Friday, August 12, 2011

There is no exception to America

PJ O'Rourke once described the Philippines' history of colonial rule by Spain then the US as three hundred years in a convent, fifty years in a brothel. What he failed to mention was what happened during the change from one to the other:
American forces were soon engaged in atrocities that resulted in the deaths of tens and possibly hundreds of thousands of civilians as well as the burning of villages and the widespread use of torture to extract information. Brigadier General Robert Hughes defended the actions before Senate investigators in 1902 on grounds that would be familiar to the ancients: "These people," he said, "are not civilized."
HT Arts & Letters Daily.

OK, they got the idea from the previous occupiers, and WWII led to atrocities that would dwarf the Filippino massacres. But consider how the Guantanamo Bay occupants were and are excluded from the Geneva Conventions because a legal argument was used that rendered them non-combatants, completely unlike the civilised American soldiers.

From a very early age, I have known of the evil that men can do. OK, evil's the wrong word. Call it man's inhumanity to man and everything else. The USA is no exception to this, no matter how much it clutches its exceptionalism as an alibi for atrocities.

In WWII there was a Japanese POW camp in New Zealand based at Featherston. How's our SAS going in Afghanistan these days? Still handing non-combatants over to the US, or is it a Take No Prisoners policy now?