Archive for the ‘SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PATRIOTISM AND NATIONALISM – MUCH LIKE RELIGION IN BLINDLY PRAISING THE INSUPPORTABLE – NATIONS LIKE PEOPLE COME IN ALL TYPES AND MANY HARDLY DESERVE PRAISE – PATRIOTISM IS A TOOL USED BY THOSE SEEKING POWER – AND YOU JUST CANNOT EXCLUDE FASCISM FROM THIS SUBJECT – WHAT HISTORIES OF AMERICA AND ISRAEL VIVIDLY TELL US   3 comments

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF A COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY JOHN DERBYSHIRE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

 

“Let’s Cherish Our Nations. Let’s Be Nationalists!

“Nationalism and patriotism mean exactly the same and, despite what globalists elites would like you to think, there is nothing wrong with either — as Israelis will be the first to attest to”

 

I’m not against anyone expressing affection for his or her country, but all displays of heavy-duty patriotism and nationalism I regard as looking backward to the 19th century, at best, and as dangerous mumbo-jumbo, at worst.

Wars and the darkest-possible crimes have been fired-up by patriotic enthusiasms. The first thing that governments with bad intentions trot out is something touching on patriotism, as when the United States used the sinking of the USS Maine – almost certainly the result of faulty boilers and not an attack by anyone – to help launch the Spanish-American War in the hope of grabbing at least Cuba.

How right was Doctor Johnson when he said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.” He was referring to the American revolutionary “Patriots,” those freedom-loving, unapologetic owners of gangs of human flesh, and to Thomas Jefferson in particular, a genuine scoundrel if ever there was one.

I like H. G. Wells’ words, “Our true nationality is mankind.” That is a profound truth with which human political arrangements still have not caught up.

Citing Israel on the merits of nationalism, as this author does, speaks for itself.

Modern Israel is a place built on dishonesty, theft, hatreds, and a great deal of killing, and there is just nothing to admire about it.

And it has done nothing but generate wars and tensions and arbitrary demands in its region for its entire brief history. It has had an effect on its region much as embers from a carelessly-tended campfire have on nearby dry grassland or forest.

Not even its boundaries are set, and the population over which it rules contains millions of unwelcome people and people who themselves do not want to be part of it.

So, to just what is it one is supposed to show patriotic ardor? Seems to me, in the end, it can only come down to some combination of biblical fantasies and the worship of raw power, that last being one of the essential ingredients of fascism.

Of course, the fascists also used myths and legends and ancient history to stir up their people to a sense of superiority, from Nordic myths to ancient Roman history.

You know, generalizing about nation states in the way this author does is just as foolish and inaccurate as generalizing about individual people.

We have people who are worthy of admiration, and we, equally, have ones who are anything but. We also have many cases of ambiguity and conflict, cases where whether you admire a figure depends completely on the admirer’s predisposition, not on the admired figure’s inherent merit because we find others who believe exactly the opposite about the figure.

Moreover, with nation states, we not only see the foibles of individual people magnified – as with crimes and irrational behavior – but we also see that physical endowments, the resource bases of states, are extremely unequal and often reflect mere accidents of history having nothing to do with the intrinsic merits of the society.

This last extends from mineral wealth and other natural resources to the extent of arable land and potable water. Is America to be admired because it conquered many weak neighbors and took their lands?

You could easily argue that the greatest “merit” in American history contributing to the colossus we see today was simply the luck of having neighbors who couldn’t defend themselves, from native peoples to the Spanish Empire. If Germany, whether in WWI or WWII, had had the same situation, it would reign supreme in today’s world.

On the subject of patriotism and nationalism, readers may enjoy:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2018/07/25/john-chuckman-comment-the-dangerous-irrationality-of-nationalism-especially-the-extreme-fundamentalist-religious-forms-of-it-we-find-in-the-patriotism-of-america-and-israel/

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ABRAHAM LINCOLN AND THE CONSTITUTION – REAL CAUSE OF CIVIL WAR – AMERICA BECOMES IMPERIAL – LINCOLN NOT THE FIGURE PORTRAYED IN HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA TODAY

You express it a bit strongly, but you are essentially right about Abraham Lincoln and brushing aside the American Constitution.

In fact, Lincoln’s record goes well beyond ignoring the liberties granted by the American Constitution.

He pretty much instigated the Civil War itself. He sent men and supplies into Fort Sumter at a time of great unease as a deliberate provocation.

The South was uneasy about Lincoln’s election because he was seen as an abolitionist, but he was definitely not an abolitionist. He was a property-respecting lawyer who did a lot of work for corporations like the Illinois Central Railroad, work which made him a reasonably well-off man and a well-known figure.

The South’s firing on Fort Sumter after resupply started the war, but even then things might have gone differently had Lincoln wanted them to go so.

At any rate, the Civil War was entirely unnecessary.

If the South had been allowed peaceably to go its own way, slavery would have died in a matter of decades anyway, just as it did in places like Brazil. Perhaps, then, the South would have returned hat-in-hand to ask to re-enter the Union.

Whether that happened or not, the war was not worth the 600,000 lives it cost, still by far the greatest number of losses the U.S. ever experienced (compare American losses of only about 300,000, a century later in WW II).

Many readers may believe, because it is an untrue concept endlessly promoted, that the Civil War was about slavery, but it most certainly was not.

Lincoln used the slavery issue as a tool against the South. He himself said he would be glad to see an end to the war just so long as the Union was intact, with or without slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves, was not issued until 1863 in a war which started in 1861.

The Civil War was actually about the disturbing and unstable matter of the relative powers of the individual states versus the national government. This was a vexing issue left unresolved by the original framers of the Constitution, and Lincoln was determined to solve it, and he did.

In the process of doing so over four years, the United States was turned into a great new military and industrial power in the world.

All of America’s later long record of imperialistic wars, such as the Spanish-American War, effectively grew out of that fact.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A POLL SHOWS A THIRD OF AMERICANS ARE COMFORTABLE WITH MILITARY TAKEOVER – SOME HISTORY SHOWS THIS IS NOTHING NEW – AMERICA’S FASCIST TRADITIONS – WHY AMERICANS’ KEEPING GUNS IS NO PROTECTION AGAINST GOVERNMENT TYRANNY AND IS INDEED A JOKE   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

Well, I’ve always believed that at least a third of Americans are thoroughgoing fascists.

The great American journalist of WWII, William Shirer, author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, wrote that he believed America was only a short way from going fascist.

And there were many historical bases for saying that.

The American Bund movement, often forgotten today, was a huge quasi-Nazi organization running around the United States in uniforms like Hitler’s Brownshirts.

The Klu Klux Klan, also in its practices much resembling the Brownshirts, had almost a century of history.

American imperialism arose early in the country’s history and with wars like the Spanish-American War, using phony excuses, was little different to Nazi plans for German expansion in Europe.

There was the longstanding treatment of American Indians and Blacks.

In the 1920s, there was a series of massacres of blacks in several places, notably one in Oklahoma where a whole neighborhood of about 300 blacks was murdered, their property stolen, and their bodies buried in mass graves.

Right down to today, American has very large groups of private militias and Aryan Churches.

And just consider, since WWII, America has started many wars, killed millions of innocents in dirty imperial wars from Vietnam to Iraq, and has used dozens of dirty operations to topple governments, including a number of democratic governments. America has also played an important role in the several genuine genocides since WWII. In Indonesia, the State Department actually worked into the night submitting names for the slaughter. The killing fields of Cambodia only took place because America, in its insane war with Vietnam (itself rightly termed a genocide, having slaughtered three million), destabilized a moderate but non-aligned government allowing a ruthless bunch to take over and begin murdering. In Rwanda, America early knew of the horror but deliberately kept it quiet and offered no help. To all of that, we see virtually no opposition inside America.

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In answer to another reader’s assertion about keeping his guns:

Oh sure, you and a cabinet full of hunting rifles are going to stand up to America’s massive armed forces which are equipped with everything from flamethrowers to tactical nuclear weapons.

And then there’s the massive National Guard, almost equally well equipped and having demonstrated in numerous black ghetto uprisings its readiness to shoot dozens of Americans dead in the streets.

Then there are also America’s massive, militarized police forces that shoot people daily (about a thousand Americans a year) without qualm and mainly without consequences.

We mustn’t forget the Homeland Security organization which recently has been storing arms and ammunition and vehicles at a furious pace largely in secret.

Then there are all America’s belly-crawling Special Forces, thousands of bountifully equipped and well trained murderers, especially skilled at killing in the middle of the night.

And there’s an Air Force which could easily destroy whole neighborhoods or towns with everything from white phosphorus to cluster bombs.

This is supplemented by the Air National Guard.

And today, still further supplemented by America’s large, secret extralegal execution organization using drones and missiles to kill anyone they are ordered to kill.

Yep, you and other like-minded Americans are ready for a last stand with shotguns and hunting rifles.

Your statement is yet one more tired repeat of the utterly out-of-date Second Amendment stuff about opposing tyranny in America.

America has in fact morphed into something not one signatory to its Constitution would even recognize and probably with which most would be horrified. Much of the Constitution they wrote resembles a derelict building creaking in the wind of a ghost town.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A COLUMNIST ASKS WHERE’S THEODORE ROOSEVELT WHEN YOU NEED HIM?   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY LAWRENCE MARTIN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Robin Adams, below, has it right.

And there were still other less-than-Sterling qualities.

Roosevelt as assistant Secretary of the Navy when the Spanish-American War broke out. He actually functioned as Secretary of the Navy owing to the incapacity of his senior. Roosevelt thus was in charge when the phony attack on the USS Maine happened. Roosevelt was quoted in those days as saying he welcomed war, any war, to test out American troops.

To my mind one of his worst qualities – in complete contradiction to his written love of birds – was his hunting activity.

I’m not castigating normal hunting.

But Roosevelt didn’t hunt, he slaughtered on a massive scale.

He would shoot wild game by the dozens and scores, piles of them at each outing.

It was a disgraceful unethical and wasteful behavior, very revealing I think of the mentality that made him one of America’s great imperialists.

He was a man of many talents and tireless energy, and he was remarkable for overcoming his childhood disability of severe asthma, but he was a man to admire in only qualified terms as a leader.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: A FORMER GUARD WRITES OF GUANTANAMO BUT SADLY MAKES THE ERROR OF SAYING IT IS AGAINST WHAT AMERICA STANDS FOR   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY BRANDON NEELY IN THE INDEPENDENT

Thank you for this, Brandon Neely.

But your statement near the end that “it [Guantanamo] goes against everything the United States of America stands for” simply does not reflect historical facts.

Guantanamo, to paraphrase H. Rapp Brown, is as American as cherry pie.

America’s is a bloody history, full of injustice. The only reason we don’t speak of the growth of America as being like that of Imperial Germany is that America’s victims were mostly weak and poorly organized, rather than established European states.

Of course, we all know how America first ethnically cleansed the East of Indians in the “Trail of Tears.” Thousands died in this hideous operation. All their land and homes were stolen.

Years later, when it wanted the very land these people had ruthlessly been removed to, America pretty much tried to exterminate them in a long series of mass slaughters.

We all know about a couple of hundred years of slavery and then a hundred years of Jim Crow.

But many Europeans – and more than a few Americans – do not know of the shameful Mexican War.

Or the shameful Spanish-American War, started with a phony claim over a warship.

Or the U.S. efforts to put down rebellion against its rule in the Philippines, where torture was widely used. Water-boarding started there.

Many do not know the ugly story of the annexation of Hawaii. The entire population there signed a petition against the American take-over and sent a delegation to Washington to present it to Congress. No one would even talk to them.

Few in Europe know of the many mass murders of blacks during the 1920s. Whole small communities, hundreds at a time, were wiped out and their land was stolen. There bodies went to mass graves.

The homes and farms and other property stolen from Japanese Americans during WWII Internment was never returned. The later compensation was a pittance for many compared to what was stolen.

There are many other ugly stories over just two centuries, and it is simply incorrect to play the Ronald Reagan theme of the shining city on a hill. It just ain’t true.