With Colonel Wood in command and Roosevelt as his deputy, the motley regiment set sail to liberate Cuba. Within days of landing, Wood was promoted to brigade command, handing the Rough Riders over to Roosevelt in time for the celebrated charge up San Juan Hill. The Santiago campaign ended soon after. Through luck more than skill, the Americans had achieved an approximation of victory, the nation thereby acquiring a roster of dashing new heroes, with Brigadier-General Wood (and Roosevelt) chief among them.
. . .Wood was not, as the subtitle of this book suggests, the architect of the first American empire. Rather, for more than two decades, he served as its chief engineer. His job was not to design the empire, but to make it work, first by getting the 'wogs' to behave and then by bringing them to comply with American values. In that regard, despite all his efforts, he failed abysmally. The architects and engineers of the present-day American empire should ask themselves why.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Andrew Bacevich, the author of The New American Militarism and American Empire and a good article in the current London Review of Books that is not online, so I will post a couple of passages. It is a review of Leonard Wood: Rough Rider, Surgeon, Architect of American Imperialism. I should warn you that since he implicitly criticizes the current administration and is a retired military officer, reading his words puts us on a fast track towards military dictatorship: