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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

On genocide, and why George W Bush is not culpable of it

"And remember, no matter where you go, there you are." - Earl Mac Rauch

***

The worst genocides of the 20th Century:

"The crimes committed by right-wing dictators have always been easier to track down than the crimes against humanity committed by communist leaders...

The most frequently asked questions are always about current unpopular USA presidents: Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II... The moment the USA elects a new president, i start receiving emails asking to add him to the list of "genociders". The moment the president leaves office the same people forget about him and jump on the next one. Can we consider President Bush a genocider due to all of the civilians killed in Iraq under his watch? I don't think so, because the vast majority of civilians killed in Iraq were NOT killed by USA troops. It is genocide, but the "genociders" are others, and the situation is still too murky to decide who exactly killed those 100,000 civilians. (If Bush is indirectly guilty of it, then certainly Islam is too). The USA bears some clear responsibilities for the chaos, but ineptitude, miscalculation, ignorance, etc do not qualify as genocide. Otheriwse the United Nations and France would be responsible for the genocide in Rwanda (900,000 people). Putin would be a better candidate for "genocider", since the vast majority of Chechen civilians killed under his watch were killed by Russian troops. However, i have never received a single email nominating Putin...

I often get asked if Hiroshima/Nagasaki qualify as a genocide. I disagree... Winston Churchill and Harry Truman did not start that war: they ended it. It is even debatable if these bombings killed or saved lives... more Japanese died in two weeks of battles with the Soviet Union in Manchuria than in the two nuclear bombings...

I've been asked why i blame the USA only for part of the civilian deaths in Vietnam while i blame the Soviet Union for all of the civilian casualties in Afghanistan. The USA "invasion" of Vietnam is not as clearcut as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan:

1. Even today many in Vietnam think that the aggressor was North Vietnam, not the USA, at least at the beginning"
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