Blase Bonpane, director of Office of the Americas and host on KPFK, gave examples of the United States’s long history of imperialism preceding and outside of outside of SOA. “Just two decades after receiving independence from Spain, Mexico, indeed, the land on which we are standing, was invaded by President Polk, 1846. In this case, it’s true in most imperial wars, the claims of President Polk were a contrivance and a lie. Abe Lincoln, a congressman, said the president was lying. Ulysses Grant said it was a lie. Robert E. Lee said it was a lie. So we took half of Mexico. And regardless of existing borders, I think we have reason to say that Mexico has won the war of 1846.
“Less than a decade later, William Walker declared himself the president of Nicaragua, demanded that the Nicaraguans speak English, and I think Nicaragua has won the war of 1855 and the war conducted by Ronald Reagan. Once again, empire lost.
“But what about President McKinley during the great Spanish-American War? In the spirit of Manifest Destiny he told us that he prayed all night, and he decided he would Christianize the Philippines, not knowing that the Philippines were already Christianized.
“And if you recall the history of Cuba, the last colony of Spain in this hemisphere, he insisted on staying in Cuba and immediately took over Cuba, putting our General Leonard Wood as president of Cuba in 1902. He also put in the Platt Amendment in the new Cuban Constitution, saying that the United States could intervene in Cuba for any reason at any time. And that gave us the new torture center which is known as Guantanamo, which is an international disgrace to the United States as our corporate media continues to demonize the Cuban Revolution of 1959.
“As he reviewed his military career, General Smedley Butler was mad as hell and he would not take it anymore. He had been ordered to intervene in Mexico in 1914. He also intervened in Cuba and Haiti. He says, ‘I helped in the raping of a half-dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China, I helped to see that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. ‘
“And finally in 1937, General Smedley Butler said ‘Why don’t those damned oil companies fly their own flags from their own personal property—maybe a flag with a gas pump on it?’ That’s the general speaking.
“As our presidential candidates speak of change in a nonsensical and unspecified manner, let us demand that they speak of change in two centuries of intervention, demonization, and torture. I’m speaking of over 100 unnecessary military actions by our country. Our Head Torturer is now a missionary to the Middle East, [inaudible word] weaker nations to assist him as he designs the massacre of children of Iran just as he has massacred the children of Iraq.
“Jesus had words for President Bush when he said: ‘Alas you hypocrites! You travel over sea and land to make a single proselyte, and then when you have him, you make him twice as fit for Hell as you are.’ Matthew 23. On the contrary, our mission is to carry out the command for peace on Earth. We are building a peace system and are committed to ending the war system, including the nuclear ovens. We are committed to ending the stupid demonization of other cultures, including a love of torture, lies, and massacre of the innocent that have marked our history. Another world is possible!”
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