Fighting "sub-humans"? -- a sad commentary on the American
military's view of Iraqis
From the Telegraph comes an unsettling report. It brings to mind
similar sentiments among many soldiers in the Vietnam quagmire who
came to see the enemy, indeed the Vietnam people as a whole, as "gooks."
The news story is not at all surprising, given the overall attitude of Americans
about the human dimensions of the war, for example the total lack of coverage
in our media about the numbers of Iraqi soldiers and civilians killed or injured.
It is deeply assumed -- beyond any need for comment -- that those people simply
do not matter.
US tactics condemned by British officers
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
Senior British commanders have condemned American military tactics in Iraq as heavy-handed and disproportionate.
One senior Army officer told The Telegraph that America's aggressive methods were causing friction among allied commanders and that there was a growing sense of "unease and frustration" among the British high command.
The officer, who agreed to the interview on the condition of anonymity, said that part of the problem was that American troops viewed Iraqis as untermenschen - the Nazi expression for "sub-humans".
Speaking from his base in southern Iraq, the officer said: "My view and the view of the British chain of command is that the Americans' use of violence is not proportionate and is over-responsive to the threat they are facing. They don't see the Iraqi people the way we see them. They view them as untermenschen. They are not concerned about the Iraqi loss of life in the way the British are. Their attitude towards the Iraqis is tragic, it's awful.
"The US troops view things in very simplistic terms. It seems hard for them to reconcile subtleties between who supports what and who doesn't in Iraq. It's easier for their soldiers to group all Iraqis as the bad guys. As far as they are concerned Iraq is bandit country and everybody is out to kill them."
The phrase untermenschen - literally "under-people" - was brought to prominence by Adolf Hitler in his book Mein Kampf, published in 1925. He used the term to describe those he regarded as racially inferior: Jews, Slaves and gipsies.