Looking at the pictures from Ukraine the past few days you wonder how anyone, even the Russian population, could be in support of an invasion that has mass murder of civilians as a war tactic. We know that much of the Russian population is not seeing what we are seeing and the state propaganda is giving them a distorted picture of what is happening. I used the quote from the Bible as the title of this post to remind us that our Country has fallen into similar distorted views of conflict that had similar mass atrocities. While our Country may try in some ways to limit civilian deaths in the conflicts we wage we shouldn't overlook our own Country's actions that had similar results.
The first example of this of course is the genocide of the Native Americans when they got in the way of our western expansion. While it is hard to get a firm estimate of the number of Native Americans that died as a result of the expansion it is certainly in the millions
. President Andrew Jackson signed the "Indian Removal Act" which led to the "trail of tears"
which resulted in the removal and deaths of thousands of Native Americans.
The second example is Vietnam. Americans were told that our existence as a country was threatened by what was happening halfway around the World in Vietnam. The "Domino Theory"
was created to justify our actions. The theory was used to show how something similar was happening to the Nazis' taking over of Europe only in Asia this time and it must be stopped to prevent World War III. Just as we have Putin not being able to accept defeat, we had President Johnson being unwilling to be the first president to preside over an American military defeat
. He was willing to have thousands of American soldiers and millions of Vietnamese die so that he did not have history record him in this way. An estimates 2 million Vietnamese were killed in that war
that our Country waged. As we see the destruction of the Russian bombs in Ukraine we should not forget what the bombing in Vietnam did to that country. We dropped more tonnage of bombs on Vietnam than was dropped in all of Europe in World War II
The final example is the misinformation that was used to justify the invasion of Iraq. The desire of some in the Bush administration to "finish" what the first Bush president didn't do led to the justification of supposed "weapons of mass destruction" being created by Saddam Hussein.
As a result, the American public and most of Congress were willing to go ahead with the invasion of Iraq which led to the deaths of an estimated 461,000 Iraqis. Those deaths are on our Country's conscience. The deaths of those people are as horrible as the deaths of Ukrainians that we are seeing today. While Putin is certainly a war criminal by his actions a similar case could be made for some American leaders. If Putin is a war criminal where does that leave Andrew Jackson and Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush?
There is an inside joke among the personnel of our State Department that goes like this. "Why will there never be a coup in the United States? Because there is no United States Embassy in the US." The meaning of this joke is that US Embassies are the places where many coups around the world are planned.