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An Unjust War

02/10/05 | by [mail] | Categories: culture/news

After an act of violence against us, the President took us to war against a sovereign nation. His proposal was approved easily, since his party controlled both houses of Congress. Many in the opposition party thought the war was unjust and only entered for political and economic reasons, but most of them went along with it. They knew that they didn’t have enough votes to stop the President, and they didn’t want to appear unpatriotic or like they weren’t supporting the troops. The debate in Congress was short, and the evidence wasn’t examined closely.

There was much talk of bringing liberty and freedom to more people, but the US troops were not welcomed as liberators. An insurgency developed and the military was soon understaffed and short on supplies. At home the country became sharply divided over the issue. The war was generally supported in the south and opposed in the north. The minority party proved ineffective and increasingly irrelevant.

What I've just given you is a description of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848). I was reading in A People's History of the United States last night and I was struck by how familiar it sounded. Democratic President James K. Polk rushed the country to war after a border dispute left many American soldiers dead. The Whig party suspected that the war was an attempt to seize southwestern land from Mexico, annex it as southern states, and swing the balance of power further toward the Democratic party. But the Whigs did little to stop the unjust war, and less than 10 years later the party was over for the Whigs.

Out of the ashes of the Whig party came a new party with a strong, new leader. Abraham Lincoln had been an opponent of the war with Mexico, and his new party took a stronger stand against slavery than the Whigs had. The next great leader of the new party was Ulysses S. Grant, who had fought in the Mexican-American war and recalled it as "one of the most unjust wars ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory."

One hundred and fifty years later and the country is still divided. Will history continue to repeat itself? Will a new party, with strong leaders and good causes, come on the scene and tip the balance of power in another direction? Will the division deepen to the point of civil war?

For further reading:A People's History of the United States, Mexican-American War, James K. Polk, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Democrats, Whigs, Republicans.




Heath [Visitor]02/10/05 @ 17:59

Justification of the current wars withstanding, I think Danny has a point on what might happen to the democratic party. Alot of people see the promotion of Dean as a make-or-break move for the dems. It will be interesting to watch.

Honzo [Visitor]http://honzo.brendoman.com02/10/05 @ 18:16

Wow, Danny. Very cool insight. While I was taking American History last fall, I remember seeing many instances of History Repeating, particularly in the Spanish-American War. That conflict was similarly justified on grounds of liberating an oppressed people (whom the US later oppressed) and on an attack on a US ship by Spanish forces (which later proved false). In reality, the conflict was fought for economic reasons. It’s uncanny the parallels you find when you start digging through history.

Incidentally, aside from The Bible, A People’s History of the United States has impacted my life more than any other book I’ve ever read. I’m glad you’re reading it.

Kyle [Visitor]http://kyle.brendoman.com02/11/05 @ 07:56

now you tell me. i already voted for bush . . . in florida

[Visitor]02/12/05 @ 12:38

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