Saturday, July 21, 2007

Opening Salvo

To start I'll use the words of Mark Twain:

I said to myself, here are a people who have suffered for three centuries. We can make them as free as ourselves, give them a government and country of their own, put a miniature of the American constitution afloat in the Pacific, start a brand new republic to take its place among the free nations of the world. It seemed to me a great task to which we had addressed ourselves.

But I have thought some more, since then... and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. ~ New York Herald [New York, 10/15/1900]

I wonder what Twain would make of the recent American Imperialist Adventure in Mesopotamia.

There are many parallels between Iraq and the Philippines:

Letters from soldiers documented the atrocities ("The howling wilderness of Samar"),

Between 250,000 and 1 million civilians were killed,

Water Torture was used on the Filipinos (this was eventually admitted to by future President William Howard Taft),

The only military strategy which could be imagined was to separate the civilian populace from the insurgents, this was accomplished by a scorched earth policy, ignoring the plight of the civilian population and the creation of concentration camps,

Journalists were heavily controlled and The War Department (since relabelled Department of Defense) issued reports asserting all manner of atrocities were being committed by the Filipinos in order to stem the growing anti-war sentiment of Americans,

Fighting continued until 1913 (even though as early as 1902 the War was considered won),

The Philippines gained their independence in 1946, but it wasn't until Nov. 24, 1992 the last US base closed at Subic Bay, a period of 94 years from the start of American involvement.

I think he would merely have quoted himself:
But now -- why, we have got into a mess, a quagmire from which each fresh step renders the difficulty of extrication immensely greater. I'm sure I wish I could see what we were getting out of it, and all it means to us as a nation. ~ Returning Home, New York World [London, 10/6/1900

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