Western Reverence for Life

by Mark Chmiel

General William Westmoreland once said
“The Oriental doesn’t place
The same high value on life
As does a Westerner
In the Orient life is cheap
It doesn’t matter”

The general said this in 1972
27 years after a war
When one group of Westerners
German Westerners
Eliminated millions of people
Deemed subhuman

It was also 27 years before
That another group of Westerners
Westmoreland’s own U.S. Westerners
Decimated city (fire bombing)
After city after city (atomic bombing)
Filled with Japanese civilians

It was also a few years before
Under Westmoreland’s guidance
That U.S. troops sought vindication
Of their presence in southern Vietnam
By means of body counts–
The more Vietnamese corpses, the more proof we must be winning

Twenty years after Westmoreland spoke thus
After the demise of the Soviet Union
A new enemy needed to be identified
And so the U.S. and its allies faced a clash of civilizations
With those who evidently did not have the same values
As the West manifested decade after decade

 

–Westmoreland quotation taken from 1974 documentary, Hearts and Minds

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