The above is a parody “making-of” film for Nation’s Pride, the feature made by Nazi propagandists in Quentin Tarantino’s dark comedy, Inglourious Basterds. Nation’s Pride dramatizes the achievements of the deadliest sniper of the Third Reich. It is an expression of overflowing German patriotism for their champion, who assists in the German invasion of a neighboring country by killing hundreds of soldiers resisting the German occupation.
The actor who plays the sniper, while heroically picking off the savages trying to kill him, gives the sense that the psychological toll of killing is far outweighed by his satisfaction in knowing that he is serving a just cause; serving his country; doing “good”.
Like all invasions and acts of violence, from states down to neighborhood gangs, Germany’s were justified on the grounds of responsibility to protect. Germans were saving helpless people from imminent massacre at the hands of terrorists and brutal, criminal dictators and regimes – a pretext for which evidence can always be found, in any country. Analyst John Glaser points out that “Hitler justified his invasion of Czechoslovakia by invoking ‘the security of more than 3,000,000 human beings’ who ‘have been maltreated in the unworthiest manner, tortured … [and denied] the right of self-determination.’” The Germans had the ability, so they had to “do something” to help those poor people (and maybe, just incidentally, look after German interests a bit along the way).
Standing on thousands of years of European history, the Nazis used all the stock terms to dehumanize the “bad” people, the targets, in the countries they invaded, making sure to separate them from the “good” people they, the self-appointed (and, for years, US-backed) “exceptional” guardians of world peace, were protecting.
Jews were among the “savages” from whom Germany was protecting everyone. Germany’s plan was to confine the Jewish savages to “reservations”, for forced labor and as a solution to the “territorial issue”, as was done by Europeans to the indigenous people of the Americas and often admired by Hitler himself. Had things turned out differently, perhaps today in Germany there would be Jews living on reservations like native Americans do in the US, but in 1942 with major pressure mounting against Germany, the Nazi scheme morphed, as the preeminent Holocaust scholar Raul Hilberg documents, into an attempt at outright extermination of the Jews, resulting in approximately two thirds of Europe’s “savage” Jewish population being wiped out through disease, starvation, over-work, and “direct” murder.
The image of the “savage”, Robert F. Berkhofer notes, was originally created to “rationalize European conquest” (24). While the main goal of the Spanish genocide against and enslavement of the indigenous of the Americas, corralling them into forced death-labor camps, was profit, the main goal of the British/US colonial forces towards the indigenous peoples, as John Quincy Adams and many others noted, was “exterminating [them] with … merciless and perfidious cruelty” for the sake of stealing their land by force and replacing them. Thus tens of millions of native people in the territories gradually deemed “USA” (hundreds of millions in the Americas overall) were reduced by approximately 95%, with (happily) introduced disease and inflicted conditions, as in the Jewish Holocaust, killing most, and genocide picking up the slack.
On both the Nazi and European/US genocide campaigns, David E. Stannard thus notes, citing Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, that the buildup of the forces of evil that led to the Jewish Holocaust began thousands of years ago in Europe, then, expanding outwards, marched through and set up camp in the “Americas” before returning to Germany, after which they would continue to visit many other locales, from Kenya to Korea to Vietnam, Middle East, and more, the people in every location continuing to be referred to as “savages”, “Indians”, and the like, by US/European forces (253).
“Deadliest sniper in US history” Chris Kyle, the “legend” who performed “miracles” during the invasion in which he partook, uses the word “savage” over and over again throughout his autobiography, American Sniper, specifying that he and his fellows used the term to describe the “bad” and “evil” people in Iraq – those resisting the US invaders. “Savage” for Kyle refers to both resisters in general (he describes “slaying” large numbers of the “savages”) and individuals Kyle, from his obvious moral pedestal, finds particularly odious. Mysteriously, the choice term is not used to describe a single European/American invader, whether as hoards (many Iraqis drew unfavorable comparisons between US and previous Mongol invaders) or individual invaders who, in addition to the highest crime, aggression, famously committed such saintly acts as torture, terrorism, murder, and raping and killing Iraqi children (2, 3). With the breezy assurance of a devout Christian raised in one of the rare countries on earth that, with clinical calculation and personal approval from the president, still implements the archaic “death penalty”, Kyle’s “savages” are strictly those his criminal commanders instructed him to kill, illegal death sentences he carried out with cheerful efficiency and purported “love”, calling to mind the self-described feelings of the Saudi holy executioner about his sacred work.
As Wiesel noted of the Holocaust inflicted on Jewish and other savages, and Stannard documents of both it and the European holocaust inflicted on indigenous “American” savages, the roots of these unfathomable campaigns of evil are one and the same with the roots of Christianity and European “civilization”.
Kyle, one of thousands of true-believing US “mujahideen”, holy warriors, who eagerly and enthusiastically carried out the illegal orders of fundamentalist Christian militant George Bush Jr., uses the word “God” dozens and dozens of times in his autobiography, over and over and over again insisting upon his deep belief in the Christian deity and its earthly incarnation, Jesus, while at the same time, even on the same page, noting that mass murder, for him, was incredibly easy. The inter-weaving of casual notes about 1) the ease and, indeed, “love” of “slaying” hundreds of people, 2) his unquestionable judgments about his victims as evil-doers whom he needed to kill, and 3) his deep, profound love for God, Jesus, and guns, illustrates his self-conception as a holy warrior. He drives home his self-image by explaining that, while he, like everyone, will be judged before being admitted to Heaven or condemned to Hell, killing will not be one of the acts for which God judges him; he already knows God put him on earth to be the best savage-sniper in American history.
Kyle, and, for that matter, Bush Jr. and many of his adherents/apologists, are examples of the dire need for education (yes, Bush went to an ivy league school – look where that led). These people, largely because of communications they thought they had with a glowing man hovering above planet Earth and his deceased son, carried out or participated in the killing and ravaging of millions of people – the worst crime of the 21st century, from which many other evils continue to flow, which is one of the main, specific reasons why war of aggression was outlawed in the Nuremberg proceedings.
Evil flourished and found expression in Kyle and Bush Jr., but are people inherently evil? Hitler, had he been raised by wolves, would have turned out at least somewhat different, wouldn’t he? (Or would he be out in the woods exterminating squirrels, or something?) Is there some universe in which, due to different circumstances, Hitler turned out to be an ice cream man? Abe Lincoln thought so, arguing that slave owners were simply abolitionists born into different circumstances. If there is some chance that education – altering our circumstances – can prevent evil from taking hold, shouldn’t it be pursued and encouraged by everyone?
Had people like Kyle, Bush Jr., and their contemporaries/predecessors been effectively reached, early and often, by information and logic, millions of people might still be alive and safe – that is, safer. There is no such thing as total safety, but once the US invaded Iraq again in 2003, it dragged Iraq further and further down, further and further into chaos, until finally it was reduced to its current status as home of the “world’s worst city”, as a UK research company put it.
Education could, potentially, have led Kyle and Bush Jr. away from the trappings of illogic and evil supremacist ideology that, as Wiesel and Stannard note, have for thousands of years been enmeshed in their religion and culture, taking on religious but also secular-religious/faith-based forms, as exhibited by people like Sam Harris and his cadre, who purport to reject religion but are religious fanatics, devout followers of the religions of nationalism and supremacy. These fundamentalists call perhaps even more often and with deadlier results for the implementation of the murder of lesser peoples that their supreme, elevated position, like that of their openly religious counterparts, mandates.
Perhaps Kyle and Bush Jr. could have read, in addition to what we all read and are exposed to growing up and in daily life, the works of historians and philosophers cited above, and others such as Johnson, Parenti, Chomsky, and learned that the USA, starting in the late 1950s, not only helped install Saddam Hussein into power in Iraq through a mass murder campaign, but teamed up with him, openly, from 1982 into 1990, calling him a “moderate” (sound familiar?), giving him diplomatic, political, material, and intelligence support to help him torture and kill millions of Iraqis, Iranians, and Kurds, many with gas and other illegal weapons provided by US and European governments and companies, then coordinated with Hussein again in the mid-90s, killing hundreds of thousands of children, to crush an uprising that may well have overthrown him.
Perhaps the prize sniper and his chief commander could have discovered at a young age – there is nothing complicated about it once the information is found – that humanitarian motives are simply cancelled out as reasons for US invasions/violence when one allows into the equation that the US continually and happily perpetrates or acts as an accomplice in the same and worse crimes, usually at the same time, as the ones it, in the style of the Nazis and all aggressors, pretends to intervene to save people from. The US can’t really have been going after Hussein for the stated reason, crimes he committed in 1982, otherwise the US would first have arrested Saddam’s American government and corporate accomplices and sponsors of the crimes he committed in 1982. Or, for another example, if the true US motive was actually to “save” people in Yugoslavia from ethnic cleansing in the 1990s, the US wouldn’t have been 1) the principal (and almost sole) supporter of the far worse (137) ethnic cleansing being carried out by Turkey at the same time against the Kurds, or 2) an even bigger supporter of the even worse mass murder campaign, arguably genocide, being carried out, also through the 90s, by Indonesia against East Timorese peasants, exterminating almost a third of the total population.
But perhaps, like many of their peers, Kyle and Bush Jr. were aware of all of this (or would have been unaffected by it), and were simply predators seeking loot, pillage, pleasure, approval of a deity, or some combination thereof, in which case education must reach enough people to reign in these criminals and bring them to justice when and if they manage to kill and ruin; to deal with “evil” in professor emeritus of psychology Phillip Zimbardo’s structural, non-religious sense of the word.
Or, we can keep doing what Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle pointed out when he said the USA will invade your country, kill all your people, then make a movie about how tough the experience was for US soldiers (while large segments of US society laud and idolize them, and their commanders, as the Nation’s Pride).
Robert Barsocchini focuses on global force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry. He is a regular contributor to Washington’s Blog, and is published in Counter Currents, Global Research, State of Globe, Blacklisted News, LewRockwell.com, DanSanchez.me, Information Clearing House, Press TV, and other outlets. Also see: Hillary Clinton’s Record of Support for War and other Depravities. Follow Robert and his UK-based colleague, Dean Robinson, on Twitter.