"It never ceases to amaze me that our most rabid 'patriots' know absolutely nothing about the history of the country they are so fiercely defending (or that they so fiercely want others to defend at risk of someone else's life). The truth is, when it comes to death through war and terrorism, as devastatingly painful as the 9/11 attacks were, America, as a nation, has been damn lucky. In fact, in the larger scheme of things, we should be feeling deeply grateful for that blessing right now instead of whining like the world's most maligned victim..." So writes Cheryl Seal.
Rightwing "Patriots" Know Nothing of U.S. History, Let Alone the Rest of the World's Tale of Woe
The following commentary originally appeared on 3/21 as a response to a letter to the editor of unknownnews.net
Unknown News received a classic Bush supporter letter this week. This erudite "patriot" was angered by our rejection of Bush's phony "War on Terrorism," which we believe to be nothing more than a taxpayer-financed war to benefit the political aims of George Bush and the bank accounts of a few oil and natural gas barons. Here's the letter:
So what do you think America should do in response to the bloodiest attack ever on US soil? Suppose we should send Saddam a box of chocolates?
Brilliant commentary, so typical of the rightwing's best thinkers.
Anyway, it never ceases to amaze me that our most rabid "patriots" know absolutely nothing about the history of the country they are so fiercely defending (or that they so fiercely want others to defend at risk of someone else's life). If Fuck You were indeed a devoted patriot, he/she would know that Antietam was the bloodiest day on American soil. (The Galveston flood claimed more lives — over 6,000 — but was not an act of human violence, so we won't count that in the tally.)
4,710 Americans died at Antietam, while Pearl Harbor claimed 2,403. The 9/11 death toll is under 3,000, although updated figures are hard to find. The figures were inflated intentionally at first so that Bush could spread the myth of "the bloodiest day on U.S. soil" and thereby provide people like "Fuck You" with a simple-minded battle cry. Alas, it is so easy to do, because the U.S. has an ample pool of "Fuck Yous" — network media-fed "patriots" who believe every scrap of swill they are thrown by white authority figures and who make it a bizarre point of honor never to do any research on their own or ask a single question.
The truth is, when it comes to death through war and terrorism, as devastatingly painful as the 9/11 attacks were, America, as a nation, has been damn lucky. In fact, in the larger scheme of things, we should be feeling deeply grateful for that blessing right now instead of whining like the world's most maligned victim. In all armed conflicts in the 20th century, Americans have lost a total of just under 500,000 soldiers killed. In terrorism attacks, we have lost a total that is well under 5,000, counting every event abroad, 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing and all single-death incidents that can be considered terrorist attacks, such as the slaying of blacks and other minorities by the KKK or other white extremists.
Now, by way of comparison, consider Russia — the nation Bush would dearly love to nuke just for the hell of it. Russian battle deaths for the 20th century: 8 MILLION, with an estimated minimum of 6-7 MILLION dead from various terrorist-type violence, including the purges of Joseph Stalin (some historians say this figure is at least three times that). This battered nation should be the object of our sympathy and admiration as it struggles toward democracy, not put on Bush's retro-Cold War hit list.
Or how about The United Kingdom? War deaths for the 20th century: over 1.3 MILLION. This is especially stunning when you consider that their overall population has been less than half ours throughout the century, which means the death toll cut twice as deep in percentage of people affected.
What about Indonesia? Thanks to the unholy alliance between the CIA, Henry Kissinger, Suharto and later also Gerald Ford, a total of nearly 2 MILLION Indonesians were slaughtered in pointless civil wars and purges between 1965-1975 ALONE — bloodbaths engineered to "destabilize" the country and allow American corporations to swarm in like vultures. If this isn't terrorism, what is?
As recently as 1999, over 300,000 East Timorese were slaughtered because they dared to make a stand for independence through a democratic election. But do we see East Timorese people seeking far-flung nations around the globe to condemn as "evil" so they can invade them? Or see footage of East Timorese wrapped self-righteously in their national flags demanding that the rest of the world acknowledge their suffering as the "worst in history?"
So, to Fuck You and all of your type: If you want to whine about how 9/11 was somehow Planet Earth's darkest day, let alone America's bloodiest day, then please do so quietly and in private, so you don't embarrass those of us who have bothered to learn anything about our country and the rest of the world. If, instead, you wish to truly honor our dead, then do so by demanding that the Bush administration change its course and work toward peace instead of ever-escalating violence.