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[casi] Mark Twain: on anti-war support

"Liberate" is Orwellian doublespeak for _invade and
occupy_. It's used to make wars of conquest palatable
to the public. To me, using the terms "liberate" or
"collateral damage" signifies utter insensitivity. Sorry,
but that's how I feel.

Mark Twain hated "liberate" too. If he were here today,
he would heartily denounce Bush's proposed "liberation"
of Iraq. It would remind him of Cuba's liberation by US
guns in 1898 - and of many other "liberations".

Cuba's "liberation" is a well-established US myth.

In a speech on Cuba in May last year, Bush ranted lustily
about "freedom" and "liberation" for Cuba. He proposed to
put Cuba (once again) on the "path to liberty" - ie, in
the arms of American business.

Unwisely perhaps, Bush referred to the previous attempt
when "Cuba's independence was achieved" with US support.

This US "support" was in fact an interference with the
Cuban people's strive for independence from Spain: The US
waged war against Spain in 1898 to gain control of Cuba.
As the winner, the US did then "liberate", ie, invade and
occupy, Cuba and made it a US protectorate. (In this neat
little war the US also grabbed Guam, Porto Rico, and the

Cuban aspirations for independence were further thwarted by
the Platt Amendment in 1901. A student and workers revolution
in 1933 replaced dictator Machado with Grau San Martin. Quickly
the US arranged for San Martin's ouster and installed dictator
Batista. For 25 years Batista carried out US orders, making
the Cuban people suffer hardship, oppression and torture. But
US business concerns flourished - until Batista fled in 1959.

Witnessing the US exploitation of Cuba and the Philippines,
Mark Twain became a self-declared "anti-imperialist" - and
opponent of war. (In the Philippines they put up a Mark Twain
memorial and in Cuba too, I believe. He is their hero.)

In _The Mysterious Stranger_, he made some shrewd observations
on war propaganda, anti-war support - and courage. (I often
feel disheartened when I see people caving in to the current
onslaught of propaganda. Reading Mark Twain's words makes
this a little easier to accept.)

Anti-war support wanes quickly, Twain felt, because of the
individual's "desire, for safety's or comfort's sake, to
stand well in his neighbor's eye".

This need to be accepted still exists. But today peace
proponents can encourage one another worldwide - thanks
to the internet. So the anti-war support for Iraq has
actually gained momentum, especially in the US.

And if public resistance together with Francis Boyle's
plan succeed, Bush will never make a speech about Iraq's
"liberation" - by US daisy cutters and 'smart bombs'.
Just for once, Iraqis may get a chance at determining
their destiny.

bon courage,
Elga Sutter

Here are some excerpts from _The Mysterious Stranger_,
chapter nine:

[Satan's observations on the human race]

'"Oh, it's true. I know your race. It is made up of sheep.
It is governed by minorities, seldom or never by
majorities. It suppresses its feelings and its beliefs and
follows the handful that makes the most noise.'

'I did not like to hear our race called sheep, and said I
did not think they were. "Still, it is true, lamb," said
Satan. "Look at you in war--what mutton you are, and how
ridiculous!" "In war? How?"

"There has never been a just one, never an honorable
one--on the part of the instigator of the war. I can see a
million years ahead, and this rule will never change in so
many as half a dozen instances. The loud little handful--
as usual--will shout for the war. The pulpit will--warily
and cautiously--object--at first; the great, big, dull
bulk of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes and try to
make out why there should be a war, and will say, earnestly
and indignantly, "It is unjust and dishonorable, and there
is no necessity for it."

Then the handful will shout louder. A few fair men on the
other side will argue and reason against the war with
speech and pen, and at first will have a hearing and be
applauded; but it will not last long; those others will
outshout them, and presently the anti-war audiences will
thin out and lose popularity.

Before long you will see this curious thing: the
[anti-war] speakers stoned from the platform, and free
speech strangled by hordes of furious men who in their
secret hearts are still at one with those stoned
speakers--as earlier--but do not dare to say so. And now
the whole nation--pulpit and all--will take up the
war-cry, and shout itself hoarse, and mob any honest man
who ventures to open his mouth; and presently such mouths
will cease to open.

Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the
blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will
be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and
will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any
refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince
himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the
better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque

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