The Leaders of Men in the West are Morally Superior...

There’s something funny about human beings. Most westerners are under the impression – especially in the United States – that they’re special, superior even. Their country is the greatest, their resolute leaders are the most noble; their religions and ideologies are True. That’s why we are where we are because ideology is mythology.

It doesn’t matter what you call it. Call it the “land of the free and the home of the brave” or “The Middle Kingdom” or “Mother Russia” or la France profonde or whatever else they come up with. Every culture has something good to offer, every culture has something appalling on offer. That’s the way of the world.

Gandhi was once asked what he thought of “western civilization.” His response? “It would be a good idea.”

“One basic principle must be the absolute rule for the SS man: we must be honest, decent, loyal, and comradely to members of our own blood and to nobody else. What happens to a Russian, to a Czech does not interest me in the slightest. What the nations can offer in the way of good blood of our type, we will take, if necessary by kidnapping their children and raising them here with us. Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death [verrecken – to die; used in reference to cattle] interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our Kultur; otherwise, it is of no interest to me. Whether 10,000 Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an anti-tank ditch interests me only in so far as the anti-tank ditch for Germany is finished. We shall never be rough and heartless when it is not necessary, that is clear. We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude towards animals, will also assume a decent attitude towards these human animals. But it is a crime against our own blood to worry about them and give them ideals, thus causing our sons and grandsons to have a more difficult time with them. When somebody comes to me and says, ‘I cannot dig the anti-tank ditch with women and children, it is inhuman, for it would kill them,’ then I have to say, ‘You are a murderer of your own blood because if the anti-tank ditch is not dug, German soldiers will die, and they are sons of German mothers. They are our own blood.'”… “I am now referring to the evacuation of the Jews, to the extermination of the Jewish people. This is something that is easily said: ‘The Jewish people will be exterminated,’ says every Party member, ‘this is very obvious, it is in our program – elimination of the Jews, extermination, will do.’ And then they turn up, the brave 80 million Germans, and each one has his decent Jew. It is of course obvious that the others are pigs, but this particular one is a splendid Jew. But of all those who talk this way, none had observed it, none had endured it. Most of you here know what it means when 100 corpses lie next to each other, when 500 lie there or when 1,000 are lined up. To have endured this and at the same time to have remained a decent person – with exceptions due to human weaknesses – had made us tough. This is an honor roll in our history which has never been and never will be put in writing, because we know how difficult it would be for us if we will had Jews as secret saboteurs, agitators and rabble rousers in every city, what with the bombings, with the burden and with the hardships of the war.

~ Heinrich Himmler in a speech to SS-Gruppenfhrer at Posen (today Poznan, Poland) on October 4th, 1943.

“Some were ready to believe that, in its unprecedented mobility and massive firepower, American forces had discovered the military answer to endless Asian manpower and Oriental indifference to death. For a few weeks [in the fall of 1966] there hung in the expectant Washington air the exhilarating possibility that the most modern, mobile, professional American field force in the nation’s history was going to lay to rest the time-honored superstition, the gnawing unease of military planners, that a major land war against Asian hordes is by definition a disastrous plunge into quicksand for any Western army… We believe the enemy can be forced to be ‘reasonable,’ i.e., to compromise or even capitulate, because we assume he wants to avoid pain, death, and material destruction. We assume that if these are inflicted on him with increasing severity, then at some point in the process he will want to stop the suffering. Ours is a plausible strategy-for those who are rich, who love life and fear pain. But happiness, wealth, and power are expectations that constitute a dimension far beyond the experience, and probably beyond the emotional comprehension, of the Asian poor. Ideologues in Asia [convert the Asian poor people’s] capacity for endurance in suffering into an instrument for exploiting a basic vulnerability of the Christian West… [by forcing the West] to carry its strategic logic to the final conclusion, which is genocide. [And so the Asians] defy us by a readiness to struggle, suffer and die on a scale that seems to us beyond the bounds of humanity. At that point we hesitate, for, remembering Hitler and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we realize anew that genocide is a terrible burden to bear.”

~ Townsend Hoopes, Under-Secretary of the Air Force under Lyndon Johnson, quoted by Noam Chomsky in At War With Asia, pgs 297–299.

“The destruction was mutual. We went to Vietnam without any desire… to impose American will on other people. [Thus, there is no reason for us] to apologize or to castigate ourselves or assume the status of culpability. [and so, we do not] owe a debt.”

~ Former President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jimmy Carter at a news conference in Washington on March 25, 1977.

That war teetered on the edge of becoming, according to Mr. Hoopes, a Vernichtungskrieg (war of annihilation). That was, incidentally, the term the Nazis used in describing Operation Barbarossa – the invasion of the Soviet Union. In drawing this parallel, I am comparing the acts of the Wehrmacht and the American military – that is to say young soldiers following immoral and illegitimate orders. I am certainly not comparing the American military with the Einsatzgruppen – the mobile murder squads which liquidated over 500,000 human beings prior to the implementation of the Final Solution in January 1942.

In not “imposing American will” on a poor peasant society, the best estimates for totals killed in Indochina are between two and three million. A poll was taken of Americans in the 1970s asking participants to estimate how many South East Asians died in the war. The poll found that the average American answer came to 200,000 killed.

As President Bush has said, “we are a peaceful people.”

“I think it speaks very much to the health of the nation that 70% plus of Americans want to abolish the death tax because they see it as fundamentally unjust. The argument that some who play to the politics of hate and class division will say it’s only 2% or 5% in the near future of Americans likely to have to pay that tax. I mean, that’s the morality of the Holocaust, it’s only a small percentage, it’s not you it’s somebody else. The morality that says it’s ok to do something to a group because they’re a small percentage of the population, is the morality that says that the Holocaust is ok because they didn’t target everybody. It’s just a small percentage what are you worried about? It’s not you. It’s not you, it’s them. And arguing that it’s ok to loot some group because it’s them, or kill some group because it’s them, and because it’s a small number, that has no place in a democratic society that treats people equally. The government’s going to do something to or for us it should treat us all equally. Dividing people so when you can mug them one at a time is a bad thing to do. Whether you do on racial grounds, religious grounds, whether you work on Saturdays or not grounds, economic grounds.”

~ Grover Norquist, leading advisor to President Bush on tax policy, speaking to NPR’s Terry Gross on October 4th, 2003.


“Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship. [Then, in response to a question posed by Gustave Gilbert – a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was granted free access by the Allies to all the prisoners held in the Nuremberg jail – concerning the distinction between totalitarian and democratic publics.] “Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”‘

~ Hermann Gring, Reichsmarshal and Chief of the Luftwaffe in private conversation with Gustave Gilbert on April 18th, 1946.

“I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

~ Winston Churchill to the Palestine Royal Commission, 1937

“I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes.”

~ Winston Churchill writing as president of the Air Council, 1919 in reference to rebelling Iraqi Kurds

"It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a campaign of civil disobedience, to parlay on equal terms with the representative of the Emperor-King.”

~ Winston Churchill on Gandhi’s meeting with the Viceroy of India, 1931

“One may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as admirable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations.”

~ Winston Churchill from his Great Contemporaries, 1937

“This movement among the Jews is not new. From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxembourg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (United States)… this worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the 19th century; and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire.”

~ Winston Churchill writing on "Zionism versus Bolshevism" in the Illustrated Sunday Herald, February 1920

“Leslie Stahl: ‘We have heard that a half million children have died [as a result of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?’ Madeleine Albright: ‘I think this is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.'”

~ A CBS Sixty Minutes interview between Leslie Stahl and U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, on 12 May 1996

“Just between you and me, shouldn’t the World Bank be encouraging more migration of the dirty industries to the LDCs [less developed countries]? The economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable, and we should face up to that. I’ve always thought [that] under populated countries in Africa are vastly under polluted; their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City. The concern over an agent that causes a one-in-a-million change in the odds of prostate cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostate cancer than in a country where under-five mortality is 200 per thousand.”

~ Lawrence Summers in an internal World Bank memo to senior staff in 1991. The motto across the top of the World Bank’s site on the World Wide Web reads, “Our dream is a world free of poverty.” Summers would go on to work in the Clinton administration from 1993 through 2001, serving the last two years as Treasury Secretary. He is now the president of Harvard University.

“The United States will remain a global power and exert global leadership. It is unlikely that the United States will face a global military peer through 2020. The United States won’t always be able to forward base its forces. Widespread communications will highlight disparities in resources and quality of life – contributing to unrest in developing countries. The global economy will continue to become more interdependent. Economic alliances, as well as the growth and influence of multi-national corporations, will blur security agreements. The gap between ‘have’ and ‘have not’ nations will widen-creating regional unrest. [emphasis mine] The United States will remain the only nation able to project power globally. One of the long acknowledged and commonly understood advantages of space-based platforms is no restriction or country clearances to overfly a nation from space. We expect this advantage to endure. Achieving space superiority during conflicts will be critical to the U.S. success on the battlefield.”

~ Clinton Administration document entitled the Long Range Plan (1998) written by the U. S. Space Command, quoted in the invaluable pamphlet Weapons in Space by Karl Grossman. (The basis for this document was the 1996 Vision for 2020, which states its mission as follows. “U.S. Space Command-dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect U.S. interests and investment.”)

March 23, 2005

Stephen Bender [send him mail] is a writer based in San Francisco. You can find more of his work at his website.

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