Recently by Jack D. Douglas: Another U.S. Black Ops Death Squad
The U.S. carried out a systematic program of racial clearing of the valuable land of Native Americans. I don’t know of evidence many thought of it as genocide or even ethnic cleansing, though some probably did, since Social Darwinism of various kinds was loose in the world and by the early twentieth century some might have thought of it in genetic terms. I think most of the massacres and policies that led to the rapid dying away of the millions of Native Americans were aimed at getting control of the valuable lands at the local and national level.
There is no question, though, that the national massacre mentality, which later exploded so immensely against other nations, from the Philippines and WWII saturation bombing and burning of all the cities of Germany and Japan (except Kyoto) to Vietnam and the use of economic national strangulation against Iraq, Afghanistan and now Iran , existed very early in some U.S. officials at the top. I first became aware of this as a young teenager when I read about four of Kenneth Robert’s novels about pre-revolutionary and revolutionary America — Rabble in Arms (my first and favorite), Arundel, Northwest Passage….Northwest Passage contained a bit of a shocker for me. The young hero (?) center piece of the novel who witnesses it all, Langdon Towne, and an old geezer friend join Roger’s Rangers on a mission to attack a Huron village on the border. When they get there they attack at dawn and trap the Indians, massacring with abandon. One crazed Ranger is even found later with a head of one of the victims in a sack — he’s been eating it. Bit shocking when you’ve grown up on American State Textbook Fantasies about the Good Americans Saving The World. (I think the victims had sent marauding border parties that killed some frontier Americans, so this was a Reprisal Massacre, which is the way Americans and other nations normally “Justify” their more immense massacres.)
When you get to Jackson’s slaughter of the Seminoles in the Florida Glades and the later March of Tears to Oklahoma, etc., which would make Bataan look tame, you realize how horrific the U.S. Racial Clearing was. Sheridan was a late comer. And when you see the massive forcing of native Americans onto useless land that could not support them, imprisoning them in open air concentration camps (“Reservartions”), and letting them die away on booze and government handouts that were inherently very unhealthful, Sherman burning a huge swath across Georgia and burning a big city like Atlanta, and the use of vast firepower against Vicksburg and other Southern areas, and Sheridan’s slaughters, you know the U.S. ushered in the modern age of total warfare against nations and immense slaughters committed in a rage of moralistic hubris and greed and blood lust.
And look at Lincoln and the other Republicans who made huge land grants to Big Rail Roads in the West of Indian lands the size of France. They gave away those vast lands indiscriminately which continue to this day to vastly enrich some, such as Burlington-Northern under its new names — and the Fascist Hero Buffet who bought the whole gigantic B-N Corp. and much of that huge basin of gas and coal they’ve found from Canada down into North Dakota. I think that’s a case where simple justice would be served immensely by turning that huge area into a Native American Trust Fund for rebuilding their homes and lands and cultures — and help them escape the diabetes and gambling trap.
The British concentration camps in S. Africa and the Nazi Death Camps had their beginnings in the vast annihilation of Christian and Classical Liberal Standards that began in the U.S. and the similar clearings of Native Americans by Spain and local states south of our border (and to a lesser degree in the Russian pogroms against Jews in the nineteenth century).
The late Bill Marina and I started realizing those things, after all that Textbook Fantasy Propaganda, in early high school at Miami Jackson (named after that Seminole mass murderer) , the tenth grade, and began talking about some of it in my tenth grade civics class run by a wonderful teacher, Mrs. O’Hara, dedicated to Liberal Education principles and practices of free speech. We especially talked about the totally unnecessary nuclear bombing of women and children in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Once you begin to see those things clearly for what they were, you cannot go back to the mindless American Hero Fantasies and you see more and more clearly how awful the U.S. global empire has been for mankind and finally that it is the greatest threat mankind has ever faced. It took decades to get to that, but, once you can see clearly where before you could not see at all, the awful truth of American guilt dawns slowly on you.
Jack D. Douglas [send him mail] is a retired professor of sociology from the University of California at San Diego. He has published widely on all major aspects of human beings, most notably The Myth of the Welfare State.