11. Sergeant Rivers speaks his mind
Merilee Shaw assumed the posture of an attentive schoolgirl, standing erect,
her hands locked in his. "Please continue, Sergeant. I want to
"Tonight you said this is a war of subjugation, illegal in the eyes of God
and the law. You said it was founded on greed, and our government uses
the military for profit, not peace. All this may be true, but the reason
this war is so bloody, Miss Shaw, is because it's a race war. The
United States is taking over the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam because
these are all nations of colored people. Their native populations aren't
white, and in the eyes of our government, not fully human. They're 'half-devil
and half-child.' It's the God given duty, the burden of the
white man to oversee the lives of the inferior races."
"I'm aware of that horrible sentiment Sergeant, but I assure you, no thinking
person subscribes to it."
"Miss Shaw, you've heard the words nigger and coon and sambo, but have you
ever heard dink, gook, slope, bullet-head or gugu? These are some
of the names white soldiers call Filipinos, and there's a lot more a lot worse. Where
do these names come from? Why do they exist at all? Because without
a moral purpose, most soldiers don't have the stomach to brutalize and murder
a people, they need to dehumanize them first. If they make themselves
believe the enemy is less than human, then it's natural to spit at him, run
him down in the streets and kill his children.
"No atrocity's too great here because we've made the Filipino a beast, not
a man. This is what it's come to in this war. It's open season
on an entire population of dark-skinned people. This is what your Colonel
Bloody Shirt tried to tell you when he said there's no law in these islands. Here,
if a white man murders a Filipino, he's the envy of his platoon. If
he murders enough of them, he gets a medal. The U.S. Army's training
a generation of young men to run roughshod over a nation of colored people.
"All these soldiers will go home someday. How much of what they've
been taught here will go with them? What will they teach their children
about the value of a colored man's life? The Filipinos tell the Negro
if we kill them, we bring down our own race back home. If that turns
out to be true, then there's far more at stake than spending-money for a few
back-east shirt makers. Take that story home with you Miss Shaw."