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Whammo (2555)

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Journal of Whammo (2555)

Friday February 07, 2003
11:14 PM


[ #10473 ]

And the fire of burning yesterdays
Can only light the way
To lead you from
The garden of the dark
-- Black Sabbath

Far across the Pacific, the United States military, having once fought alongside local militants to oust an oppressive colonial regime, were now finding themselves fighting against these same forces, organized by an extremely popular and charismatic leader.

The war was not going well. Guerilla warfare in a dense, unforgiving jungle gave a decided edge to the locals. Diseases decimated the U.S. forces. Morale among the troops, few of whom volunteered for this war, was at an all-time low. Discipline among the ranks was non-existent. Back home, anti-war sentiment was ever increasing, and was quickly blamed for prolonging the war. No one really understood for what the U.S. was fighting. There was no strategic military advantage to be gained, and no American corporate interests to protect.

American reporters covering the war described it as a never-ending battle, recapturing the same hills and villages over and over and over. Field commanders, under pressure for positive results, invented enemy casualty statistics. Reports that the war was not going well were censored.

And the war wasn't going well.

There were no front lines. There was no friendly territory. The enemy "gooks" were indistinguishable from the civilian population that they blended in with. Eventually, American generals had to institute what amounted to no more than concentration camps - anyone outside these areas were considered combatants. The generals also instituted a scorched earth policy. Burned jungle and villages. Indiscriminate killing of the local populations. No prisoners. It's estimated that anywhere between 200,000 and 700,000 local inhabitants died from combat, starvation, and disease.

And on it went. Although it's difficult to say exactly how long the war lasted, it certainly lasted longer than what the history books or the American government commonly say. Instead, close to seventeen years passed between the first and last American military actions.

It appears that war may be upon us once again. Although the U.S. has been extremely successful - comparatively speaking - in the last two decades of conflict, it's imperative that people do not forget what an absolutely horrific institution war can be.

Oh, the war above? The oft-forgotten Philippine-American War. Starting in 1898 as part of the Spanish-American war, significant military action continued well into World War I. Less than fifty years later, the U.S. would do it all over again in Vietnam.

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