Thursday, June 10, 2010

U.S. History through a Truth Lens

We, the United States, are an insecure people and the nation is confused and befuddled about what it stands for!
by Charlie Leck

To any careful reader of American History, it is clear that the United States is not a pure and guiltless nation when it comes to expansionism and international aggression.

I imagine that making such statements puts me in the category of the disloyalists or, as Congresswoman Bachman might say, an anti-American traitor, or, as the late Senator Joseph McCarthy might have said, “a dirty, rotten, communist pinko.”

Yet, it is a historical fact that white, European explorers and settlers pushed America’s true native’s off their land and into territories in which they did not want to go. It was not only the great tribes of the Northeast who, in the 17th century, were either slaughtered or pushed westward, but it also happened in the Southeast when the five great Native American tribes (Crete, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee and Seminole) were pushed out of their lands and into the Great West). It happened across the nation as white expansionists rolled westward. Here in my own land, the Sioux were abused and mistreated and every treaty made with them was eventually violated.

In 1845, General Zachary Taylor, acting on orders sent to him by the President of the United States (Polk), moved troops south of the traditional Texas and U.S. border with Mexico, the Nueces River, all the way down to the Rio Grande, and declared that this land, which had always been recognized as a part of Mexico, to now be the territory of the United States.

Colonel Ethan Allen Hitchcock, a professional soldier, a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and a brilliant student of world history, kept a careful diary during those years that our nation invaded and took from Mexico its rightful property. In the spring of 1846, Hitchcock, sitting along the Rio Grande, made the following entry in his diary.

“I have said from the first that the United States are the aggressors… We have not one particle of right to be here… It looks as if the government sent a small force on purpose to bring on a war, so as to have a pretext for taking California and as much of this country as it chooses, for, whatever becomes of this army, there is no doubt of a war between the United States and Mexico… My heart is not in this business… but as a military man, I am bound to execute orders.”

And so, simply because we believed it was our “manifest destiny” we took the land down to the Rio Grande and then all of New Mexico, Arizona, parts of Utah, Colorado and all of Southern California.

Oh yes, we paid Mexico 15 million dollars in reparations. It caused an editor of the Whig Intelligencer to write: “We take nothing by conquest… thank God!”

Barely a voice of protest was raised in the antebellum United States. Those, like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who did protest, were viewed as kooks. Our expansionist policies in the mid 1800s century were built upon lies and self-deception.

Times, over the years, have not much changed. We deceived ourselves about Vietnam and wasted thousands of lives there on a war that should never have been fought. Along the Rio Grande, in 1846, phony military excuses had to be created in order to initiate the war. The same thing happened in the Gulf of Tonkin a bit more than a hundred years later, allowing us to justify our massive use of force in a tiny nation that we didn’t understand in the slightest and in which we had no right to interfere.

History repeats itself.
We invaded Iraq because of a set of lies trumped up by the George W. Bush administration. There never were any weapons of mass destruction.

We went to Afghanistan in search of a terrorist giant and now we are there for other reasons that no one can really make clear to the American people.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us trillions and trillions of dollars and, probably, were the cause behind the collapse of our economy. Yet, the Tea Party murmurs not a word about the unjustified and expensive wars. They complain about high taxes, deficit budgets and national debt. Look to the wars, fellows, and see the reasons for all three.

Manifest Destiny?
The term was first used by a journalist in New York in calling for the annexation of Texas. The Polk Administration adopted the concept to justify its plans for an expansion all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Later Presidents, as late as Ronald Reagan, used the term to explain dubious military actions (Grenada) taken under their administrations.

If you don’t realize you live in a crazy and mixed-up nation, controlled by forces other than a democratic public, you are simply being a fool.

I can only chuckle at people who tell me that saying these things makes me a radical thinker and I can only reply that they ought to open their history books. I am merely a reader of history.

The rain continues!
It’s raining now (Wednesday) and the morning is grey and sunless!
The oil is still gushing into the Gulf of Mexico and
pushing more filth on to the beaches and into the
estuaries of the gulf coast states. The region will not
be cleaned up and made whole again in my lifetime.
I am beginning to feel some kind of strange bond with the state of
Louisiana and its people and I wonder what I can personally do
that will go beyond just feeling so sorry for them.

Who was the famous American who said it? “Drill, baby, drill!”

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