While it is not confirmed that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un executed his uncle by feeding him to a pack of hungry dogs, what is confirmed is how European explorers and conquerors did the same to indigenous populations in the New World. In fact, and worse than “execution by hungry dogs,” is how they marketed and sold butchered native Americans as dog food.(1) And with modern “pet technologies,” little has changed.
Along with being amusing company for long and tedious voyages, dogs were employed to hunt and guard ships while anchored. In times of scarcity, they became food. During conquests, colonization, and exploitation-mainly for gold and silver and a variety of other resources and crops, dogs intimidated the indigenous peoples ashore and tasted food at local banquets.(2) They also became weapons of war, even committing genocide.
In Europe, greyhounds, mastiffs, and other crosses, evolved into fearsome, long-legged dogs with size, endurance, strength, blood scent, and crushing jaws to track down and kill slaves.(3) But instead of feasting on children abandoned at the doors of churches and mosques by desperate parents under ruthless European rulers, in the New World they were trained to literally run to ground and maim, kill, and devour Native Americans.(4)
On dozens of islands in the Caribbean, Europeans nearly ate all the native dogs within a few years, causing some breeds to become extinct. They also hunted to extinction indigenous peoples by unleashing their own dogs of war. Bartholomew de Las Casas, a Spanish priest, records how men, women, and children were cleaved by swords, skewered on pikes, and run down, disemboweled, torn to pieces, and “consumed by dogs.”(5)
In one instance, he reported how 20 dogs killed 100 Native Americans in an hour. (Some translate the same passage that each dog slaughtered 100 men in an hour.) Enslaved, lashed, and dogged, some Europeans started calling the indigenous peoples dogs. It became so frequent that the word became a foul insult and connotation to treat them as dogs, which was later banned by the Law of Burgos in 1512.(6)
Dogs were also loosed on Native American children and women for sport, which led to greater conflicts and bloodshed. When they tried fleeing to the mountains and jungles, they were hunted down by the dogs of war and killed. Those who were captured were either hanged and slowly roasted over pits of fire, or they were placed in fences and cages where hungry dogs ripped them apart. Europeans laughed and wagered at such spectacles.
As the newly arrived conquerors continued their conquests of the New World, including exploiting its natural beauty and wealth, dogs were specifically bred and trained to hunt down and disembowel Native Americans. In despair, people committed suicide, sometimes even mass suicide, by drinking toxic juices, jumping off of cliffs, or by hanging. Millions of people were killed. Entire societies became extinct.
Once again, unconfirmed reports claim that Kim Jong Un labeled his uncle, Jang Song-thaek, as a “despicable human scum, worse than a dog.” He then stripped his uncle and five of his aids naked and fed them to 120 hungry and fierce hounds, which had been starved for three days. The whole process lasted an hour. All along, Kim Jong Un and hundreds of officials watched and laughed.
Whether this story is true or not, it has been implanted in Western minds. It will surely be used to build evidence for a future pretext, another preemptive invasion and military occupation of North Korea. What has not been implanted, and sadly so, were the dogs that ate the human carnage in the battles over Iraq and Afghanistan, and the ongoing automated dogs of wars and of executions: namely drones and drone assassinations.
Since World War I, these automated dogs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles-UAV’s-also known as drones) have been cross-bred with other more modern and advanced technologies to produce a fearsome, long-distant machine with endurance, strength, and blood scent to track down and kill opponents-whoever they might be-with crushing Hellfire and Stinger missiles. They utterly shred and decapitate their human “target.”
The current UAV Reapers and Predators are entirely automated and operate far more rapidly and accurately than would be possible with human operators, at least this is what the Pentagon and United States wants its people to believe. But missing from these reports, which are actually confirmed unlike the UAV’s success rate, is how thousands of innocent people have been killed by these automated dogs of wars and executions.
Also unreported are the thousands of people in Pakistan and Yemen now protesting the unleashing of the mechanized dogs of wars and executions, which had innocent loved ones accidentally killed or wrongly assassinated. Las Casas recorded how Spaniards ripped nursing children from their mother’s teats and, laughing, threw them to their dogs for food. How many innocent children have been tossed to the automated dogs of wars?
And how many more innocent people will be needlessly butchered by these savage mechanized dogs of assassinations? Frightening too is how militant automation has made genocidal events remote for those in control, and how armed mechanization has caused greater genocides. Like the dogs of wars and of executions during the Age of Conquest, even with automated drones human bias and error will always be at play.
Also at play are those who sit behind their automated dogs of wars, and still wager bets.
(1) Derr, Mark. A Dog’s History of America, How Our Best Friend Explore, Conquered, and Settled a Continent. New York, New York: North Point Press, 2004., p. 26.
(2) Ibid., p. 24.
(3) Ibid., p. 24.
(4) Ibid., p. 26.
(5) Ibid., p. 27. (Note: quotations are added for emphasis.)
(6) Ibid., p. 28.
Today is #GivingTuesday — don’t miss your chance to give!
Millions of people are supporting nonprofits like Truthout for #GivingTuesday. Will you join them?
As an independent newsroom, Truthout relies on reader donations to remain online. Your tax-deductible donation of any amount — even a few bucks! — helps make it possible for us to publish award-winning journalism that amplifies the voices of changemakers everywhere.