American Mythology aka Lies of the American Capitalist Class aka Historical Revision

CCA

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"

'You know," drawled Fred Thompson at a recent rally in Des Moines, Iowa, "you look back over our history and it doesn't take you long to realize that our people have shed more blood for other people's liberty than any other combination of nations in the history of the world."

This is an interesting statement, and not only because Fred Thompson has a good shot at being the Republican nominee for president in 2008, and an outside chance of winning. It's also interesting because of who Thompson is.

Fred Thompson is a Washington lobbyist. That's not what his campaign highlights, but it's what he has been for most of his working life. He is also an actor typecast as the growling, no-nonsense authority figure. And Thompson was, briefly, a U.S. senator who was mainly known for his affable manner and relaxed work ethic. And for being tall. Fred Thompson is very tall.

Thus, Thompson has little experience in management and less in elective office. He has no original ideas that anyone has been able to discern. He has embraced no particular cause. He doesn't even seem terribly interested in being president; it is widely believed his smart and ambitious wife cajoled him into running.

But despite all this, rank-and-file Republicans love the man for one, simple reason: Fred Thompson says only what they believe and he says it the way they want to hear it. And that is what makes Thompson's statement particularly interesting.

Thompson and his speechwriters know that a large swath of the American public believes the United States, alone in the world, fights wars to liberate oppressed people far away. America may occasionally make mistakes -- only very rarely, of course -- but it is always pure of heart.

This belief is dogma. It is a given. And any attempt to critically examine it will be answered with a few factoids and a barrage of condemnations. In that sense, it is the mirror image of the belief held by Noam Chomsky and his followers that the United States is a uniquely wicked power whose actions have brought nothing but woe and misery to the world. What distinguishes the two dogmas is the number of faithful sitting in the pews: Chomsky's cult is vastly outnumbered.

Happily, lots of Americans have not taken leave of reason and so a fact-checker at the Washington Post put the statement that opens this column under a microscope. In eight foreign wars since the late 19th century, the Post found, 623,288 Americans lost their lives. But Soviet losses in the Second World War alone were an order of magnitude greater than that and it was the Soviet Union's victories in the east that broke Nazi Germany's back and led to the liberation of Europe.

Of course the Soviets replaced Nazi chains with their own so it's a little disturbing to think of them as liberators. It's also true the Soviets only got into the war after being attacked, so it's a stretch to see the liberation of Europe as a factor in the country's decision to go to war.

But the same can be said about the American record. Remember that the U.S. sat out the first three years of the First World War and only got involved after German submarines attacked American ships and Germany was exposed urging Mexico to declare war on the U.S. That's quite a contrast with the British Empire, which decided to go to war after Germany invaded France and neutral Belgium. Thus, unlike the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and other countries can plausibly claim to have entered the war for the purpose of liberating foreigners.

And in the course of that war, the British Empire lost one million soldiers -- far more than the U.S. lost in all wars combined. Among the Empire's casualties were 65,000 Canadians -- a per capita loss far greater than the U.S. suffered in any of its foreign wars.

This scenario was repeated in the Second World War.

The U.S. did not declare war on Japan when it invaded China. Nor did it declare war on Germany when the Nazis invaded Poland, or overran Western Europe, or raced across the Soviet Union. Only in December, 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, did the U.S. declare war, and even then only against Japan. The U.S. may never have gotten involved in Europe if Hitler hadn't foolishly declared war on the Americans.

Not so Britain, France, Canada and others. They all declared war in response to Germany's invasion of Poland, and so they can all argue they went to war to liberate people far away.

Now, I don't want to answer dogma with dogma. Strategic and national interests played major roles in the decisions of all combatants in the First and Second World Wars. They do in every war. It's a messy world and the motives of nations are seldom simple and pure.

The sort of Americans who cheer for Fred Thompson would agree with that statement -- as it applies to other countries. What they cannot seem to accept is that it applies to their country, too. For them, Americans are unique. The United States is unique. And what sets America and Americans apart is purity of heart.

"We are proud of that heritage," Thompson said in Iowa after citing the mythology of America-the-liberator. "I don't think we have anything to apologize for."

Nothing to apologize for. Never did anything wrong in 231 years of history. Nothing.

This is infantile. And dangerous. A superpower that believes it is pure of heart and the light of the world will inevitably rush in where angels fear to tread. And then it will find itself wondering why the foreigners it so selflessly helps hate it so.

For further reading, see: "Iraq, invasion of."

Dan Gardner's column appears Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. E-mail: dgardner@thecitizen.canwest.com

"
 
'You know," drawled Fred Thompson at a recent rally in Des Moines, Iowa, "you look back over our history and it doesn't take you long to realize that our people have shed more blood for other people's liberty than any other combination of nations in the history of the world."

I'm fairly certain that's bull.
 
While that is a common propaganda line in the USA, I really have trouble believing that he said that.
 
CCA said:
Happily, lots of Americans have not taken leave of reason and so a fact-checker at the Washington Post put the statement that opens this column under a microscope. In eight foreign wars since the late 19th century, the Post found, 623,288 Americans lost their lives. But Soviet losses in the Second World War alone were an order of magnitude greater than that and it was the Soviet Union's victories in the east that broke Nazi Germany's back and led to the liberation of Europe.

The soviets were fighting for no one but themselves. They were not fighting to free poland, for example...and in fact, subjugated much of eastern europe after the war. You fail to make this distinction.

Its not just disturbing to think of them as liberators...its flat out incorrect to.

But thanks for the oped piece.
 
If the Soviet Union was so unconcerned about the welfare of the Polish people answer these facts:

1. In the Battle of Berlin, why was there a polish flag raised alongside the soviet one?
2. Why was there an independent polish state following WWII?
 
The soviets were fighting for no one but themselves. They were not fighting to free poland, for example...and in fact, subjugated much of eastern europe after the war. You fail to make this distinction.

Its not just disturbing to think of them as liberators...its flat out incorrect to.

compare their singular action with the dreadfully powerful weight of the Nazi atrocities.. and you could make an argument for them being "liberators" Perhaps they weren't the best governors, but in their going to free concentration camps, they can be seen as liberators
 
compare their singular action with the dreadfully powerful weight of the Nazi atrocities.. and you could make an argument for them being "liberators" Perhaps they weren't the best governors, but in their going to free concentration camps, they can be seen as liberators

Nope. Not when the soviets themselves killed more people than the Nazis did, and a huge chunk of them their own people...their only crime being against Stalin. Hitler looked like a piker compared to Stalin.
 
Nope. Not when the soviets themselves killed more people than the Nazis did, and a huge chunk of them their own people...their only crime being against Stalin. Hitler looked like a piker compared to Stalin.

but right here we're comparing the singular action of the military going to free these camps to the unspeakable horrors taking place in these camps... Soviet atrocities are a bloody but irrelevant story
 
This is typical conservative bs, at least Colbert has the style to go straight to the chants of "USA! USA! Number one!"

The USA is the best nation ever and has never done anything worthy of apologizing for. Well gee that should simplify history classes almost as much as intelligent design will revolutionize teaching biology.

Seriously, people who believe our flag is clean enough to be Jesus's poncho... I gotta wonder, are they just sarcastic? Do they BELIEVE that crap? Is that delusion or stupidity?
 
but right here we're comparing the singular action of the military going to free these camps to the unspeakable horrors taking place in these camps... Soviet atrocities are a bloody but irrelevant story

Irrelevant? If you are going to paint the soviets, incorrectly I might add, as liberators, it sure as hell is relevant. :lol:

And btw, they didnt invade to free those camps, they invaded to wipe out the Nazis. They didnt care about the people in those camps anymore than the nazis did. Guess where the jews 'rescued' from those camps went in Russia.....try Siberia to live in conditions almost as bad as the camps they were 'rescued' from.
 
Irrelevant? If you are going to paint the soviets, incorrectly I might add, as liberators, it sure as hell is relevant. :lol:

And btw, they didnt invade to free those camps, they invaded to wipe out the Nazis. They didnt care about the people in those camps anymore than the nazis did. Guess where the jews 'rescued' from those camps went in Russia.....try Siberia to live in conditions almost as bad as the camps they were 'rescued' from.

jews liberated from the camps went straight to Siberia? that's new. I suppose that those Holocaust survivors that come on the news every now and then are just fakers?
 
Irrelevant? If you are going to paint the soviets, incorrectly I might add, as liberators, it sure as hell is relevant. :lol:

And btw, they didnt invade to free those camps, they invaded to wipe out the Nazis. They didnt care about the people in those camps anymore than the nazis did. Guess where the jews 'rescued' from those camps went in Russia.....try Siberia to live in conditions almost as bad as the camps they were 'rescued' from.

and I'm painting soviet soldier serving on the Nazi front who did, you know, have enough of a sense of humanity to, you know, save people from dying, as the liberators. Not the man of steel leading them and certainly none of his associates or military officers.


It may be that they went to wipe out Nazis. But how many people outside the camps were aware of what was actually going on?
 
People saying the Soviets "killed more of their people" need to take a reality check.

Claims that the Soviets "massacred" their own people take into account death by natural causes, if this standard was applied elsewhere then the USA is responsible for upwards of hundreds of millions of people. See the Black Book of Capitalism:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Book_of_Capitalism for more details.
 
People saying the Soviets "killed more of their people" need to take a reality check.

Claims that the Soviets "massacred" their own people take into account death by natural causes, if this standard was applied elsewhere then the USA is responsible for upwards of hundreds of millions of people. See the Black Book of Capitalism:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Book_of_Capitalism for more details.

I will simply counter your wiki with another: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Purge

Victim toll
According to the declassified Soviet archives, during 1937 and 1938, the NKVD detained 1,548,367 victims, of whom 681,692 were shot - an average of 1,000 executions a day.[9] Historian Michael Ellman claims the best estimate of deaths brought about by Soviet Repression during these two years is the range 950,000 to 1.2 million, which includes deaths in detention and those who died shortly after being released from the Gulag as a result of their treatment in it. He also states that this is the estimate which should be used by historians and teachers of Russian history.[10] According to Memorial society [5]

On the cases investigated by the State Security Department of NKVD (GUGB NKVD):
At least 1,710,000 people were arrested
At least 1,440,000 people were sentenced
At least 724,000 were executed. Among them:
At least 436,000 people were sentenced to death by NKVD troikas as part of the Kulak operation
At least 247,000 people were sentenced to death by NKVD Dvoikas' and the Local Special Troykas as part of the Ethnic Operation
At least 41,000 people were sentenced to death by Military Courts
Among other cases in October 1936-November 1938:
At least 400,000 were sentenced to labor camps by Police Troikas as Socially Harmful Elements (социально-вредный элемент, СВЭ)
At least 200,000 were exiled or deported by Administrative procedures
At least 2 million were sentenced by courts for common crimes, among them 800,000 were sentenced to Gulag camps.

I guess you think dying in a gulag is dying of natural causes. Just like how being shot and killed is quite 'natural'. Very nice.
 
Your wikipedia article contradicts what you were claiming earlier

"Nope. Not when the soviets themselves killed more people than the Nazis did, and a huge chunk of them their own people...their only crime being against Stalin. Hitler looked like a piker compared to Stalin"

Even if you total those above deaths that's still doesn't reach Hitlers 60 million death toll.
 
jews liberated from the camps went straight to Siberia? that's new. I suppose that those Holocaust survivors that come on the news every now and then are just fakers?

If you didnt know...many were rescued by American and British soldiers. Also, many did survive their stay in the gulags and lived to tell the tale.

Perhaps you should read up a bit more on history.
 
Your wikipedia article contradicts what you were claiming earlier

"Nope. Not when the soviets themselves killed more people than the Nazis did, and a huge chunk of them their own people...their only crime being against Stalin. Hitler looked like a piker compared to Stalin"

Even if you total those above deaths that's still doesn't reach Hitlers 60 million death toll.

Perhaps thats because there is no way in hell Hitler killed 60 million. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties The total death toll for the entire war, all theatres was 72 million. Hopefully, you can see where you are off a bit.

And yes, I call the over 1.2 million to possibly over 2 million killed in the purges a huge chunk of those killed by the soviets. Dont you?
 
Perhaps thats because there is no way in hell Hitler killed 60 million. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties The total death toll for the entire war, all theatres was 72 million. Hopefully, you can see where you are off a bit.

And yes, I call the over 1.2 million to possibly over 2 million killed in the purges a huge chunk of those killed by the soviets. Dont you?
Who caused World War II and all it's casualties....

Although you are correct, it wasn't 60 million it was 72. Thanks for the correction
 
[offtopic] I believe that this is the quickest I have ever seen a post go off on a totally different tangent than what it was intended for. I suggest either a new thread or stop bickering.
 
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