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Republican Presidents And War Crimes - Nothing New Here By Michael Gaddy
May 20, 2004
It appears today there is a distinct division on how Americans are viewing the news of the war crimes perpetrated on Iraqi detainees by American troops. Although the President and the Secretary of Defense have both ?apologized? for these actions, their minions in the press and their shills on the radio are trying mightily to rationalize these acts away.
Just the ?horrors? of war some say. You know, kind of like ?collateral? damage. While there are others claiming the stories are much worse than reality, while even the Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee are working hand in hand with their fellow Republicans to keep a great deal of the new evidence of sex crimes and murder, perpetrated against these Iraqis who had been convicted of no crime, out of the hands of the American People.
Perhaps, some of these photos and videotapes the Senate is hiding will find their way into the hands of the foreign press. Then they will be available for the whole world to see on the Internet. Even while our politicians on both sides work like cats in a sandbox to cover up the truth from the citizens of this country, and the world.
All of this is not new. The much-worshipped first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, conducted just such a war against the citizens of the South. Murder, rape, pillaging and theft were rampant, perpetrated by the Union Army. Charles Adams documents in his fine work, ?When in the Course of Human Events? that some Northern newspapers even called for the total annihilation of the entire people of the South.
Lincoln, the master of duplicity, had issued a ?code of conduct? if you will, for the Northern Army. It was known as General Order No. 100, also known as the ?Lieber Code?. As professor Thomas DiLorenzo points out ?The Code?s author was the German legal scholar Francis Leiber, an advisor to Otto von Bismarck and a staunch advocate of centralized governmental power. In his writings Lieber denounced the federal system of government created by the American founding fathers as having created "confederacies of petty sovereigns" and dismissed the Jeffersonian philosophy of government as a collection of "obsolete ideas." In Germany he was arrested several times for subversive activities.?
This code, while mentioning the illegality of waging war against the civilian populace, gave total discretion to the commanders in the field to dismiss the code if situations ?warranted.?
Like the war against Iraq, the war Lincoln brought to the south, targeted civilians from the very beginning. Did not the sanctions of the past 13 years weigh much more heavily on the civilians than it did the military in Iraq? Do you really think for a moment that Saddam and his legions went without essentials?
Compare if you will these sanctions against Iraq and Lincoln?s ?Anaconda Plan.? Lincoln?s idea was to blockade the Southern ports (an act of war) to starve the Southern populace into submission. Drugs and medicines were on the list of banned items. Ironic is it not that George W. Bush included vaccines for infants in the things to be denied Iraq by the embargo.
If Madeline Albright found the deaths of 250,000+ civilians, many of them children and elderly, ?acceptable,? do you really think our government cares about a few thousand tortured detainees?
Lincoln certainly had nothing but praise for his commanders who perpetrated acts of violence on civilians in the South. In the early stages of the war, Commanding General George McClellan, reacting to acts of terrorism against the citizens in the South, wrote Lincoln a letter requesting the war be conducted in accordance with ?the highest principles known to Christian civilization? and to avoid targeting the civilian population. Lincoln relieved McClellan of his command shortly thereafter and obviously ignored the letter.
In Iraq, as we did in Vietnam, the citizens are seen in the light of ?collective responsibility? for acts perpetrated on soldiers. I?m sure the phrase ?Kill them all, let God sort them out? is just as popular with the troops today as it was with soldiers I served with some 39 years ago. Try to explain to a foot soldier who lives with fear every moment, sees obvious civilians blown to bits by U.S. rockets and bombs, that for him to shoot civilians is a crime. This creates a lose-lose situation. The more of these folks they shoot the more enemies they create. Just look at Vietnam. Many estimate their casualties exceeded a million or more, and our troops never lost a major battle. Yet, we left with our tails between our legs.
If our soldiers were used as they were designed to be, for defense of our country only, they would not be faced with this mind-destroying dilemma
As we read about the battle for the city of Fallujah, think back to General Sherman?s acts against the city of Randolph, Tennessee in 1862. When Confederate Sharpshooters from the town fired upon federal gunboats, Sherman had the entire town burned to the ground. He took civilian hostages from the town and in some instances traded them for Federal soldiers or just executed them. Does the word My Lai come to mind here?
Jackson and Meridian Mississippi would face the same fate from one of Lincoln?s favorite Generals. They would both be burned to the ground even though there were no Confederate Armies in the area. Sherman?s soldiers then sacked the town and, as Sherman biographer John Marzelek wrote, soldiers "entered residences, appropriating whatever appeared to be of value . . . those articles which they could not carry they broke."
Sherman would write of the campaign "for five days, ten thousand of our men worked hard and with a will, in that work of destruction, with axes, sledges, crowbars, clawbars, and with fire.... Meridian no longer exists."
Professor DiLorenzo writes in his work, Targeting Civilians, that in 1862 Sherman wrote his wife that his purpose in the war would be "extermination, not of soldiers alone, that is the least of the trouble, but the people" of the South. His loving and gentle wife wrote back that her wish was for "a war of extermination and that all [Southerners] would be driven like swine into the sea. May we carry fire and sword into their states till not one habitation is left standing." This has a remarkable resemblance to words I hear from folks at such Neocon worshipping sites as FreeRepublic.com
I?m sure the Neocons and John Kerry (who has said Bush is just not doing enough) would love to have Generals such as Sherman. He was a no holds barred kind of guy, just like they are. In October of 1864 Sherman ordered a subordinate, General Louis Watkins, to go to Fairmount, Georgia, "burn ten or twelve houses" and "kill a few at random," and "let them know that it will be repeated every time a train is fired upon."
Professor DiLorenzo also says in his work ?Although it is rarely mentioned by 'mainstream' historians, many acts of rape were committed by these federal soldiers. The University of South Carolina?s library contains a collection of thousands of diaries and letters of Southern women that mention these unspeakable atrocities.?-Anyone beginning to pick up a pattern here?
DiLorenzo continues: ?Sherman?s? band of criminal looters (known as "bummers") sacked the slave cabins as well as the plantation houses. As Grimsley describes it, "With the utter disregard for blacks that was the norm among Union troops, the soldiers ransacked the slave cabins, taking whatever they liked." A routine procedure would be to hang a slave by his neck until he told federal soldiers where the plantation owners? valuables were hidden.
Then there was the much heralded ?March to the Sea? wherein Sherman claimed in his memoirs that his army ?destroyed more than $100 million in private property and carried home $20 million more.?
General Philip Sheridan perpetrated like terror on the citizens of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. In the autumn of 1864 Sheridan?s 35,000 infantry troops essentially burned the entire valley to the ground. As Sheridan described it in a letter to General Grant, in the first few days he "destroyed over 2200 barns . . . over 70 mills . . . have driven in front of the army over 4000 head of stock, and have killed . . . not less than 3000 sheep . . .. Tomorrow I will continue the destruction."
Again from Professor DiLorenzo, ?One soldier wrote home that he had personally set 60 private homes on fire and opined "it was a hard looking sight to see the women and children turned out of doors at this season of the year." A Sergeant William T. Patterson wrote that "the whole country around is wrapped in flames, the heavens are aglow with the light thereof . . . such mourning, such lamentations, such crying and pleading for mercy [by defenseless women]... I never saw or want to see again."
It was no accident that these fine specimens of terrorism, Sherman and Sheridan, were the leaders the government turned loose on the American Indians as they brought terror to their villages in search of empire.
No one refutes today the terror that was brought to the American Indian by the Federal Armies. Even Blacks played their part. Have we forgotten the much heralded ?Buffalo Soldiers?? Just exactly whom were they fighting? How can we today place such honor on a group of soldiers who were fighting and killing to take by force the land and property that belonged to another?
Take a look and see for yourself that the pattern of terror that was brought to the Southern citizen was then brought to the Indian.
Before dawn, the troopers attacked the 51 lodges, killing a number of men, women, and children. Custer reported about 100 killed, though Indian accounts claimed 11 warriors plus 19 women and children lost their lives. More than 50 Cheyenne were captured, mainly women and children. Custer's losses were light: 2 officers and 19 enlisted men killed. Following Sheridan's plan to cripple resistance, Custer ordered the slaughter of the Indian pony and mule herd estimated at more than 800 animals. The lodges of Black Kettle's people, with all their winter supply of food and clothing, were torched.
We will look at the Congressional Testimony of one John S. Smith, an eyewitness to the attack by Colonel Chivington, who by the way was running for Congress in Colorado.
Question. Were the women and children slaughtered indiscriminately, or only so far as they were with the warriors?
Question. Were there any acts of barbarity perpetrated there that came under your own observation?
Answer. Yes, sir; I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to pieces.
By Mr. Buckalew:
Question. How cut?
Answer. With knives; scalped; their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors.
By Mr. Gooch:
Question. Did you see it done?
Answer. Yes, sir; I saw them fall.
Question. Fall when they were killed?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. Did you see them when they were mutilated?
Answer. Yes, sir.
Question. By whom were they mutilated?
Answer. By the United States troops.
"There was a woman with an infant in her arms who was killed as she almost touched the flag of truce? A mother was shot down with her infant; the child not knowing what its mother was dead was still nursing? The women as they were fleeing with their babies were killed together, shot right through? and after most all of them had been killed a cry was made that all those who were not killed or wounded should come forth and they would be safe. Little boys? came out of their places of refuge, and as soon as they came in sight a number of soldiers surrounded them and butchered them."
"?I was badly wounded and pretty weak too. While I was lying on my back, I looked down the ravine and saw a lot of women coming up and crying. When I saw these women, girls and little girls and boys coming up, I saw soldiers on both sides of the ravine shoot at them until they had killed every one of them? Going a little further, (I ) came upon my mother who was moving slowly, being very badly wounded? When (I) caught up to her, she said, 'My son, pass by me; I am going to fall down now.' As she went up, soldiers on both sides of the ravine shot at her and killed her? (I) heard the Hotchkiss or Gatling guns shooting at them along the bank. Now there went up from these dying people a medley of death songs that would make the hardest heart weep. Each one sings a different death song if he chooses. The death song is expressive of their wish to die. It is also a requiem for the dead. It expresses that the singer is anxious to die too?."
Commanding General Nelson A. Miles
"?A detachment of soldiers was sent into the camp to search for any arms remaining there, and it was reported that their rudeness frightened the women and children. It was also reported that a remark was made by one of the soldiers that "when we get the arms away from them we can do as we please with them," indicating that they were to be destroyed. Some of the Indians could understand English. This and other things alarmed the Indians and [a] scuffle occurred between one warrior who had [a] rifle in his hand and two soldiers. The rifle was discharged and a massacre occurred, not only the warriors but the sick Chief Big Foot, and a large number of women and children who tried to escape by running and scattering over the prairie were hunted down and killed."
Compare if you will the following:
"? My people looked pitiful. There was a big drought, and the rivers and creeks seemed to be dying. Nothing would grow that the people had planted, and the Wasichus had been sending less cattle and other food than ever before. The Wasichus had slaughtered all the bison and shut us up in pens. It looked as if we might all starve to death. We could not eat lies, and there was nothing we could do?."
L. Frank Baum
Editor and Publisher, The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer
"Sitting Bull, most renowned Sioux of modern history, is dead. He was an Indian with a white man's spirit of hatred and revenge for those who had wronged him and his? With his fall the nobility of the Redskin is extinguished and what few are left are a pack of whining curs who lick the hand that smites them. The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians?."
Americans need to examine closely the words of Mr. Baum and see if they are not the seeds of our feeling of ?moral high ground? as we deal with people of other nations today. Is this not the attitude that was carried into the War Between the States and the Indian Wars? Consider also that 140 years later many Indians and Southerners have never forgiven the Federal government for the acts of terrorism visited upon them.
Neither group enjoys the wonders of ?democracy? brought to them by the governing elite cabal that controls the omnipotent State. Neither will the Iraqis!
Lincoln was the Commander in Chief when the horrible acts of the ?Long Walk? were perpetrated on the Navajo. The entire campaign against the Indian was to make safe passage for the railroads and secure the land for population. Lincoln was the chief lawyer for many of the railroads before he was elected president.
Lincoln also presided over the largest mass execution of American Indians with the hanging of the Santee Sioux in Minnesota.
War against civilians in the quest for empire is nothing new for Republicans. Bush is just continuing with the program.
<~>Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake <~>
Loc: Apt #6, The Vill
Interesting article, it brings up points that are too often ignored. It's also interesting to note that 'honest' Abe did not free a single slave in the U.S. (contrary to the propaganda fed to us in schools). Also, many Union generals including Grant owned slaves (some didn?t free their slaves until the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868), whereas the confederate general Robert E. Lee had freed the slaves that his wife inherited from his father in law (he never owned any slaves before that) long before the war between the states began.
"There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil."
Robert E. Lee - circa 1856
"My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that. What I do about slavery, and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union."
Abraham Lincoln - August 22, 1862 letter to New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley
To call humans 'rational beings' does injustice to the term, 'rational.' Humans are capable of rational thought, but it is not their essence. Humans are animals, beasts with complex brains. Humans, more often than not, utilize their cerebrum to rationalize what their primal instincts, their preconceived notions, and their emotional desires have presented as goals - humans are rationalizing beings.
Edited by Evolving (05/21/04 12:56 AM)
Chill the FuckOu
Loc: mndfreeze's pupp
"In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free - honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just - a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless."
--Lincoln's Second Annual Message to Congress, December 1, 1862.
"Whenever I hear any one arguing for slavery I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally."
--The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln
Loc: East Anglia UK
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He was a typical politician then, saying what he thought people wanted to hear.
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Chill the FuckOu
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