My Lai / Haditha / Samar

 

“…War is beautiful because it establishes man’s dominion over the subjugated machinery by means of gas masks, terrifying megaphones, flame throwers, and small tanks. War is beautiful because it initiates the dreamt-of metalization of the human body. War is beautiful because it enriches a flowering meadow with the fiery orchids of machine guns. War is beautiful because it combines the gunfire, the cannonades, the cease-fire, the scents, and the stench of putrefaction into a symphony. War is beautiful because it creates new architecture, like that of the big tanks, the geometrical formation flights, the smoke spirals from burning villages, and many others … Poets and artists of Futurism! … remember these principles of an aesthetics of war so that your struggle for a new literature and a new graphic art … may be illumined by them!”

 

Today is the 41st anniversary of the My Lai Massacre which occurred during the American War in Vietnam.  I find it interesting that many Americans think of the United States’ military interventions in Southeast Asia as distant and disconnected events rather than phenomena which have shaped the present and which are still relevant to present day acts of U.S. military aggression.  

Lost behind the shocking public discourse of the attrocities committed against Vietnamese civilians by the American military is the entire Philippine American War which continues to go largely undiscussed and unknown amongst the popular conscience of Americans.  A phrase often used to describe the Philippine American War “The First Vietnam” underscores this absence of this bloody war of subjugation in the minds of Americans.  And it would be a benefit to Americans to not allow this weight to be upon their collective conscience as it is during this war that an American General ordered his soldiers to “Kill everyone over 10” years old on the island of Samar.  In retaliation for an successful surprise attack against invading American soldiers in Balangiga, Gen. Jacob Smith ordered his soldiers to turn the island into “a howling wilderness.”  The island is still somewhat underpopulated to this day due to the massacre of its people which took place more than a century ago.  

 

Kill Everyone Over Ten

"Kill Everyone Over Ten"

 

And it is not difficult to find examples of U.S. military aggression in our recent history (yesterday even).  The Haditha Incident in which 24 Iraqi civilians were massacred by American troops as well as the rape of a 14 year old girl and the brutal murder of her family in Mahmoudiya cannot be seen as separate incidents from what occurred in Vietnam or in the Philippines.  These horrific incidents are part of a long pattern of atrocities which are necessary for opening of new markets, the extraction of cheap (or even free) raw materials and natural resources, political domination, and the creation of new pools of available of labor to exploit.   Imperialism means war.  In order for the capitalism to survive its perpetuators must continue to expand their influence and their wealth through whatever means are available to them.  Imperialists wish to make very large omelets and they are more than willing to crack some eggs.  They have no remorse for laying waste to millions of innocent people, destroying the beauty of their homelands, and shackling them in virtual slavery as beasts of burden and extensions of machines.  Imperialist wars of a aggression did not begin in Vietnam or the Philippines and they will not end in Iraq, so long as Imperialism continues to exist.  If profit, the accumulation of obscene amounts of wealth, privatization of property at the expense of the common good, and exploitation in all of its forms continue to be the way of life we follow as human beings than we can only expect to live in a world where the slaughter of human beings is silently accepted as “just the way things are”.  I, however, will NEVER accept these aberrations and will always support a legitimate resistance against U.S. military aggression.

 

My Lai Monument

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2 Responses to “My Lai / Haditha / Samar”

  1. […] My Lai / Haditha / Samar « The 50 Megaton Paper Tiger "Today is the 41st anniversary of the My Lai Massacre which occurred during the American War in Vietnam. I find it interesting that many Americans think of the United States’ military interventions in Southeast Asia as distant and disconnected events rather than phenomena which have shaped the present and which are still relevant to present day acts of U.S. military aggression.: (tags: blog southeastasia history war imperialism) […]

  2. great job in showing how history keeps repeating itself with our military blunders.

    many people dont even know about My Lai…..but almost hardly anybody knows about Balingiga……they call the Korean War the “forgotten war” but the Filipino-American was is almost non-existant in most American history books. its sad that we dont learn from the mistakes of the past…

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