By Dave Harrison
When Osama bin Laden was killed in cold blood in Pakistan and many demanded to see his death-photos for verification, President Obama refused and said, "That's not who we are," which begs the question: Who are the Americans?
Are Americans the ones who annexed the Philippines, denied them their own republic and then engaged in a war (1899-1902) with those who opposed them at the cost of 1.4 million Filipino lives? Are they the ones who burned villages, murdered their entire populations, and rounded up all boys over ten and young men and had them executed? Is that who they are?
Are Americans the ones who supported, supplied with arms and intelligence-gathering and bolstered many, brutal South and Central American dictatorships like Batista and Pinochet whose death-squads callously murdered tens of thousands of people in the 1950s, '60s and '70s simply because they believed in social justice by way of a social-minded government?
Are Americans the ones who experimented with atomic weapons on Hiroshima which killed over 80,000 people - including innocent men, women, and children - who were not actively involved in the war and then repeated its massacre on Nagasaki? Hiroshima had no military value and American bomber pilots were warned not to drop conventional bombs on it lest they ruin their precious experiment. Is that who they are?
Are Americans the ones who succeeded the French in Vietnam, picked up an already lost war and made it their own all based on a faulty thesis known as the "Domino Effect" which later proved to be nonsense? And while they pursued this baseless theory, put an entire country to the torch at the cost of another 2,000,000 Vietnamese lives and 58,000 of their own, the American military-industrial complex thrived. Is that who they are?
Are Americans the ones who burned villages, shot the villagers' animals, destroyed their crops and in one instance evacuated an entire village of 504 defenseless old men, women, children and even babes in arms in Mi Lai in 1969 and then shot them down like dogs in a ditch with their M-16 rifless? Is that who they are?
Are Americans the ones who provided the experimental drug LSD to a Montreal asylum to test out on Canadian patients including one MP's wife in the 1960s without their knowledge or consent? Are they the ones who sprayed a Canadian city (Winnipeg) to make long-term chemical tests on Canadian civilians rather than risk their own? Is that who they are?
Are Americans the ones who entered Korea on a "police action" and then engaged in the "Forgotten War" at the cost of 2,000,000 civilian Korean lives? How can Koreans forget? Is that who they are?
Are Americans the ones who followed George Bush and his senseless side-kick, Dick Cheney, to invade Iraq based on outright lies and half-baked intelligence, which almost everyone else knew was completely untrue? Are they the ones who headed the "Coalition of the Willing" to wilfully destroy a complete country and its infrastructure, kill 50,000 of its soldiers defending their own country, kill another 100,000 civilians, displace over a half million Iraqi citizens and then occupy it and rebuild it under the direction of Halliburton Company which was once headed by Dick Cheney himself? Is that who they are?
Are Americans the ones who set off their first, atomic test in the Nevada desert on July 16th, 1945 with American and Canadian soldiers present within 1000 yards of the blast without any radiation protection whatsoever, marched them to Ground Zero through the atomic dust afterward, and then casually swept them off with corn brooms to show that it was harmless? When they later died off like flies from cancer, victims were told, "Prove it." Is that who they are?
Are Americans the ones who deviously tested Agent Orange in New Brunswick, Canada along transmission lines before they used it inVietnam at the cost of many Canadian lives and the tortured lives of thousands of Vietnamese? Is that who they are?
Are Americans the ones who incarcerated hundreds of individuals at Guantanamo Bay and left them without any legal rights, tortured them in various ways - like water boarding and sleep deprivation - and then threw away the keys? Is this who they are?
Are Americans the ones who send in drones to kill one individual whom they suspect of being a terrorist - without arrest and a fair trial but only their suspicions - and without any consideration for the rights of hundreds of innocent victims? And, when they anonymously kill dozens of innocent victims - women and children included - they simply issue an apology for the mistake and do it again later. Is that who they are?
Are Americans the ones who place on their coins, "In God we trust"? We are left to ponder: Which God is that? (It's certainly not the one I know.) Is that who they are, or is that how history will remember America?
In decades to come, America will be judged harshly.