The “Moral Superiority” of Doug Hagin
After appearing on Chris Cook’s radio show yesterday—the subject of discussion was Ward Churchill and academic freedom in America—I started looking at news stories on the topic again after a hiatus of about a whole day or so. If Google News Search is any indication, the negative op-ed pieces on Churchill are running three to one, maybe higher. I am struck by the ignorance of many of these op-ed pieces, for instance:
See in Ward Churchill’s twisted and demented mind, America is an evil, racist land where we all delight in subjugating other nations, and targeting and massacring innocent women and children by the millions. Now to a reasoned, educated student of history such claims are easily dismissed as asinine and baseless. Now not to say this nation is perfect or has always been perfect in its actions. Certainly America, like every other nation, has stains in it’s past. However, Ward Churchill, like Robert Jensen, and other fanatical anti-American zealots do not stop at talking of our faults as a nation. Instead, they distort our history, lie about our nation, and attempt to poison the minds of those foolish enough to listen to their rantings and ravings. Ward Churchill’s Chickenms [sic] Come Home to Roost, Doug Hagin.
Hagin and a lot of other op-ed writers have a tendency to deliberately modify reality—or put less politely, they lie. First, Churchill never said “we all delight in subjugating other nations.” He said what the United States puts out comes back to roost, like chickens, as Malcolm X noted.
Fact of the matter is, most of us know absolutely nothing about this very real and long-standing subjugation because we are a Brain Dead Nation on historical and political realities. Of course, this brain death is imposed on us through public education and the corporate media, so most of us don’t know any better. For Hagin and other such apologists, unvarnished history is “asinine and baseless,” probably because they are brain dead as well. Or liars.
I’d like Hagin and others to dispute the following historical facts:
Beyond the “stain” extensively documented by Churchill—the near total genocide of native Americans—the United States has intervened elsewhere in the world over a 100 times since 1890. In the 1890s alone, the U.S. intervened—a sort of neutral word for attacked—the following countries: Argentina, Chile, Haiti, Hawaii, Nicaragua, China, Korea, Panama, and the Philippines. People from these countries did not arrive on our shores and blow things up like we are told (minus evidence) Osama bin Laden did.
In fact, the vast majority of the people in these countries were remarkably poor and almost completely devoid of resources—they were not Saudi millionaires spending CIA money. But when they did attempt to do something about their lot in their own countries they were considered “nationalist rebels” and troublemakers by the United States, especially if U.S. business interests were threatened in these countries, as they were in Argentina, Chile, Haiti, and elsewhere.
In 1898, the U.S. defeated the Spanish in the so-called Spanish-American War, and took “possession” of Cuba and the Philippines. It also took “possession” or “acquired” Puerto Rico and Guam, in other words these countries were stolen in the name of “commercial opportunity,” as president William McKinley said of the Philippines. “Incidental to our tenure in the Philippines is the commercial opportunity to which American statesmanship cannot be indifferent. It is just to use every legitimate means for the enlargement of American trade,” declared McKinley in 1898. McKinley and Congress also “annexed,” yet another word for stealing, Hawaii because, as McKinley said, “we must have Hawaii to help us get our share of China.” China and Hawaii had no interest in staking a claim for a “share” of the United States, however. As of July, 1902, the United States had killed between 200,000 and 600,000 Filipino civilians, mostly because they wanted to run their own country.
The above is not “asinine and baseless,” it is historical fact.
In 1899, in the Dominican Republic, a democratic government was elected. This did not sit well with the San Domingo Improvement Company, a U.S.-based corporation. Prior to democracy, the San Domingo Improvement Company had controlled the Dominican Republic’s customs revenue. But when president Juan Isidro Jimenez Pereyra took control of customs revenue for the people of the Dominican Republic, the San Domingo Improvement Company complained to the United States. Thus began the United States’ “interest” in the Dominican Republic, culminating in the invasion and occupation of the country in 1903. In 1905, the Dominican Republic became a U.S. “protectorate,” that is to say the United States military protected U.S. corporations from the people of the Dominican Republic. Around the same time, the U.S. invaded Honduras, Panama, and Nicaragua for basically the same reason.
A few years later, under the administration of William Howard Taft and Secretary of State Philander C. Knox, this sort of aggressive behavior became known as “Dollar Diplomacy.” “Taft shared the view held by Knox, a corporate lawyer who had founded the giant conglomerate U.S. Steel, that the goal of diplomacy was to create stability and order abroad that would best promote American commercial interests. Knox felt that not only was the goal of diplomacy to improve financial opportunities, but also to use private capital to further U.S. interests overseas. ‘Dollar diplomacy’ was evident in extensive U.S. interventions in the Caribbean and Central America, especially in measures undertaken to safeguard American financial interests in the region.”
No, Ward Churchill didn’t write this. It was written by the Bureau of Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Incidentally, to get a good idea of the mindset at work here, consider that William Howard Taft was the former “governor” of the Philippines, as if the Philippines were New Jersey or Ohio, and Knox was chief legal counsel for the United States-Nicaraguan Concession, a fancy name for the largest American corporation in Nicaragua.
In the following decade, “Dollar diplomacy” intervened, i.e., the U.S. military invaded at the behest American business interests (as characterized by the State Department), the following countries Honduras (again), Panama (again), Nicaragua (again), Cuba (again), and the Dominican Republic (again). None of these countries sent Osama bin Laden-like people to attack the United States in response or did they invade Florida because they had a “commercial interest” in the orange groves there.
In 1912, when U.S, marines invaded Nicaragua (again), Taft declared: “The day is not far distant when three Stars & Stripes at three equidistant points will mark our territory: one at the North Pole, another at the Panama Canal and the third at the South Pole. The whole hemisphere will be ours in fact as, by virtue of our superiority of race, it already is ours morally.”
The United States stayed in Nicaragua until 1933, making sure to install a brutal dictator, Anastasio Somoza Garcia, upon its exit. Somoza Garcia soon became Nicaragua’s largest landholder, owning most of the country’s cattle ranches and coffee plantations. He also owned or controlled all banks, the national railroad, the national airlines, a cement factory, textile plants, several large electric power companies, and extensive rental property in the cities. Somoza Garcia’s son, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, would pick up where his father left off until he was deposed by the Sandinista National Liberation Front. Reagan would later warn that the Sandinistas were sort of like bin Laden because they were “only a 48-hour drive from Texas” and obviously wanted to attack the United States.
In 1917, the U.S. invaded Cuba (again) and set up an “economic protectorate.” In 1918, U.S. marines were sent to Panama (again) for “police duties.” In 1920, so uppity were unionists in Guatemala, the “morally” superior Americans sent in troops to set things straight. Over the next decade, the United States “intervened” in Costa Rica, Panama (again, a couple times), Honduras (again), El Salvador, and Uruguay. In fact, this pattern would continue right up until the present time (culminating in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Aristide in Haiti last year) —and that was simply Latin America and the Caribbean.
U.S. invasions, sponsored coups, assassinations, election rigging, etc., have occurred in places as far and wide as Italy (1948), Iran (1953), North Vietnam (1950s), Hungary (2956), Laos (1957), Zaire (1961), Indonesia (1965), Cambodia (1972), Chile (1973), Angola (1975), Afghanistan (1979), Iraq (1991 and 2003), and more than a few others not listed here.
I’m not making this stuff up. It is recorded history. It is not the raving of a “demented mind,” as Doug Hagin would probably have it. All Mr. Hagin need do is go to the library and check out an unbiased history book. Of course, he will not do this—nor will Bill O’Reilly and the right-wing media hit squad—because they are shills for more of the same, that is to say invasion, biological warfare (as in depleted uranium), assassination, and mass murder. In Bushzarro world, as in Taft’s world, this sort of endless sociopathic and, indeed, psychopathic behavior is considered “moral superiority.”
For saying this I am a traitor.
So be it.