Source – espressostalinist.com
– “…I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone to conquer, not to redeem… And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the [American] eagle put its talons on any other land.” — Mark Twain, October 15, 1900, The New York Herald
The First Vietnam, The U.S.-Philippine War of 1899 – By Luzviminda Francisco
Between the years 1899 and 1913 the United States of America wrote the darkest pages of its history. The invasion of the Philippines for no other reason than acquiring imperial possessions, prompted a fierce reaction of the Filipino people. 126,000 American soldiers were brought in to quell the resistance. As a result, 400,000 Filipino “insurrectos” died under the American fire and one million Filipino civilians died because of the hardship, mass killings and scorched earth tactics carried out by the Americans.
In total the American war against a peaceful people who fairly ignored the existence of the Americans until their arrival wiped out 1/6 of the population of the country. One hundred years have passed. Isn’t it high time that the USA army, Congress and Government apologised for the horrendous crimes and monstruous sufferings that inflicted upon the peoples of Filipinas?
It was American policy at the turn of the century to kill as many Filipinos as possible. The rationale was straightforward:
“With a very few exceptions, practically the entire population has been hostile to us at heart,” wrote Brigadier General J. Franklin Bell. “In order to combat such a population, it is necessary to make the state of war as insupportable as possible, and there is no more efficacious way of accomplishing this than by keeping the minds of the people in such a state of anxiety and apprehension that living under such conditions will soon become intolerable.”
The comparison of this highly successful operation with our less successful adventure in Vietnam was made by, among others, Bernard Fall, who referred to our conquest of the Philippines as:
“the bloodiest colonial war (in proportion to population) ever fought by a white power in Asia; it cost the lives of 3,000,000 Filipinos.” (cf. E. Ahmed’s “The Theory and Fallacies of Counter-Insurgency,” The Nation, August 2, 1971.)
General Bell himself, the old sweetheart, estimated that we killed one-sixth of the population of the main island of Luzon—some 600,000 people.
Now a Mr. Creamer quotes a Mr. Hill (“who grew up in Manila,” presumably counting skulls) who suggests that the body count for all the islands is 300,000 men, women, and children—or half what General Bell admitted to.
I am amused to learn that I have wandered “so far from easily verified fact.” There are no easily verified facts when it comes to this particular experiment in genocide. At the time when I first made reference to the 3,000,000 (NYR, October 18, 1973), a Filipino wrote me to say she was writing her master’s thesis on the subject. She was inclined to accept Fall’s figures but she said that since few records were kept and entire villages were totally destroyed, there was no way to discover, exactly, those “facts” historians like to “verify.” In any case, none of this is supposed to have happened and so, as far as those history books that we use to indoctrinate the young go, it did not happen.”
“EXCEPT during the sixties when the Filipino-American War of 1899-1902 was referred to as “the first Vietnam,” the death of 1.4 million Filipinos has been usually accounted for as either collateral damage or victims of insurrection against the imperial authority of the United States.
The first Filipino scholar to make a thorough documentation of the carnage is the late Luzviminda Francisco in her contribution to The Philippines: The End of An Illusion (London, 1973).
This fact is not even mentioned in the tiny paragraph or so in most U.S. history textbooks. Stanley Karnow’s In Our Image (1989), the acclaimed history of this intervention, quotes the figure of 200,000 Filipinos killed in outright fighting. Among historians, only Howard Zinn and Gabriel Kolko have dwelt on the “genocidal” character of the catastrophe. Kolko, in his magisterial Main Currents in Modern American History (1976), reflects on the context of the mass murder:
“Violence reached a crescendo against the Indian after the Civil War and found a yet bloodier manifestation during the protracted conquest of the Philippines from 1898 until well into the next decade, when anywhere from 200,000 to 600,000 Filipinos were killed in an orgy of racist slaughter that evoked much congratulation and approval….”
Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States (1980) cites 300,000 Filipinos killed in Batangas alone, while William Pomeroy’s American Neo-Colonialism (1970) cites 600,000 Filipinos dead in Luzon alone by 1902. The actual figure of 1.4 million covers the period from 1899 to 1905 when resistance by the Filipino revolutionary forces mutated from outright combat in battle to guerilla skirmishes; it doesn’t include the thousands of Moros (Filipino Muslims) killed in the first two decades of U.S. colonial domination.”
E. San Juan, Jr.
In A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn writes of American sadism during the Philippine-American war:
“In November 1901, the Manila correspondent of The Philadelphia Ledger reported:
“The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog…
“Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to make them talk, and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.”
In Manila, a U.S. Marine named Littletown Waller, a major, was accused of shooting eleven defenseless Filipinos, without trial, on the island of Samar. Other marine officers described his testimony:
“The major said that General Smith instructed him to kill and burn, and said that the more he killed and burned the better pleased he would be; that it was no time to take prisoners, and that he was to make Samar a howling wilderness. Major Waller asked General Smith to define the age limit for killing, and he replied “everything over ten.”
In the province of Batangas, the secretary of the province estimated that of the population of 300,000, one third had been killed by combat, famine, or disease.
American firepower was overwhelmingly superior to anything the Filipino rebels could put together. In the very first battle, Admiral Dewey steamed up the Pasig River and fired 500-pound shells into the Filipino trenches. Dead Filipinos were piled so high that the Americans used their bodies for breastworks.
Mark Twain said further of the brutal American genocide:
“…I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the philippines. we have gone to conquer, not to redeem… and so i am an anti-imperialist. i am opposed to having the [american] eagle put its talons on any other land.”
October 15, 1900
the new york herald
“We have pacified some thousands of the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields; burned their villages, and turned their widows and orphans out-of-doors; furnished heartbreak by exile to some dozens of disagreeable patriots; subjugated the remaining ten millions by Benevolent Assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket; we have acquired property in the three hundred concubines and other slaves of our business partner, the Sultan of Sulu, and hoisted our protecting flag over that swag. And so, by these providences of god — and the phrase is the government’s, not mine — we are a World Power.”
— Mark Twain
Mark Twain was deeply disturbed by the sadistic war crimes committed by the evil U.S. military in a Vietnam-like genocide which lasted from 1899 to 1902. He was also disgusted with the virtually universal racism in which White Americans shamelessly wallowed throughout those benighted turn-of-the-century years. (The very years which moral Neanderthals in America even now call “The Good Old Days.”) Twain cynically “saluted” America’s first international genocide “by suggesting that we replace the stars and stripes in our flag with the skull and crossbones.”
“Our soldiers have pumped salt water into men to make them talk, and have taken prisoners people who held up their hands and peacefully surrendered, and an hour later, without an atom of evidence to show that they were even insurrectos, stood them on a bridge and shot them down one by one, to drop into the water below and float down, as examples to those who found their bullet-loaded corpses.”
United States attacks into the countryside often included scorched earth campaigns in which entire villages were burned and destroyed, the use of torture (water cure) and the concentration of civilians into “protected zones”. In November 1901, the Manila correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger reported:”The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog….” A New York-born soldier – “The town of Titatia [sic] was surrendered to us a few days ago, and two companies occupy the same. Last night one of our boys was found shot and his stomach cut open. Immediately orders were received from General Wheaton to burn the town and kill every native in sight; which was done to a finish. About 1,000 men, women and children were reported killed. I am probably growing hard-hearted, for I am in my glory when I can sight my gun on some dark skin and pull the trigger (Benevolent Assimilation, pg. 88). Corporal Sam Gillis – “We make everyone get into his house by seven p.m., and we only tell a man once. If he refuses we shoot him. We killed over 300 natives the first night. They tried to set the town on fire. If they fire a shot from the house we burn the house down and every house near it, and shoot the natives, so they are pretty quiet in town now.” Filipino villagers were forced into concentration camps called reconcentrados which were surrounded by free-fire zones, or in other words “dead zones.” Furthermore, these camps were overcrowded and filled with disease, causing the death rate to be extremely high. Conditions in these “reconcentrados” were inhumane. Between January and April 1902, 8,350 prisoners of approximately 298,000 died. Some camps incurred death rates as high as 20 percent. “One camp was two miles by one mile (3.2 by 1.6 km) in area and ‘home’ to some 8,000 Filipinos. Men were rounded up for questioning, tortured, and summarily executed.” In Manila, a U.S. Marine named Littletown Waller, a major, was accused of shooting eleven defenseless Filipinos, without trial, on the island of Samar. Other marine officers described his testimony:
The major said that General Smith instructed him to kill and burn, and said that the more he killed and burned the better pleased he would be; that it was no time to take prisoners, and that he was to make Samar a howling wilderness. Major Waller asked General Smith to define the age limit for killing, and he replied “Everything over ten.”
In the province of Batangas, the secretary of the province estimated that of the population of 300,000, one third had been killed by combat, famine, or disease.
American firepower was overwhelmingly superior to anything the Filipino rebels could put together. In the very first battle, Admiral Dewey steamed up the Pasig River and fired 500-pound shells into the Filipino trenches. Dead Filipinos were piled so high that the Americans used their bodies for breastworks.
A British witness said:
“This is not war; it is simply massacre and murderous butchery.”
Iraq War Parallels Philippine-American War
BY BING ARADANAS, a Lompoc native who visited Philippine tribes last year to document what’s left of pre-colonial indigenous Asian culture and to build the case for a pan-tribal “national” identity.
I have spent the last year stressing over the Iraq War, worried for the lives of U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians, and questioning my notion of democracy. I am distressed by the war in Iraq’s parallels to the Philippine-American War, which, though perhaps the least-known U.S. war, was America’s longest foreign military conflict — 37 years — in which nearly 200,000 civilians died.
The parallels between the two wars are many. On October 19, 2003, the New York Times identified three similarities in its article “Bush Cites Philippines as Model in Rebuilding Iraq” — the seizure of a sovereign nation, the installation of a Western-style democracy, and flimsy evidence to justify war. But there are more: America shot first both times, both wars involved weaker countries rich in natural resources, and both sparked prominent antiwar movements. U.S. propaganda labeled resistance fighters opposed to American occupation “brigands” in the Philippines and “terrorists” in Iraq, while cheerleading media reduced the human dimension of both enemies to elicit pro-war support.
The conquest of the Philippines was America’s first experiment with “nation building.” If Bush truly views it as a model for rebuilding Iraq, we should learn what happened to the first nation America “built,” and its impact on the Philippine people.
Philippines, My Philippines
“The least Asian country in Asia,” is how fellow backpackers described the Philippines to me when I traveled there last summer. I found their assessment true; locals typically have American nicknames and Spanish surnames, they are Christian, speak English, and religiously follow American trends. Most signs are in English and billboards advertise skin-whitening soaps. Mixed Filipinos with lighter skin and pointed noses play the heroes and sex symbols in movies while Filipinos with native flat noses and brown skin play villains, servants, and buffoons.
The eradication of Filipino culture began in the 1500s when Spain colonized the Philippines. For three centuries the Spanish ruled and native customs were outlawed. Spain’s lasting legacies include Latin surnames, Catholicism, and a deeply ingrained belief that native brown skin is inferior to lighter skin. In 1898, Filipino revolutionaries booted out the Spanish, but the country’s freedom was short-lived. In 1899, the U.S. took over the country and continued squelching the Filipino culture, supplanting it with American ways.
American influence was visible at every level. Schoolchildren saluted both the American and Filipino flags. They sang both “The Star Spangled Banner” and the Philippine national anthem, “Lupang Hinirang,” a song crafted by Americans to the melody of an American tune “Maryland, My Maryland.” Longtime Goleta resident Ambrose Baggao was born in the Philippines in 1912. He said Americans made English the national language of instruction, a policy still enforced today. If he spoke his native Ilocano in school, he was fined a farmworker’s half-hour wage.
America gave enormous landholdings to corporations, such as Dole and Del Monte for pineapple plantations. It created a more stable environment for American capitalism by building roads, bridges and communications, and English-language public schools to prepare its new colonial subjects for the low-wage workforce.
Americans considered Filipinos inferior and perpetuated racist views in the United States. Government anthropologist W. J. McGee, for example, displayed Filipino tribes as zoo animals at the 1904 St. Louis Fair, labeling some as “savages” and “monkey-like.” National Geographic Magazine in 1912-13 called non-Christian Filipinos “wild” and “uncivilized.”
Despite their lesser status, many Filipinos immigrated to the U.S. searching for opportunity. Baggao joined 100,000 other Filipinos who poured into America in the 1920s and ’30s. Most were young, poor, uneducated, and male. Filipinos immigrated freely due to colonial status as American “nationals” with U.S. passports. However, they couldn’t legally vote, own property or a business, work government jobs, become citizens, practice law, or marry white or Mexican women. They were excluded from many restaurants, hotels, and swimming pools, and encountered racially segregated theater seating.
The overwhelming majority found only menial work in cities or physical labor on farms, railroads, and in fish canneries. Like the Chinese and Japanese before them, Filipinos helped build America by providing labor for frontier industries until racist hostility led to laws preventing further immigration — respectively: the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882; the Gentlemen’s Agreement of 1907 and Reed-Johnson Immigration Act of 1924; and the Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934. The bigotry exhibited by Americans was particularly devastating to Filipinos, who, unlike previous immigrants who’d faced discrimination, had learned in Americanized schools to see themselves as equals of white Americans.
The Seeds of War
At Lompoc High School years ago, I was jolted awake during history class when the word “Filipino” materialized in our textbook. Being Filipino-American, I was thrilled. But my excitement turned to embarrassment as I learned Filipinos were the bad guys. The book didn’t mention that Filipinos were the first Asian group to settle permanently in America (near New Orleans, 1763); that Filipinos organized the strike that led to the formation of the United Farm Workers (Delano, 1965); nor that Filipinos invented the fluorescent bulb, the one-chip video camera, and co-discovered the antibiotic erythromycin. Rather, I read about “The Philippine Insurrection,” 1899-1902, in which Filipinos, instead of gratefully accepting the gift of American domination after the Spanish-American War, rebelled against their legitimate ruler — America — and lost. Ashamed for my heritage, I was relieved my classmates didn’t jack me after class.
How did America justify violent conquest? There was no threat of communism, terrorism, or dictators with weapons of mass destruction. Filipinos had neither fired the first shot against Americans, nor had they invaded U.S. shores.
The American-Philippines war commenced in 1899. In June 1898, Filipinos had won their two-year war for independence against Spain, aided at the very end by America, which was fighting its own three-month war against Spain. Unbeknownst to Filipinos, however, America and Spain had arranged for the Spanish to lose to American troops — not to Filipinos — in a phony battle staged by Admiral Thomas Dewey in Manila Bay. Edouard André, Belgian consul to the Philippines, arranged the deal. In December 1898, America secretly purchased the Philippines, Guam, and Puerto Rico from Spain for $20 million in Paris.
Two months later, U.S. private Willie Grayson shot Filipino passersby without provocation while patrolling his camp in Manila. Shooting between both sides followed. The shooting incident gave America the excuse it needed to wage war, and Congress quickly ratified the secret $20 million deal. General Elwell Otis lied to the American public saying that Filipinos fired the first shot, igniting anti-Filipino war fever. Racist newspaper cartoons depicted Filipinos as monkey-like children and stupid barbarians. The conflict provoked an antiwar movement in the form of the Anti-Imperialist League, founded by such prominent Americans as author Mark Twain, industrialist Andrew Carnegie, and former President Grover Cleveland.
The war lasted until 1936. Former NBC journalist Stanley Karnow detailed the atrocities in his 1989 book, In Our Image. Foreshadowing U.S. military terrorism decades later in Vietnam, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, and Colombia, U.S. soldiers in the Philippines raped “gook” women, threw “******” infants in the air and bayoneted them, summarily executed “monkey” prisoners and “goo-goo” elders on bridges and let their corpses float downriver to terrorize the population, burned entire villages to enforce mass relocations and to control food supplies, and crowded people into jails so tightly they couldn’t sit down.
Filipino freedom fighters from the south were so fierce that American .38 caliber guns often failed to kill them. So the unwelcome Americans developed a superior gun specifically designed to kill southern Filipinos: the Colt .45 ACO. The worst massacre occurred at Bud Dajo in 1906: The U.S. killed 600 unarmed civilians, four years after America formally declared victory. According to the Museum of the Filipino People in Manila, the “Moro Wars” in the South ended in 1936, contrary to beliefs that the “Philippine Insurrection” ended in 1902 or that “brigand” resistance ended in 1913.
When America granted Philippine “independence” in 1946, horrendous strings were attached. The General Relations agreement gave America control over foreign policy; the Bell Trade Law gave America control over tariffs and currency; the Military Assistance agreement gave America control over the army; the Military Bases Agreement allowed America to maintain bases there for 99 years. The Rescission Act of 1946 denied full veterans’ benefits promised to Filipinos who’d fought loyally for the U.S. during World War II simply because they chose to reside in the Philippines after the war.
Iraq and the Philippines
Nation-building lasted 47 years, enriched a handful of wealthy Americans, ushered in one anti-democratic puppet regime after another, contributed to the ongoing decline of native identity and culture, and promoted the Philippines’ worldwide reputation for cheap mail-order brides and underage prostitutes. And a century of neocolonial U.S. capitalism has certainly dented the Filipino psyche. All things American enthrall the average youth — fast food, violent video games, singing karaoke to American pop songs, fashion, Hollywood, text phones, and basketball.
Under the surface, however, there’s another story. Because I’m a brown-skinned Filipino, locals opened up to me in a way they never would with a white American. I found everywhere a grumbling resentment of American hegemony but a simultaneous fatalism that nothing can be done about it, so why bother.
And who can blame them? Since “independence,” America has consistently helped corrupt puppet presidents crush nationalist movements and defeat nationalist presidential candidates. For example, the American government propped up Ferdinand Marcos for 20 years. Even though he jailed and tortured thousands of his political opponents and had many of them killed, and the Guinness Book of World Records ranks him as the biggest thief of all time, five consecutive U.S. presidents hailed him as a leader of democracy, particularly Ronald Reagan. And for almost a century, U.S. war crimes were buried by lies, omissions and propagandizing spins in history books.
America’s first experiment with nation-building began with a war where America shot first, a war sold to the American public on false pretexts, fueled by a manipulative media that portrayed the enemy as sub-human, involving a weaker Third World nation abundant in natural resources, and opposed by a prominent antiwar movement. I find these parallels of the Philippine-American War with the war on Iraq disgusting.
The degree to which Filipino false consciousness exists is the measure of American success in obliterating from popular consciousness knowledge of what American historians have chosen to call (when they refer to it at all, which is seldom) the “Philippine Insurrection.” 1
One prize of victory is that the winners get to write the history books. This was never so true as it has been about the Philippine-American War, and this fact, more than any other, has denied to Filipinos all but the merest scraps of distorted information about one of the most heroic struggles ever waged in modern times; a struggle waged against implacable odds and at terrible cost. The Philippine-American War, by which name it should properly be known, is one of those bits of historiography which-like the American Indian Wars-seems to have sunk beneath the surface of popular awareness. 2 Most Americans have never heard of it, most Filipinos understand it only through the prism of the victors’ own account of how the war was waged and won. And yet the Philippine-American War was one of those illuminating moments of history which threw a shaft of light on an era. As far as Filipinos are concerned, an understanding of our liberation struggle at the turn of the century is without question or doubt the prerequisite, the starting point for a genuine understanding of modern Philippine society.
It is ironic that it has taken half a century and the remarkably similar situation in Indochina to re-focus attention on the Philippine struggle for national liberation against the forces of American imperial aggression. In all, save the ultimate outcome, history has uncannily repeated itself in Vietnam, a fact which should be driven home to American apologists who hold that Vietnam is an “aberration” of U.S. policy, unrepresentative of American foreign policy in general, but simply a situation brought about by a series of mistakes and miscalculations. Leaving aside the obvious fact that “mistake” is equated with being beaten, and the curious frequency with which imperialist “aberrations” seem to crop up, it is important for Filipinos to recognize that we must vindicate ourselves by comprehending our own history. With such a view in mind and within the limits of this essay, attention will be focused on the three aspects of the war which are the most critical and yet, for reasons which are perhaps obvious, have attracted the least amount of attention, let alone analysis. Therefore, attention will not be focused so much on the war against Spain, which preceded the Philippine-American War, nor will it deal with the political infighting in the Malolos Government or General Emilio Aguinaldo’s surrenderist prevarications. Attention will be focused on the nature of America’s policy of aggression, the depth of popular mass resistance to the American forces and the duration of the struggle in what became, ultimately, suicidal refusal to capitulate to imperialism.
Spain never had an easy time in pacifying its Philippine colony and in the course of over three centuries of colonial rule, scarcely a year went by which did not witness rebellion in one form or another somewhere in the archipelago. The fragmented, insular nature of the country and the separate regional, ethnic and language groupings made it difficult to coordinate a nationwide anti-Spanish struggle, but at times the Filipinos came close to achieving a broad united front against the foreign foe. As early as 1587, for example, a secret society was formed in Manila by Magat Salamat which spread throughout Central Luzon to the Visayas and as far south as Borneo. This early movement was not typical, however, and it was to be more than 300 years before such unity of action was again achieved. Subsequent rebellions were commonly local or regional affairs, sparked by local conditions and grievances. Sometimes they lasted for a surprisingly long period of time, as in Bohol, where Spanish authority was denied for over eighty years. The Islamic areas of Mindanao and Sulu were never really conquered.
Spain was always able to exploit divisions in Philippine society in such a way as to prevent a coordinated national struggle and this situation was maintained until the last decades of the nineteenth century. The rise of a native moneyed class, consisting mainly of Chinese-native (or Indio) mestizo elements, gave rise to a liberal reformist movement anxious to win greater political and economic concessions from Spain. The Propaganda Movement, as it came to be called, was essentially an assimilationist effort. Its leaders aimed, ultimately, at closer ties with Spain. (It was during this time that the hispanized Chinese-mestizos began referring to themselves as Filipinos, a term previously reserved for Spaniards born in the colony.) But the Propagandists made little headway against entrenched and often reactionary Spanish authority.
The failure of the Propagandist efforts spurred the formation in 1892 of the Katipunan, a secret society which, after some initial indecision, began to recognize the futility of the earlier reformist efforts. By 1895 independence became an increasingly realistic prospect. Spain was having a difficult time suppressing the Cubans, who were then in revolt, and her ability to sustain a similar effort in the Philippines was an open question. By 1896 Katipunan ranks had swollen to 30,000 and fighting between the Katipunan forces and the Spanish commenced.
The founder of the Katipunan, Andres Bonifacio, lost control over the organization in March 1897 when Emilio Aguinaldo was elected as the head of a newly formed Revolutionary Central Government. After Aguinaldo’s victory the revolutionary forces became increasingly prone to vacillation and compromise as a number of frustrated elitist reformers began to attach themselves to the organization.
In June a Provisional Republican Government was established at Biak-Na-Bato, Bulacan, and this event initiated several months of dilatory negotiation with the Spanish. The older Katipuneros argued for the continuation of the military struggle along guerrilla lines, but the reformist and assimilationist elements began to see the possibility of finally achieving their long-sought-after goals via negotiation. After hesitancy and debate, a compromise treaty was negotiated in November by a wealthy mestizo, Pedro Paterno. Under the terms of the treaty, the Spanish governor general, Primo de Rivera, promised to consider the reformist demands in exchange for the surrender of the rebel army. Satisfied with such weak promises and even more by the promised initial payment of P400,000 to himself and his staff, Aguinaldo and his men voluntarily exiled themselves to Hong Kong, but Spanish refusal to promulgate reforms led to agitation for a renewed military confrontation.
Fighting broke out again in February 1898 and by May, when the American Commodore George Dewey steamed into Manila Bay to attack the Spanish fleet, the Spanish Army (the Guardia Civil) had been all but thoroughly beaten. The Spanish, in fact, controlled only the area of the old walled city of Manila. Aguinaldo had, meanwhile, been intermittently negotiating with the Americans in Hong Kong and Singapore, and he returned to the Philippines to resume command of the Filipino forces with Dewey’s sanction and with (verbal) assurances that the Americans would aid the Filipinos in securing their independence.
A three-way stalemate persisted until August, Dewey in Manila Bay without forces to land, the Spanish holed up in the walled city, and the Filipinos dug in along the perimeter of the city. The Spanish decided they would rather surrender to the Americans than to the Filipinos and in August 1898 a bizarre, tragi-comic “battle” was quite literally staged between the Spanish and the Americans, ostensibly to preserve Spanish “honor”-although six died in the farce. The resulting surrender terminated three centuries of Spanish colonialism and the American forces, newly reinforced, took possession of Manila.
By autumn 1898 it was clear that the Americans intended to retain the Philippines as a Pacific colony. American troop strength was increasing and Admiral Dewey showed no sign of weighing anchor. Battle lines around Manila continued to be drawn roughly as they had remained at the end of the mock battle against the Spanish in the previous August. The Americans held the city and had trenches along its perimeter, facing Filipino trenches along a semi-circle of several miles.
The Treaty of Paris, designed to end the war with Spain and to cede the Phlippines to the U.S., was signed in December and awaited confirmation in the U.S. Senate, which required a two-thirds majority vote as necessitated by the Constitution. When Congress reconvened in January 1899, the pro-annexationist faction in the Senate held a clear majority, but were one or two votes shy of the required two-thirds majority they needed to ratify the treaty. Voting on the treaty was scheduled for Monday, February 6, and during the week preceding it seemed fairly clear to most observers that the McKinley Administration was not likely to rally enough support in the Senate to win ratification. By implication, this put American retention of the Philippines in jeopardy. 3
In the Philippines, insults-and occasionally shots-were being traded across the trenches by the two opposing armies throughout the month of January. But war did not come until the evening of February 4, 1899, when general fighting erupted all along the line. The American command in Manila claimed at the time that the Filipinos initiated the fighting, but there seems little doubt that the Americans themselves started the war and as much was later admitted by U.S. commanders. That the outbreak of the war was carefully orchestrated to influence the outcome of the treaty vote in the Senate seems almost beyond question, and although initiating a war to influence the passage of legislation seems a tactic singularly lacking in subtlety, historically it seems to work and in this instance it proved successful. The news of the fighting-and the false information as to its instigation- was wired to Washington and its dramatic effect persuaded the Senate to ratify the treaty by a margin of one vote.
The First Battle
From the very beginning, superior American firepower had a telling effect, and although the Filipino troops bravely stood their ground, weaponry ensured the one-sidedness of the conflict. Dewey steamed up the Pasig River and fired SOO-pound shells into the Filipino trenches at close range with pulverizing effectiveness. The first battle was so one-sided that the American troops jokingly referred to it as a “quail shoot” and dead Filipinos were piled so high that the Americans used the bodies for breastworks. A British witness to the carnage commented, “This is not war; it is simply massacre and murderous butchery.” 4
Although the Americans had been sending reinforcements to the Philippines throughout the fall of 1898 (there were 21,000 U.S. troops in the Islands by the start of the war) they were still outnumbered by the Filipinos. But the Filipino troops were at a dreadful disadvantage owing to their lack of rifles. Only one man in three had a gun; others fought with bolos and spears or simply waited to snatch up a rifle from a fallen comrade. Although s~me of their weapons were fairly new Remingtons and Mausers captured from the Spanish or smuggled in from abroad, many were rust-eaten museum pieces, more dangerous to the user than to the intended target.
Thousands of Filipinos were killed in the first battle, hundreds more died soon after from wounds.5 Few prisoners were taken by the Americans, and Red Cross personnel reported an extremely high ratio of dead to wounded on the battlefield, indicating”… the determination of our soldiers to kill every native in sight … “6
For the Filipino patriots, the opening battle in what proved to be one of the longest and bloodiest wars in the sorry history of imperial aggression produced two sharp lessons. It was clear that the Filipinos could not hope to survive by fighting on American terms of fixed position, set-piece battles in the classical military tradition. The Philippine Army was quickly forced to resort to mobile warfare where their su perior knowledge of the terrain and the universal support they enjoyed among the people could be utilized to their advantage.
Although an overt policy of guerrilla war was not specifically enunciated until the following November, guerrilla tactics were employed out of necessity immediately after the initial rout at Manila. The first battle also indicated to the Filipinos that they were faced with a foe which gave no quarter and which was prepared to disregard the fundamental rules of warfare. The Americans were contemptuous of Filipinos generally and they had little respect for the fighting ability of the Philippine Army. They referred to the Filipinos as “niggers,” “barbarians,” and “savages,” reflecting both the racist and imperialist attitudes of American society at large.
The Americans were elated by their initial success and their commander, the rather wooden and unimaginative Gen. Elwell Otis, confidently predicted that the war would be ended in a matter of weeks. Otis had convinced himself that the opposition to U.S. rule came only from the Tagalog “tribe,” which (it was claimed) was only one of eighty or so “tribes” in the Philippines. This theme, which was trotted out by domestic U.S. annexationists at every opportunity, gave the impression that the war in the Philippines was but a slight variation of the familiar Indian wars of the American West.
After the devastating first battle, the Filipino Army retreated into Central Luzon, fighting rear-guard actions as it went. Malolos, capital of the Philippine Republic, quickly fell and within the conventional framework within which he was operating, Otis equated this event with the fall of the Philippine Government, which in turn would mean the surrender of the Philippine Army. Or so he hoped. Confident predictions of imminent victory were forthcoming again and it was with some degree of dismay that the Americans began to realize that Aguinaldo considered his “capital” to be wherever he himself happened to be camped-which was always just out of reach of the slow-moving American columns. It was with a growing sense of uneasiness that the American command began to realize that the further they were drawn into Central Luzon and the more they had to disperse their forces, the more difficult it became to defend themselves against counter-attack, ambush, and harassment by the highly mobile Philippine Army, which was itself free of the need for the ponderous supply chain required by the Americans. The odds, which were so disastrously against the Filipinos in early February, began to even up.
There was another-and to the more perceptive American commanders, rather more disturbing-character to the fighting. It gradually dawned on the Americans that the reason the Filipino troops could move around so easily without concern for a supply base, and the reason information and advice were so difficult to elicit from the native population, were due to the fact that the Aguinaldo government and the Philippine nationalist cause had the total support of the Philippine masses. They slowly began to realize that their major foe was not really the formally constituted, but in many ways ineffectual, Philippine Army; rather, it was the Filipino people, who, having finally gotten rid of the Spanish, were unrelentingly and implacably hostile to American imperialist designs. The implications of this understanding were fully realized only later and in the bloodiest manner imaginable. But as early as April 1899, General Shafter gave grisly portent to the future conduct of the war: “It may be necessary to kill half the Filipinos in order that the remaining half of the population may be advanced to a higher plane of life than their present semi-barbarous state affords.”7
The American command had presumably been taken in by its own press releases. Gen. Arthur MacArthur 8, Otis’s subordinate (and later replacement), commented, “… I believed that Aguinaldo’s troops represented only a faction. I did not like to believe that the whole population of Luzon-the native population, that is-was opposed to us…”9 But this he was “reluctantly compelled” to believe because the “unique system of warfare” employed by the Filipino Army” … depended upon almost complete unity of action of the entire native population.” 10
With the approach of summer and with victory still beyond their grasp, the War Department began to suggest to Otis that he might need more troops. Embarrassed by his earlier confident predictions and even more so by his growing inability to produce tangible results, he at first declined the offer, but then he reversed himself and surprised the Department by asking for 60,000 more troops. Otis was limited by his textbook approach to war and failed to realize that American “victories” in which the Filipinos were “scattered” or “routed” were next to meaningless. Otis was, in keeping with the time-honored phrase, winning the battles but losing the war. Few of the battles were actually more than skirmishes and hit-and-run affairs, but on June 10, 1899, in Laguna, Filipino Generals Ricarte and Noriel with 3,000 men caught an American division of 4,000 in a cross-fire ambush and cut it to pieces. Battles of this size became increasingly rare, however.
By October all the American reinforcements had arrived and it was decided that the best way to terminate the war was to capture Aguinaldo and his staff. An ambitious three-pronged encirclement campaign, encompassing the whole of Central Luzon, was decided upon. One column went north from Manila along the rail line, another went by sea to the Lingayen Gulf port of Dagupan, and a third went north from Manila along the eastern rim of the Central Luzon plain in a giant pincer movement. The idea was to prevent Aguinaldo’s escape into the mountains of northern Luzon.
Aguinaldo did manage to escape, however, and from his mountain headquarters he issued orders to formally adopt the guerrilla policy. While there was ambivalence about this move from some of the more orthodox members of Aguinaldo’s staff, the directive in actuality simply reflected the de facto situation and the hopelessness of engaging in frontal and positional warfare against the vastly strengthened U.S. forces. Political circumstances also dictated a policy of protracted warfare. The Filipinos began to realize that although outright military victory was unlikely at best, simply by keeping their forces intact they preserved the possibility of an ultimate political victory.
The Filipinos had some knowledge of the divisions being created in American society by the McKinley Administration’s imperialist policy. The Anti-Imperialist League was strongly condemning the war and the opposition Democrats were taking a position against the retention of the Philippines. It appeared likely, even a year before the event, that the November 1900 presidential election would be fought on the issue of McKinley’s colonial policy. This held out some hope at least for a political settlement of the war favorable to the Philippines.
The war took on a somewhat new character after the completion of the Central Luzon campaign. From November 1899, the U.S. considered the entire Philippines to be occupied territory-as indeed it was-and the American command set about establishing garrisons throughout Luzon and the rest of the country. Filipino guerrillas were no longer treated as soldiers of an opposing army but were considered to be bandits and common criminals (ladrones). When captured they were treated as such. With the break-up of the Philippine Army, Otis once again felt he had victory within his grasp . Even MacArthur, usually more realistic about such matters, announced, “The so-called Filipino Republic is destroyed.”11 But two developments forced them to once again regret their sanguine reports to the War Department. First, the fighting simply continued. Chasing Aguinaldo into the mountains had made no difference, breaking up the Filipino Army made no difference, and garrisoning the archipelago simply invited guerrilla attacks on isolated outposts. Secondly, as the Americans spread their forces and their garrisons to other areas of Luzon and to other islands, they found they were confronted with exactly the same kind of public hostility and guerrilla opposition which characterized the situation in Central Luzon. The notion that opposition to the U.S. was confined to. the Tagalogs was simply wrong. The Americans were at war with seven million Filipino people and wherever they went in the Islands they took the war with them-a disconcerting state of affairs and one to which Otis could never reconcile himself.
Settling in for a Long War
The war, far from being over, had entered a new and far more difficult phase for the Americans. The enemy was now no longer simply the Philippine Army, the remnants of which had been scattered over the whole of Luzon in any case. Now the Americans found themselves harassed and attacked throughout the Islands by poorly trained and poorly organized but fanatically determined peasant irregulars. MacArthur observed: ” … all regular and systematic tactical operations ceased; but as hostile contact was established throughout the entire zone of activity an infinite number of minor affairs resulted, some of which reached the dignity of combats.”12
A major problem for the Americans resulted from their inability to penetrate the guerrilla infrastructure. They soon began to realize, to their dismay, that a whole underground network of dual government loyal to the guerrillas existed, even in areas considered thoroughly “pacified.” When a town was occupied the stars and stripes flew, and gratifying expressions of loyalty and support for the American cause were publicly proclaimed by town officials. But reliable information about the guerrillas was almost never forthcoming, supplies and equipment were forever disappearing, and occasionally an American soldier would stray too far from camp and be found the next day hacked to pieces by bolo. Albert Robinson, one of a handful of American newsmen covering the war (and the most ingenious when it came to circumventing Otis’s strict censorship), wrote that unqualified U.S. control in the Islands extended “about as far as a Krag-Jorgensen could throw a bullet.”13
By early 1900 U.S. outposts were being established everywhere.14 As a rule the Filipinos allowed the Americans to capture and occupy any town they wished without opposition. Otis was so deceived by this that he once again declared flatly that the war was over, hoping perhaps that repetition of the statement would make it so. But the garrison network seriously thinned the U.S. troop strength and the Americans were continually being counterattacked and ambushed. It was becoming clear that the entire Islands would have to be “pacified.” Moreover, guerrilla activity was both increasing and becoming increasingly effective. Being incessantly ambushed, boloed and betrayed was nerve-wracking and the Americans began to exercise their mounting frustration on the population at large. All the “niggers” were enemies, whether or not they bore arms. Patrols sent to fight the guerrillas usually had difficulty locating the enemy and often simply resorted to burning barrios in their path. Village officials were often forced at bayonet point to lead American patrols, and non-combatants began to be held responsible for the actions of the guerrillas. Any form of resistance to American objectives subjected the perpetrator to a charge of treason.
Press censorship was so effective that few Americans actually knew the difficulties being experienced in the Philippines-or, in fact, that there were 70,000 U.S. troops in the Islands. In early 1900 the first whiff of scandal reached American shores when it was disclosed that the American forces had been issued expanding “dum-dum” bullets, in contravention of the 1899 Hague Convention concerning humane warfare (which the U.S. had conveniently neglected to ratify). Reports of the burning of villages, the killing of non-combatants and the application of the “water cure” to elicit information began to filter back to the U.S. Often this information was contained in letters written by U.S. soldiers to their families which found their way into local newspapers. A typical example: “On Thursday, March 29th [19001 … eighteen of my company killed seventy-five nigger bolomen and ten of the nigger gunners …. When we find one who is not dead, we have bayonets …”15
Such atrocities were systematically denied by the War Department. When the evidence was irrefutable, they were minimized and countered with examples of Filipino “barbarity.” A standard response was that “harsh” methods had to be employed against “savages.” As the war progressed and as American atrocities became routinized, so did platitudinous defenses of American action. MacArthur called it “the most legitimate and humane war ever conducted on the face of the earth.” Senator Foraker, a staunch defender of annexation, announced solemnly (and with a touch of unintended irony), “Our army has shown in this work a surprising degree of humanity.”
General Shafter, who, it will be recalled, was not averse to killing half of the Filipino people in the name of this mission civilisatrice, was becoming preoccupied with the idea and had worked out a new reason to wipe out half .of the Island population. “My plan,” he disclosed in January 1900, “would be to disarm the natives of the Philippine Islands, even if we have to kill half of them to do it.”16
Lack of firearms indeed continued to be perhaps the single most pressing problem for the Filipinos. By mid-1900 they had at most 20,000 rifles, meaning that only one partisan in four was actually armed. The American naval blockade made it all but impossible to o,btain arms and supplies from abroad and although efforts were made to manufacture gunpowder locally, cartridge shells had to be used over and over to the point of uselessness. The Filipinos had to adapt to their limitations as best they could. They stood up to the heavily armed Americans with spears, darts, the ubiquitous bolo, and even stones, prompting General Lawton to remark, ” … they are the bravest men I have ever seen.”17
The Filipinos used conditions to their advantage; they laid booby traps, they attacked at night and during driving tropical rainstorms, and they ambushed the Americans by getting as close as possible by stealth and employing their bolos at close quarters, thus neutralizing the disparity in firepower. The American troops, who depended so heavily on their weapons, were frightened by the ferocity of such attacks, especially as the Filipinos often made up in numbers what they lacked in firepower. But such tactics were difficult to maintain as the Filipinos almost invariably took heavy losses even in victory. In bolo fights the American dead were inevitably mutilated in the course of the fighting, a situation which the War Department was quick to capitalize on as evidence of the “savagery” of the Filipino guerrillas, thus justifying, to themselves at least, all manner of retaliatory slaughter.
Otis was clearly unsuited for his job. His frequent pronouncements of victory and his incompetent handling of the war were proving to be an embarrassment to the McKinley Administration, which was nervously anticipating the forthcoming presidential election. Accordingly, Otis resigned “for pressing personal reasons” and was replaced by General MacArthur. MacArthur had had experience in the American Indian wars and he, more than anyone on Otis’s staff, understood the wide-ranging implications of the problems then confronting the American expeditionary force in the Philippines. A convinced imperialist, he was also a realist. He openly admitted that the Filipinos hated the Americans and he did not flinch from estimating that it would take “ten years of bayonet treatment” to subdue the Filipino peopie-a prescient observation, as it turned out.
Heavy fighting coincided with the change in command and it was remarked that when he left, Otis ” … had the situation so little in hand that to go six miles out of Manila without a company furnished plenty of wholesome excitement,”18 With one eye on the upcoming November election, McKinley also sent a federal judge, William Howard Taft, to Manila with instructions to establish a “civilian” government in the Islands no later than September 1, 1900. The move was purely a public relations venture designed to trick the American voters into thinking all was progressing smoothly in the Philippines. Taft was densely ignorant about the Philippines19 but he knew enough about class society to detect a certain amount of pliability in the upper-class elements in the country. This group, composed largely of mestizo landlords and export agriculture interests, had been largely ignored by the U.S. military command, but Taft set out to woo them, appealing to their economic interests by offering protected markets for their agricultural products in the U.S. The effort bore fruit insofar as Taft was able-on cue-to establish his Civil Government on September 1. Laced as it was with quislings and traitors-Buencamino, Legarda, Luzuriaga and, inevitably, Pedro Paterno notable among them-the Taft regime was a useful propaganda weapon and it provided the Americans with another excuse to prosecute the war. Having created puppets, the continuation of the war and the retention of the Philippines were necessary to protect those who “loyally sided with the Americans” against potential and future revenge at the hands of the guerrillas. With, one presumes, appropriate sarcasm, one American Congressman commented, ” … and so it appears that in order to keep them from shooting each other down we have got to go in and shoot them down first.”20
With the nomination of William Jennings Bryan as the Democratic presidential candidate, the question of American colonialism and continued military intervention appeared likely to become a major issue in the 1900 campaign. The Filipinos hoped to topple the “imperialist party” of McKinley by launching an offensive just before the election, and September and October saw some of the sharpest fighting of the war. In spite of these efforts the question of the Philippines never became the issue it might have been. Aided by heavy press censorship and the inability to obtain independent information on the Philippine situation, McKinley predictably pointed to the Taft Government as proof that all was going well in the Islands. Bryan, moreover, was a rank political opportunist. By his own admission he had supported ratification of the Paris treaty simply in order to provide himself with what he thought would be a good issue with which to attack the Republicans. When he began to see that his anti-colonial-position was hurting his campaign rather than helping, he backpedaled furiously and quickly compromised himself, arguing now for a vaguely defined American “protectorate” for the Philippines. In any event, both McKinley and Bryan perceived that the electorate was bored by the Philippine issue and by the end of the campaign it had been quietly dropped by both candidates.
Predictably perhaps, McKinley was an easy victor. The result was a crushing blow for the Filipino guerrilla leaders who had counted heavily-too heavily-on a Bryan victory. Indeed, the guerrilla leadership began to falter badly after November and the surrender of several commanders (with men and guns) was a sharp blow to the Filipino cause. The theory of protracted war was, of course, only imperfectly understood, and with U.S. strength at its peak of 75,000 men the struggle began to take on suicidal overtones.21 The class divisions within the Filipino forces began now to emerge. The officers, like Aguinaldo himself, were usually fairly well educated and came largely from middle-class backgrounds; the ranks were invariably filled by men of peasant origins. The American command played upon these class divisions and treated surrendering commanders with the respect due to fellow “officers and gentlemen,” sometimes dangling choice civil service positions as inducement for officers to defect.
Despite MacArthur’s claim, American conduct of the war heretofore had not been the “most humane” in human history, as attested by the countless and documented examples of callous and brutal conduct which were already being recorded. But in the autumn of 1900 there was a perceptible alteration in American tactics. Tired of being chronically harassed and boloed by the Filipinos and finding it difficult to pin the guerrillas down in the kind of conventional firefight they so urgently desired, the Americans began to resort to revanchist attitudes and policies. If the American command had ever believed they enjoyed any popular support in the Philippines (apart from the handful of wealthy puppets serving in the Taft regime), a year and a half of war certainly dispelled any continued illusions on the matter. If the people su pported the guerrillas then the people must also be classified as the enemy. The grim implications of such an evaluation were beginning to emerge, although the fiction that widespread public support for the U.S. existed in the Islands was maintained for domestic U.S. consumption. Terrorism, it was explained, was the only reason Filipinos gave any support at all to their guerrilla brethren, the only reason people did not welcome the foreign occupying force with open arms. “Without this system of terrorism,” Taft allowed, “the guerrilla campaign would have ended very quickly.”22 MacArthur was not deluded by such fantasties:
the success of this unique system of war depends upon almost complete unity of action of the entire native population. That such unity is a fact is too obvious to admit of discussion; … fear as the only motive is hardly sufficient to account for the united and apparently spontaneous action of several millions of people. One traitor in each town would effectively destroy such a complex organization.23
“Pacification” Begins in Earnest
In December 1900, with the election safely out of the way, martial law was declared and the pretense of civil government was scrapped. American operations were extended to southern Luzon and to the Visayan islands of Leyte, Samar, Panay, Negros and Cebu. As far as the American command was concerned there were no longer any neutrals. Everyone was now considered an active guerrilla or a guerrilla supporter. Thus in the Visayas campaign the Navy felt free to shell the coastal villages with its gunboats prior to invasion. In January and February 1901, the entire popUlation of Marinduque Island (pop. 51,000) was ordered into five concentration camps set up by the Americans. All those who did not comply with the order” … would be considered as acting in sympathy with the insurgent forces and treated accordingly.”24 This was to be the first of many instances of the application of the reconcentrado policy in the Philippines. Ironically, it was the abhorrence of just this sort of policy-when it was practiced by the Spanish General “Butcher” Weyler in Cuba-which so exercised American public opinion against Spain prior to the outbreak of the Spanish-American War.25
In April 1901 major operations began in northern Luzon. The frequent examples of A~etican terror tactics which had heretofore occurred were, arguably, the acts of individual units in at least technical violation of overall U.S. policy. With the advent of the northern Luzon campaign such pretensions and qualifications could no longer be maintained. If the people sympathized with and supported the guerrillas, and if, indeed, this was a “people’s war,” then the only solution was war against the people. The Amecican Governor of Abra Province described the “depopulation campaign” in the following terms: “Whole villages had been burned, storehouses and crops had been destroyed and the entire province was as devoid of food products as was the valley of Shenandoah after Sheridan’s raid during the Civil War.”26 An American congressman who visited the Philippines, and who preferred to remain anonymous, spoke frankly about the results of the campaign: “You never hear of any disturbances in Northern Luzon,” he reported, “because there isn’t anybody there to rebel. . . . The good Lord in heaven only knows the number of Filipinos that were put under ground. Our soldiers took no prisoners, they kept no records; they simply swept the country and wherever and whenever they could get hold of a Filipino they killed him.”27
The observation that no records were kept of operations of this kind later became a point of contention as’news of the atrocities began to leak out. A case in point was the murder of approximately 1,000 Filipino prisoners of war in Sorsogon. Eyewitnesses (U.S. soldiers) testified that the prisoners were forced to dig their own graves in groups of twenty and that each then received one bullet in the temple. When confronted with this evidence the War Department dismissed it out of hand: “No report has been received at the War Department in respect of or referring to the alleged incident.”28 This became standard government response to such charges, even when the orders themselves necessarily implied butchery, as when Gen. “Howlin’ Jake” Smith ordered his men to kill “everything over ten” in the notorious Samar campaign. (In that particular instance the War Department rather feebly declared that their records “did not indicate” that the order-which was admitted-was ever carried out, eyewitness testimony of American soldiers engaged in the campaign notwithstanding.)
Also in April 1901, Aguinaldo was finally captured. The Americans had been so unsuccessful at trying to catch him that for a long period they simply gave up the effort. But an intercepted message resulted in a daring raid led by Brig. Gen. Frederick Funston29 and Aguinaldo’s capture. The Americans were delighted with the news, which made banner headlines in the U.S. Taft felt the war was as good as over, especially after he persuaded Aguinaldo to sign an oath of allegiance and a proclamation calling upon his erstwhile comrades to give up the struggle. Aguinaldo did inore damage to his place in the history books than he did to the Filipino cause, however, and the Americans were dismayed to discover that his capture and surrender appeal made no perceptible difference in the fighting, which continued unabated. This was too much for MacArthur, who resigned and was replaced by Maj. Gen. Adna Chaffee.
By mid-summer 1901, the focus of the war started to shift south of Manila. Some of the guerrilla leaders of Northern and Central Luzon who were close to Aguinaldo began to surrender. Others held out, however, and Gen. Miguel Malvar, operating in Batangas, was proving to be every bit as difficult for the Americans as Aguinaldo had been.
In August, General Smith invaded Panay Island and repeated the scorched-earth tactics employed in Abra. “The 18th regulars marched from Iloilo in the south to Capiz [now Roxas] … in the north under orders to burn every town from which they were attacked. The result was they left a strip of land 60 miles wide from one end of the island to the other, over which the traditional crow could not have flown without provision.”30
On the eve of the Samar campaign, the war was clearly degenerating into mass slaughter. It was hardly precise to call it “war” any longer. The Americans were simply chasing ragged, poorly armed bands of guerrillas and, failing to catch them, were inflicting the severest punishment on those they could catch-the people of the villages and barrios of the theater of operation. U.S. commanders were becoming increasingly outspoken about the true nature of their policy. Chaffee wrote in September, ” … we are dealing with a class of people whose character is deceitful, who are absolutely hostile to the white race and who regard life as of little value and, finally, who will not submit to our control until absolutely defeated and whipped into such condition.”31 The American command even developed a new term for the kind of warfare they were engaged in, calling it “protective retribution.” Semantic nonsense, perhaps, but its meaning was not lost on the intended victims.
In late September, in the town of Balangiga, Samar, American troops had for some time been abusing the townspeople by packing them into open wooden pens at night where they were forced to sleep standing in the rain. Several score of guerrilla Gen. Vicente Lukban’s bolomen infiltrated the town and on the morning of September 28, while the Americans were eating their breakfast, Lukban’s men suddenly fell upon them. Heads dropped into breakfast dishes. Fifty-four Americans were boloed to death, and few of the eighteen survivors escaped serious injury.32
The Balangiga massacre initiated a reign of terror the likes of which had not yet been seen in this war. General Smith, fresh from his “victories” in northern Luzon and Panay, was chosen to lead the American mission of revenge. Smith’s orders to his men embarking upon the Samar campaign could not have been more explicit: “Kill and burn, kill and burn, the more you kill and the more you burn the more you please me.” It was, said Smith, “no time to take prisoners.” War was to be waged “in the sharpest and most decisive manner possible.” When asked to define the age limit for killing, Smith gave his infamous reply: “Everything over ten.” Smith ordered Samar to be turned into a “howling wilderness’ so that “even the birds could not live there.” It was boasted that” … what fire and water [i.e., water torture] … had done in Panay, water and fire would do in Samar.”33The now-familiar pattern of operations began once again. All inhabitants of the island (pop. 266,000) were ordered to present themselves to detention camps in several of the larger coastal towns. Those who did not (or those who did not make it their business to learn of the existence of the order), and were found outside the detention camp perimeter, would be shot “and no questions asked.” Few reporters covered the carnage; one who did noted:”During my stay in Samar the only prisoners that were made … were taken by Waller’s command;34 and I heard this act criticized by the highest officers as a mistake …. The truth is, the struggle in Samar is one of extermination.”35
When Smith’s barbaric and outrageous orders gained him public notoriety, the War Department attempted to portray his Samar campaign as an aberration of standard practices. Samar was a deviation from a war which (according to one typically gushing statement from the Secretary of War) ” … has been conducted by the Army with scrupulous regard for the rules of civilized warfare with careful and genuine consideration for the prisoner and non-combatant, with self-restraint and with humanity never surpassed if ever equalled in any conflict, worthy only of praise, and reflecting ‘credit upon the American people.”36 In actuality the Samar campaign was simply a stronger dose of the same kind of extermination policy previously conducted in northern Luzon and in Panay. Nor did the Samar campaign mark the end of this kind of practice, despite the heavy criticism it provoked. If anything, the Batangas campaign which followed Samar by a few months was even more “pinching”-to use the then-current euphemism for such pogroms. Indeed, General Smith could legitimately defend himself the way Waller had done. He was, in fact, simply following orders. His superior and the overall U.S. commander in the Philippines, General Chaffee, was as explicit as Smith, although he expressed himself somewhat less flamboyantly when he wrote on the eve of the Samar campaign:
… it is necessary that we be stern and inflexible; and both officers and men must be cordially supported in this duty in this regard. There is one thing necessary; and that is the wholesome fear by these people of the Army, and that every hostile motion of any inhabitants toward the troops will be quickly and severely punished. . .. It is to our interest to disarm these people and to keep them disarmed, and any means to that end is advisable.37 [emphasis added]
Even if the American commanders issued inhuman and draconian orders, the War Department argued that of course the men would not actually obey them. In Senate hearings, the obsequious Beveridge was at pains to make this point:
Sen. Beveridge: The general conduct of our soldiers and officers there, irrespective of orders from headquarters, was in the direction of kindness, mercy and humanity, was it? [emphasis added]
Gen. MacArthur: Absolutely, Sir. 38
But in spite of MacArthur’s implicit faith in the propensity of his men to disobey orders (one imagines it would have been interesting to hear from Major Waller on this score), information about the true nature of the conduct of the war came, as usual, from the soldiers themselves. 39 One letter, which was later republished in the New York World, gives an indication of what the Filipinos were up against. It bears reproduction in its entirety:
It was on the 27th of December, the anniversary of my birth, and I shall never forget the scenes I witnessed that day. As we approached the town the word passed along the line that there would be no prisoners taken. It meant we were to shoot every living thing in sight-man woman or child.The first shot was fired by the then 1st Sergeant of our company. His target was a mere boy, who was coming down the mountain path into town astride of a carabao. The boy was not struck by the bullet, but that was not the Sergeant’s fault. The little Filipino boy slid from the back of his carabao and fled in terror up the mountain side. Half a dozen shots were fired after him.
The shooting now had attracted the villagers, who came out of their homes in alarm, wondering what it all meant. They offered no offense, did not display a weapon, made no hostile movement whatsoever, but they were ruthlessly shot down in cold blood, men, women and children. The poor natives huddled together or fled in terror. Many were pursued and killed on the spot. Two old men, bearing a white flag and clasping hands like two brothers, approached the lines. Their hair was white. Tbey fairly tottered, they were so feeble under the weight of years. To my horror and that of the other men in the command, the order was given to fire and the two old men were shot down in their tracks. We entered the village. A man who had been on a sickbed appeared at the doorway of his home. He received a bullet in the abdomen and fell dead in the doorway. Dum dum bullets were used in the massacre, but we were not told the name of the bullets. We didn’t have to be told. We knew what they were. In another part of the village a mother with a babe at her breast and two young children at her side pleaded for mercy. She feared to leave her home which had just been fired-accidentally, I believe. She faced the flames with her children, and not a hand was raised to save her or the little ones. They perished miserably. It was sure death if she left the house-it was sure death if she remained. She feared the American soldiers, however, worse than the devouring flames. 40
In the face of mounting and irrefutable evidence of the true conduct of the war, the War Department resorted to by-now-standard procedure-deny, minimize, obliterate charges and criticism with a blizzard of rhetorical overkill. Secretary Root: “… the warfare has been conducted with marked humanity and magnanimity on the part of the U.S.”41 Major General Wheaton: “Unexampled patience was exercised throughout the department in the treatment of these savages [sic].”42 General Hughes: “The policy as practiced in the Philippines has no element of cruelty in it.”43 Governor Taft: ” … it is my deliberate judgment that there never was a war conducted, whether against inferior races or not, in which there were more compassion and more restraint and more generosity …”44 Furthermore, were it not for the bleeding hearts and hand-wringers back home who, by criticizing the army, were encouraging the enemy to resist, “the insurrection would have been suppressed finally in January 1900,” according to General Funston.45
The Batangas Campaign
As Smith ravaged Samar, General Malvar and his men carried on the guerrilla struggle in Batangas, Tayabas, Laguna and Cavite. With General Smith already occupied, command of the Batangas campaign was given to Maj. Gen. J. Franklin Bell. By word and by deed, Bell made it clear that he was not going to be put in the shade by his brother officer when it came to slaughtering Filipinos. Even before he took command, Bell made his feelings known in unmistakable terms. “All consideration and regard for the inhabitants of this place cease from the day I become commander,” he said. “I have the force and authority to do whatever seems to me good and especially to humiliate all those in this Province who have any pride….”46
Beginning in early December 1901 and continuing for the rest of the month, Bell issued a frightening series of orders. On December 8 he began setting up his concentration camps. The people of Batangas had two weeks in which to move into the garrisons. Everything lying outside the perimeter of the camps was subject to confiscation or destruction. Anyone found there would automatically be considered an “insurgent.” Neutrality was not to be entertained. Everyone “should either be an active friend or classified as an enemy.” How did one become an “active friend”? “The only acceptable and convincing evidence of the real sentiments of either individuals or town councils should be such acts publicly performed as must inevitably commit them irrevocably to the side of the Americans by arousing the animosity and opposition of the insurgent element.” How did one arouse the animosity and opposition of the “insurgent element”? By guiding troops to the camps of the enemy, by publicly identifying “insurgents,” by accompanying troops in operations against the guerrillas, by denouncing the “enemy” publicly, and by identifying secret guerrilla supporters. Suspicion of aiding the guerrillas in any way was sufficient cause for arrest without charge and incarceration for an indefinite period of time. “It is not necessary to wait for sufficient evidence to lead to a conviction by a court. “47
Bell’s subordinates were given the widest latitude: “Commanding officers are urged to use their discretion freely in adopting any or all measures of warfare….” The people of Batangas were to be made to “want peace and want it badly.” On December 13, Bell announced that the killing of American troops would be paid back in kind. Whenever such an event occurred, Bell proposed to select a prisoner “by lot from among the officers or prominent citizens” and have him executed. On December 15, Bell announced that “acts of hostility or sabotage” would result in the “starving of unarmed hostile belligerents.”48 The warning to Malvar was clear: he either had to give up the struggle or the “detainees” would face mass starvation. To show that he meant it, on December 20 Bell ordered all rice and other food lying outside the camps to be confiscated or destroyed. Wells were poisoned and all farm animals were slaughtered.49
January 1, it was announced, was the deadline for rendering “valuable service” to the Americans, and “those who have not fully complied with their duty” by that date were subject to prison. On the 24th, Bell admitted that the only course open to the Americans was”… to adopt apolicy that will create in the minds of all the people a burning desire for the war to cease-a desire or longing so intense, so personal … and so real that it will impel them to devote themselves in earnest to bringing about a real state of peace, that will impel them to join hands with the Americans…”50 “These people need a thrashing,” Bell announced on the day after Christmas. ” … I have become convinced that within two months at the outside there will be no more insurrection in this brigade, and nothing for conspirators to negotiate about.” Since ” … practically the entire population has been hostile to us at heart … it is necessary to make the state of war as insupportable as possible, and there is no more efficacious way of accomplishing this than by keeping the minds of the people in such a state of anxiety and apprehension that living under such conditions will soon become unbearable.” Batangas, Bell concluded, will “be thoroughly sear~hed and devastated.”51
Beginning January 1, 1901, as promised, Batangas was indeed thoroughly searched and devastated, as were the neighboring provinces. Bell assembled 2,500 men in columns of 50 and the hunt for Malvar was on. Expecting to destroy everything, Bell was at least as ruthless as Smith had been in the preceding extermination campaigns. The details of the concentration camp policy were, by now, depressingly familiar. Filipinos were rounded up and herded into detention camps where overcrowded conditions and lack of proper food and clothing resulted in the predictable spread of infectious diseases. Malaria, beriberi and dengue fever took their toll. One correspondent described the prisoners as ” a miserable-looking lot of little brown rats … utterly spiritless.”52
In the “zone of death” outside the camp “dead line,” “all rendered themselves liable,” according to Bell.53 All property was destroyed, all houses put to the torch and the country was made a “desert waste … of death and desolation.” 54 According to statistics compiled by U.S. Government officials, by the time Bell was finished at least 100,000 people had been killed or had died in Batangas alone as a direct result of the scorched-earth policies, and the enormous dent in the population of the province (which was reduced by a third) is reflected in the census figures.55 American policy was so brutal that even some of the U.S. government personnel became apprehensive. The American civil governor of Tayabas noted in his official report that killing, burning, torture and other harsh treatment was
. . . sowing the seeds for a perpetual revolution. If these things need be done, they had best be done by native troops so that the people of the u.S. will not be credited therewith.56
With Malvar’s surrender in April 1902, the Americans at long last felt the war was finally over, and Taft dutifully intoned this fact once again. The Washington Post editorialized in response:
We have learned to repose the utmost confidence in Judge Taft’s opinions and predictions relative to affairs in the Philippines. Ever since he solemnly announced the fourth and final termination of hostilities two years ago, we have refused to accept any view of the situation in our new islands which did not have his sanction and endorsement. The fact that it has been brought to an end on six different occasions since the Governor’s original proclamation serves only to confirm our estimation of his wisdom. A bad thing cannot be killed too often.57
The surrender of Malvar completed the capture or surrender of what the Americans considered to be the “respectable military element.” The only people left in the hills, it was thought, were ignorant ladrones (bandits), but they were, it was said, a traditional feature of rural life in the Philippines and were not to be taken seriously as a threat to American hegemony. Just to make sure, President Roosevelt proclaimed the war to be over on July 4, 1902. Bands played, soldiers marched in parade, speeches were read, and just the tiniest flaw marred an otherwise grand occasion. The fighting did not stop. The war would not admit to so tidy a solution. Declaring it over did not make it so. A sullen, hostile people, the victims of three and a half years of the most savage aggression, simply refused to give up.
Malvar may have surrendered, but many of his men had not, and fighting in Batangas continued. Elsewhere, new leaders such as Sakay, Ricarte, Ola and Bulan emerged to carry on the struggle in places previously considered pacified. Others, such as Felipe Salvador and “Papa” Isio, both of whom had been fighting the Spanish for many years prior to 1898, simply kept on fighting. Not all of them were principled men; many were without ideology and fought simply out of fanatical hatred of the occupying power; some interjected a confusing welter of reactionary religious dogma to their often ill-defined and unsophisticated response to (ill-defined and unsophisticated) colonialism. Moreover, there were depressing tendencies toward blind revanchism, dead-end milennarism, and the development of personality cults58 which paralleled similar “primitive rebellions”59 in other areas of the world at the time. Having noted this, the point cannot be overemphasized that these movements represented the collective will of the vast majority of the Filipino people who—however imperfectly they understood the phenomenon—simply refused to submit to imperial aggession.
The “Post-War” War
“Post-war” fighting flared up in Albay in October 1902, when approximately 1,500 guerrillas led by Simeon Ola refused to surrender. This was politically embarrassing to the Americans, and to Roosevelt and Taft in particular. This war was supposed to be over! Although there were still upwards of 20,000 U.S. troops garrisoned on the Islands, it was thought the better part of wisdom to deploy Filipino puppet troops (led by American officers) against the Albay guerrillas. In November, the Brigandage Act was passed, authorizing the death penalty for membership in a guerrilla organization. The new law simply gave legal sanction to what had become common practice and it had little appreciable effect on the situation in Albay, which continued to deteriorate for the Americans. In March 1903, the situation had reached a point where reconcentrado tactics had to be once again employed-this time on a wider scale than anything heretofore attempted. Three hundred thousand Filipinos were herded into concentration camps at gunpoint. Ola finally surrendered in October 1903, but this event did not end the fighting there by any means. 60
Fighting also continued in Cavite, where a new Katipunan was formed by a former Aguinaldo aide, Gen. Luciano San Miguel; in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac, led by Felipe Salvador; in Rizal and Bulacan, led by Montalon, Felizardo and others; in Tayabas, led by Saria and Roldon-the list indeed could go on and on. In the year after the war had been declared officially at an end, 357 separate engagements with the guerrillas were recorded by the U.S. military command.
The inability to stamp out the fighting induced the Americans to adopt more sophisticated techniques, some of which have become familiar features of more recent counterinsurgency efforts. The 1903 census of the Philippines was a determined effort to enumerate not only people, but to also record the presence of cattle, hogs, chickens and so forth in hopes of tracing guerrilla sources of supply and to intimidate people into denying provisions to the guerrillas for fear of being discovered. Such techniques proved to be of limited value and, at times, counterproductive. Attempts to conduct such a survey in Misamis Province sparked off an uprising there.61 In the following year an identification card system was inaugurated and a “registration tax” was imposed on all male residents of the Philippines between 18 and 60 years of age. These Cedulas Personates, as they were called, ” … also serve the purpose of a domestic passport …” (their obvious intended purpose), according to the Secretary of Finance and Justice. 62
The Americans were hoping that by imposing such restrictions they would hamper efforts at unifying the various resistance organizations. The activity of Artemio Ricarte, a case in point, illustrates the kind of organizational work the Americans feared. Ricarte, formerly a member of Aguinaldo’s staff, was captured early in the war and, because he refused to take an oath of allegiance to the U.S., was deported to Guam. Upon being returned to Manila, he once again refused to take an oath and was sent to Hong Kong and exile, where he began to correspond and coordinate with other guerrilla leaders in the Philippines. He secretly returned to Manila in December 1903 and embarked upon a clandestine tour of northern and Central Luzon, where he engaged in organizing, unifying and recruiting activities. For months he eluded capture, much to the consternation of the Americans.
In July 1904, fighting broke out in Samar, where Bulan and Juliano Caducoy led several hundred men. Coastal villages were attacked and Philippine Constabulary (puppet) troops and pro-U.S. municipal officials were killed. One U.S.-appointed teniente (mayor) had a kerosene-soaked U.S. flag tied around his head and ignited, which Caducoy said was “a lesson to those serving that flag.”63 By August, the governor of Samar was frantically demanding more. troops from Manila because guerrillas “are boldly roaming the country.”64 “Thousands joined in the movement,” according to the local commander, Gen. William H. Carter, and the guerrillas took control of large areas of coastal territory in northeastern Samar. Constabulary patrols, led by American officers and sent out to engage the guerrillas, came in for some hard fighting. At Oras, Bulan’s men, armed only with bolos, engaged the Constabulary troops in hand-to-hand combat and secured 65 guns. At Dolores, 38 Constabulary troops fell, prompting the American commander to plead for the reintroduction of American troops. The problem, he said, was “. . not solely one of killing and capturing the leaders or great numbers of their followers, for there are others ready to rise in their places.”65 By April 1905, U.S. reinforcements had to be sent to Samar and fighting there continued for two more years.
Elsewhere, in late 1904 and early 1905, guerrilla activity reached a “post-war” peak, with fighting erupting in Rizal, where Felizardo successfully attacked a number of Constabulary garrisons, and in Taal, where Montalon and De Vega marched up the main street of town and people “openly fraternized with the bandits.” In Malabon, which “was a hotbed of disloyal citizens and sympathizers with the outlaw element,” Montalon and others disguised in Constabulary uniforms seized the garrison and very nearly kidnaped the provincial governor.
In January 1905 the Writ of Habeas Corpus was suspended and a state of insurrection was declared. “It is hoped the result will be the effectual cleaning out of these bands and that the people will be so inconvenienced that instead of sympathising with and aiding the outlaw bands an effort will be made to aid the authorities ,”66 reported the district commander. Familiar tactics these, but by March conditions had deteriorated so badly in Batangas and Cavite and in some parts of Laguna and Rizal that reconcentrado had to be employed there for five months-three years after Malvar’s surrender and General Bell’s boast that within two months of January 1902 there would be no more insurrection in Batangas.
In Pangasinan, where Sakay was active, the American military commander wrote plaintively, “This Province seems to be the rendezvous of disturbers … and we scarcely get one broken up until another is started. We have had … various classes of Katipunan organizations, seditions and efforts at organization for insurrection .. and the province in consequence has furnished its quota to swell the population of Bilibid [prison] … “67 In Albay, “conditions were in a rather disturbed state.” Agustin Saria had taken up where Ola left off and it was noted that his” … principal aim was to levy tribute on the people and to maintain an independent insurgent government.”68 In Ambos, Camarines, ” … practically open insurrection existed due to the influence of Jose Roldon…. He reorganized his forces in the most impoverished sections of Ambos, Camarines, and had remarkable success in securing municipal officials and prominent individuals to assist him.”69 Roldon and Saria were killed in September and October 1905 respectively, but others picked up the cudgels. In Tayabas it was reported that “the inhabitants of certain localities are exceedingly inflammable and easily influenced by the oratorical flights and acrobatic gyrations of demagogic outlaws or fanatical propagandists.”70 Whatever the cause, the “demagogic outlaws” were becoming increasingly effective. One American officer described the nature of the attack employed against constabulary compounds:
The attempts are always preceded by a thorough spying out of the surroundings, strength and habits of the intended victims, a careful weighing of chances and a deliberate planning. Consequently, an enterprise once undertaken seldom fails. Frequently they try to minimize the risk of jumping a police station or looting a municpal treasury by establishing relations with and winning confederates on the inside.71
The guerrillas were also learning how to utilize their solidarity with the people to advantage and they began to shun the uniforms they previously wore in order to facilitate intermingling with the general population. Funds were often extorted from wealthy landowners (who hoped thereby to purchase immunity from more permanent depradations) and used to purchase food and provisions from peasants. An underground communication system was established in the various areas of guerrilla operation, but interregional communication and coordination was all but totally lacking and this proved to be a fatal handicap when, as occurred in 1904-06, the resistance was progressing well in other respects.
In Central Luzon, Sakay continued to elude the Constabulary. In June 1905 the American commanding officer wrote that previous indications were ” … that we were making material progress against them [Sakay and his men) … but that like ‘Brer Rabbit’ they were not exterminated but were simply lying low …”72 Almost all of the guerrilla leaders active in 1905 had, of course, been deeply involved in the 1899-1902 struggle. As fighting flared up the class contradictions in the old Philippine Army leadership began to emerge once again. The members of Aguinaldo’s staff and the various commanders of the earlier period who had surrendered or been captured had, for the most part, been well treated by the Americans and were content to make their peace with American colonial rule. (Aguinaldo himself settled down on 500 hectares of land near Imus, Cavite, and reaped the benefits of one or two profitable arrangements with the Colonial Government.73 Many of the 1899-1902 leaders disparaged the later efforts and echoed the American position that such guerrilla bands were simply ladrones, and that there was no real political significance attached to the various movements. This was sad commentary on the ideological pliability of the early leaders, and such statements had a measurable propaganda effect. But the damaging influence of such men was offset somewhat because almost all of the new guerrilla leadership had emerged at one point or another from the ranks. Moreover, with men like Ricarte, Montalon, Felizardo, and especially Sakay still alive, a direct link was maintained with the highest leadership circles of the 1899-1902 period. The Americans understood this, of course, and the hunt for Sakay in particular became an obsession with them. Sakay was considered by many to be Aguinaldo’s heir and was referred to by the forces in his command and by the people in the districts in which he operated as the President of the Republic.
Filipino morale received a tremendous (albeit unwarranted) boost with the Japanese success in the Russo-Japanese War.74 News of the war-and cheap color prints of little brown men slaying big white men-filtered into the most remote and backward corners of the Philippines and generated tremendous interest “even among the ignorant taos … who otherwise are uniformly impervious to the progress of the outside world … ” 75
Things were not going too well for the Americans in spite of uniformly glowing reports of success heaped upon success (such propaganda as was being churned out had long ~ince bcome an endemic feature of America’s Philippine adventure and was, unfortunately, usually accepted at face value in the U.S.-and by later historians). Occasionally, information would filter through the official veil and chip away, if only ever so slightly, at the orthodox, roseate view. An Englishwoman wrote from Iloilo in 1905:
The Americans give out and write in their papers that the Philippine Islands are completely pacified and that the Filipinos love Americans and their rule. This, doubtless with good motives, is complete and utter humbug, for the country is honeycombed with insurrection and plots, the fighting has never ceased, and the natives loathe the Americans and their theories, saying so openly in their native press and showing their dislike in every possible fashion. Their one idea is to be rid of the U.S.A . …76
By 1906 the ultimate futility of engaging in continued resistance without regional coordination, without agreed-upon aims, without more than the most rudimentary ideological overview, and without any hope-or thought-of international support for their movement took its predictable toll. By mid-year, Sakay, Montalon and De Vega had surrendered and this ended whatever flickering hopes might have remained for the re-establishment of the Philippine Republic.
Yet, incredibly, the war was still not over, nor would it be for several years to come, and fighting continued in a number of areas. In Mindanao, Moslem resistance to American efforts at subjugation continued unabated and led to the adoption of the standard extermination policies. Moslem resistance differed from that which typified other areas in that it was largely unconnected with questions of Philippine independence or anti-colonialism, but was rather predicated an the desire to maintain Islamic communal laws and customs free from interference from the “conquered North.” (It should be noted that the Spanish never actually subjugated the Moslem areas.) Guerrilla tactics adopted in other areas were not typical in the Moslen regions, where the practice was for whole communities to band together and retreat to a fortified position (usually a hilltop) in the face of an attack. For American troops grown callous by years of fighting against non-combatants, attacking such communities necessitated no departure from previously established norms. The resultant slaughter from such wanton tactics, however, was fearful. In March 1906, American troops killed over 600 men, women and children in an assault on the Mount Dajo community. Photographs of the neaped bodies of women and children created a sensation in the U.S., but this did not reflect itself in any alteration of American policy. Sporadic fighting continued to flare up in Mindanao as late as 1916, and martial law was not lifted until December 1906. Even then, the preparedness of the Moslem community to lay down their arms was due simply to the recognition that superior force of arms had been brought to bear against them, nothing more.
Negros was another area where fighting continued beyond 1906, led by the intrepid “Papa” Isio. Isio’s movement was unique in its longevity; by the time of the arrival of the Americans, Isio had been in the hills for nearly twenty years against the Spanish. In 1880, the 39-year-old farm laborer Isio (then Dionisio Magbueles) quarreled with a Spaniard, wounded him, and fled to the mountains of Negros, where he joined with and eventually became the leader of a rebel group known variously as Babaylanes (“priests”) and Pulahanes (“red trousers”). Negros, especially the fertile northwest crescent of the island, presented unusual economic conditions inasmuch as the sugar plantations there represe,nted the most commercially advanced agricultural area to be found in the Philippines. Because of this, class contradictions reached their most advanced level and chronic labor unrest characterized conditions in the Negros canefields in the late 19th century. Disaffected sacadas (canefield workers) provided a steady stream of men to Isio’s mountain band prior to 1898.
The founding of the Malolos Republic and the arrival of the Americans further sharpened the divisions between the plantation and mill owners and the sacadas. Dewey’s arrival in Manila Bay and the resultant crisis led to the withdrawal of Spanish forces from Negros and in the power vacuum Isio and his men declared allegiance to the Republic and marched into the capital of Bacolod. Isio’s army by this time numbered between five and six thousand and he enjoyed almost total support among the sacadas and peasant farmers. Landlords and mill owners on Negros, who had previously co-existed peacefully and profitably with the Spanish authorities (and with whom they identified socially) viewed developments with consternation. Their major fear was that the Malolos Government would sanction and solidify the Isio regime.
To checkmate Isio, the Negros hacenderos tried to prevent him from getting arms and from establishing direct contact with Malolos. In the autumn of 1898 some of the planters sent a delegation to the captain of a U.S. man-of-war then at anchor in Iloilo harbor to ask him for U.S. protection and armed intervention against Isio. The Americans refused the request because at this point they were not yet at war with the Filipinos. They did not want to trigger the fighting before the arrival of needed reinforcements and the signing of the Paris Treaty. The hacenderos then established an “independent” Republic of Negros, adopting an American-style Constitution which defined the new power configurations. For several months until the outbreak of fighting on February 4, 1899, two regimes vied in Negros, the Republican (Malolos) Government, supported by Isio and his men, and the “independent” Republic of Negros, which existed mostly on paper and in the minds of a few hundred wealthy plantation owners.
On February 22, 1899, a delegation of hacenderos went to Manila and again asked for U.S. intervention, reminding the Americans pointedly that “their action would cause much hatred among the insurgents.”77 Now that the Philippine-American War had started, the Americans were more than eager to accomodate the hacenderos, and Col. (later Gen.) Smith initiated his career in the Philippines by going to Negros with a battalion of the First California Volunteers. He also tried to organize native troops but abandoned the practice when the men signed up and promptly went over to Isio with their new weapons. For several months after Smith’s arrival, class war reigned in Negros. Sacadas flocked to the hills and joined in attacks on plantations. By September 1899, over 100 plantations lay in ruins, expensive sugar-milling machinery had been wrecked, farm animals were lost, and sugar production (the second most valuable Philippine export product at the time) had come to an almost complete standstill.78
Such was Isio’s background, and for seven more years the mountainous interior of Negros remained a “liberated zone” despite repeated forays by American and Constabulary troops. By 1905 Isio had become a folk hero, a symbol of continued resistance when all realistic hope of overthrowing the hacendero oligopoly had long since vanished. In January 1905, when it was reported (incorrectly) that Isio had been killed, thousands wore black armbands in mourning. In June of that year, after Isio and his men had taken possession of the town of Isabela, the American commander ruefully hinted at the depth of the popular support Isio stil~ enjoyed when he reported, “It remains to be seen whether or not the people of Isabela will come forward and identify the raiders or aid in their capture. If they do, it will be unprecedented.”79 It was not until August 6, 1907, that “Papa” Isio, age 67, finally came down from the mountains.
The major guerrilla organization still active after Isio’s surrender was the Santa Iglesia led by Felipe Salvador (alias Apong Ipe), one of the most colorful and charismatic leaders in a movement which produced an abundance of such men. Allegedly the son of a friar, Salvador, like Isio, had been active against the Spanish long before Malolos and Manila Bay. The Santa Iglesia, a “fanatical and oath-bound society” (according to the Americans) was founded in 1893 in Pampanga. In 1898 it joined forces with the revolutionary movement and Salvador and his men attacked Spanish garrisons at Dagupan and Lingayen in Pangasinan. Salvador was made a colonel by Aguinaldo, but he never became a part of the Malolos inner circle and his organization always maintained a separate identity, never fully incorporated into the Philippine Army. In 1902 Salvador refused to surrender when many of Aguinaldo’s generals were heeding the call of the latter to lay down their arms. Salvador was captured soon after but escaped from jail and resumed his guerrilla activities in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan. It is perhaps the best testimony to Salvador’s skill as a leader and organizer that his movement came into full flower only after other organizations and guerrilla movements had been beaten into submission and surrender in the post-1905 period.
By 1906 Salvador had begun to roam throughout Central Luzon. He negotiated alliances with other guerrilla organizations and staged spectacular raids, the most notable being the one on the Constabulary barracks at Malolos, the political implications of which escaped no one. The support and respect he and his men commanded from the people of Central Luzon was legendary. Reported one American with finality, “inhabitants … do not volunteer information of [his] ‘” presence to the authorities.”80 In spite of concentrated efforts to portray members of the Santa Iglesia as “some of the most wicked and desperate men ever at large in the Philippine Islands,” Colonel Bandholtz, charged with his capture, admitted, “He treats the barrio people well and it is said he does not rob them of provisions, but prays with the people and asks them for contributions, which they usually give.”81
The Americans took pains to portray Salvador as simply a religious sectarian, a polygamist, a wild man. Such an interpretation, of course, was aimed at belittling and dismissing Salvador’s political seriousness of purpose which was obviously striking a responsive chord among the peasants of Central Luzon. Salvador’s avowed aim was the overthrow of the American Colonial Government. This was the cornerstone of the Santa Iglesia movement. Also of interest was the socially progressive nature of the movement, which indicated a political shift from the vaguely defined post-colonial vision of the Katipuneros. Salvador repeatedly raised the land question and promised his supporters that land redistribution, the breaking up of haciendas, and the abolition of tenancy would swiftly follow his assumption of state power.
One aspect of the post-1896 period which has been largely overlooked was the class nature of the Philippine Revolution. That the war represented Filipino resistance to Spanish colonialism and American aggression is obvious. That the period represented class struggle on several levels is not as clearly understood today, probably because it was most imperfectly understood’ at the time. Except for the tiny collaborationist elite, whose economic, ethnic and class origins put them in a category quite far removed from the mass of Indio peasants, few understood clearly their economic and class interests and how they were being manipulated by the Americans as part of the imperial design. Within the anti-imperialist camp, class antagonisms were muted, both because they were not understood and because of the need to present a united nationalist front. But the latent class contradictions were always present, and they began to surface in the second and third year of the war against the Americans with the defection of a number of army officers. These men came largely from middle-class backgrounds and, with a few notable exceptions, were prone to elitist thinking and surrenderist attitudes. The speed and apparent ease of conscience with which many such men were able to take up posts within the American colonial bureaucracy was to a large degree attributable to their class solidarity which, on the evidence, was stronger than their racial and ethnic ties to the Indio peasants.
So it was that the fight was left to be fought by the poor and uneducated, bandits and outlaws, religious screwballs and wild men-or so we are told. And yet, significantly, when the officers and gentlemen had made their peace with imperialism, the only people left defending the honor of Philippine nationalism were now also fighting for primitive social justice as well. The class struggle began to emerge as co-equal to the national struggle-long after any immediate hope of winning either had passed.
In 1909, a decade after the first battle on the outskirts of Manila, Felipe Salvador was still fighting. “His influence over the lower class has defied the efforts of the Government to capture him … ” He was not to be captured until the following year, snuffing out the last flickering flame of a fourteen-year struggle against colonial aggression. Salvador, who had been in the hills for seventeen of his forty-one years, was tried for banditry, convicted, and executed in 1912.
The Cost of the War
How many Filipinos died resisting American aggression? It is doubtful if historians will ever agree on a figure that is anything more than a guess. The figure of 250,000 crops up in various works; one suspects it is chosen and repeated in ignorance and in the absence of hard evidence to the contrary. Records of the killing were not kept and the Americans were anxious to suppress true awareness of the extent of the slaughter in any case, in order to avoid fueling domestic anti-imper!alist protest. How many died of disease and the effects of concentration camp life is even more difficult to assess. General Bell, who, one imagines, might be in as good a position to judge such matters as anyone, estimated in a New York Times interview that over 600,000 people in Luzon alone had been killed or had died of disease as a result of the war. The estimate, given in May 1901, means that Bell did not include the effects of the Panay campaign, the Samar campaign, or his own bloodthirsty Batangas campaign (where at least 100,000 died), all of which occurred after his 1901 interview. Nor could it include the “post-war” period, which saw the confinement of 300,000 people in Albay, wanton slaughter in Mindanao, and astonishing death rates in Bilibid Prison, to name but three instances where killing continued.
A million deaths? One does not happily contemplate such carnage of innocent people who fought with extraordinary bravery in a cause which was just but is now all but forgotten. Such an estimate, however, might conceivably err on the side of understatement. To again quote the anonymous U.S. Congressman, “They never rebel in Luzon anymore because there isn’t anybody left to rebel.”
1. The choice of terms for the Philippine-American War and the corresponding reference to the Filipinos as “insurgents” was not haphazard or accidental, as it gave semantic reinforcement to the. American position that the (Malolos) Philippine Government was illegitimate and that those who took up arms against the Americans were engaged in rebellion against (legitimate) American authority. It is, perhaps, overstating the obvious to make the point that quite a different interpretation is not only possible but, in my view, more accurate, historically speaking. The Malolos Government was, for at least a year after its inception, the only legitimate government in the Philippines insofar as Malolos alone exercised unchallenged legal authority throughout the Islands. That Malolos was not recognized by the U.S. did not, legally speaking, alter this fact. Nor did it make the subsequent war against the U.S. an “insurrection.” At no time were Filipinos themselves in revolt against their own government. A more accurate interpretation-and, I believe, the only correct one-is based on the understanding that the Philippine-American War was, both legally and objectively, Filipino resistance to American military aggression against the sovereign Philippine state. The fact that the Americans eventually won the war does not, in my view, alter this basic fact. Accordingly, the terms “insurrection” and “insurgent” will not be employed in this essay except when used in quotation.
2. Literature on the war is woefully skimpy and no adequate political analysis now exists. Little Brown Brother by Leon Wolff (Manila: Erehwon, 1968) is an excellently written popular introduction. Domestic U.S. reaction to the war has received far more attention than the war itself, especially in recent years. Daniel Schirmer’s Republic or Empire (Cambridge, Mass.: Schenkman, 1971) is the best recent accountt of the anti-imperialist, or, more accurately, the anti-colonialist movement in the U.S.
3. At least insofar as the Treaty of Paris was concerned. Had the treaty not been approved, theoretically the Islands would have been retained by Spain, although as a practical matter the Spanish were hardly in a position to reassert themselves in the Islands. It seems improbable also that the McKinley Administration would have withdrawn U.S. troops simply on the basis of the treaty vote, had it gone against them.
4. Wolff, Little Brown Brother, p. 226.
5. Forty-five hundred dead bodies were counted by the Americans. Witnesses estimated the total number of dead to be 8-10,000. H. Van Mete~, The Truth About the Philippines from Official Records and Authentic Sources (Chicago: Liberty League, 1900), p. 333.
6. Van Meter, 332.
7. Van Meter, 368.
8. Father of Douglas, World War II commander in the Pacific.
9. Van Meter, 366.
10. Eyot, Canning, ed., The Story of the Lopez Family (Boston: J. H. West Co., 1904), 23.
11. MacArthur later admitted, “The Filipino idea behind the dissolution of their field army was not at the time of occurrence well understood in the American camp. As a consequence, misleading conclusions were reached to the effect that the insurrection itself had been destroyed and that it only remained to sweep up the fag ends of the rebel army.” Renato Constantino, Dissent and Counter-Consciousness (Quezon City: Malaya Books, 1970), 80, quoting War Department Annual Reports, 1901, vol. I, part 4,88.
12. Senate Document no. 331, vol. 2; 57:1 (1902), 1926-27.
13. Wolff, 294. Robinson, who reported for the New York Evening Post, was by far the most courageous American newsman in the Philippines. His outspoken reporting won him hasty re-assignment to Africa.
14. Senate Doc. no. 331, vol. 2, 57:1, pp. 1927-28. Report of General MacArthur. There were 53 garrisons in November 1899, over 400 by the following August.
15. Fairfield, Maine Journal, excerpted from a letter from Sgt. Howard McFarlane, 43rd Infantry. Quoted in Wolff, 305. The soldiers who wrote such letters were invariably contacted by military authorities and forced to write retractions, which were then hastily published to refute the original information. Reading the retractions tends to confirm in one’s mind the verity of the original statement. Refusal to write a retraction was not kindly looked upon by the military and the kinds of pressure tactics employed by the War Department became something of a scandal after being disclosed in Senate hearings in 1902. Senator McLaurin called it a “remarkable coincidence” that in every case where the soldier was still in the army, ‘retractions were forthcoming. But when the soldier had already been discharged and was no longer subject to military discipline, ” … there was not an instance found where there was any modification, qualification or retraction of what had been said … ” Congressional Record, 57:1, May 15,1902, 5480.
16. Quoted in the Boston Transcript, January 12, 1900, cited by Wolff,299.
17. Wolff, 290.
18. Boston Herald, August 25, 1902. Quoted in Moorfield Storey and Julian Codman, Marked Severities in Philippine Warfare: Sec. Root’s Record (Boston: George H. Ellis Co., 1902), 115.
19. As was McKinley, who confessed he could not find the Philippines on the map the first time he looked for them. In light of later disclosures, this remark smacks of coyness, but it is true nevertheless that the Americans had the most limited understanding of Philippine society.
20. Statement by Rep. Vandiver, Congressional Record, 57:1, May I5, 1902,5505.
21. At their peak, Spanish forces in the Philippines never numbered more than a few thousand.
22. Taft testimony, Senate Doc. no. 331, part 1,69.
23. MaCArthur testimony, Senate Doc. no. 331, part 1,135.
24. Senate Doc. no. 331, part 3, 2443.
25. In his first annual message to Congress, McKinley expressed his (evidently feigned) outrage at the concentration camp policy being employed in Cuba. This “cruel policy,” he said, “was not civilized warfare; it was extermination.” Quoted in Storey and Codman, 94.
26. Report of the Provincial Governor of Abra, Senate Doc. no. 331, part 1,430.
27. Wolff, 352.
28. Charles E. Magoon, Acting Chief of Division, Senate Doc. no. 331, part 3, 2263.
29. Later charged with (and eventually acquitted of) torturing 134 Filipino P.O.W.s to death.
30. Boston Herald , August 25, 1901 (quoting a letter from an American officer). Quoted in Storey and Codman, 116.
31. Chaffee to General Hughes, Manila, September 30, 1901, Senate Doc. no. 331, part 2, 1592.
32. Testimony of William J. Gibbs, a survivor of the massacre. Senate Doc. no. 331, part 3, 2284 et seq.
33. Storey and Codman, 116. Congt’essional Record, 57:1, May 15,1902, 5525.
34. Major Waller was later court martialed for his actions in Samar, one suspects in retaliation for his refusal to engage in the extermination practices of his fellow officers. During the course of his trial he revealed the nature of Smith’s orders and the public disclosure created a sensation in the U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt (McKinley’s successor upon the latter’s assassination in 1901), in order to neutralize outraged public opinion, had Smith himself brOUght up on charges. The charges did not stem from any overt act of the Samar campaign (it is recalled that the War Department had “no record” that the orders were actually carried out) but rather because the orders themselves were “unprofessional.” Smith was convicted, “admonished” by the tribunal, and sentenced to “early retirement.” Smith became something of a cause celebre in jingoist circles, causing Roosevelt to regret his actions: “The court martial of General Smith cost me votes-votes'” (Schirmer, 239 n).
35. Stephen Bonsal, Boston Transcript, quoted in Storey and Codman, 38.
36. Secretary of War Elihu Root, Senate Doc. no. 205, 57:1, part I, pp. 2,3.
37. Chaffee to Gen. Hughes, September 30, 1901, quoted in Storey and Codman, 28.
38. Senate Doc. no. 422,57:1,5.
39. It should be remarked that not all of the V.S. soldiers reveled in the bloodlust of their commanders. Many were repulsed by what they had witnessed and experienced in the Philippines and were anxious to expose American policy upon their return to the U.S. Others took to drink or went mad. Alcoholism and insanity followed venereal disease as the major cause for the reduction in available V.S. manpower in the Philippines. Desertion was difficult due to geographical factors, but incidences of officers being shot in the back “by snipers” were not unheard of, and a handful of Americans actually joined with and fought with the guerrillas (see Ellwood Bergerey, Why Soldiers Desert from the U.S. Army (Philadelphia: William Fell & Co., 1903), 132.
40. Cpl. Richard O’Brien, New York World, reprinted in the Congressional Record, 57:1, May 15, 1902, 5500.
41. Root to Lodge, Army and Navy Journal, AprilS, 1902. Reprinted in Storey and Codman, 88.
42. Senate Doc. no. 205,57:1, part I, p. 50.
43. Senate Doc. no. 422, 57:1, p. 19.
44. Senate Doc. no. 422,57:1, p. 4.
45. Address before the Marquette Club, Chicago, March II, 1902. Quoted in Frederick Chamberlin, The Blow from Behind (Boston: Lee & Shepard, 1903), 109.
46. Eyot, 146-47.
47. Congressional Record, 57:1, May 16, 1902, 5552 et seq.
48. Congressional Record, 57:1, May 16, 1902, 5552.
49. James H. Blount, American Occupation of the Philippines (Manila: Malaya Books, 1968), 388.
50. Storey and Codman, 71-72.
51. Storey and Codman, 73. Senate Doc. no. 331, part 2, pp. 1628,1690-1.
52. Storey and Codman, 91.
53. Senate Doc. no. 331, 57:1, part 2, p. 1632.
54. Storey and Codman, 92-93.
55. Philippine Census, 1903 (Washington, D.C.: V.S. Government Printing Office, 1905), vol. 2, p. 20. Comparing the 1903 figures with the Spanish figures of 1887, Batangas lost 54,000 people in absolute terms, making no allowance for intervening population rise. Estimating on the basis of an annual population increase of 1.5 percent, it is certain that Batangas was depopulated by 100,000 or more.
56. Report of Major Corneliu~ Gardiner, Governor of Tayabas, Congressional Record, 57: I, May 1S, 1902, 5500. By native troops Gardiner was referring to the Macabebes, a tiny, pro-U.S. ethnic sub-group which had played a praetorian role during the Spanish regime and for this reason was well hated by the majority of Filipinos.
57. Congressional Record, 57: 1, May 16, 1902, 5542.
58. A current diversion in some areas of the Filipino left of late has been to try to decide which guerrilla leaders were principled revolutionaries and which were opportunist manipulators. Few-if any-of these men can withstand such a rigorous and, ultimately, unfair historical test, precisely because all of them lacked one or more of the foHowing: (a) a revolutionary ideology; (b) a theory of imperialism; (c) anything other than a primitive understanding of the class nature of the struggle in which they were engaged; (d) an understanding of protracted warfare and guerrilla strategy. There was no real experience (except their own) upon which they could draw, nor was there a historical example known to them of the successful prosecution of such a struggle. They fought by their wits and their instincts alone, which led in turn to terrible reversals and, ultimately, .defeat in an uneven, suicidal struggle doomed from the start. So all of them to one degree or another fail the exacting test of their modern critics. Simeon Ola surrendered, betrayed his men, and turned state’s witness against them. Macario Sakay was tricked into surrendering for principled (but tactically faulty) reasons and was betrayed and executed by the Americans, who had previously promised amnesty. Artemio Ricarte survives better than most, and for years after 1910 he waged an almost singlehanded struggle from abroad. But, sadly, in old age he could not see that Japanese and American imperialism were cut from the same cloth. “Papa” Isio finally surrendered, one suspects, because at the age of sixty-seven and after more than twenty-five years in the mountains the rigors of guerrilla life”simply got to be too much. And so it went. To hold such men against a standard which has only slowly evolved in the course of the 20th century seems to miss the point. Given the historical context within which the struggle was enjoined, how can it reasonably be expected that it could have evolved differently? The real heroes were not so much the leaders, who served their people with a greater or lesser degree of fidelity and ability, but the people themselves. A simple point, perhaps, but one which I believe bears making.
59. The struggle in the Philippines never degenerated into social banditry in the strict sense of the term, although in its later stages several of the guerrilla organizations developed into “Robin Hood”-type bands. The fascinating history of such movements as they have occurred historically and in various parts of the world has been largely ignored by orthodox historians, partly, no doubt, because of the inherent difficulties in researching such phenomena. The opportunities for such work in the Philippines are immense. The reader is directed to the pioneering work of E. J. Hobsbawm, Primitive Rebels (New York: Praeger, 1959) and Bandits (New York, 1971).
60. Report of the Governor of Albay, in Sixth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1905), part 1, Appendix H, 144. Blount, 49.
61. Fourth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission (1903), part 1, p. 30.
62. Report of the Secretary of Finance and Justice, Sixth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission (1905), part 4, p. 177.
63. Blount, 453.
64. Cable, Governor Feito to Carpenter, August 9,1904. Quoted in Blount, 461.
65. Report of Col. Wallace C. Taylor, Sixth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission Appendix A, 54.
67. Scott, 55. Conditions in Bilibid were scandalously bad, and in 1903 it became a point of controversy because American prisoners were being kept there as well as Filipinos. American investigators reported, “Considering the appalling mortality in Bilibid and the characÂ¬â‰ ter of the diseases with which the prisoners are afflicted, there is no question but that the latter are suffering greatly from the effects of crowd poisoning.” In reporting on conditions in late 1904, Secretary of Commerce and Police William Cameron Forbes issued a statement which can only be described as incredible: “In Bilibid Prison discipline has been uniformly good and conditions on the whole satisfactory. On the 7th day of Dec. 1904 a small outbreak occurred among the detention prisoners, in which 200 endeavored to gain their liberty. The prompt use of a gatling gun in the tower and the riot guns with which the guards on the walls were armed ended the trouble in eight minutes. There were 19 killed and 40 wounded, but the work in the shops and other industrial departments of the prison was not interrupted, and in 30 minutes’ time there was no evidence except in the hospital that there had been any trouble.” The “uniformly good” conditions Forbes spoke of included a death rate of 438 per 1000 by 1905. To be sentenced there was tantamount to a death sentence.
68. Report of H. H. Bandholtz, Commander, Second District Philippine Constabulary, Sixth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission, part 3, Appendix A, 69.
69. Ibid., 69.
70. Ibid., 78.
71. Report of D. J. Baker, Provincial District Commander, ibid., part 3, Appendix A, 130.
72. Report of W. S. Scott, 53.
73. Seventh Annual Report of the Philippine Commission (1906), part 1, pp. 3031. I am not aware of any of the prominent leaders of 1899-1902 going back into the field after a spell of civilian life under American rule, although there may have been isolated cases where this did occur.
74. Euphoria at the outcome of that war was not, of course, confined to Japan and the Philippines. News of the Japanese victory electrified the masses of people in Southeast Asia generally, e.g., Indochina, where guerrilla war was being waged against the French.
75. Report of Maj. Samuel D. Crawford, Commanding Officer, Fourth District, Philippine Constabulary, Sixth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission, part 3, Appendix A, 101-2.
76. Blount, 505, quoting Mrs. Campbell Dauncy, An Englishwoman in the Philippines, 88.
77. Which of course it did. Testimony of Frank J. Bourns, First (Schurmann) Report of the Philippine Commission, part 2, p. 356.
78. Ibid., 355-56, 414-16. Eighth Annual Report of the Philippine Commssion, part 2, p. 311. The story of the short-lived Negros Republic and, more importantly, the development of the social forces which led to its founding have not, to my knowledge, been adequately treated by Filipino historians, which points up the sorely felt need for regional histories of the Philippines.
79. Report of Colonel Taylor, Sixth Annual Report of the Philippine Commission, part 3, Appendix A, 88.
80. Seventh Annual Report of the Philippine Commission (1906), part 1, p. 142.
81. Report of Colonel Bandholtz, First District, Philippine Constabulary, ibid., part 2, p. 239.
|We say that if America has entered the war to make the world safe for democracy, she must first make democracy safe in America. How else is the world to take America seriously, when democracy at home is daily being outrages, free speech suppressed, peaceable assemblies broken up by overbearing and brutal gangsters in uniform ; when free press is curtailed and every independent opinion gagged. Verily, poor as we are in democracy, how can we give of it to the world? We further say that a democracy conceived in the military servitude of the masses, in their economic enslavement, and nurtured in their tears and blood, is not democracy at all. It is despotism—the cumulative result of a chain of abuses which, according to the dangerous document, the Declaration of Independence, the people have the right to overthrow.