Our collective memory which defines who we are as a society has very little to do with the truth. So much of who we are has been suppressed, left out of our text books and omitted from the stories we tell ourselves, our children and each other. The American myth of a special people occupying a moral high ground is largely fiction. Last week, during a walk on the Appalachian Trail with a history teacher, I was reminded that public school text books, for example, are written and published to be attractive to boards of education. I don’t know about where you live, but the board that serves my district is dominated by a pretty sorry bunch. They are squabbling, ignorant, and petty, answering mainly to a noisy group of influential right wing voters who make sure they are at board meetings.
Anyway, for a few eye opening reminders of where we came from, how we so naturally became government sanctioned torturers, follow this link to the Mahablog for some chilling stuff on lynchings and war atrocities. I never knew, for example, how vicious our actions were in the Philippines.
According to Mahablog’s cite from the Baltimore Sun, in March 1906 American troops trapped 900 or so Muslim Filipinos in a volcano basin and, over a four day period, shot them all, men, women and children. The officer in charge became Governor of the Philippines.
To me, four leisurely days of killing trapped people means dispassionate, cold blooded, sadistic murder. There’s more on Mahablog and she brings it back to our doorstep in Guantanamo.