Thursday, October 23, 2008


Throughout history leaders of peoples and nations have followed the easy path to glory and power: pre-emptive war. Indeed, even nations founded on democratic principles succumb to this tendency as evidenced by 160 years of American history.

In 1846, President Polk instigated the US Mexican War which allowed the US to gobble up Texas, California, Nevada, Utah and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming. Oh yes, Mexico did get $18,000,000 in cash and debt forgiveness for the violence we visited upon them.

In 1898, President McKinley, envying European powers who were enriching themselves with murderous colonial conquests in Africa and Asia, decided it was time for Uncle Sam to join the feeding frenzy. The trumped up Spanish American War netted America its first empire: Cuba, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. While Cuba quickly gained its independence from us in 1902, the Philippines had to wait till 1946. An insurrection against US rule there broke out shortly after our 1898 occupation and lasted officially till 1902 with some resistance continuing till 1913.

Ironically, American military deaths in the Philippine Insurrection totaled 4,196, just eleven more than the current 4,185 form our newest criminal military enterprise in Iraq. Philippine deaths also mirror the current US horror visited upon Iraq. The official Philippine death toll is put at 500,000, with unofficial estimates at 1,000,000. Sound familiar?

So President Bush is not an aberration in his penchant for made up war. He majored in history at Yale and learned well. There is one more historical lesson he learned from the Philippine Insurrection: torture. America first practiced water boarding in its successful effort to quell the Philippine insurgents who were so ungrateful over our liberating them from the terrible Spaniards. Apparently, if it worked for McKinley and his successor in 1901, Teddy Roosevelt, it could work for Bush.

Military adventurers like Bush and his war party buddies may escape justice in their lifetime as did many of their historical predecessors who dodged responsibility for waring against their fellow man. Most Senators, Congressman and ordinary citizens who supported this descent into madness have neither the stomach nor conscience to hold the perpetrators to account since they would have to acknowledge their own complicity as well.

Who says crime does not pay?