You know, if I could do just one thing to fix US 21st century public diplomacy and counterintelligence, whatever it takes, it would be to fix this: make it so that the world's Internet idiots get some pushback at the very highest and deepest levels on this notion that "the US has killed the most people in the world".
The US has never killed "the most people in the world" -- not in the past, not now. That dishonour belongs to the Soviet Union, who has committed the world's worst mass atrocities -- bar none -- totalling some 50 million people; there are 6 million people killed in the Holodomor or terror-famine alone, and millions who executed or worked to death in the GULAG, not to mention entire "punished peoples," like the Crimean Tatars, stuffed into trains and sent to remote exile, dying along the way.
Ernst Ametistov, the Constitutional Court judge, a colleague of ours who died some years ago, once described to me how, as a small boy living in evacuation himself in Kazakhstan, he saw the bodies thrown off trains like that into the snow.
Even Yegor Kuzmich Ligachev had to admit that when the spring thaw came in Sverdlovsk, the river always turned up bodies from the mass graves...
Dmitry Prigov, God rest his soul, had a macabre poem that went something like this, "Here a corpse, there a corpse, everywhere a corpse corpse."
The Soviet Union was entirely built and maintained on people's bones -- millions upon millions of them.
The strange meme that you meet on social media -- especially from people who should know better, like people who live in the former Soviet Union -- that "America has killed the most people in the world" is in part a result of the Kremlin's active measures and agents of influence. But it's also simply ignorance and stupidity. These people think if they see a war in front of them this minute, and the press covers American actions, then that's all there is to the story.
This stuff is so stupid, so unbelievable, that the intelligentsias of the world don't bother to counter it. They think it self-discredits. But it doesn't. More and more ignorant Internet children are appearing spouting these idiocies. Even the wars that the US is in, whether you support them or not, involve not US troops killing most of the people, but militants supported by Iran or Syria or other bad actors, and terrorists like Al Qaeda. I started this site "Not Killed By American Troops" which I only maintain sporadically just to try to have some place to park all the links -- the stories of time after time, 50 people, 40 people, 100 people, 20 people killed in terrorist bombings -- and no one cares. No one wrings their hands. Nobody talks about the murderous terrorist policies in Pakistan and Afghanistan. No one condemns them.
They are "other people's civil wars" at best -- and then someone we are still to be blamed for them by showing up.
I'm for having an office in the State Department that does nothing but stop this meme in its tracks. I'm dead serious. It's becoming a national security disaster. If the Tsarnaev brothers grow up on the Internet watching Youtube and reading stupid comments and fora like this Facebook discussion, they believe that "America has killed the most people in the world" - and then they think their actions are justified. Jihadists in Africa and Asia think the same thing. They imagine they are in a just war. Most people never even stop to realize that more people were killed in Chechnya and the North Caucasus in 10 years -- by a very long shot -- than were ever killed in Israel/Palestine in the intifada years or following. Yet they got 1/100th the attention. I'm for stopping this. I'm really sick of it.
Barrie Hebb I live in the former soviet union - you idiot!! And I would accept these republics over your country any day!!!!! Your government murdered far more people than Stalin - not that this makes Stalin okay - both are wrong. But come on - democratically - Putin has oddly won a democratic contest in a way that no US president ever has - and this is sad - for Russia and for the the USA. Your country has murdered and raped far more people than it has helped - and that is no excuse. That you can name some people does not matter - those the USA has harmed - there simply is no excuse. And i do not hold the USA to a higher standard than Russia - those Russia has harmed I have also spoken against - civilization knows no boundaries.
Barrie Hebb By the way Catherine - you forget that the Taliban has been sponsored and financed by - you guessed it - the USA - you are completely brainwashed by the Tea Party you belong to - and you are, I assume, older than 18 and capable of reading - yet you make no use of it. And also the Al Quaeda network is also well financed by, you guessed it - the USA - and event he CIA admits this - I do not get your enemey list at all. And Iran has been more than helpful to the USA- they have picked up the tab for the reguees - more than 2 million - as a result of the USA attack on an innocent country - Afghanistan - which never harmed anyone - Iran paid for everything - and they never ever ever attacke danyone int he past 100 years - unlike the usa - which has invaded illegally 75 % of the worlds coverage - and raped , murdered, pillaged - people after people. Burned the skin off children in Japan and m,any other countries. You should be ashamed of yoruself for defening such terrorists. Really. In my mind you are a vicious- stupid - terrorist ideogue - willing to see anyone who disagrees with the myth of the USA destroyed. This is why I rightfully cited you as a neo-Nazi before - and now - more than before - I remain completely convinced you are a menace to civilization. I wish you had the opportunity to got school, get an education, and perhaps even meet people who are non-white - then maybe you would have a different view.
Catherine Ann Fitzpatrick @Barrie Hebb, Um, no. Even Wikipedia will explain to you that the US didn't "finance the Taliban" and certainly didn't finance Osama bin Ladn. When *your friend* the Soviet Union committeed a *mass crime against humanity* and massacred MORE THAN A MILLION civilians in *their war*, the US did indeed help some mujahedin fight back. Good! It's like Syria today. There is a certain moral thing to do here. If you don't want rebels to become radical anti-American Islamists, you need to have a hand in. The US response was so late and so small it did little to affect the outcome of the war -- in which, as I said, in case you're still having comprehension problems, MORE THAN A MILLION people were killed. I don't belong to any Tea Party, that's ridiculous. I'm a registered Democrat. I voted for Obama the first time, and didn't the second time, making a protest vote to Romney particularly over foreign policy issues like Russia. As for your silly conspiracy theories about Al Qaeda, what do you read, infowars? anti-war.com? Or some other crazy conspiracy site? Afghanistan is not an "innocent country" when it harboured the people who committed a crime against humanity on 9/11, massacring 3,000 people and injuring numerous people and causing millions of dollars of damage. No, international law accepts that in that case, the victim gets to respond. You didn't see Lavrov weeping over that. As for your notion that "Iran picked up the tab," the US has funded refugee care for years, and Pakistan bore the brunt -- and they are no angels, as it is their secret police supporting the Taliban all along as everyone know. The OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of civilians killed in THIS war were KILLED BY THE TALIBAN and its allies -- 85% according to the UN. The other 15% are by Karzai and his allies. The US slice of this is miniscule. It's bad enough, but utterly dwarfed by the Taliban. Your bland and blind acceptance of THEIR raping, murder, pilllaging is just breath-taking. Even Michael Anderson would concede the Soviet massacres and the Taliban massacres and not wake up crap about the US being the problem. As for burning the skin of children, I'm glad you care so much about little children. The US using the atomic bomb against militarist Japan is indeed a grave crime. Of course, it was response to all kinds of grave crimes as well, including the rape of the "comfort women" and of course murders of many. And if you care about little burned children, we missed you in Laos and Vietnam and Cambodia where the Soviets and their allies used chemical warfare -- or doesn't your memory stretch back that far? I'm hardly a neo-Nazi. A person who doesn't believe your Soviet communist views is a liberal, not a Nazi. I've had an education, and guess what, including in Soviet Russia where I heard this first hand. You're too young to reiterate Soviet propaganda circa 1970. Free your mind, your ass will follow.