US Policy, massacres, and discretion

My sister, sister-in-law, brother-in-law and nieces and nephews are coming to the Philippines in the next few weeks. They all live in the U.S., and they're more on the blue side since my sister's husband is retired Army.

I've got some strong (but not radical) thoughts on US Army (and Marines, basically, United States Military) arrogance leading to ignoring the rights of local populations and concentrating on minimizing casualties.

It's natural that minimizing casualties, in an environment where the enemy looks like the civilians, and vice versa, leads to artillery and air attacks which kills civilians. It's also natural for all those dead civilians to be written off as the cost of war. When I say that it's natural, I mean that I can understand why the American's are relatively callous about non-American casualties. They're not American citizens, they don't count for as much as a single dead American citizen would. Of course the soldiers at the scene care about the difference. But let's be frank, it's not the same. 20 dead civilians is nothing compared to one dead American soldier. Nor would I be surprised if the ratio were higher than that

I'm certainly not being sarcastic or ironic there. I'm being completely serious and practical. That's just the way things work out. If the soldiers there were Filipinos I would expect things to be WORSE.

However, and unfortunately, if you're not American the equation doesn't favor the Americans at all. Americans (and Tony Blair, if not necessarily the British Army, quite as much) come out as bullies. To be ignored, if possible, resisted where they must (if the American's come to my country and start throwing their weight around backed up by guns, of course I'd stand up to them, who wouldn't?), avoided if irresistible, attacked where they can.

But I'm not saying any of that when my sister and family come over. After all, the Americans are not throwing their weight (and bullets) around in my country yet. So all I can do is disapprove of their doing so elsewhere, and wish that they'd go home and defend their country instead of making other countries their foot rugs. Let them terrorize their muslim citizens instead of killing the muslim citizens of other countries. Let them get away from walking all over other countries so that those of us who are free can breathe a sigh of relief.

But none of that is getting voiced out when my family come over. They're not George Bush, after all. And if they support George Bush, well, let them. The U.S. is sowing the wind, it will reap what it deserves. Those of us who are not likely American invasion targets will watch from the sidelines, and maybe place a few side bets.

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