Collective Guilt

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Collective guilt, or guilt by association, is the controversial collectivist idea that individuals who are identified as a member of a certain group carry the responsibility for an act or behavior that members of that group have demonstrated, even if they themselves were not involved. See also Wikipedia: German Collective Guilt - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_collective_guilt

The Sociology of War and Violence - Malešević, Siniša - the bureaucratizing of war

Because of the bureaucratizing of war, violence is much more depersonalized. Modern warfare is nothing more than rational means to an end. As modern warfare relies ever more on remote control technology, it is able to depersonalize violence and distance human contact.[1]

The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America's Wars

As John Tirman posits in "The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America's Wars" and in the Washington Post article "Why do we ignore the civilians killed in American wars?" - Americans are greatly concerned about the number of our troops killed in battle--33,000 in the Korean War; 58,000 in Vietnam; 4,500 in Iraq--and rightly so. But why are we so indifferent, often oblivious, to the far greater number of casualties suffered by those we fight and those we fight for? Tirman states that:

The major wars the United States has fought since the surrender of Japan in 1945 — in Korea, Indochina, Iraq and Afghanistan — have produced colossal carnage. For most of them, we do not have an accurate sense of how many people died, but a conservative estimate is at least 6 million civilians and soldiers.

Six million killed is the same number of Jews that Adolf Hitler killed in the Holocaust.[2]

"Immaculate Genocide" - How progressives justify war

Benevolent Assimilation - The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903 - Stuart Creighton Miller

Writing of Philippine American War of 1895-- entailing orders that every male Filipino over the age of ten be slaughtered, and the resulting deaths of one in every six inhabitants on the island of Luzon -- historian Stuart Creighton Miller describes "the tendency of highly patriotic Americans...to [vociferously] deny such abuses and even to assert that they could never exist in their country."

How progressives support war

More subtle than the characteristic refusal of "conservatives" to allow mere facts to in any way alter their core presumptions was/is the complementary nature of the "alternative" interpretation(s) most often posed by their "progressive" opponents. Noting that the Philippines genocide was a matter of public knowledge by 1901, Creighton Miller goes on to observe that collective "amnesia over the horrors of the war of conquest...set in early, during the summer of 1902." He then concludes by reflecting upon how "anti-imperialists aided the process by insisting that the conflict and its attendant atrocities had been the result of a conspiracy by a handful of leaders who carried out, through deceit and subterfuge, the policy and means of expansion overseas against the will of the majority of their countrymen."

The average man on the street shared the dreams of American world-power status

"By refusing to acknowledge that most Americans had been bitten by the same bug that afflicted [President] Theodore Roosevelt, anti-imperialists were letting the people off the hook and in their own way preserving the American sense of innocence. Unfortunately, the man in the street shared the dreams of world-power status, martial glory, and future wealth that would follow expansion. When the dream soured, the American people neither reacted with very much indignation, nor did they seem to retreat to their cherished political principles. If anything, they seemed to take their cues from their leader in the White House by first putting out of mind all the sordid episodes in the conquest, and then forgetting the entire war itself."

How conservatives justify war
On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U. S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality - Ward Churchill.

So it was then, the more so today. Contemporary conservatives, whenever they can be momentarily boxed into conceding one or another unsavory aspect of America's historical record, are forever insisting that whatever they've admitted can be "properly" understood only when viewed as an "exception to the rule," an "aberration," "atypical" to the point of "anamolousness."120 None have shown a readiness to address the question of exactly how many such "anomalies" might be required before they can be said to comprise "the rule" itself. When pressed, conservatives invariably retreat into a level of diversionary polemic excusable at best on elementary school playgrounds, arguing that anything "we have done is somehow excused by allegations that "they" have done things just as bad."121

How progressives justify war

Progressives, on the other hand, while acknowledging many of America's more reprehensible features, have become far more refined in offering hook-free analyses than they were in 1902. No longer much preoccupied with such crudities as "conspiracy theory,"122 they have become quite monolithic in attributing all things negative to handy abstractions like "capitalism," "the state," "structural oppression," and, yes, "the hierarchy."123 Hence, they have been able to conjure what might be termed the "miracle of immaculate genocide," a form of genocide, that is, in which--apart from a few amorphous "decision-making elites"124--there are no actual perpetrators and no one who might "really" be deemed culpable by reason of complicity. The parallels between this "cutting edge" conception and the defense mounted by postwar Germans--including the nazis at Nuremberg--are as eerie as they are obvious.

--- On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U. S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality - Ward Churchill.

Those who died in the World Trade Center were not innocent and were "Little Eichmans"

"The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic." -- Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin allegedly once said to U.S. ambassador Averill Harriman.[3] I do not in anyway promote the death of anyone. I am still horrified by 9/11. By explaining the background of why these people died maybe it will prevent another 9/11. See Blowback

[America] is worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way: Stop participating in it. - Noam Chomsky

“Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way: Stop participating in it.” ― Noam Chomsky

Under America's own history of targeting civilian business targets, the World Trade Center on 9/11 was a legitimate military targets.
Ward Churchill Quote:

  • "[The American businessmen who died on 9-11] were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches & stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind & smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants"[4]


Ward Churchill argued that those who died in the World Trade Center were "Little Eichmans".
"Eichmann in Jerusalem" - Hannah Arendt - "The banality of evil"

Adolf Eichmann was a German-Austrian and one of the major organizers of the Holocaust. He was executed in 1962.

"Little Eichmanns" are people whose actions, while on an individual scale may seem relatively harmless even to themselves, taken collectively create destructive and immoral systems in which they are actually complicit. The name comes from Adolf Eichmann, a Nazi bureaucrat who helped to orchestrate the Holocaust, but claimed that he did so without feeling anything about his actions, merely following the orders given to him.[5]

Hannah Arendt's book "Eichmann in Jerusalem" introduced the expression and concept of "the banality of evil" to label Hitler's Adolf Eichmann. Her thesis is that Eichmann was actually not a fanatic or a sociopath, but instead an extremely average and mundane person who relied on cliché defenses rather than thinking for himself, and, like the businessmen in the world trade center, was motivated by professional promotion rather than ideology. Banality, in this sense, does not mean that Eichmann's actions were motivated by a sort of complacency which was wholly unexceptional.

Eichmann in Jerusalem

Arendt's book introduced the expression and concept of "the banality of evil" to label Hitler's Adolf Eichmann. Her thesis is that Eichmann was actually not a fanatic or a sociopath, but instead an extremely average and mundane person who relied on cliché defenses rather than thinking for himself, and was motivated by professional promotion rather than ideology. Banality, in this sense, does not mean that Eichmann's actions were motivated by a sort of complacency which was wholly unexceptional.[6]

Hitler's Germany: Hitler's Willing Executioners

Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust - Daniel Goldhagen
See also Wikipedia: Hitler's Willing Executioners

The book Hitler's Willing Executioners lays to rest many myths about the Holocaust: that Germans were ignorant of the mass destruction of Jews, that the killers were all SS men, and that those who slaughtered Jews did so reluctantly. Hitler's Willing Executioners provides conclusive evidence that the extermination of European Jewry engaged the energies and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of ordinary Germans.

Like Germans who killed 6 millions Jews, Americans, who have killed 6 million people since World War 2, are "willing executioners".[2]

Notes

  1. Malešević, Siniša. 2010. The Sociology of War and Violence. p. 129.
  2. 2.0 2.1 John Tirman. (January 6, 2012). Why do we ignore the civilians killed in American wars?, Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-do-we-ignore-the-civilians-killed-in-american-wars/2011/12/05/gIQALCO4eP_story.html
  3. "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic." Reason. https://reason.com/2009/01/07/the-death-of-one-man-is-a-trag/
  4. On the Justice of Roosting Chickens https://cryptome.org/ward-churchill.htm
    Ward Churchill - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ward_Churchill
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Eichmanns
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eichmann_in_Jerusalem