Deja Vu All Over Again

No flowers or birds today, just a depressing article. In it, an American general decided that prisoners could be tried without defense counsel because they “had no legal rights.” 1.700 enemy combatants were held as prisoners under primitive conditions “although they were accused of no other crime than having been born” enemies of America.

As part of a mass execution of 38 prisoners, two enemy prisoners were wrongly hanged despite orders from the President ordering them to be spared. The official responsible declared, “It was a matter of regret that any mistakes were made,” but “I’m sure they were not made intentionally.”

Later, two combatants who had fled to a foreign country were kidnapped by American agents, drugged and secreted back to America to stand trial and, ultimately, be executed.

Sound familiar? Grabbed right from today’s headlines?

That was certainly my first thought when I read the chapter entitled “Little Crow’s War” in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, the story of the uprising of the Santees, woodland Sioux, in Minnesota after the United States government failed to pay annuities to them and agents would not give them food promised under treaty rights. The insurrection was triggered when four young Indian braves raided a nearby farm and ended up killing the farmer and his family. The rest, unfortunately, is all too familiar.

Those Indians left alive after the uprising were banished to Crow Creek, a reservation on the Missouri River where more than 300 of the 1,300 Santees sent died the first winter.

Perhaps the most chilling paragraph in the entire piece, at least if you consider our current situation is this one:

Among the visitors to Crow Creek that year was a young Teton Sioux. He looked with pity upon his Santee cousins and listened to their stories of the Americans who had taken their land and driven them away. Truly, he thought, the nation of white men is like a spring freshet that overruns its banks and destroys all who are in its path. Soon they would take the buffalo country unless the hearts of the Indians were strong enough to hold it. He resolved that he would fight to hold it. His name was Tatanka Yotanka, the Sitting Bull.

If the best predictor of the future is the past, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, our current operations in the Middle East don’t bode well for our future. Somewhere there’s a future enemy leader watching our actions and waiting for his time.