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A reality check

By Col. Stan Gudmundson

Fri, Mar 7th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

It is important to periodically reexamine humanity’s hideous past to remind us of how extremely dangerous our world is. We cannot afford to take our country, liberty, and our way of life for granted.

The slaughter of the last 125 years or so can be divided into three, often interrelated, categories. The first is war. Millions and millions have lost their lives for, in most cases, literally nothing.

The second is government’s murder of its own people in pursuit of utopian fantasies. Socialists, i.e. Fascists and Communists, for example have killed far more than 100 million of their own citizens in Germany, Russia, China, Cuba, Cambodia, and North Korea to name a few. Worse, in places like China, Cuba and North Korea it still goes on. The century’s death toll as a result of government’s killing their own people is far greater than that of its wars.

The third category is that of ethnic cleansing, the focus of this editorial. The phrase “ethnic cleansing” is relatively new. Unfortunately the process isn’t.

The stereotypic view of the Jewish holocaust places virtually all of the blame on Germans. That view is incorrect. An observer in Romania in 1940-41 noted that the, “average Rumanian hated Jews with fury unapproached in Germany and equaled only in Poland”. There were anti-Jewish pogroms that killed hundreds of thousands and forced millions to flee in Croatia, Romania, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Greece, Serbia, and the Soviet Union before, during, and after WWII.

German observers were stunned by the viciousness of Croatians. Most its 700,000 Jews died in Croatia.

Consequently, eastern and central Europe was virtually emptied of Jews. “Never Again” became the rallying cry. Unfortunately the reality is more like “Again and Again”.

Early in the 20th century thousands of Bulgarians were killed and hundreds of thousands were banished by Romanians and Greeks.

During the late teens and early 20s more than two million Greeks were thrown out of places they lived, often for centuries, by Bulgarians and Turks. Some Greeks forced to flee Turkey didn’t even speak Greek.Five hundred thousand were also forced forever into Turkey’s interior. Turks kidnapped many of the Greek women.

Beginning in 1915, 1-1.5 million Armenians were the victims of a Turkish genocide. Earlier, in the 1890s, Turks killed tens of thousands. In the late 1990s a quarter of million Armenians became refugees at the hands of Azerbaijanis. Kurds and Tatars also purged Armenians.

In 1932-33 Ukraine suffered a terror famine under Stalin’s direction. Upwards of 7.5 million died. During the ‘40s at least 1.6 million Ukrainians were displaced or killed by Romanians, Poles, and Germans.

Turks suffered at the hands of Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia. Hundreds of thousands were forced out of these countries. In the early ‘20s at least a million left lands conquered by Greece.

Hungarians, 350-425,000 of them, were banished by Ukraine and 200,000 fled in 1956, 200-300,000 Italians were driven out of Yugoslavia, and over a million Serbs fled at the hands of Kosovars, Croatia, Albania, and Bulgaria.

During WWII the Soviet Union removed from the Caucasus region and Crimea, entire Chechen, Balkar, Ingush, and Tatar populations. According to the Soviet NKVD, 144,000 Chechens were eliminated.

Upwards of 2.5 million Poles were slaughtered or moved by Ukraine, Germany, and the Soviet Union. At least 500,000 were sent east to work and die in Soviet labor camps.

And the nationality subject to the largest population purge in European history? Germans. After the WWII, 12-14 million Germans were purged from Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia, Romania, Austria, and the Soviet Union.

Precise death tolls as a result of “ethnic cleansing” are impossible to tally. Movements of huge populations always caused enormous numbers of deaths. The agony and suffering caused by starvation, rape, pillage, and whole varieties of other inhuman treatment is beyond description. Virtually every German woman in the area occupied by Soviet troops was raped.

In the 1980s and ‘90s there were hundreds of thousands of Georgians, Bosnians, Serbs, Croatians, Chechens, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, and others killed or forced out of the countries they had been living in.

The hatreds are still there. Human nature has not changed. Having an unpopular religious, ideological, ethnic, or racial heritage was and still is enough to get one killed or purged.

During the Ottoman Empire 20 percent of its population was Christian. Today Christians make up about 2 percent of the population in those same areas. Having the legal status of second class citizens their homes and businesses are being destroyed and they are being murdered. Ancient Christian communities are being obliterated. 450,000 have fled Syria and more than 850,000 have left Iraq. Copts in Egypt are being slaughtered.

There are huge faultlines throughout the world that will assuredly continue to produce the horrors of war, slaughters within countries, and ethnic cleansing. A small sample includes Muslim v. Christian in the Middle East but especially in Europe as a declining European population faces a growing Muslim population, Shia v. Sunni, nationalistic China v. its neighbors and the US, and competing hatreds in the Caucasus. Hatred is worldwide and it is deep and long-lasting.

Americans really can’t comprehend hatred of this kind. Those who think they see racial prejudice and hatred everywhere here in the US don’t have a clue.

Years ago I began to try to understand the scale of and the reasons for the death toll of the 20th century and the potential for the same kinds of events for the future. I just finished another related book “The Tragedy of Liberation” by Frank Dikotter, an account of Chinese Revolution between 1945-1957. Mao was incredibly depraved and by normal standards of behavior, literally insane. I don’t see how anyone can draw any other conclusion.

I wondered if this hatred and evil was just part of human nature or was there more to it? Even without my Christian faith I would find it very difficult to believe humanity is intrinsically that terrible. The toll is just too great. There is more to this wickedness than just human nature.

This overview is far from all-encompassing but it should help illustrate why it is absolutely essential that the United States maintain the strongest military on earth. We can’t let our guard down. The world is just too dangerous. This is imperative for not only the survival of the United States but for the survival for the rest of world as well.


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12:32:02, Mar 7th 2014

"Turks suffered at the hands of Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia. Hundreds of thousands were forced out of these countries. In the early ‘20s at least a million left lands conquered by Greece."

You forgot to mention that this was because the Ottoman Empire (Turks) invaded and took over Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria for over 500 years! The Turks did not suffer, they were the ones who administered the suffering and to this day have left an imprint on the region.

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