Human history is absurdly violent. Ever since our first ancestor clubbed a fellow caveman around the head and made off with his wife, we’ve devoted as much of our time as possible to killing, maiming and torturing each other. And worse, we continue to defend it as the right thing to do.
8The Firebombing Of Germany
By any sane measure, the firebombing of Germany was deeply immoral. For three years, the Allies rained incendiary death down on civilian targets, killing nearly six times as many people as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings combined.
Take the bombing of Dresden: aside from one or two industrial areas, the city contained almost no military targets. What it did contain was hundreds of thousands of refugees, thousands of whom suffocated in the attack. At Hamburg, 50,000 people were wiped out in one night; while other towns of no strategic value were completely annihilated. And you better believe it was brutal. Survivors reported climbing over mountains of corpses, bodies melted into the tarmac roads by the intense heat, and shell-shocked mothers carrying the remains of their dead children in suitcases. In short, the human cost of the campaign was so high that even Churchill was disgusted by it—yet there are people out there who still claim the attacks were justified as just a part of winning the war.
2The British Empire
As the leading superpower of the Victorian age, the British Empire accomplished some incredible stuff. Technology, science, literature, and engineering for example, as well as genocide, bloodthirsty repression, and murder.
Take the Irish famine. What started out as an ordinary disaster soon transformed into a slaughter as the British implemented brutal free-market reforms that resulted in the Irish being effectively worked to death. In India, the colonial government engaged in routine massacres, including the murder of 1,500 peaceful protestors in Amritsar. When Pakistan was created in 1947, it led to a wave of sectarian violence that left nearly half a million dead—but even these brutal mismanagements don’t compare to the worst abuses.
During the Kenyan Mau Mau uprising, the colonial police beat, castrated, andburned prisoners alive. Rape of suspects, including with broken glass, was routine. In the Yemeni port of Aden, a secret torture center was operated for years, while authorities in Botswana drew up plans to test a batch of lethal toxic gas over the country. Basically, colonial Britain was nothing short of a one-stop murder factory—yet people insist on viewing it with a sort of misty-eyed nostalgia.
It’s now accepted that the Iraq War was nothing short of a total disaster: mass civilian casualties, no weapons of mass destruction found, and a country that remains a shattered ruin to this day. But hey, that’s war right? Civilian casualties are to be expected. Only these weren’t just accidents: by almost every measure, they were war crimes.
From the murder of two journalists to the slaughter of surrendering insurgents, almost every record of the conflict shows a litany of horrific abuses. Prisoners handed over for torture; American “rape squads” stalking villages, abusing and murdering teenage girls; civilians gunned down at checkpoints; and helicopter “gun runs” over peaceful neighborhoods that saw the murder of dozens of innocent people. Almost none of these crimes have been accounted for, no apology given or compensation paid out. To this day, people describe the invasion as a “humanitarian mission” without a hint of irony. And now we’re aggressively prosecuting the guy who brought all this to light. If that’s our definition of “humanitarian,” we’ve got a heck of a long way to go.
[See the whole list here: http://listverse.com/2013/08/05/10-brutal-atrocities-people-continue-to-defend/