Amnesty Urges U.S. to Pay Reparations to Syrians, Charles McCormick Reeve, Emilio Aguinaldo, Howling Wilderness Smith, Margaret Huang, Margaret Huang's visit to Raqqa, Moro Massacre in the Philippines, Reparations for Raqqa, The invasion of the Philippines, The ruins of Raqqa, U.S. invasion and conquest of the Philippines
Amnesty Urges U.S. to Pay Reparations to Syrians After Killing 1,600 Civilians in Assault on Raqqa
Syria: Thousands of digital activists to track how US-led air strikes destroyed Raqqa
The previous posts mentioned evidence of war crimes by the Rogue State against the defenseless civilians of Raqqa, Syria.
It is often overlooked or suppressed that it has a hoary record of mass murder and maiming of defenseless civilians and massive destruction in other countries, going back to the sanctimonious mass slaughter of civilians and burning of towns in its invasion of the Philippines during 1899 – 1902, to mention one among many instances.
A burnt district of Manila, Philippines 1899 Hispano-American war Washington. Library of Congress
Its extermination-devastation model, inclusive of tactics of mass dispossession and starvation, originally applied to the Native Americans, was applied against the hapless native Filipinos, and later again on impoverished peasant populations in Korea and Vietnam (instantiated in the war criminal bombings of dams in North Korea during the invasion of Korea, the Nixon-Kissinger directives to use “anything that flies against everything that moves” in Vietnam, “Shock and awe” tactics and “decapitation strikes” in Iraq, and so forth).
Howling Wilderness Smith gave full proof of the nobility of the intentions of the invaders when he directed the commanding officer of U.S. Marines in the beleaguered Philippines island of Samar as follows:
“I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn, the better it will please me… The interior of Samar must be made a howling wilderness…”
There were other exotic forms of treatment meted out to the resisting Filipinos, including the infamous “Water Cure”:
Thanks to the scholarly work of Alfred McCoy, we now know that the U.S. designed and installed highly repressive modern police and intelligence state units as integral parts of its colonial regime in the Philippines, a precursor to the state surveillance system in the U.S. and elsewhere and a legacy which survives to this day in dictator Duterte’s “government” largely responsible for the ongoing human rights abuses and atrocities committed in the name of a horrendous “war on drugs”. As Noam Chomsky has pointed out in his review of McCoy’s book:
“This remarkable study provides a meticulous analysis of the novel colonial system developed by the U.S. in the Philippines after the murderous conquest, with startling implications for the shape of the modern world. As McCoy demonstrates, the U.S. occupation developed a major innovation in imperial practice, relying on the ‘information revolution’ of the day to establish intense surveillance and control of the occupied population, along with violence when needed and privileges to obedient elites. This ‘protracted social experiment in the use of police as an instrument of state power’ left a devastating legacy for the Philippines, while also contributing substantially to the modes of suppression of independence and social change elsewhere, and returning home to lay the foundations for a national security and surveillance state.”
There were dissenting voices on the U.S. invasion and conquest of the Philippines. To his credit, Gen. Charles McCormick Reeve, who led the first column of U.S. forces engaged in the invasion and conquest of the Philippines into the fallen capital city of Manila, later condemned the U.S. invasion of the Philippines as “deplorable and unjustifiable” and declared that “this bloodshed, this necessity of conquering these poor wretches, might have been avoided“.
He also pointed out a crucial fact ignored by many news sources at the time, that a day after the start of the U.S. invasion and conquest of Philippines, on February 6, 1899, it was the U.S. commander Gen. Otis who rejected the proposal for truce and negotiations submitted by the Filipino Gen. Torres on behalf of Emilio Aguinaldo y Famy, the great Filipino revolutionary leader. (Source: The Nation – New York – Thursday, May 4, 1899)
And there was the anti-imperialist Mark Twain’s posthumously published caustic comments on the Moro Massacre of 1906 (falsely described as a “battle” in the annals of U.S. military propaganda), the massacre of Filipino Moro Muslims who did not want to fight and had fled, according to the testimony of Major Hugh Scott who was the governor in the Philippines Sulu province where the massacre occurred, to the volcanic crater of Bud Dajo:
“”In what way was it a battle? It has no resemblance to a battle … We cleaned up our four days’ work and made it complete by butchering these helpless people…
General Wood was present and looking on. His order had been, “Kill or capture those savages.” Apparently our little army considered that the “or” left them authorized to kill or capture according to taste, and that their taste had remained what it had been for eight years in our army out there–the taste of Christian butchers.”
To return to the present instantiation of its indelible pattern: the toll of the Rogue State’s military coalition assaults on Raqqa: the fact that at least 1600 civilians are dead and comparable numbers severely injured or maimed is gut-wrenching:
Drone video shows devastation in Raqqah
Raqqa in ruins: Drone footage reveals devastation in ISIS’ stronghold in Syria
How American neglect imperils the victory over ISIS
Six months after the militants’ capital was liberated, new risks are emerging from Raqqa’s rubble.
The Rogue State had raved that it was the “most precise air campaign in history”. The fact is that more than 80% of the city of Raqqa has been destroyed. Families sitting in front of their buildings were badly burned, or incinerated, or blown apart by white phosphorus munitions, missile attacks, or artillery shells unleashed by the Rogue State and its infernal agents. It’s a clear case of callous mass destruction of the city. Nothing has been done to rebuild it since the cessation of the military coalition assaults against it led by the U.S. The surviving family members of the incinerated, decapitated, or maimed victims have received no compensation. It is just another gruesome chapter in the horror novel the Rogue State has been writing on the backs of its victims since its inception in slavery and the extermination of Native Americans.
Margaret Huang, the current executive director of Amnesty International USA, who recently visited Raqqa, points out in an interview on Democracy Now that only the U.S. military coalition wielded air power (thousands of air strikes) and artillery force (U.S.troops fired more artillery at Raqqa than anywhere since the invasion of Vietnam). There was no other force involved in the assault on Raqqa which had access to such means of destruction. Hence, it bears responsibility for the large number of civilian casualties and injuries and the huge scale of destruction in the city:
“The situation in Raqqa is truly extraordinary. The level of destruction that we’ve seen, that is on the ground today, is unprecedented in many, many ways. More than 80% of the city has been destroyed by the U.S. strikes.
And what’s most compelling about Raqqa is that there was only one party in this conflict that had airstrikes and that used artillery, and that is the U.S. coalition. In many other conflict zones, it can be very difficult and time-consuming to determine which party was responsible for which aspects of destruction. But in Raqqa, it’s pretty straightforward, because only one side of the conflict had access to those munitions.”
Given its track record of callous destruction and mass murder, it is unlikely that the Rogue State will heed Amnesty’s praiseworthy call for reparations, but a strong campaign for reparations to the surviving family members, many of whom are still living in buildings with severe structural damage due to massive U.S. bombings, of the victims of its war criminal assaults on the city of Raqqa must be supported by all concerned groups of decent human beings in the U.S. and other countries.