Sand Creek No Gun Ri

This morning will be the dedication of the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site. The headline of today’s Gazette? “One man’s battle” about whether the 1864 slaughter was a massacre or a battle, and reporting the re-release of a 1925 first hand account written by Irving Howbert who, 61 years after the fact, did not recall the atrocities ascribed to his unit. Whatever kind of near sesquicentenial slap in the face is this? Do you think the prominent placement of this insult could have something to do with blurring America’s vision about current military massacres?

Normally respected Old Colorado City historian Dave Hughes is republishing the book, and wants to repaint the Sand Creek Massacre as, well, not a massacre at all. A quick recap: One early morning in 1864, 700 cavalry volunteers swooped into a village of 500 Arapaho and Cheyenne refugees, killing nearly 200 (the Gazette says 150) committing unmentionable atrocities, following the command “Kill or scalp all, big and little; nits become lice!

I first heard Dave Hughes talk about the glories of war at, of all places, the traveling Vietnam War Memorial. It reflected a myopic immoral tide change I would never have been cynical enough to foresee, and it presaged our national sanction of the US war of aggression against Iraq and acceptable collateral damage. In the shadow of the traveling wall, remembering the 58,000 American dead, where not often enough did someone mention the millions of Vietnamese dead, Dave spoke of his immense pride of commanding his men, suffering the terrible casualties they did in Korea. The heavier the toll, the deeper his pride, the blustery commander was volunteering, if it weren’t for old-age, to do it again. I kid you not. Though he lost half his men to the battle, he would bravely venture more.

Downplaying massacres seems to be Hughes’ game. If you Google No Gun Ri, the now admitted deliberate massacre of hundreds of Korean refugees in 1950, here’s what do you’ll get: Dave Hughes on record standing up for the actions of American machine gunners. Here too, he wasn’t there, and relies on the recollection of soldiers who might have reasons to be blanking out on those parts. For shame. I know and like Dave Hughes, but he’s got a moral screw loose. And as we’ve seen in this town, that’s catching.

Elsewhere in the news, a play opens in London which retells the tragedy of Fallujah, in the actual words of participants on both sides. Authorities note 70 breaches of international conventions by the US forces. Soldiers like Dave Hughes can explain to themselves the necessity of sniping, gassing and obliterating hundreds of civilians in the regular conduct of war. Luckily wiser soldiers and statesmen before them have already addressed man’s bloodlust and agreed there are crimes that must never be rationalized.

2 thoughts on “Sand Creek No Gun Ri

  1. AvatarBrother Jonah

    I saw that at the checkout stand at King Soopers today.

    Of course a soldier who participated in a war crime wouldn’t write in his book “Hey, we committed a war crime”.

    No, his defense would be to say that no crime was committed and that it was a simple act of war.

    and these guys are the ones who got Ward Churchill fired for the crime of “historical revisionism”.

    Like my post about the Alamo, and the freak in Texas who insists that not believing the John Wayne myth about Davey Crockett going down in a hail of bullets and flashing swords was a direct act of TERRORISM.

    I understand that a lot of whites in the area have bitter feelings about the fact that the Native Americans didn’t just surrender and lick the conquerors’ jackboots, but instead fought back and that some of the whites got killed in the process.

    Too fucking bad.

    The “victors” are now denying our rights to go to Tava (pike’s peak) or Pike National Forest or even Garden of the Gods to make medicine. They have the gall to call it “trespassing” on public land that is leased from the tribes at a give-away price.

    They have even in just the three years I’ve been here sent in the Army to evict the Medicine People from Pike National.

    This isn’t dry and done-with history that we should “get over it”.

    This is an ongoing violation of our rights, and not just the rights of Native Americans.

  2. AvatarBrother Jonah

    Yeah, I have to bump this for Relevance Sake. The commission of War Crimes is always going to be, in the accounts given by the War Criminals, justified and the very nature of the crimes will be denied.

    The Fallujah apologists, the Baghdad 5 apologists, the My Lai apologists, No Gun Ri Apologists, run in the same pack as the Sand Creek deniers, the Little Ouachita Deniers, the Wounded Knee Massacre part one (where Sitting Bull was Murdered) Deniers, The Alamo-Davy-Crockett-Did-Not-Surrender Bullshit Artists, the “King Richard Killing Prisoners of War” Deniers, they all seem to have their most prominent names show up time after time, in defense of the worst atrocities committed by Americans especially and “christian” armies in general.

    Pigs stick together, it seems. Cowards Run In Packs.

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