from the pages of
Dissident U.S. Officials, Issuing 20 Volume Compilation, Ask Pardon of U.S. Victims
By Edward S. Herman
THIS IS SATIRE
The Japanese, Germans, and Russians have long been pressed to acknowledge and apologize for their past sins and ask pardon of their victims. They have all done this, although the Japanese are currently under sharp attack for the flabbiness of their apologies and failure to offer reparations. It is of course only proper that these countries should make some kind of amends, given their heinous past behavior. It is one of the wondrous features of the U.S. mainstream culture, however, that while these apologies are seen as necessary and appropriate for others, it is never suggested that the United States has any sins to acknowledge and pardons to ask of anybody. By chauvinist assumption this country has only fought just wars against naked aggressors and savages, and its victims are obligated to beg forgiveness; after all, as Leslie Gelb pointed out in the New York Times (April 15, 1993), the Vietnamese actually "harmed Americans" invading their country from 10,000 miles away.
Given this imperialist arrogance, and the increasing insistence on "really correct" and mythical history by the now dominant political-ideological forces of the right--evidenced, for example, by the flap over the Enola Gay exhibit at the Smithsonian, which led to an unopposed Senate resolution declaring the justice and positive role of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as official truth--it has seemed unlikely that this country would ever match the Japanese, Germans and Russians in acknowledging past crimes and asking pardon.
In a stunning development, however, two former Yippies, Jonathan Pickle and Franklin D. Jones, who were thought to have changed their ways and joined the establishment, and were employed as researchers in the State Department's clandestine Division of Forgotten Crimes, secretly prepared a dossier of U.S. crimes from 1791 to the present. Put up in 20 offset-printed volumes, this study was offered to the press in a sensational press conference on Friday September 13, with an explanatory press release that briefly summarized the contents of the volumes and concluded by asking pardon of the victims in the name of U.S. citizens of good will.
The press conference was well attended by members of the mainstream press, but neither the circumstances nor the substance of the press release and 20-volume dossier have been subject to a news report as yet. The media are apparently either in a state of shock or, perhaps more likely, are being "responsible" and tacitly sitting on this politically correct material that puts their country in a bad light. It is rumored that Pickle and Jones have been suspended from their State Department duties and asked to undergo psychiatric examinations to determine the form of their expulsion from government service.
Contents of the 20-Volume dossier
Unless the documents have been removed or made unavailable by government intervention, the September 13 press release and 20 volume set are available on Internet, with the World Wide Web site: email@example.com (satire, remember, it doesn't exist.....)
Following is a summary of the contents of the dossier, organized by volume number.
Vols. 1-3. North American Indians. Deals with the destruction and removal of the indigenous Indian tribes of North America, with one volume on Massacres, a second on Broken Treaties, and the third, Wars of Conquest, on the history of the dispossession, removal, and slaughter of specific major tribes (Cherokee, Cheyenne, Delaware, Nez Perce, Poncas, Seminoles, Sioux, Winnebagoes, and others). Following M. Annette James, the authors contend that the holocaust of North America was unique in the rate of extermination of indigenous people extending over many generations and "represents a scale and scope of genocide without parallel in recorded human history" (quoting James).
Vols. 4-6. Blacks. Deals with slavery, the slave trade, post-civil war lynchings, and the institutionalization of segregation, the changes beginning in 1954 but with racist discrimination still well entrenched, and concluding with an account of the Southern Strategy and new racist outburst beginning in the Reagan era.
Vol. 7. Philippines. Stresses the crushing of the indigenous democratic forces following the Spanish-American war and associated slaughter (1899-1901), the imperial occupation and economic penetration, and the sponsorship of the Marcos dictatorship and IMF-World Bank attacks on Filipino independence and living standards.
Vol. 8. Indonesia. Covers the support of the coup and holocaust of 1965-66, the joint venture plundering in collaboration with the Suharto clique, and the support of the occupation of East Timor and mass murders that ensued.
Vol. 9. China. Focuses on the post-World War II support of the Chiang faction and the long post-1949 boycott and sponsorship of a terrorist army in Burma.
Vol. 10. Japan. Deals mainly with the atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the fire bombing of Tokyo.
Vol. 11. Indochina. This lengthy volume has separate chapters on Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, describing in detail the U.S. bombing, chemical warfare and other forms of participation in three major 20th century holocausts.
Vol. 12. Central America. Has separate chapters on El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico. Another long volume.
Vol. 13. Caribbean. Separate chapters on the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Grenada, and Jamaica.
Vol. 14. Cuba. Details the intervention of 1898 and forced "open door," the support of authoritarian rule through the Batista era, and the long multi-leveled war on the Castro regime.
Vol. 15. South America. Separate chapters on Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guyana, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Vol. 16. South Africa. Chapters on "constructive engagement" and support of South African apartheid and aggression, Angola and the Savimbi connection, Namibia, and Mozambique.
Vol. 17. Zaire. Details the CIA role in the murder of Lumumba and victory of Mobutu, and U.S. and IMF-World Bank long-time support for this dictator and grand larcenist.
Vol. 18. Greece. Describes the U.S. counterinsurgency war of 1946-1947, reimposition of a right-wing terror regime, and the U.S.-NATO support of the colonels' coup and rule, 1967-74.
Vol. 19. Iran. Gives full details on the CIA overthrow of the elected government and imposition of the authoritarian regime of the Shah in 1953, and the history of Shah rule.
Vol. 20. Middle East. Describes the U.S. supportive role in the various Israeli attacks on Lebanon and seizures of land and dispossession of the Palestinian population in violation of UN resolutions. There is a long chapter on the U.S. support of the Saudi, Kuwaiti, and other "cooperative" family dictatorships of the region. Has a chapter on the 1991 devastation of Iraq and subsequent holding of the 18 million Iraqis hostage to U.S. policy demands. It also has a chapter on the U.S. treatment of the Kurds: the 1975 sell-out in Iraq in support of the Shah-Iraq deal; the encouragement and betrayal in 1991-95; and the support of Turkish anti-Kurd terror over the past decade.
One of the authors of the 20-volume compilation, Jonathan Pickle, is an economist, who naturally therefore tried to assess the reparations owed to the victims of U.S. violence. Making conservative estimates of the value of land seized by force, and imputing a low rate of return on that land thereafter, estimating the value of destroyed property and victims killed in U.S. depredations, and assessing the income surplus derived from slave labor and lost since 1865 by victims of discrimination, the report concludes that the amounts owed to the victims and their heirs would exceed the total national wealth. Justice would mean insolvency in a country built so heavily on the dispossession, killing, and exploitation of dehumanized peoples.