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Sunday, February 22, 2004

And so it goes
Renato Redentor Constantino recalls the sordid history of America's excuses for war, in particular, the Philippines.

For an empire perennially weighed down by the necessity of justifying aggression, triggers for war are providentially everywhere, to be pulled expediently whether real or not. In the spring of 2003, it was weapons of mass destruction in Never-Never Land or al-Qaeda connections. In 1964 in Vietnam, it was an attack by North Vietnamese gunboats. In 1899, it was "savages attacking our boys." Anything will do.

Harry Truman used to say that the only new thing in the world is the history you don't know. And Harry was one of my favorites, despite the atom bombs, until I read this from Kevin Phillips' book on the Bush dynasty:

By way of backdrop, Missouri senator Harry Truman had argued in 1941 [before Pearl Harbor] that as between the warring Russians and Germans, "if we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany and in that way, let them kill as many as possible."

Henry Kissinger expressed a similar sentiment about the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980's. In that war the U.S. did, in fact, support both sides.