10. Imperialism exposed

Miss Merilee gave the lieutenant a patronizing smile. "Of the many topics on which you are not qualified to speak, Matthew," she said, "politics must be in the very first row." A wounded look crossed the lieutenant's face. Miss Merilee saw it, quickly turned to Sergeant Rivers and added, "Unless you gentlemen think I'm anything but a devoted admirer of my cousin's husband, I should tell you I've known him for many years. He and my cousin were sweethearts while Matthew was at the Point, and when I behold the professional military man before you now, I still see the towheaded young man who trailed me around the Shaw family home for hours in the desperate hope of catching even a glimpse of his beloved Greta. I need to constantly remind myself he is not that naïve, unsophisticated adolescent now. In truth, I am exceedingly proud of the man he's become.

"But back to the subject at hand. Matthew has branded me an activist. Perhaps that's so, but I have to tell you, gentlemen, there's a movement afoot in America you may not be fully aware of. People at home are quickly losing their appetite for this war. Every day more and more of us become convinced that expansionism, we call it imperialism, is a shameful and dishonorable policy. Several months ago a group of us gathered in Boston to debate our government's avaricious lust for empire. We discovered then people from all corners of our nation and from all stations in life share our point of view. We call ourselves the Anti-Imperialist League, and anyone opposed to the subjugation of others is welcome in our ranks."

Ellis spoke up, "Does that mean Americans are against us too because we're here fighting this war? There's already enough folks back home who hate us just because we're black men wearing a uniform."

"I tried to tell you," Lieutenant Alstaetter said.

"No one back home is against you Ellis," Miss Merilee urged. "You mustn't confuse anti-imperialism with anti-militarism. You came here to free the Philippines from the Spanish, not to make war on the Filipino people. Military men such as you only carry out policy. You can't be held responsible for the wrong-headedness of those who misuse you for the sake of shameful purpose."

Sergeant Rivers asked, "Do all anti-imperialists agree on that? Love the soldier, hate the war?"

"Nothing is ever all is it Sergeant? By far, the largest percentage of anti-imperialists rejects the concept of a strong people brutalizing and taking away the liberty of a weak one. We believe it wrong in the eyes of law and the eyes of God, but I can't recall an instance, when in any debate I've attended, the enlisted soldier has been singled out for criticism. When our military is mentioned at all, it's usually by those of us who believe you fine boys are unwitting pawns in a game with rules concocted by power-hungry politicians and profit-hungry industrialists. There is a movement against this Philippine intervention gentlemen, not against you."

Sergeant Rivers had heard stories from troopers stationed in Manila about war protests back home, but he'd had no hard news to back up the rumors and dismissed them as idle gossip.

Miss Merilee continued, "Several of our league members have appealed to President McKinley not to use our armed forces as a tool of the industrialists. Mark Twain's writing volumes, and last month Mr. Andrew Carnegie himself paid a personal visit to the White House to register his disapproval, but the President sits squarely in the lap of the eastern manufacturers. It's been said he won't be happy until the entire population of the Philippines is dressed from head to toe in American textiles, and I have to tell you gentlemen, I believe it.

"Our government tells its citizens expansion into the Pacific is our destiny. They say America is no longer just a nation of farmers, but also a nation of industry, and soon a major player on the world's stage. China is the future of business they say, and our doorway into that market is through the Philippines. These islands then, are America's steppingstones to twentieth century commerce. The stakes are high indeed, gentlemen.

"We're asked to believe the Filipino people not capable of self-government, that like children, they must yield to our higher authority. If they surrender their sovereignty to the United States, they'll prosper under our protectorate and in time, when they've shown themselves capable, their independence will be granted. I say horsefeathers! This war is about greed pure and simple.

"But what war isn't these days? The Germans and the Japanese stand shoulder-to-shoulder in Peking right now, mowing down Chinese nationalists in a war for territory they call the Boxer Rebellion. The British are in South Africa killing Boers to get their hands on the Dutch gold mines in the republics of Transvaal and the Orange Free State. Queen Victoria declared she'd not rest until she has Cape to Cairo domination of Africa. These are dark days indeed. We anti-imperialists say let empire building be the path for other nations. Their governments are not founded on the American principles of independence and liberty.

"There is hope, however. If our movement prevails, William Jennings Bryan will defeat President McKinley in the next election, and our government's shameful policy of expansionism will cease." Miss Shaw's big smile suddenly appeared once again. "And now it's the children's bedtime. Ellis, would you like to help me tuck my little darlings in?"

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1. Fagen arrives in the Philippines

2. White soldiers bring their prejudice with them

3. Fagen hears another side of the story

4. Dinner with Colonel Funston

5. Fagen's first taste of combat

6. Fagen meets Clarita

7. More than fair?

8. The water cure

9. Fagen gets his fortune told

10. Imperialism exposed

11. Sergeant Rivers speaks his mind

12. Genocide

13. Fagen meets El Presidente

14. Bad news comes to Fagen

15. Fate takes over

16. San Lazaro leper hospital

17. An offer Fagen can't refuse

18. Funston makes a plan

19. "Capitan" Fagen

20. Funston assembles his team

21. Morality, ethics and war

22. Jungle encounter

23. Commencement

24. Benevolent assimilation

25. Colonel Bloody Shirt pays a call

26. Fagen declares war on God

27. Major Baston tastes his own medicine

28. Funston on the march

29. Fagen goes home