I just got finished reading two books on the emergence of American empire in the Pacific. The War Lovers by Evan Thomas and The Imperial Cruise by James Brady both treat the influence of Theodore Roosevelt as the sin qua non of America’s imperial ambitions come to fruition at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1898, we defeated the Spanish in their colonies in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines after the imaginary pretenses for the war were arranged. We occupied and colonized these island nations and the barbarity visited on the Philippine peoples during these long conflicts was brutal and horrifying.
Here are some letter excerpts from 1899 and the war only got worse over time.
Private Fred B. Hinchman, Company A. United States Engineers, writes from Manila, February 22d:
“At 1:30 o’clock the general gave me a memorandum with regard to sending out a Tennessee battalion to the line. He tersely put it that “they were looking for a fight.” At the Puente Colgante [suspension bridge] I met one of our company, who told me that the Fourteenth and Washingtons were driving all before them, and taking no prisoners. This is now our rule of procedure for cause. After delivering my message I had not walked a block when I heard shots down the street. Hurrying forward, I found a group of our men taking pot-shots across the river, into a bamboo thicket, at about 1,200 yards. I longed to join them, but had my reply to take back, and that, of course, was the first thing to attend to I reached the office at 3 P.M., just in time to see a platoon of the Washingtons, with about fifty prisoners, who had been taken before they learned how not to take them.”
Fred D. Sweet, of the Utah Light Battery:
“The scene reminded me of the shooting of jack-rabbits in Utah, only the rabbits sometimes got away, but the insurgents did not.”
Ellis G. Davis, Company A, 20th Kansas:
“They will never surrender until their whole race is exterminated. They are fighting for a good cause, and the Americans should be the last of all nations to transgress upon such rights. Their independence is dearer to them than life, as ours was in years gone by, and is today. They should have their independence, and would have had it if those who make the laws in America had not been so slow in deciding the Philippine question Of course, we have to fight now to protect the honor of our country but there is not a man who enlisted to fight these people, and should the United States annex these islands, none but the most bloodthirsty will claim himself a hero. This is not a lack of patriotism, but my honest belief.”
Burr Ellis, of Frazier Valley, California:
“They did not commence fighting over here (Cavite) for several days after the war commenced. Dewey gave them till nine o’clock one day to surrender, and that night they all left but a few out to their trenches, and those that they left burned up the town, and when the town commenced burning the troops were ordered in as far as possible and said, Kill all we could find. I ran off from the hospital and went ahead with the scouts. And bet, I did not cross the ocean for the fun there was in it, so the first one I found, he was in a house, down on his knees fanning a fire, trying to burn the house, and I pulled my old Long Tom to my shoulder and left him to burn with the fire, which he did. I got his knife, and another jumped out of the window and ran, and I brought him to the ground like a jack-rabbit. I killed seven that I know of, and one more I am almost sure of: I shot ten shots at him running and knocked him down, and that evening the boys out in front of our trenches now found one with his arm shot off at shoulder and dead as h___ ; I had lots of fun that morning. There were five jumped out of the brush and cut one of the Iowa band boys, and we killed every one of them, and I was sent back to quarters in the hurry. Came very near getting a court-martial, but the colonel said he had heard that I had done excellent work and he laughed and said: “There’s good stuff in that man,” and told me not to leave any more without orders. Well, John, there will always be trouble here with the natives unless they annihilate all of them as fast as they come to them.”
Leonard F. Adams, of Ozark, in the Washington Regiment:
“I don’t know how many men, women, and children the Tennessee boys did kill. They would not take any prisoners. One company of the Tennessee boys was sent into headquarters with thirty prisoners, and got there with about a hundred chickens and no prisoners.”
Theodore Conley, of a Kansas Regiment:
“Talk about dead Indians! Why, they are lying everywhere. The trenches are full of them……..More harrowing still: think of the brave men from this country, men who were willing to sacrifice their lives for the freedom of Cuba, dying in battle and from disease, in a war waged for the purpose of conquering people who are fighting as the Cubans fought against Spanish tyranny and misrule. There is not a feature of the whole miserable business that a patriotic American citizen, one who loves to read of the brave deeds of the American colonists in the splendid struggle for American independence, can look upon with complacency, much less with pride. This war is reversing history. It places the American people and the government of the United States in the position occupied by Great Britain in 1776. It is an utterly causeless and defenseless war, and it should be abandoned by this government without delay. The longer it is continued, the greater crime it becomes—a crime against human liberty as well as against Christianity and civilization……..Those not killed in the trenches were killed when they tried to come out……..No wonder they can’t shoot, with that light thrown on them; shells bursting and infantry pouring in lead all the time. Honest to God, I feel sorry for them.”
F. A. Blake, of California, in charge of the Red Cross:
“I never saw such execution in my life, and hope never to see such sights as met me on all sides as our little corps passed over the field, dressing wounded. Legs and arms nearly demolished; total decapitation; horrible wounds in chests and abdomens, showing the determination of our soldiers to kill every native in sight. The Filipinos did stand their ground heroically, contesting every inch, but proved themselves unable to stand the deadly fire of our well-trained and eager boys in blue. I counted seventy-nine dead natives in one small field, and learn that on the other side of the river their bodies were stacked up for breastworks.”
E. D. Furnam, of the Washington Regiment, writes of the battles of February 4th and 5th:
“We burned hundreds of houses and looted hundreds more. Some of the boys made good hauls of jewelry and clothing. Nearly every man has at least two suits of clothing, and our quarters are furnished in style; fine beds with silken drapery, mirrors, chairs, rockers, cushions, pianos, hanging-lamps, rugs, pictures, etc. We have horses and carriages, and bull-carts galore, and enough furniture and other plunder to load a steamer.”
Mind you, this is only the second year of the conflict and the war on men, women and children became a war of annihilation where hundreds of thousands of Philippines died at the hands of American arms. There was one incident where the “water cure” (water-boarding) killed 134 out of 160 prisoners it was used on. There were orders to kill all males over the age of tem in certain sectors of the islands. The horrors visited on the “Pacific Negros” (the descriptive argot at the time) were vast and unapologetic in their ferocity. I shiver to think of the brutality visited on them by the Japanese in WWII to make them welcome us back as saviors.
Of course, we discover that Roosevelt’s “honorary Aryans”, the Japanese, were given the green light for imperial expansion by none other than Roosevelt in a secret treaty which encouraged the Russo-Japanese conflict in 1905 that laid the paving stones for the Japanese adventurers in China and later the Pacific that precipitated the next world war. Roosevelt had considered the Chinese to be barbarians and mongrels that deserved nothing less than colonization by their betters around the world. Remember that during this time in America, the Chinese were subject to the viscous Chinese Exclusion Act which not only led to countless Chinese deaths in America but demanded open trade to China but a prohibition on most Chinese goods in America. Roosevelt was a creature of his time and the white Aryan meme was a consistent motif in American public life and permeated the foreign policy of the burgeoning imperial nation unleashed in the 1890s.
This is a stark reminder that whatever the government schools or the government-media complex spews and vomits forth as news and patriotic mewling to rally ‘round the flag, it boils down to one thing: America’s planetary imperialism has a long and dark history. This is not to lend credence to the usual suspects in academia hailing from the left who preach the “race/class/gender” mantra as the only way to interpret history for these same scoundrels are the apologist and cheerleaders for Obama’s wars around the Earth. How often do you see any anti-war rhetoric at the Occupy Wall Street rallies? With few exceptions, these are the same academics that cheerlead the USSR in history and rush to defend the Democrat monster presidents who got us into WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
American exceptionalism is a myth. The last hundred and twenty years proves that our capability to directly slaughter innocents or abet the murder thereof by proxies is a winning formula for the foreign policy machinations in DC.
Nation-states are serial killers of the worst variety and America is no different.