History doesn't repeat itself but it does rhyme
- Mark Twain
Here's a fascinating and cogent link about Iraq and the depressingly similiar USian escapade a century ago known as the Spanish-American War. The recent news about the Filipino withdrawal from Iraq and the USian condemnation makes it clear few know any of this history and the strong echoes of a previous war that Filipinos know every well.
Does this political cartoon from the Spanish-American War era remind anyone of the current Bush, Neocon and PNAC political agendas and behaviors? Note how the Philippines as a key part of the 19th century vision of the American Empire. As Twain said, "history rhymes".
What's clear to folks who know history is that Neocons are cut from the same cloth of jingoism that led the US into the Spanish-American War. Fox News, et al. practice the same yellow journalism of W.R. Heast. The word "jingoism" that so accurately describes today's chick-hawks was the name given for the imperialist war-hawks during the Spanish American War. Even their rhetoric is the same: it was in reference to the Spanish-American War and specifically about Filipinos that the phrase was uttered about "The White Man's Burder" to take care of "our little brown brothers" who are too stupid and inferior to possible govern themselves or properly make themselves into a democracy without US help. Filipinos were commonly referred to as "niggers" by US troops and folks at home in the US during the Spanish-American War; the same rabid pro-war crowd today calls Iraqis and Arabs in general "sand niggers".
The actual fighting against the Spanish lasted only 3 months and was a "cake walk" to use recent parlance about Iraq. However that was not the end of it: the American battle against Filipinos fighting to set up there own democratic government lasted 3 more years and started looking just like Iraq (politically) or Vietnam (militarily) or both (fiscally). In fact, what we in the USA call the "Spanish-American War" more accurately known as the "Filipino-American War" in the Philippines. American history names the latter period the "Philippine Insurrection" which has the unreality of Japan's Yasukuni Shrine which has exhibits labeling the "Invasion of Manchuria" as the "Manchurian Incident" or the "Rape of Nanking" as the "Battle of Nanking". Just one of those convenient, revisionist omissions in American school books and the US Goverment.
Between 250,000 and 600,000 Filipinos were killed by US forces during the Filipino-American War. Most killed were not combantants but uninvolved men, women and children summarily executed or tortured by the US Army and Marines. The Philippines remained a subservient USian coloney for nearly 50 more years until independence July 4, 1946. Because of the hackneyed, stage-managed nature of the US-granted independence (July 4??? how cloying is that?), Philippine president Diosdado Macapagal (yes, the father of current Philippine president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) changed the date of independence celebrations in 1964 to June 12, the date that General Emilio Aguinaldo, once USian ally and later USian adversary in the war, proclaimed Philippine independence in 1898 after the Spanish were quickly routed from the islands.
It should come as no surprise that the Philippines is rightfully both leary of US intentions for the world and leary of their own possible ensnarement in the mess that will follow.
Random Spanish-American/Filipino-American War trivia
The word "boondocks" was imported from the Philippines during the war from the Tagalog word "bundok" which means mountains or hills. Filipino pro-democracy fighters would escape US Troops after raids by fleeing to the hills and mountains. Because of high casulties that resulted on the US side from search-and-destroy missions (later repeated in Vietnam), the term "heading for the boondocks/bundok" took on a derisive meaning in American English of being out in the middle of nowhere.