Hitler has always been the go-to poster boy for pure evil, Stalin not far behind. My first exposure to pure evil was the Wicked Witch of the West, and Dorothy ended her evil reign with just a bucket of water. L Frank Baum fantasized that storybook evil could be terminated by some simple defense mechanism, a bucket of clean water, however, it is not storybook evil he should have ben addressing in his Oz stories, but the internal evil, in himself.
In 1890, Baum repeatedly called for the extermination of the Lakota people., and what is chilling about that is how he could declare for such action in a newspaper editorial and still ride the wave crest of respected history. How is it he has never been held accountable for a statement, which by the standards of his own culture, is heinous down to its brass tacks?
I know, the go-to counter argument is to blame history. Baum is historical, history was primitive, people said and did bad stuff not acceptable today, stop beating that dead horse. Fast forward a hundred years to the Clinton Administration. It is May 12, 1996, and Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes is interviewing Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, only she wasn’t all bright that day, because this is how that went down:
Stahl: “We have heard that a half a million children have died [because of sanctions against Iraq]. I mean that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And—you know, is the price worth it?”
Albright: “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price—we think the price is worth it.”
This was before 9/11. What wonky, badly articulated foreign policy objective did Albright think was worth the lives of a half million brown children? Nothing any US politician has said of late, including the troglodyte Trump, is remotely as heinous as Albright’s response. She was, at that moment, the face of foreign policy evil, she outed herself damningly, as a wanton, unapologetic, war criminal.
As a tribe it has always been our nature to side with the oppressed, because we are one of the most open minded and compassionate sub groups in the United States. We notice every little GOP shenanigan Governor Noem might play or has played but for some reason back in 1996 we forgot to notice or care that half a million Iraqi children had been murdered. Too much of our tribal pride has been hijacked by the US Military. We are too proud of having served in the armed forces of a nation whose soldiers once slaughtered our defenseless women and children, pretty much the same thing they pulled over in Iraq. This seems to be a specialty of the USA, writing off the precious lives of women and children as acceptable collateral damage for some aggressive, indefensible policy objective. When Albright meets Baum in Hell they will have a nice after dinner chat about how effectively she exterminated the tens of thousands he wanted to exterminate.
(James Giago Davies can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)