Antiwar.com kindly posted an excerpt from the Messianic Democracy chapter today:
As the Bush administration tub-thumps for imposing democracy upon the entire world, many Americans have forgotten the long and bloody history of the U.S. government forcibly spreading “self-government.” The following discussion, from the “Messianic Democracy” chapter of my new book…
The U.S. government’s first experience with forcibly spreading democracy came in the wake of the Spanish-American War. When the U.S. government declared war on Spain in 1898, it pledged it would not annex foreign territory. But, after a swift victory, the United States annexed all of the Philippines. As Tony Smith, author of America’s Mission, noted, “Ultimately, the democratization of the Philippines came to be the principle reason the Americans were there; now the United States had a moral purpose to its imperialism and could rest more easily.”
President William McKinley proclaimed that, in the Philippines, the U.S. occupation would “assure the residents in every possible way [the] full measure of individual rights and liberties which is the heritage of a free people substituting the mild sway of justice and right for arbitrary rule.” McKinley also promised to “Christianize” the Filipinos, as if he did not consider the large number of Filipino Catholics to be Christians. McKinley was devoted to forcibly spreading American values abroad at the same time that he championed high tariffs to stop Americans from buying foreign products.
The United States Christianized and civilized the Filipinos by authorizing American troops to kill any Filipino male 10 years old and older and by burning down and massacring entire villages. (Filipino resistance fighters also committed atrocities against American soldiers.) Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos died as the United States struggled to crush resistance to its rule in a conflict that dragged on for a decade and cost 4,000 American troops’ lives. Despite the brutal U.S. suppression of the Filipino independence movement, President George W. Bush, in a 2003 speech in Manila, claimed credit for the United States bringing democracy to the Philippines: “America is proud of its part in the great story of the Filipino people. Together our soldiers liberated the Philippines from colonial rule.”