(TMU Op-Ed) — U.S.-led wars in the Middle East have killed some four million Muslims since 1990. The recently published Afghanistan papers, provided an insight into the longest war in U.S. history and revealed how U.S. officials continuously lied about the progress being made in Afghanistan, lacked a basic understanding of the country, were hiding evidence that the war was unwinnable, and had wasted as much as $1 trillion in the process.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon is nothing new. While most people accept that the United States has been interfering with Muslim populations quite heavily since World War II, the truth is that the U.S. has been fighting “forever wars” against Muslim populations for well over 100 years. (If you want to really go back into history, Thomas Jefferson was also fighting Muslims in the oft-forgotten Barbary Wars in the early 1800s).
The average American school curriculum likely doesn’t feature the fact that the U.S. waged a war from 1899 to 1913 in the southernmost island of the Philippines. Known as the Moro War, it was the longest sustained military campaign in American history until the war in Afghanistan surpassed it a few years ago. As a result, the U.S. and the Philippine governments are still embroiled in a battle with Islamist insurgents in the southern Philippines, which takes the meaning of “forever war” to a whole new level.
Despite over a century passing since the U.S. led a counterinsurgency war against the Islamic Moros, its similarities with the Afghanistan war are incredibly noteworthy, to say the least.
Even reading accounts of the terrain in which both conflicts were fought suggest they were equally as treacherous. As detailed in the memoir of Captain John Pershing, fighting the Moro Wars “entailed guerrilla warfare in a country unknown to us, with its swamps and rivers and its hills and mountains, every foot of which was familiar to the inhabitants and their insurrecto troops.”
While the U.S. often boasts about fighting for freedom, many Americans may be wondering how it is that their freedom came to be located in the Philippines in the first place. Was it worth sending 75,000 American troops in just 1900 alone to the Philippines to fight and die? And was the operation even remotely successful?
More importantly seems to be the indication that the U.S. military was not welcome in the Philippines, much as it is not welcomed by Afghanistan or any other Muslim-majority nation which has to duel with the U.S. Empire. After the U.S. defeated the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay and annexed the Philippines under the 1898 Treaty of Paris, the Moro population were not even consulted. The U.S. then sought to “pacify” them using brute force.
“I want no prisoners,” ordered General Jacob Smith on Samar Island during the war in 1902. “I wish you to kill and burn, the more you kill and burn the better you will please me.”
Fast forward over 100 years later and it is difficult to see how U.S. military doctrine has changed for the better. A video came to light in 2010 of then-General James Mattis saying that it was “a hell of a lot of fun to shoot” people in Afghanistan. Mattis was later rewarded for his heroism and bravery by being crowned Donald Trump’s secretary of defense for a short while.
As you can imagine, General Smith received his wish just as Mattis after him, with perhaps half a million locals dying as a result of the U.S. invasion. At Bud Dajo, some 1,000 Moro separatists, including their families had fled to the crest of a volcano to escape the American invasion. Allegedly, American troops reached the top of the volcano and fired down into the crater until they killed 99 percent of the inhabitants. The colonizers then took the time and effort to pose for a photograph with the hundreds of dead bodies (no, seriously).
It is also worth noting that some 4,000 U.S. soldiers lost their lives during this particular war. This closely mirrors the number of coalition deaths since 2001 in Afghanistan—and for good reason. To minimize U.S. personnel deaths in the Philippines’ war, the U.S. military deployed Filipinos led by U.S. officers into battle. (Sound familiar?)
At one stage, Filipinos ended up doing almost all of the dying as U.S. soldiers slowly left the battle theatre. In fact, the final year of conflict was the bloodiest year of the Moro war. This seems to be the trend in a number of U.S. wars. This is certainly true with respect to Afghanistan, with the U.S. military and its Afghan lackeys on the ground killing more civilians than the Taliban in recent times.
But what is all this senseless violence for? To put it simply, whether in the Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere, this rampage is all borne out of the belief that America’s subordinates are not capable of ruling themselves and will ultimately profit from American occupation. This was actually the firm thinking of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, who saw it as the duty of the United States to maintain the Philippines as a protectorate. This idea was famously (or infamously) termed the “White Man’s Burden” in a poem written by Rudyard Kipling, who sent the poem to Teddy prior to his decision to engage in the Philippine-American war. A 1902 Life Magazine cover even depicted an apparent waterboarding of a Filipino POW by U.S. personnel (the supporters in the background seem to be watching with glee).
When not much has changed, it seems it never will. We can also expect this type of activity to continue for the foreseeable future, given the geopolitical stakes at hand. In the case of the Philippines, it was recently reported that Chinese and Philippine foreign ministers have sealed an agreement for the two nations to pursue joint oil and gas exploration in the hotly contested South China Sea.
As it turns out, the South China Sea could contain anywhere between 125 billion barrels of crude oil and 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The idea that a foreign adversary, especially one rising to prowess on the world stage such as China, could control the majority of these resources unchecked is a major blow to the U.S. Empire.
Whether it is lithium, opium, and geostrategic chess moves in Afghanistan; or natural gas and oil in the South China Sea, Muslim populations will continue to suffer in a colonial terror campaign which has been unfolding for over 100 years.
Think of it this way: if another century passes and your great grandchildren had never heard of the “forever war” that took place in Afghanistan in the early 2000s, all the while watching a new war unfold in the Indo-Pacific region for similar reasons, you would rightfully be fuming in your grave.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.