“Laws are silent in times of war.” ― Marcus Tullius CiceroThe photo above was originally published in the Omaha World-Herald in May, 1900 with a letter by a U.S. soldier, A.F. Miller, of the 32nd Volunteer Infantry Regiment. It told of how Miller’s unit would subject captured Filipino insurgents to what the U.S. forces called the “water cure” in order to uncover information from their prisoners.“Now, this is the way we give them the water cure,” Miller explained. “Lay them on their backs, a man standing on each hand and each foot, then put a round stick in the mouth and pour a pail of water in the mouth and nose, and if they don’t give up pour in another pail. They swell up like toads. I’ll tell you it is a terrible torture.”During the first year of the Filipino-American war, eyewitness accounts of atrocities committed by U.S. forces — the senseless torching of villages, unmerciful killing of prisoners — began to appear in American newspapers. Although the U.S. military tried to censor outgoing cables quite successfully, stories crossed the Pacific through the mail, which wasn’t censored.American soldiers, in their letters home, wrote about “extreme violence against Filipinos, alongside complaints about the weather, the food, and their officers.” Some of these letters were published in home-town newspapers.Many Americans were indeed puzzled by the news that U.S. soldiers were viciously torturing Filipinos with water, considering that the United States — since emerging as a global superpower — has always been a staunch proponent of liberation, rescue, and freedom.More than a hundred years later, many Americans were just as puzzled by the news that U.S. soldiers were subjecting Iraqi insurgents and terror suspects to “borderline torture” tactics at Abu Ghraib prisons.
And now, nobody blinks at the USA’s barbarism. It’s part of our public image.