There are no two ways about it: the U.S. government has done some awful things and committed some terrible atrocities throughout the years.
While no country or its leaders are perfect, it is disheartening to read the seemingly non-stop stream of stories and articles about the truly bad things our leaders and others have done. But, the best we can do is learn our history and try to do our best to make sure the terrible things are never repeated again.
Here’s what AskReddit users had to say.
1. Lied into war.
“Lied us into war after 9/11. Murdered and displaced millions of innocent lives. Destroyed our monetary policy and incentives for Americans to save to fund these endless wars.
When shit hit the fan from these policies, they further inflated our money to bail out big banks and corrupt Corporations. All politicians are bought and sold by huge corporations.
The solution: liberty, human freedom, volunteerism, and the erosion of this corrupt and centralized power.”
2. Sad, but true.
The Trail of Tears. Where they forced Native Americans out of their homeland to the West. Just because they wanted their land. Killed around 15,000 Native Americans.
Tell me that’s not fucked up…”
3. Behind the scenes.
“Finance conflicts in South American and Caribbean countries to “disprove” the socialist economic theory and undermine the stability and integrity of communist governments.”
4. Toxic chemicals.
“Spraying agent orange during the Vietnam war. Over 1 million gallons of this toxic chemical that still causes severe health problems to Vietnamese in this present day.”
5. Prison fortress.
Imprisoning and torturing people who had only made satirical cartoons. Imprisoning a guy for knowing a person who was suspected of a commiting terrorists acts while said person was in another country and could not have possibly done them.”
6. Secret experiments.
“MK Ultra was about the government experimenting with mind control, and the drug they were importing and distributing was LSD.
The awful inhumane things they did were WAY worse than just distributing drugs…”
7. A horrible tragedy.
“My Lai Massacre.
In 1968 hundreds of American troops, under the command of Lt. William Calley, entered the village of My Lai, Vietnam, encountering no resistance. Although there was no evidence, the American soldiers were convinced there were Viet-Cong guerrillas hiding in the village.
The soldiers herded over 500 unarmed villagers, including women, children, and infants into ditches and shot them. Many of the women and children were raped on their way to the ditches and there were reports of children having been shielded by their mothers from bullets, trying to escape from the pile of corpses, only to be immediately shot by Lt. Calley.
Of the hundreds of Americans involved, only Lt. Calley was convicted, and for his 22 counts of murder he served just 3 years under house arrest.”
8. A conquest.
“Just the entire conquest of the Philippines from 1898 to about 1902 or so. Hundreds of thousands of deaths, and soldiers gleefully killing civilians. There is a particularly horrifying letter from a us soldier who wrote to his parents:
“Immediately orders were received from General Wheaton to burn the town and kill every native in sight, which was done to a finish. About one thousand men, women, and children were reported killed. I am probably growing hard-hearted, for I am in my glory when I can sight my gun on some dark-skin and pull the trigger.”
Really horrible stuff. Genocide level. Which of course was pretty par for the course at the time with us treatment of American Indians.”
9. Middle East madness.
“All the Middle East campaigns, but in particular Iraq. Bombings killed around 100,000 civilians, and the Air Force used white phosphorus, which burns in air, melts skin and produces toxic gas.
At times, civilians were specifically targeted and massacred, and no one was ever tried for these blatant war crimes.”
10. Strong feelings.
“Iran-Contra is one of those things that once I learned about it permanently killed my faith in the US government. The president was guilty of providing arms to the fucking ayatollah, and not only did both parties agree to not push that matter in later years we start deifying Reagan as some sort of savior.
He wasn’t, the man was a corrupt piece of shit and the best thing he did for America was die.”
11. Poisoned alcohol.
“During Prohibition, government corruption was as its peak. So much so, that poisoning shipments of beer coming into the US, letting it be sold, and using the corpses as propaganda to increase support for Prohibition was outright transparent.
Everyone knew that it took quite a lot of booze to kill someone, and these people were dropping dead after single drinks half the time.
Didn’t take too long thereafter for the 21st Amendment to pass.”
12. Everyone should know about this.
“The Tuskegee Experiment.
We infected thousands of African American men and women with STDs, told them they were cured – and then monitored them for decades to test the disease progression.”
“Reconstruction. Andrew Johnson is the worst President of the United States, bar none. Even worse than Donald Trump. Yeah, I’m calling it, and I’ll explain why.
Had Lincoln not have died, Reconstruction could have been one of the best racial reform projects OF ALL TIME. Just after the Civil War, more than 1,500 African Americans throughout the country had been elected to official office- including multiple Southern states that had majority black state legislatures (including, ironically, the first state to secede from the Union, South Carolina).
One of the most progressive state constitutions ever made in the United States would be ratified by a majority SC General Assembly, which made the state the first to implement public education baked into law.
Freedom Schools were established, and through the help of General William Sherman, blacks were allowed reparations through the giving away of plots of lower SC land formerly owned by plantation owners- for some former slaves, this was the same land they’d been working on all their lives. To take it even further- the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA, faculty and students, was majority black.
There was a growth in education throughout the South, and it may have resulted in exactly what African Americans have been fighting for for centuries- legal, educational, and financial equity.
Enter Andrew fucking Johnson. Poor Southerner (born in NC, representing Tennessee during the Civil War). He was a Southern Democrat that ran with Lincoln- not because he supported abolition, but because he REALLY hated rich planters in the South. He believed in the Union, not in true abolition. What did he do about Reconstruction?
Stymied Radical Republican attempts to implement their Reconstruction plan so badly he was impeached- and won by one vote.
His response to former Confederates? Instead of upholding their ban from having federal office, he effectively pardons them and allows them to return to public life, so long as they came and apologized to him personally. It was a mark of pride to him that his fellow (rich) racists were now groveling to him, and damn the blacks in turn.
His response to Reconstruction would spell the doom for the era more than any Reconstruction president. Grant dealt with too much corruption in his administration to effectively deal with the budding hate groups that rose in the South after Johnson (aside from the KKK Act) and Rutherford B. Hayes and the Republican North, apathetic and uninterested in black assimilation, would throw the election of 1871 for the presidency- and Democratic control of the South, which would swiftly implement Jim Crow and segregation in order to not only destroy all early black Southern achievement in the South, but blow up the Lost Cause Mythos, with the pinnacle being the showing of Birth of a Nation to Woodrow Wilson during his term in office.
Reconstruction isn’t necessarily the most fucked up because of large amount of death and suffering- but it’s one of the most fucked up for what could have been for the South.”
14. A short list.
“Labor camps after the bombing of Fallujah is pretty far up there.
CIA overthrowing democratically elected leaders in South America and installing fascist regimes is towards the top too.
It’s hard to say really, we have done some pretty fucked up shit and it’s hard to measure the impact.
The invasion of Iraq in general was pretty bad.
Sanctions against Cuba, Iraq and the USSR led to tons and tons of deaths.
It would be hard to isolate the worst thing with the list being so long.”
I need to read up on some of these subjects, because they were definitely new to me.
We want to hear from you in the comments.
What do you think are the most messed up things that the U.S. government has ever done.
Let us know!