David Barton Explains Just War Theory: 'We Had to Destroy Indian Tribes' Until They Became Civilized

Today on "WallBuilders Live," David Barton was discussing just war theory which, in his unique interpretation, essentially boiled down to the view that whatever you need to do to end a conflict and protect the lives of your citizens and soldiers is justified.

To demonstrate his point, Barton said that Native Americans declared war on "all the white guys" because missionaries tried to convince them to stop torturing their enemies but they resisted these efforts to civilize them and "so we had to go in and we had to destroy Indian tribes all over until" they got the message.

Barton followed that up by defending the practice of wiping out the buffalo on the western plains because it decimated the livelihoods of Native Americans and thereby brought an end to their resistance to the US government:

A lot of it is based on what you have to do to secure justice and to secure the protection of life and liberties for your citizens and you do what you have to do at times, but you play on the rules sometimes that the other guys have set up. And if they're not going to negotiate with things like the Geneva treaty or other rules of civilization, you still have to secure the life and the property and the protection of your citizens.

...

You have to deal, a lot of it, with how the enemy responds. It's got to be based on what the enemy responds [to,] you cannot reason with certain types of terrorists; and see that's why we could not get the Indians to the table to negotiate with us on treaties until after we had thoroughly whipped so many tribes ... What happened was the Indian leaders said "they're trying to change our culture" and so they declared war on all the white guys and went after the white guys and that was King Philip's War.  It was really trying to be civilized on one side and end torture and the Indians were threatened by the ending of torture and so we had to go in and we had to destroy Indian tribes all over until they said "oh, got the point, you're doing to us what we're doing to them, okay, we'll sign a treaty."

...

Take, for example, what happened in the western plains wars in the late 1800s when we were taking on the plains Indians.  I'm not talking about treaties, I'm not talking about behavior of Americans toward Indians or vice versa, there were violations on both sides of nearly every treaty.  I'm talking about what happened in ending those wars after Custer and everything that went on.

People complain about the fact that the American military and buffalo hunters went out and wiped out all the buffalo in the western plains.  Doing that was what brought the Indians to their knees because the Indians lived on those wide western plains where there were very few towns; Indians didn't go into town to buy supplies, they went to the buffalo herds, that's where they got their meat, that's where they got their coats, the hides provided coats, they provided covering for their teepees. 

If you don't have the buffalos, those Indians cannot live on the open western plains without those buffalo and so what happened was the military wiped out the supply line by wiping out the buffalo.  That's what brought those wars to an end, that's what brought the Indians to their knees and ended all the western conflict.

Filed Under

Organizations:

Wallbuilders