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US kills most foreign civilians

KillingAmerica has killed somewhere between 7 and 8 million innocent people (in one area alone) and is today killing Muslims, at a rate of 30:1, writes John Duckham.

I’ve been trying to think how to phrase this politely. I have considered not even mentioning it, and I accept that is has been mentioned before (not least by the people I will reference in a moment) but I still find the baldness of this fact startling: The country that has killed the most civilians foreign to its own nationality during the years that coincidentally comprise my working lifetime, and is still doing so and still leading the field today, is our close ally and friend the USA.

This dubious honour is held by a mile or two and does not reflect the character of the Americans I know; but it seems an inescapable truth however you put the figures together and you can even (we will in a minute) give the whole calculation a 25% error to favour the American perspective and still have them way out ahead of anyone. The death rate is industrial.

I first started to look at this phenomenon in relation to Muslims killed by Americans over the last thirty years as opposed to Muslims who had killed Americans. The ratio works out as around 30 Muslim killed for every American killed by Muslims.

I found this figure from Stephen M Walt in an article entitled ‘Why do they hate us (II)?’ I have cross-checked the figures and they are not unquestionable but they are near enough and Stephen Walt does place massive caveats on his workings that give a huge advantage to the American perspective (he explains this in the article), but the fact remains that Americans have killed, and are continuing to kill, Muslims at a rate of 30:1; I find that a worrying statistic.

I then thought about my adult working life and looked at Vietnam and considered other areas where Americans have used or are using military power or have backed the use of military power. I looked at things like the massacres after the 1965 coup in Indonesia (500,000 dead) that had open support from America, Britain and Australia, amongst others.

I looked at Central and South America and throughout Africa and the imprint of the American military boot and the CIA in its martial role as enabler of autocracies, and the death toll was horrific; but it was also a toll too arguable for the kind of simplistic presentation needed by today’s blogging styles. I therefore concentrated on Vietnam.

The statistics are varied and hugely available on this war. A good start with links to more information is here: How many were killed in the Vietnam War? The quick answer is that 4 million Vietnamese civilians (North and South combined) were killed; with around 3 million killed in overflow areas such as Cambodia and Laos; a total of seven million civilian deaths.

America has killed somewhere between 7 and 8 million innocent people (in one area alone) while I have been wandering around the world and is today killing one group, Muslims, at a rate of 30:1 and making noises about stepping this attrition up with a further effort against Iran, if not directly, then by use of its Middle East proxy Israel.

Stalin, Mao (particularly Mao during the Cultural Revolution), in the same time frame were much worse, but apart from two wrongs not making a right, they killed their own people, or people arguably within their borders as even when they extended those borders, the borders remained contiguous; America went overseas, and goes overseas, and does its killing outside its own borders.

There have been genocide killings in Rwanda, Cambodia and now Sudan and many other atrocities but none are what can only be described as a worldwide imperial effort.

The cover for this effort has been rooted in two fears: A fear of the spread of Communism and a fear of the spread of Islam. The first was justified even if the reaction was devastating; the second is grossly overstated, camouflages gross and greedy self-interest and is now needed because the monster developed to cope with the first threat can only survive on war, and without this monster the American economy falls.

The beast needs blood and, terrifyingly, we will probably never see the President of the United States who reins it in and takes the knock to American living standards this will incur until many more civilians have died and other countries lie wasted, their populations displaced and their societies torn apart.

Eisenhower's speech

This is a link to President Dwight Eisenhower’s speech in 1961 to the American Congress on his retirement: Military Industrial Complex Speech Dwight D. Eisenhower 1961.

There are two small sections that resonate loudly today but the whole is as true now at the end of my working lifetime as it was in 1961 at the beginning when ‘Ike’ spoke to his nation:

Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology -- global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger is poses promises to be of indefinite duration.

To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle -- with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

The truth and the nobility of America’s original purpose are well expressed here in Eisenhower’s warning against international Communism which was a potentially viable alternative political and social structure and one seeking converts that had base countries in Russia and China and armies and influence worldwide; the threat was real. Nevertheless Eisenhower warned of the dangers of militarism:

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present

• and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system -- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Within a few years Eisenhower’s warnings were being ignored and the military complex was out of control. The blood had started to flow and there was no let up until Communism itself collapsed as the economic shambles it was and always will be; but by then the military industry was too big to be allowed to fall and had just the political influence to which Eisenhower had referred and so a new enemy had to be found. Click Here and for details of the scale of the complex.

Islam and oil

The combination of Islam the threat, and oil the need, is perfect since the oil is in Muslim majority lands. The force required to win and hold access to the supply of energy disregarding all the principles referred to in the speech is available. The only part of the spirit of Eisenhower’s address that is being upheld is the last phrase:

-- ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

It seems the nightmare has come to life, the beast is loose, and the over-riding priority of every President of the United States of America is to uphold the supreme goals of the USA no matter how, and no matter how many must die in the process.

Further Reading:
Global Issues World Military Spending.
War and the Military Industrial Complex by Henry C K Liu In Asia Times Online Jan 31st. 2003 and particularly prescient now with the Chilcott Enquiry in Britain.

John Duckham is a retired construction superintendent who is now a writer and researcher into Islam and Javanese Mysticism. He blogs at Democratic Duckham. 


+3 #1 MyOpinion 2012-09-12 15:59
Don't forget the US is the only country to ever have used a nuke against a civilian population and yet they profess their the ones who should control this technology. They claim a country trying to defend themselves against nuclear weapons, by developing them, is a threat. Do not most Americans carry guns to protect themselves against other people with guns. American profess the right to Carry Arms, but when another country wants to "Carry Arms" to defend themselves, then they are a threat? Perhaps the US should lead by example, and lay down arms,, but their example seems to be war not peace, tyranny not democracy, suppression not free speech.

The American government claims a 30th of the actual civilian death toll in Iraq. Violence, crime and civilian deaths have increased since the US occupation, not decreased. The idea of the US bringing democracy, culture or civilization to these people is outright American propaganda, because in truth the US brought death to these people. Violent deaths have increased dramatically since US occupation, not decreased.

Try to tell an American these facts. They have no ability to admit they may possibly be in error, the US is infallible. Question them and they will just kill you, isn't that the US way? Their the first to admit their government has problems( can you say deficit ) and yet believe anything their government tells them, never considering outside media or opinions from the actual people in these countries they are supposedly helping. Which would require effort, intelligence and free will.

I do not look up to the US as a model of culture and civilization, the US is the bully in the playground.. Good thing there is always a bigger and smarter bully around. Live by the sword, die by the sword. If I were to label a specific group as a terrorist, it would be the group responsible for the greatest number of deaths in the world, the group with the biggest stick or the group who commits the most crimes against humanity.. Removing such a group, would be the quickest way to improve global peace. This is just common sense, which does not seem to be very common anymore.

"You cannot simultaneously prepare for and prevent war."- Albert Einstein

What the Americans should be most afraid of, is when their government decides to turn their fantastic, war machine upon its own citizens. Maybe, when its too late, they will realize giving the Military billions of dollars of money, with no accountability, was not such a great idea. US has the highest military budget in the world, its full extent is not even known by the American people themselves. They surpass the next highest spender on military by 3 times, China. Surely anyone with half a brain can see this is not a defensive budget, this is a budget directed towards offensive capabilities. This makes the US the aggressor. If they really cared about peace and prosperity for their people, the would be putting that money into solving domestic issues, like poverty, unemployment, crime, medical aid etc etc. 30 billion dollars can feed and care for an awful lot of people, but the US spends this money on the complete and exact opposite. Sounds like the best way to advance a society to me, build stuff to kill people and make the world more dangerous. Seriously, this is not rocket science.

When the US offers you peace, you better take it or they will kill you. Is that peace? I think peace is when you realize we are all brothers and sisters on this little rock and we can be infinitely more successful if we all work together and help each other, rather than kill each other or try to control each other. Service to others over service to self. Every man for himself, is not the way to peace, now is it?

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