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May 10, 2003
Just the Facts: The
United States, Democide, and Democracy

I posted my commentary, "Three Cheers for the United States," on the H-Genocide list, and someone reposted it on the Discussion group for the Association for Humanist Sociology. One discussant, William Du Bois, termed it "Bullshit." Alan Spector submitted a long list of American "evils," and democides, in rebuttal, and claimed I was "the most shallow sort of propagandist for U.S. imperialism." Chomsky, well known for his anti-Americanism, simply claimed I seemed "more like a small time thug than a leading scholar of anything." On the H-genocide list my post caused such responses that the moderator says he will not accept any more "hardened political views," "attempts at politicizing the list," or "using genocide to apply political philosophy or position, left or right, against America (and other countries) or excessively praising her."

Well, so as not to appear patriotic, excessive, right-wing, insensitive, or in whatever other way I hit people's hot buttons, I want to express the following as simply, yet as professionally, as possible. And solemnly, without cheer.

Definition 1. I'm using here the legal definition of the ICC for genocide. But, be clear, among scholars, genocide by definition ranges from this narrow legal one to all inclusive democide (any murder by government, e.g., massacres, mass murder, atrocities, politicide, assassination, summary executions, forced famine deaths, etc.).

Moral 1. Democide is an evil. It is among the worst evils, and there is no ethical relativism or situational gauge about it. Destroying civilians en mass from bombing campaigns (e.g., firebombing of Japanese cities during World War II) is as evil as standing these civilians up against a wall and machine gunning them; government enforced famine is as evil as the Holocaust.

Assumption 1. At least a majority on this list place high priority on eliminating genocide, or even broader, democide.

Theoretical/Empirical proposition 1. Democracy and especially liberal democracy is a path to eliminating domestic democide, and its subcategory of domestic genocide. Democracies do commit democide during wars (although, by two or three magnitudes less than nondemocracies), but democracy is also a solution to war. So, as democracies expand globally, they also reduce war, and with it, the democide also committed by democracies. The virtual democratization of the world would virtually eliminate both war and democide. I've documented this point on this list so many times I trust I need not do this again.

Definition 2. Government is defined as any organized leadership of a group that is sovereign or semi-sovereign over some territory (such as Hexbollah in southern Lebanon).

Fact 1. Many terrorist groups thus have governments, and the term democide is applicable to them as it is to state-governments.

Fact 2. Many murders committed by terrorists are cases of democide.

Fact 3. The war on terror by the United States and its allies from 2001 to 2002 has much reduced terrorist attacks by 44 percent, and terrorist murders from 3,300 to 725. Not all these attacks or murders maybe democide, but it should be fair to say that this source of democide has been reduced significantly.

Fact 4. Saddam Hussein and his regime and the Taliban regime were responsible for massive democide in the hundreds of thousand, at least.

Fact 5. In invading and defeating the Taliban and Hussein's Iraq regime, the United States and its allies have ended the democide committed by these regimes, freeing almost 60 million people from this evil

Fact 6. In defeating these regimes, the United States and its allies have systematically attempted to minimize civilian deaths. So far, the only count I know of the Iraqi dead is from Qusay Ali Al-Mafraji, the head of the International Red Crescent in Baghdad, who claims the confirmed Iraqi civilian and military dead in Baghdad presently stands at 150. (He told this to Andrew Sullivan, "The Weekly Dish," The Washington Times, 5/2/03)

Fact 7. The United States and its democratic allies have been acting, as a matter of foreign policy, to democratize these countries, as well as others.

Fact 8. The United Nations and other international organizations have not been effective in reducing democide or fostering democracies.

Therefore: by its leadership in the war on terrorism, military action against democidal regimes, and promotion of democracy, the United States has been the most effective force yet available to us for eliminating democide.

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