America's Occupation of the Philippines
By Sen. George Hoar (Massachusetts)
More than 110 years ago, Senator George Hoar (Rep-Mass) spoke on the Senate floor to denounce U.S. seizure, occupation, and military subjugation of the Philippine Islands, following the U.S. victory in the 1898 Spanish-American War.
During a long political career (he died abruptly in 1904 while still senator), Hoar would be described today as a "bleeding heart liberal." He implacably opposed U.S. imperial activism that characterized the end of the 19th-beginning of the 20th century foreign policy. In foreign affairs, Hoar embraced the Monroe Doctrine, opposing any action beyond brief interventions to free a subjugated people and provide them with an independent governing structure.
In this regard, his speech juxtaposed what he regarded as successful relations with a liberated Cuba with the bloody continuing guerrilla war in the Philippines. And the costs for the fighting in the Philippines were doubtless high.
Hoar claimed that in three years of fighting, we suffered "nearly ten thousand American lives--the flower of our youth" and "other thousands of sick and wounded and insane to drag out miserable lives, wrecked in body and mind." The casualty figure is wrong--U.S. losses were approximately 4,100 (75 percent from disease) and 3,000 wounded, but the overall fighting lasted until 1913 and engaged some of the most prominent military figures of the era, including Arthur MacArthur, Douglas MacArthur's father, and John Pershing, U.S. WWI forces commander.
Perhaps more topically, Hoar accurately noted that we had engaged in "the horror of the water torture"--today's "water boarding." We had employed "reconcentration camps" and killed thousands of civilians. In some...