016
By Robert Fantina / World Beyond War

r2hox / CC BY-SA 2.0

The author delivered the following remarks at the No War 2016 conference in late September.


We heard earlier today about racism and how it plays out in the conquest and exploitation of African countries, with a focus on the tragic situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. People in North America don’t normally hear much about this; that lack of reporting, and the resulting lack of interest, in itself indicates a high degree of racism. Why do the powers that be, the corporate-owned media that is one with the U.S. government, not care about the blatant racism happening in Africa, and the suffering and deaths of countless men, women and children? Well, obviously, in the minds of those who control the flow of information, those people simply don’t matter. After all, the 1% benefit from the theft from and exploitation of these people, so in their view, nothing else matters. And these crimes against humanity have been perpetrated for decades.
We also heard about Islamophobia, or anti-Muslim prejudice. While the horrific exploitation of people throughout Africa is more or less ignored, Islamophobia is actually embraced; Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to keep all Muslims out of the U.S., and both he and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton want to increase the bombing of mostly Muslim counties.
In May of last year, anti-Islam protestors held a demonstration in Arizona. As you may recall, armed demonstrators surrounded a mosque during services. The demonstration was peaceful, with one of the demonstrators being invited into the mosque, and after his brief visit, said he has been mistaken about Muslims. A little knowledge goes a long way.
But imagine, if you will, the reaction if a group of peaceful Muslims took up arms and surrounded a Catholic church during Mass, a synagogue during services or any other Christian of Jewish house of worship. I can just imagine the body count, with all the victims being Muslim.
So, the killing of Africans by corporate representatives, and of Muslims directly by the U.S. government: is this new? Are these murderous policies something that have just been dreamed up by President Barack Obama? Hardly, but I won’t take the time to detail the horrendous practices of the U.S. since its very founding, but I will discuss a few.
When the earliest Europeans arrived in North America, they found a land rich in natural resources. Unfortunately, it was inhabited by millions of people. Yet in the eyes of these early settlers, the natives were only savages. After the colonies declared independence, the Federal government decreed that it would manage all the affairs of the ‘Indians’. The natives, who had lived from time immemorial managing their own affairs, were now to be managed by people who wanted the land that they relied on for their very existence.
The list of treaties that the U.S government made with the natives and subsequently violated, sometimes within a matter of days, would take volumes to detail. But little has changed in the intervening 200 years. Native Americans today are still exploited, still stuck on reservations, and still suffering under government management. It isn’t surprising that the Black Lives Matter movement has embraced the cause of the natives, currently seen in its support of the NoDAPL (no Dakota Access Pipeline) initiative. Palestinian activists in that country, which also suffers under the heavy hand of U.S. racism, and the Black Lives Matter movement, offer mutual support. Perhaps more than ever before, divergent groups that experience U.S. exploitation are aligning with each other to achieve mutual goals for justice.
Before I return to an abbreviated litany of U.S crimes against humanity, I want to mention what has been called ‘missing white women’s syndrome’. Think for a moment, if you will, about missing women you have heard reported about on the news. Elizabeth Smart and Lacey Peterson are two that come to my mind. There are a few others whose faces I can see in my mind from various news reports, and all of them are white. When women of color disappear, there is little reporting. Again, we need to consider the racism of those who control the corporate-owned media. If the lives of Africans in Africa have no meaning or importance to them, why should the lives of women of African descent have any in the U.S.? And if Native Americans are completely expendable, why should missing native women draw any attention?
And while we’re discussing lives that, in the eyes of the U.S. government, seem to have no meaning, let’s talk about unarmed black men. In the U.S., they apparently serve as target practice for the white police, who kill them for no other reason than their race, and do so with nearly complete impunity. I see that the officer in Tulsa who shot and killed Terrance Crutcher is being charged with manslaughter. Why the charge isn’t first degree murder, I don’t know, but at least she is being charged. But what about the murderers of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Carl Nivins and the numerous other innocent victims? Why are they allowed to walk free?
But let’s return to racism in war.
In the late 1800s, after the U.S. annexed the Philippines, William Howard Taft, who later became president of the U.S., was appointed the civil governor general of the Philippines. He referred to the Filipino people as his ‘little brown brothers’. Major General Adna R. Chaffee, also in the Philippines with the U.S. military, described the Filipino people thusly: “We are dealing with a class of people whose character is deceitful, who are absolutely hostile to the white race and who regard life as of little value and, finally, who will not submit to our control until absolutely defeated and whipped into such condition.”
The U.S. is always talking about winning the hearts and minds of the people whose nation it is invading. Yet the Filipino people, like the Vietnamese 70 years later, and the Iraqis 30 years after that, needed to ‘submit to U.S. control’. It’s hard to win the hearts and minds of the people you are killing.
But, Mr. Taft’s ‘little brown brothers’ needed to be whipped into submission.
In 1901, about three years into the war, the Balangiga massacre occurred during the Samar campaign. In the town of Balangiga, on the island of Samar, the Filipinos surprised the Americans in an attack that killed 40 U.S. soldiers. Now, the U.S. reveres U.S. soldiers who are allegedly defending the ‘homeland’, but has no regard for its own victims. In retribution, Brigadier General Jacob H. Smith ordered the execution of everyone in the town over the age of ten. Said he: “Kill and burn, kill and burn; the more you kill and the more you burn, the more you please me.”[1] [See footnotes at end of article.] Between 2,000 and 3,000 Filipinos, one third of the entire population of Samar, died in this massacre.
During World War I, tens of thousands of African-Americans participated, and demonstrated bravery and valor. There was a belief that, standing side-by-side with their white compatriots, serving the country they both lived in, a new racial equality would be born.
However, this was not to be the case. Throughout the war, the U.S. government and the military feared the ramifications of African American soldiers participating freely in French culture. They warned the French not to associate with African Americans and disseminated racist propaganda. This included falsely accusing African-American soldiers of raping white women.
The French, however, didn’t seem impressed with U.S. propaganda efforts against African-Americans. Unlike the U.S., which awarded no metals to any African-American soldier who served in World War I until years after the war, and then only posthumously, the French awarded hundreds of its most important and prestigious metal, to African-American soldiers due to their exceptionally heroic efforts.[2]

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