guaranteed religious freedom, America consistently violates fundamental
rights, including respecting all faiths equally.
More than other ethnic/religious groups, Western discourse portrays
Muslim/Arabs stereotypically as culturally inferior, dirty,
lecherous, untrustworthy, religiously fanatical, and violent.
In his book, "Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People," Jack
Shaheen explained how they've been defamed and vilified throughout
decades of cinematic history. From silent films to recent ones, they
encourage prejudicial attitudes, and reinforce notions of Western
values, high-mindedness, and moral superiority.
Worse still are slanderous post-9/11 media commentaries about
dangerous gun-toting terrorists, the need to closely monitor them,
and rid society of those considered dangerous.
Never mind rule of law principles, right or wrong, or whether
accused targets are guilty. Saying so's all that matters to justify
America's war on terror. It needs enemies. When not around, they're
As a result, Muslim Arabs and others suffer hugely, including at
home. Koran burning incidents provide more proof. It symbolizes
America's contempt for Islam.
Importance of the Koran
According to observing Muslims, the Koran's an exact record of words
revealed by God through the Angel Gabriel to Muhammad. He taught
them to others. Scribes passed them on. Throughout centuries of
Islamic history, its 114 chapters remained unchanged.
The Koran's the primary source of Muslim faith and practice. It
covers all human concerns, including wisdom, beliefs, worship and
law. It also focuses on God's relationship with humanity, and
provides guidelines for a just society, proper relationships, and
just divisions of power.
It teaches love, not hate; peace, not violence; charity, not
selfishness; and tolerance, not terrorism. Its five pillars include
profession of faith, prayer five times daily, fasting during
Ramadan, charity, and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca at
least once in a lifetime for those able to afford it.
Clashes Over Latest Afghanistan Koran Burning Incident
It's happened before and each time incites rage. The latest incident
involves US Bagram Air Base forces dumping Koran copies and other
Islamic holy materials in debris piles for burning.
Military officials lied saying they contained "extremist
inscriptions" and were used to "facilitate extremist
communications." The latest incident followed previous ones and
release of a January video showing Marines urinating on Afghan
Protests erupted each time. Hollow apologies heightened anger,
especially after a decade of brutal war, occupation, daily killings,
and extreme deprivation in ravaged Afghanistan.
America's History of Dehumanizing Enemies
"You've Got To Be Carefully Taught" is one of many memorable Rogers
and Hammerstein "South Pacific" songs. Its lyrics went as follows:
"You've got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You've got to be taught
From year to year,
It's got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff'rent shade,
You've got to be carefully taught.
You've got to be taught before it's too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You've got to be carefully taught!"
Early or later, it works the same way by drumming it repeatedly into
impressionable minds, including US military recruits in training.
It begins by creating Groupthink. Individuality and free thought are
expunged. Recruits are intimidated to go along.
For example, Marines begin days chanting:
"This barrack contains 45 highly motivated, truly dedicated romping
stomping blood thirsty kill crazy United States Marine Corps
Unlike football crowds chanting "defense," Marines shout "kill."
Their combat mandate demands it. By combining weapons training with
brainwashing, robotized human killing machines are created.
Major media and Hollywood scoundrels help. They're enlisted to
demonize enemies. Racial epithets vilified Japanese soldiers. They
were dehumanized as brutal animals. So were North Koreans,
Vietnamese, and other non-whites. Asians and Arabs are called
sneaky, deviant, and other degrading terms. Training manipulates
impressionable minds to believe it.
In fall 2006, former Marine Sgt. Martin Smith's article headlined,
"Learning to be a Killer: Remembering Marine Corps boot camp,"
Indoctrination involves "dehumanizing the enemy in order to train
(recruits) how to overcome any fear or prejudice against killing."
"The process of dehumanization is central to military training.
During the Vietnam War, the enemy in Vietnam was simply a 'gook,'
'dink,' or 'slope. Today, 'raghead' and 'sand nigger' are the
current racist epithets lodged against Arabs and Muslims."
"After every command, we would scream, 'Kill!' But our call for
blood took on particular importance during our physical training,
when we learned how to fight with pugil sticks-wooden sticks with
padded ends-how to run an obstacle course with fixed bayonets, or
how to box and engage in hand-to-hand combat."
"We were told to imagine the 'enemy' in all of our combat training,
and it was always implied that the enemy was of Middle Eastern
descent. When some raghead comes lurking up from behind, you're
gonna give 'em ONE,' barked the training DI. We all howled in
"We were being indoctrinated with schemes for war in the Middle
East. Our hatred of the 'Arab other' was crafted from the very
beginning of our training through fear and hate. In these 'dirty
wars,' troops cannot tell friend from foe, leading to war crimes
against a civilian population."
Other US service branches also manipulate young minds to kill. They
reinforce training mandates in war zones. They violate lawful rules
of engagement (ROE). In Iraq, some commanders ordered killing all
military-aged Iraqi men on sight.
Yet US Army Field Manual 27-10 incorporates Nuremberg Principles,
Judgment and the Charter and Law of Land Warfare (1956). They
prohibit crimes of war and against humanity and require disobeying
But US service members risk Court Martial and prison terms by
putting rule of law principles above chain of command orders. Either
go along or be penalized if charged.
Manipulating Public Opinion
Vilifying enemies isn't new. Nor do boot camps alone create
Groupthink. Political, academic, religious and other leaders
euphemize killing and dehumanizing to justify lawless acts.
For example, calling Soviet Russia the "evil empire" or communism a
"cancer" manipulates public opinion to accept aggressive state
policy as justified.
In Nazi Germany, Jews were called "parasites," "Jewish bacilli," and
other dehumanizing terms to facilitate Hitler's "final solution."
Raul Hilberg's "The Destruction of the European Jews" is its
He called their annihilation no accident, saying:
"When in the early days of 1933, the first civil servant wrote the
first definition of 'non-Aryan' into a civil service ordinance, the
fate of European Jewry was sealed."
He also said "moral obstacles must be removed" and internal
conflicts resolved to facilitate the horrors of war and planned
Throughout America's history, racist/hateful dehumanization targeted
Native Americans, Blacks, Latinos, other marginalized groups, and
now Muslims. For example, Native people were called plundering,
murdering savages, and much more. Doing so facilitated ritual
America's holocaust inspired Hitler's. How could Washington complain
when it committed its own. Each time, mass slaughter's justified,
sanitized, and/or suppressed. Pain, suffering, and death aren't
images policy makers want publicized.
Rhetoric softens horrific acts. Civilian deaths become "collateral
damage." In Vietnam, "pacification" meant forced displacement.
"Incursion" was code language for invasion. Creating a "sanitized
belt" meant removing everyone, bulldozing areas, and erecting
"defensive positions" with heavy weapons.
"Sincere regrets" conceal deliberate killing. Free fire zones become
"humanitarian bombing." Propaganda softens and conceals crimes of
war and against humanity. Language hides ugly truths.
Ronald Reagan's national security advisor, Robert McFarlane,
euphemized war horrors. He said America must remain prepared for
"low-intensity conflict. The use of force can never be our
preference or our only choice. It cannot yet be discarded, however,
as an instrument of policy."
In fact, it's often preferred policy. It's disguised as
humanitarian, democratic liberation, when, in fact, it's imperial
aggression for unchallenged dominance.
Orwellian language facilitates warmaking. When used effectively,
mass slaughter and destruction become normal, though for the most
part ugly facts are suppressed.
Entire war zones become destroyed villages to save them. Brainwashed
troops make it possible with ease.
Groupthink removes ravaged countries, mass slaughter, and human
suffering from their mindsets.
Training indoctrination makes them effective killing machines in
combat. Burning Korans alone show they're well taught.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to
cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the
Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network
Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon.
All programs are archived for easy listening.