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Eric The Rat

The first act of war is to dehumanize the enemy’s people. It makes them easier to kill, maim, torture and otherwise treat with hatred. This was made clear by congressional hearings after the Vietnam War, particularly about the My Lai Massacre. The women and children who were killed that day were not people. They were “Gooks”, “Slopes”, whatever. They were not humans to the soldiers who destroyed them. We did the same thing in World War II. We fought the “Japs” and “Nips.” It was easier to kill “Krauts” than Germans. Editorial cartoonists have drawn people as anything other than human for centuries. In fact, back in the Paleocartoon era, the authorities passed a law in England that it was illegal to draw politicians as animals, so the cartoonists drew them as fruits and vegetables.

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