The Vietnam War exacted a horrible cost in human lives. Estimates of the number of Vietnamese soldiers and civilians killed vary from one million to more than three million. Some 200,000–300,000 Cambodians, 20,000–200,000 Laotians, and 58,220 U.S. service members also died in the conflict.
Millions died, all because we did not want to see a unified Vietnam practicing limited Socialism as a form of government. We accept Norway and Sweden as socialist governments, yet we were determined that the Vietnamese people could not have that form of government. Well, we failed, but millions died because of what we did.
Combatant and violent civilian deaths in Iraq after the 2003 invasion by the United States are close to one Million. That is not counting all of the thousands of stillborn deaths in population centers that were attacked by Uranium Particulate in a hideous war of terror on civilians. That is also not counting all of the allied soldiers who have died of cancer back in the United States and other countries because of their exposure to depleted uranium.
Long before all these people died, hundreds of thousands died in Latin America in the Banana Wars. A brief inventory follows:
• Cuba and Puerto Rico, U.S. intervention in Cuba and invasion of Puerto Rico in 1898. We also invaded the Philippine Islands in the Pacific and killed countless thousands of people there during our efforts to establish an American Empire. Anybody who strongly disagreed with our rule was shot.
• Panama, U.S. interventions in the isthmus go back to the 1846 Mallarino-Bidlack Treaty and intensified after the so-called Watermelon War of 1856. In 1903, Panama at the urging of the United States seceded from the Republic of Colombia, and the Panama Canal Zone, under United States sovereignty, was then illegally created . Panamanians and Columbians who strongly disagreed with our rule were shot.
• Nicaragua, suffered numerous Marine landings and naval bombardments in the previous decades, was occupied by the U.S. almost continuously from 1912 through 1933. If Nicaraguans strongly disagreed with our rule, they were shot.
• Cuba, occupied by the U.S. from 1898-1902 under military governor Leonard Wood, and again from 1906–1909, 1912 and 1917–1922; governed by the terms of the Platt Amendment through 1934. If Cubans strongly disagreed with our rule, they were shot.
• Haiti, occupied by the U.S. from 1915–1934, which led to the creation of an inforced new Haitian constitution in 1917 that instituted changes that included an end to the former ban on land ownership by non-Haitians. Including the First and Second Caco Wars. Anybody strongly disagreeing with our mandated changes in their constitution or our rule were shot.
• Dominican Republic, Military action in 1903, 1904, and 1914; occupied by the U.S. from 1916-1924. If they stood up in defense of their country they were shot.
• Honduras, where the United Fruit Company and Standard Fruit Company dominated the country's key banana export sector and associated land holdings and railways, saw insertion of American troops in 1903, 1907, 1911, 1912, 1919, 1924 and 1925. You guessed it, If the Hondurans disagreed, they died.
• Mexico, The U.S. military involvements with Mexico in this period are related to the same general commercial and political causes. The Americans conducted the Border War with Mexico from 1910-1919 to control the flow of immigrants and refugees from revolutionary Mexico and to try to capture the revolutionaly, Pancho Villa. The 1914 U.S. occupation of Veracruz, was aimed at cutting off the supplies of German munitions to the government of Mexican President Huerta, whom US President Woodrow Wilson refused to recognize. If people did not like our occupation or got in our way, we shot them.
The most prominent officer in the Banana Wars was U.S. Marine Corps Major General, Smedley Butler, who was active in leading US forces in Cuba, Honduras, Nicaraga, Mexico and Haiti. He received two Medals of Honor for his efforts to make Latin America a safe place for American Bankers and Businessmen. In 1935, Butler wrote in his famous book War Is a Racket:
“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”