Random Thoughts

US History - Lesser Known Facts, Analogies & Surmises Part 3

There were many things that happened in two centuries plus and some of them were good. It is not the purpose of this series to cover every detail. The idea is to highlight those that are whitewashed by the powers and historians. This malady of rewriting history is not unique to the Hindutva Brigade, British Raj, Japanese Shintoites or Israeli Zionists. America has done this more consistently than any other nation. American exceptionalism and good intentions are given axiomatic status, while the truth is often the opposite. Thus it is essential to make all citizens and particularly the new ones aware of the shortcomings and the truth, lest their jingoistic pride leads them to stumble and fall into the sinkhole of using patriotism as the last resort of scoundrels. It is important to realize that America around its birth had an unusually large number of highly educated and intelligent leaders in Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton and John Marshall, to name a few. In spite of such talent America has continued on a path of injustice. It is not a fault peculiar to America. Such is human nature. America's uniqueness is that it has swept most of the dirt under the rug. It is to the credit of the integrity and efforts of American historians and scholars of the twentieth century, that they have dug up the truth and exposed the lies.

After the Treaty of Paris gave America independence, the Continental congress was the national governing body. There was no executive or presidency. The Congress was without power to enforce the laws. The States had their own laws and enforcement powers and followed policies in conflict with neighboring states. There was armed friction between some neighboring states and Shay's rebellion in Massachusetts wanted to wipe out the debts of the poor farmers who were exploited by the moneyed class. This mess led to the Constitutional Convention which was technically illegal. The Federalist papers mainly by Hamilton and Madison were published in a New York newspaper to swing the states votes in favor of ratifying the Second Constitution. Washington served two terms as President and Adams was narrowly elected as the second president. The loser Jefferson was the vice president and he persisted in his backstabbing. He was more effective in dirty tricks against Adams than against the popular and iconic Washington. A jealous and ambitious Hamilton though belonging to the same Federalist party as Adams, tried to undermine Adam's policies and corruptly influence his cabinet. This was a time of Napoleonic wars between France and England and the two powerful states played havoc with the American government. Adams tried to steer a neutral course but ultimately resorted to the Aliens and Sedition Act that limited free speech and criticism of the government. So much for the First Amendment of the Constitution passed a few years earlier.

This has been routine practice by the US Government including the executive (President) and the legislative (Congress) branches. Speech and resident aliens have been repeatedly targeted and abused starting with John Adams. The slaves, the Native Americans, the Chinese (exclusion act and atrocities from mid-nineteenth century onwards -read Irene Chang's book), the Italians and Southern Europeans whose immigration was stopped in the twentieth century, the Mexicans after annexing them and their territories in President Polk's Mexican War and currently, the immigration exclusion of non-whites (changed by Kennedy and elimination of some quotas by Nixon), the Palmer Raids after WW1 in Washington, the Japanese- American internment in concentration camps during WW2 and the post 9-11 treatment of Muslim-Americans, all have received unjust and bigoted treatment from the government.

John Quincy Adams, the first son of a president (John Adams) to become a president, was an honest hardworking and decent man, who after a one term presidency like that of his father, won election to the House and died in office doing the people's work. He was a staunch opponent of slavery. As Secretary of State under President Monroe, Adams formulated the so called Monroe Doctrine of prohibiting European interference in the countries of America. This good intention of preventing the power games of European monarchies in Latin America led to the evil of US interference, domination and exploitation of the Caribbean and Latin American nations. Repeated and frequent military occupations were carried out in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Caribbean islands, Cuba, Mexico, Panama and other Latin American countries, Even Lebanon, Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution and China during the Boxer Rebellion and Vietnam in gross violation of the Geneva accords received occupying military forces. Granada (Reagan), Panama (Bush1) and Iraq (Bush2) were invaded recently. It was during the Vietnam war that torture and murder were used on the Viet Cong and the refined techniques were perfected in Guatemala, El Salvador, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay etc., by training Latin American, Philippine and Indonesian military personnel in torture under the guise of counterinsurgency tactics at the military school in Panama, now moved to Georgia.

The second time a president's son became the president was when the shrub (Bush2) succeeded Clinton. This time the son was not smart like John Quincy and he got two terms so he has done double what J. Q. Adams did. The difference is Adams did good while the stunted bush like the Bonsai with a Bushido Empire dream (see Ian Williams' review of Ulrich Straus's book "The Anguish of Surrender" in Friday's Asia Times on line) did harm to the nation and wreaked havoc by costing us over a trillion dollars and increased terrorism. It is these same torture techniques that were used in Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo. John Yoo and Jay Bybee, then of the attorney general's staff and Gonzales, then special counsel to the President and now US Attorney General, at the behest of the president and defense secretary Rumsfeld cooked up invalid legal garbage arguments to permit torture (see "The Torture Papers" by the New York attorneys' association and the UN report on Guantanamo).

The American nation kept expanding by the Louisiana Purchase by Jefferson and the military conquest of Florida from Spain. Andrew Jackson who defeated the British at New Orleans with the help of the pirate Jean Lafitte in the war of 1812 finally made it to the presidency after J. Q. Adams. Jackson had been denied rightful victory due to the manipulation of the electoral college (Florida in 2004 election of the president was a recurring pattern after Adams-Jackson, victory of President R. Hayes and Bush2). Jackson was an inveterate Indian hater though he adopted one Indian child. He systematically usurped Indian lands, broke treaties made with Indians, refused to enforce the treaties with federal troops when states like Georgia kept taking Cherokee lands, and forcibly moved the Cherokee and other Indian tribes from Tennessee westwards along what is now called "The Trail of Tears'. Thousands of Native Americans including women and children perished in this US government perpetrated genocide.  


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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