The Rabbit And Untermensch

US forces in Vietnam, 1962. (Credit: Horst Faas)

“When somebody asks, ‘Why do you do it to a gook, why do you do this to people?’ your answer is, ‘So what, they’re just gooks, they’re not people. It doesn’t make any difference what you do to them; they’re not human.’

“And this thing is built into you,” Cpl. John Geymann testified almost 44 years ago at the Winter Soldier Investigation, held in Detroit, which was sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War. “It’s thrust into your head from the moment you wake up in boot camp to the moment you wake up when you’re a civilian.”

The cornerstone of war is dehumanization. This was the lesson of Nam, from Operation Ranch Hand (the dumping of 18 million gallons of herbicides, including Agent Orange, on the jungles of Vietnam) to My Lai to the use of napalm to the bombing of Cambodia. And the Winter Soldier Investigation began making the dehumanization process a matter of public knowledge.

It was a stunning and groundbreaking moment in the history of war. Yet — guess what? — the three-day hearing, in which 109 Vietnam veterans and 16 civilians testified about the reality of American operations in Vietnam, doesn’t show up on the “interactive timeline” of the Department of Defense-sponsored website commemorating, as per President Obama’s proclamation, the 50-year anniversary of the war.

This is no surprise, of course. The awkwardly unstated, cowardly point of the site, as well as the presidential proclamation — “they pushed through jungles and rice paddies, heat and monsoon, fighting heroically to protect the ideals we hold dear as Americans” — is to “nice-ify” the ghastly war, wipe off the slime, return public consciousness to a state of unquestioning adoration of all U.S. military operations and banish “Vietnam Syndrome” from the national identity…

And there’s so much more. Some of the testimony is unbearably gruesome, such as Sgt. Joe Bangert’s testimony at the Winter Soldier Investigation:

“You can check with the Marines who have been to Vietnam — your last day in the States at staging battalion at Camp Pendleton you have a little lesson and it’s called the rabbit lesson, where the staff NCO comes out and he has a rabbit and he’s talking to you about escape and evasion and survival in the jungle. He has this rabbit and then in a couple of seconds after just about everyone falls in love with it — not falls in love with it, but, you know, they’re humane there — he cracks it in the neck, skins it, disembowels it. he does this to the rabbit — and then they throw the guts out into the audience. You can get anything out of that you want, but that’s your last lesson you catch in the United States before you leave for Vietnam where they take that rabbit and they kill it, and they skin it, and they play with its organs as if it’s trash and they throw the organs all over the place and then these guys are put on the plane the next day and sent to Vietnam.”

This much is perfectly clear: American soldiers were pressured from above, indeed, trained and ordered, to treat the “enemy” – including civilians, including children – as subhuman. All the carnage that followed was predictable. And as the morally injured vets who home from Iraq and Afghanistan keep letting us know, it’s still the way we go to war.

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/10/23/one-my-lai-month

 

James Corbett On The Fed

A Case Of Mistaken Identity

Cornel West has been an outspoken critic of President Obama, recently telling Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:

I think that he not only falls outside of the black prophetic tradition, but unfortunately he’s oftentimes been identified with it and confused—and it leads toward confusion, because people think that somehow Barack Obama is the culmination of Frederick Douglass and Martin and Malcolm and Ida and Ella and others, and it’s the exact opposite, that he is as establishmentarian, he is as much pro-status quo, as a Bill Clinton or a Hillary Clinton or any other neoliberal opportunist. And that needs to be said over and over again. It leads toward unbelievable confusion, and in the end it leads toward capitulation…

http://truth-out.org/progressivepicks/item/26998-why-we-need-to-talk-about-black-prophetic-fire

 

The Ethnic Cleansing Of HBCUs

…In 1960, W.E.B. DuBois keynote address at Johnson C. Smith University in North Carolina was prophetic. It was his last speech in the United States before he departed permanently to Ghana, West Africa. He warned African Americans of what was to come as it regards the Civil Rights Movement goals and the dangers he foresaw due to his 70 years of activism fighting for full citizenship guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. 54 years later DuBois foresight has come true. African American education as we know it is at a crossroad! If it continues at its present course, the most democratic ethnic group in America’s 300-year quest for freedom would be aborted! African American education will be destroyed! African Americans as we know them will cease to exist. History can repeat itself and African Americans can be re-enslaved! This is what we are fighting against! This is why we have published this series of essays…

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-ethnic-cleansing-of-historically-black-colleges-and-universities-in-the-age-of-obama-how-hbcus-are-turning-white/5409360

 

The Forgotten Coup

Across the political and media elite in Australia, a silence has descended on the memory of the great, reforming prime minister Gough Whitlam, who has died. His achievements are recognised, if grudgingly, his mistakes noted in false sorrow. But a critical reason for his extraordinary political demise will, they hope, be buried with him.

Australia briefly became an independent state during the Whitlam years, 1972-75. An American commentator wrote that no country had “reversed its posture in international affairs so totally without going through a domestic revolution”. Whitlam ended his nation’s colonial servility. He abolished Royal patronage, moved Australia towards the Non-Aligned Movement, supported “zones of peace” and opposed nuclear weapons testing.

Although not regarded as on the left of the Labor Party, Whitlam was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride and propriety. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country’s resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to “buy back the farm”. In drafting the first Aboriginal lands rights legislation, his government raised the ghost of the greatest land grab in human history, Britain’s colonisation of Australia, and the question of who owned the island-continent’s vast natural wealth…

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/10/23/the-forgotten-coup-2/