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Comparing Atrocities


Comparing Atrocities

John Feffer

The description of the death of Robert-Francois Damiens, the man who attempted to kill Louis XV, is not for the faint-hearted.

On March 2, 1757, in front of a crowd of spectators, Damiens was drawn and quartered, which means that his limbs were tied to four horses that were then urged to gallop toward the four points of the compass.


Fascinating article, although it’s stronger on presenting evidence of actions without much analysis of what drives these forms of barbarity.

As for this:

“Drone attacks are no less violent or disturbing than the murder of Damiens. But they’ve been placed in a different context that makes them palatable to a majority of Americans (though not to most of the world). They’re not public spectacles.”

I don’t think the attacks are necessarily palatable to a majority of Americans. Mr. Feffer left out the enormous weight of “the back story.” And that story is the product of mass media narratives repeated often that are completely deceptive. Basically, the drone program is “sold” to the American public as “surgical strikes.” This metaphor suggests precision whereas facts–in the form of the thousands of innocents killed–are glossed over if mentioned at all. People like Clapper lie about the numbers and pretend that not ONE innocent has been killed. In the few cases where it is admitted that something akin to a wedding party felt the deadly impact, it will be excused as an accident.

That same modus operandi was used to excuse torture (at offshore locations) by stating that it was only done by a few bad apples. Actually, it was mandated from “the top.”

We see it when individual cops are blamed for the systemic racism that’s projecting ridiculous levels of aggressive force at The Black Community.

The fact that “respected” authorities like the church (in earlier eras) enthusiastically sponsored sadistic tortures was a planned strategy aimed at controlling all citizens. Justice-minded persons would face that type of carnage if they sought to oppose the mighty muscle of the church-state.

And that is STILL the force that drives barbarity. When State Power uses police officers to gun down Black citizens, and armed guards who rape “illegal aliens,” and right wing soldiers who torture prisoners to death… it is THAT brute force that sets “the standard” for the nation.

I term if Mars Rules and its martial taint is everywhere… stretching from the slaughter of animals raised in utter cruelty, to the laxity shown towards rape on college campuses, to the wild wild west amped up policing squads let loose in urban ghettoes, to the wars abroad.

The problem with cultures governed by dominators and an ethos that rests upon war, weaponry and the proud use of aggressive force is that it inhibits the wisdom and humanity of all good citizens.

Amy Goodman recently had a segment about the prison strike at Attica. The inmates, mostly Black bravely stood up to demand some basic human rights. But when the armed militias arrived, it was all over.

No one can stand up to fire power.

That’s what got the kids off the street (OWS), and sent the surging wave of Arab Spring back into hiding. It’s what subdues populations. Like Shirley Jackson’s poignant short story, “The Lottery,” it’s through turning human sacrifice into a “necessary rite” that people submit to authority, in general.

When Authority itself is barbaric, the whole society is permeated with violence. That’s how Mars Rules controls citizens and thwarts the expression of their better natures.

It is all deliberate.

Morality rots from the HEAD first.


“The U.S. government does not put videos on the Internet as a warning to all those who might consider joining al-Qaeda or ISIS. The government further reassures us that the right people are being punished. And indeed, if the American public saw videos of innocent people killed in the “collateral damage” of drone attacks, their support for the program would likely decrease substantially.”

Thank you for making this point, Mr. Feffer.

And thank you for a profound article/essay.


Both the Fars news agency, newspapers in Iraq and in Russia have published an article regarding a raid launched by Iraqi Special forces on an ISIS headquarters in Mosul. This headquarters was being used to train insurgents and coordinate ISIS attacks.

According to this article arrested were 4 foreign nationals. One carried an Israeli passport. Two were dual citizens of the USA and Israel and one was Citizen of one of the Gulf States.

The Iraqi Government has also claimed that ISIS is regularly supplied via Air drops and that witnesses on the ground claim the planes and helicopters of US origin, Contrary to what the press claims ISIS membership is limited and they simply do not have the manpower to control all of that ground space. They use tremendous amounts of supplies and Iraq has noted they are using American and European sourced weapon systems including things like TOW missile systems,

The cover story in the western media (when they do decide to report on such things at all) is that confusion on the battlefield leads to the USA dropping arms to the wrong factions or that once “moderate” factions that were armed by the USA “switched sides”.

There will be those I am sure that dismiss this as poppycock and claim the US would never supply such ruthless peoples with arms. This is contrary to the historical record where they did that very thing . Throughout the second World War Nazi Germany was being supplied with oil from US Corporations and firms like IBM and Ford were working with them. Pol Pot was supplied with US arms and monies so as to carry the battle on against Vietnam.


“According to Philip Alston, the former UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, “if other states were to claim the broad-based authority that the United States does, to kill people anywhere, anytime, the result would be chaos.” Just as the judicial system claims the only legal authority to kill people in the United States, the U.S. government has adopted a similar authority internationally.”

Another one of those “leading by example” sorts of things… imagine what may happen when the drones now being SOLD to other nations’ leaders end up used!

It reminds me of the graft that’s now become the norm in Finance. A nation faces financial obligations it can NEVER meet, so it just prints money. Now other nations are doing the same thing. And what will all the fiat currencies mean when traded against nature’s finite resources?

Or how about genetic “food” and what will happen when the Frankenstein plants merge into nature’s genuine, fertile seed stocks and render the majority of a once thriving, fertile natural world… absolutely infertile?

These manmade horrors are proliferating and none of them are based on wisdom, fair play, Democracy, or in compliance with established law.


They have in fact “created their own reality” and the systems in place all lead to a sort of mass delusion. My understanding of Buddhism is that one of its tenets is that people do not live in the REALITY of the world but live in a manipulated perception of it. Thus they invented things like “money” printed on a paper press at will that becomes the focus of entire economic and political systems.Money and Capital are then given “rights”. The “not real” establishes control over the real and people who print that money on paper presses proclaimed as the rightful owners of the land and forests and seas simply because they printed all of that money.


It isn’t an atrocity when we do it - just like waterboarding.


Torture is not just useless cruelty, it is counterproductive.


This ties directly into that “we are a special people meme” one repeated by despots tyrants and thugs since the dawn of time.


Drone attacks are no less violent or disturbing than the murder of
Damiens. But they’ve been placed in a different context that makes them
palatable to a majority of Americans (though not to most of the world).

Bingo. I just returned from Creech AFB where I was arrested along with 33 others for protesting the use of killer drones. It was surreal as drones were taking off and landing a mere few hundred yards away. For every intended person a drone kills, 28 innocent men, women and CHILDREN are killed as well. With every drone strike, more people are created who want to harm the US. Veterans For Peace.