The Politics of Genocide

By Edward S. Herman; David Peterson | Go to book overview

Concluding Note

During the past several decades, the word “genocide” has increased in frequency of use and recklessness of application,247 so much so that the crime of the twentieth century for which the word originally was coined often appears debased. Unchanged, however, is the huge political bias in its usage, and it remains as true today as it was in 1973 or 1988 that “We can even read who are the U.S. friends and enemies from the media’s use of the word.” 248

When we ourselves commit mass-atrocity crimes, the atrocities are Constructive, our victims are unworthy of our attention and indignation, and never suffer “genocide” at our hands—like the Iraqi untermenschen who have died in such grotesque numbers over the past two decades. But when the perpetrator of mass-atrocity crimes is our enemy or a state targeted by us for destabilization and attack, the converse is true. Then the atrocities are Nefarious and their victims worthy of our focus, sympathy, public displays of solidarity, and calls for inquiry and punishment. Nefarious atrocities even have their own proper names reserved for them, typically associated with the places where the events occur. We can all rattle off the most notorious: Cambodia (but only under the Khmer Rouge, not in the prior years of mass

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The Politics of Genocide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Reflections on the Politics of Genocide vii
  • Notes xix
  • Foreword 7
  • Introduction 13
  • Constructive Genocides 29
  • Nefarious Genocides 39
  • Some Benign Bloodbaths 69
  • Mythical Bloodbaths 95
  • Concluding Note 103
  • Notes 113
  • Index 151
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