[SPORK] Weird definition of "draining the swamp"

Owen Byrne owen at permafrost.net
Wed Apr 30 16:47:30 PDT 2003

Russell Turpin wrote:

> Jeff Bone:
>> However, I'm not sure it's true --- I think we could tally up 
>> invasions, excursions, interventions, police actions, illegal arrests 
>> on foreign soil (i.e. international kidnappings), assassinations, 
>> other breaches of international law, and enemy com- and non-com 
>> deaths in various conflicts of us vs. the previous USSR...  and it'd 
>> probably be a pretty close call, if we didn't lose it outright.
> Not even close. The USSR would 'win' hands down. At
> least, if we get to count the numbers of their own
> citizens who were killed. It's remarkable and
> ghastly that that exceeds the number of people they
> killed in foreign wars.

While you're probably right, I would like to see the final tally.

This site says 4,000,000 civilian casualties in Vietnam - admittedly 
including the French period - but Americans are so much more efficient 
at killing civilians.


This site says 2,000,000 more in the Korean war, and shows that the US 
PR machine was suppressing civilian casualties even back then:

>         *The three-year war was a bloody, unsatisfying affair for all
>         sides, and the magnitude of the devastation in Korea is still
>         not well understood, either in the U.S. or in Korea. 
>         Casualties among the Korean civilian population were
>         horrifying - likely more than 2 million dead, with the
>         majority of the population uprooted from their homes and
>         villages, many of which had been completely destroyed (by
>         comparison, the Vietnam War - from the beginning of the
>         conflict to the end in 1975 - claimed something in the
>         neighborhood of 1 million civilian casualties over two
>         decades).  *
>         * In addition to the large number of atrocity killings by both
>         North and South Korean military forces, police and guerillas,
>         it is unfortunate that some American air and ground forces
>         inflicted substantial damage on Korean civilians.  These
>         incidents included strafing and the use of napalm on civilians
>         in the unrestrained bombing campaign against cities and towns,
>         bridges and dams throughout North Korea (the intensity of this
>         air campaign is not well understood outside of wartime Air
>         Force circles - the bombing was severe, and is a major source
>         of North Korean antipathy to the US which lingers to this day).  *
>         *Also, during the panicky early days of the North Korean
>         advance, some American ground units, retreating under pressure
>         and reacting to North Korea's practice of concealing soldiers
>         and guerillas in refugee columns, sometimes did opened fire on
>         large groups of Korean civilians, killing hundreds in at least
>         one case.*
> * *
> *It is worth examining the facts of the situation, both because it is 
> distasteful for Americans to consider the killing of civilians by 
> American military forces - we are, after all, supposed to be the "good 
> guys" - and because of the recent surfacing of news reports concerning 
> Korean War civilian killings, such as those at the village of No Gun 
> Ri.  In this incident, which appears to be well-substantiated, a group 
> of several hundred refugees was first strafed by American planes, 
> killing about 100 people, after which the survivors were taken under 
> machine gun fire by American soldiers, killing perhaps several hundred 
> more.  Fifty years after the fact, with little understood of the 
> actual conflict, it is easy to take these reports out of context, 
> particularly for anyone with an "axe to grind".  Understanding this 
> complicated and unfortunate situation takes more than "sound bite" 
> journalism allows.*
> * *

I do find the reports of firing into crowds interesting given recent 
events and reflects nicely on the debate here on whether the US would 
use CS/pepper spray on civilians. Why bother? - they aren't Americans - 
we'll just use bullets.


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