June 19, 2006

Tomgram introduces David Swanson on the pornography of war:
From the moment the wooden sailing ship mounted with canons took to the high seas and Europeans began to seize the coasts of the planet, technological advantage lay with them. When others resisted, as they regularly did, the result was almost invariably an unbalanced slaughter that passed for war...

With the one-sided slaughter their technological advantage in arms (and in the industrial organization of warfare) offered came the presumption by the Europeans, the Americans when they joined the imperial game, and the Japanese when they too leaped in, that there was some deeper kind of superiority -- racial, religious, or civilizational -- at work determining events. And so, above the repetitious fact of slaughter was invariably unfurled a banner with glorious slogans about delivering the benefits of "civilization" (in the French case, literally, the mission civilatrice; in the American case, "democracy") to the ignorant or benighted heathen and barbarians of the backward parts of the planet.

When against such obvious superiority and the benefits that went with it, native peoples "irrationally" resisted their own subjugation, when, against great odds and suffering terrible casualties, they refused to give in and were not wiped away, this naturally confounded expectations. It engendered an incomprehension, sometimes a fury in the troops sent to subject them, who had been assured that their task was an expression of manifest destiny itself. Then, of course, came frustration, resentment, rage, the urge for revenge, in short, the atrocity -- and against such inferior, irrational, inhuman types, it was increasingly something not just to be committed, but to be recorded.

How convenient that the camera was there and ever easier for any common marauding soldier to use...


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