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JOHN CHUCKMAN
 

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY BRANDON NEELY IN THE INDEPENDENT

Thank you for this, Brandon Neely.

But your statement near the end that “it [Guantanamo] goes against everything the United States of America stands for” simply does not reflect historical facts.

Guantanamo, to paraphrase H. Rapp Brown, is as American as cherry pie.

America’s is a bloody history, full of injustice. The only reason we don’t speak of the growth of America as being like that of Imperial Germany is that America’s victims were mostly weak and poorly organized, rather than established European states.

Of course, we all know how America first ethnically cleansed the East of Indians in the “Trail of Tears.” Thousands died in this hideous operation. All their land and homes were stolen.

Years later, when it wanted the very land these people had ruthlessly been removed to, America pretty much tried to exterminate them in a long series of mass slaughters.

We all know about a couple of hundred years of slavery and then a hundred years of Jim Crow.

But many Europeans – and more than a few Americans – do not know of the shameful Mexican War.

Or the shameful Spanish-American War, started with a phony claim over a warship.

Or the U.S. efforts to put down rebellion against its rule in the Philippines, where torture was widely used. Water-boarding started there.

Many do not know the ugly story of the annexation of Hawaii. The entire population there signed a petition against the American take-over and sent a delegation to Washington to present it to Congress. No one would even talk to them.

Few in Europe know of the many mass murders of blacks during the 1920s. Whole small communities, hundreds at a time, were wiped out and their land was stolen. There bodies went to mass graves.

The homes and farms and other property stolen from Japanese Americans during WWII Internment was never returned. The later compensation was a pittance for many compared to what was stolen.

There are many other ugly stories over just two centuries, and it is simply incorrect to play the Ronald Reagan theme of the shining city on a hill. It just ain’t true.

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