July 17, 2006

Time to eliminate reservations?

Tribes want to freeze themselves in past like museum displays


Anonymous said...

Some comments about the comments. The author of the original screed is referred to as "author":

"The US already tried termination (of reservations). It didn't work."

Did you actually mean EXtermination?

"Tribes haven't had the funds to adopt commercial codes or create court systems until recently."

I've seen this in practice.

"Most tribes were sovereign entities before the US was formed. That suggests their sovereignty is as real as any political concept, not "semifictional.""

The author has a point, even if it might not be what he intended. The sovereignty of native Nations is not a real one as long as they are subject to the US federal government. Even though they USED to have it before conquest.

"Indians aren't immigrants, since they were here first. Unlike immigrant groups, many Indians don't want to assimilate."

Good point. From a libertarian point of view, the government should have no interest in "Assimilating" cultures. Leave it to the people involved.

"This is perhaps the stupidest statement in this screed."

I agree. I also know that "no tribe is trying to freeze itself like a museum display.". I bet he thinks that all people on the reservation live in tipi's with totem poles in the front.

"These problems [crime, alcoholism, and suicide] have been present since the white man first began destroying Indian cultures."

To some extent, they are problems with all societies, even pre-Colombian Natives (especially suicide) and modern "whites". Would the author have us give up Omaha, Nebraska as a failed enclave because white people commit crime, kill themselves, and drink there too?

They aren't a function of "withered" economies. Reservation-based economies have never been better than they are now, so there's no decline.

"tenured Marxists in ethnic-studies departments who claim that communitarian Indian cultures aren't compatible with market capitalism."

The author does have a point here. The interprations of Marxism just are not compatible with the real world, and that includes Native matters.

"Yes, and they did it without setting up a system of private land ownership"

Actually, many Natives did have private land ownership.

"While we're at it, why don't we demolish all the poverty-stricken US cities? Newark, Cleveland...."

Such an excellent point. These cities are a failed experiment, right?

"Until he does, beware of conservative calls for dismantling the reservation system. "

I did not find him particularly conservative. Uninformed and simplistic? Certainly.

Rob said...

Thanks for your comments, anonymous.

The US tried extermination first. When that didn't work, it tried termination.

I meant a legal system of private land ownership, of course--with laws and deeds and so forth. I know some tribes recognized property rights.

Conservatives aren't particularly conservative today. They're launching unnecessary wars, expanding the size of government, and subverting our constitutional rights. If I were you I'd stick with "liberals" like Bill Clinton, who gave us eight years of peace and prosperity.

Anonymous said...

Unnecessary wars compared to peace under Clinton? Afghanistan and Iraq BOTH threatened and attacked us before Bush and the allies retaliated. During Clinton, what did we have? The war against Serbia. This was certainly not "peace", and there is no instance of Serbia having threatened or attacked Americans leading up to this.

Thank you for explaning termination. I see what you mean. I had really thought you had mispelled EXtermination.

Rob said...

The Balkan war was an internationally sanctioned effort led by NATO. We didn't fight it ourselves; we only aided it by dropping bombs. We did this to prevent ethnic cleansing--the kind we practiced against our own natives. We didn't declare war on anyone and we didn't put any US troops on the ground.

In short, from our perspective, the Balkan war was a limited military campaign, not a full-scale war. America remained at peace, since this campaign didn't affect the status quo here or elsewhere. How unlike the phony war on Iraq, which has cost 2,500 American lives and $290 billion (so far).

You're a little confused about what happened on 9/11. Afghanistan didn't attack us. The Al Qaeda terrorists WITHIN Afghanistan attacked us. And Iraq didn't threaten OR attack us, unless you consider a few blustering words from Saddam a threat. Bush falsified the intelligence about WMDs, lying about how accurate it was, to achieve his unholy dreams of power.

Now both countries are in a shambles, terrorism is more widespread than ever, and Bush's reputation is shot to hell. Americans now realize how stupid the war is and how dishonest Dubya is. He'll go down in history as perhaps the worst president ever.

Anonymous said...

"We didn't fight it ourselves; we only aided it by dropping bombs."

We sent large numbers of troops a well. There is no denying this was a US war: the US was the instigator of the NATO response effort.

"We did this to prevent ethnic cleansing--the kind we practiced against our own natives."

I happen to agree with the war against Serbia. However, I do not deny that it was a war, and I do not call it peace when the US is extensively bombing nation(s) and sending troops in.

"We didn't declare war on anyone and we didn't put any US troops on the ground."

Actions speak louder than words: war is war even if some legalistic "Declaration of war" was not done. I also found reference to 5500 US soldiers serving in Kosovo at one time. It might be less, might be more now. But they are on the ground.

"America remained at peace, since this campaign didn't affect the status quo here or elsewhere."

The "peace" issue is addressed above. This US war, to say the least, significantly affected the status quo in Serbia, Bosnia / Hercegovina, Kosovo, and even Croatia.

Anonymous said...

"How unlike the phony war on Iraq"

The two wars are very similar, and neither is phony. No war with bombings and battles is "phony".

"You're a little confused about what happened on 9/11."

There are some facts which you are not aware of or have forgotten. At the time of the Al Queda attacks, the Taliban government in Afghanistan was united with Al Queda. Some have suggested that a form of coup had occured and that AQ was actually giving the Taliban orders. At a minimum, an army located in Afghanistan with the permission, approval, and blessing of the Afghan government attacked us on 9/11. The government of one country is always responsible if an army it sanctions and approves engages in aggression (which this government also sanctions and approves) againsta second country.

"And Iraq didn't threaten OR attack us, unless you consider a few blustering words from Saddam a threat."

Saddam attacked British and US peacekeepers hundreds of times in the years leading up to 2003. He had also broken the cease-fire agreement in many other fundamental ways. The "blustering words" are actually pages and pages of documentation of Saddam's speeches and rants describing his plans and intentions for aggression.

"Bush falsified the intelligence about WMDs"

He did not. WMD violations were being discovered in Iraq right up to the March 2003 invasion by the allies, about about 500 WMD warheads have been found since the invasion. The biggest lie about the WMD issue is that "Iraq had none".

"Now both countries are in a shambles, terrorism is more widespread than ever"

That is quite debatable. Before the March 2003 retaliation, Saddam was trashing Iraq and nobody could rebuild it. Now there is rebuilding (even if the terrorists try to stop it). In Afghanistan there is much more success. Terrorism has been reduced: the (formerly) largest terrorist army in the world has only a fraction of fighters left, and Al Queda's operational ability has been greatly diminished (compared to if we had let them go on, unanswered).

Regardless of this issue, I don't think that it is up to outsiders to decide to bust up reservations. I'd give consideration to such ideas if the denizens of the rez decide to do it themselves, but even then it is not my position to decide for them.

Rob said...

The US doesn't dictate to NATO. Any decision made by NATO was a joint decision.

You're sadly mistaken about US troops in the Balkans. Here's a quote from the Associated Press:

U.S. in Longest War Since Vietnam

The Kosovo conflict in the spring of 1999 was an anomaly. No Americans died and no U.S. troops were used on the ground during the 78-day NATO-led air war aimed at halting Serbia's assault on ethnic Albanians.


When I said "here or elsewhere," I obviously meant everywhere except the battle zone itself. The NATO-led effort had no significant effect anywhere else because it was mainly a bombing campaign, not a full-fledged war. It didn't come close to putting the US or even the US military on a war footing.

A few people have speculated that the Taliban and Al Qaeda had merged, but that isn't an established fact. What is a fact is that Al Qaeda was running training camps WITHIN Afghanistan. It's morally unjust to attack a whole country and kill its people for actions the government may not have any control over. And it's stupid when it doesn't produce the desired results: capturing bin Laden and destroying Al Qaeda.

FYI, we were responsible for arming the contras against the legitimate government of Nicaragua. By your silly standard for going to war, Nicaragua would've been justified in bombing Washington DC to stop our attacks. The same would've been true in Vietnam's case. Is that really a position you want to defend?

I say a war is phony if it's launched under false pretenses, as Bush did with his war on Iraq.

Saddam attacked peacekeepers? What peacekeepers? There were no peacekeepers on the ground in Iraq until we invaded the country. The only outsiders in Iraq were the weapons inspectors, and I'm pretty sure no one attacked them.

Numerous books and websites have documented Bush's lies about Iraq. For instance:




Feel free to dispute them if you can. Good luck.

What WMD violations? Old or empty storage facilities that Saddam failed to report? There were no significant violations, if by significant we mean actual, working weapons or weapons programs. Colin Powell's report alleging such weapons or programs has proved to be a sham, as Powell himself has admitted.

Please tell me you're not regurgitating Rick Santorum's bogus claim that unusable WMDs built for the 1991 Gulf War constitute a clear and present threat. US officials dismissed that nonsense out of hand. Here, read what they said and weep:

Officials: U.S. didn’t find WMDs, despite claims

WASHINGTON - Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Thursday they have no evidence that Iraq produced chemical weapons after the 1991 Gulf War, despite recent reports from media outlets and Republican lawmakers.

Pentagon officials told NBC News that the munitions are the same kind of ordnance the U.S. military has been gathering in Iraq for the past several years, and "not the WMD we were looking for when we went in this time."


Terrorism may have decreased somewhere (e.g., in New York City), but worldwide it's increased overall. It's increased because Bush launched two unjust and immoral wars that stoked Islamic hatred, just as many critics predicted. Here are the facts on what Bush's warmongering has wrought:

U.S. Figures Show Sharp Global Rise In Terrorism

The number of serious international terrorist incidents more than tripled last year, according to U.S. government figures, a sharp upswing in deadly attacks that the State Department has decided not to make public in its annual report on terrorism due to Congress this week.

Overall, the number of what the U.S. government considers "significant" attacks grew to about 655 last year, up from the record of around 175 in 2003, according to congressional aides who were briefed on statistics covering incidents including the bloody school seizure in Russia and violence related to the disputed Indian territory of Kashmir.

Terrorist incidents in Iraq also dramatically increased, from 22 attacks to 198, or nine times the previous year's total--a sensitive subset of the tally, given the Bush administration's assertion that the situation there had stabilized significantly after the U.S. handover of political authority to an interim Iraqi government last summer.