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September 26, 2003

HUH? WHAT WAR?....From The Savage Wars of Peace, which I'm reading right now. Lieutenant Jack Myers, in command of the USS Charleston, is on his way to the Philippines in 1898:

Along the way the cruiser stopped at Guam, a Spanish possession. The ship fired a dozen shots at the ancient Spanish fort guarding the capital. There was no return fire. Instead a Spanish officer came out to the cruiser to apologize for not having any powder; otherwise, he declared politely, the fort would respond to the Charleston's "salute." When the poor fellow heard that Spain and America were at war, he promptly surrendered. Myers led a landing party that disarmed the Spanish garrison and secured Guam for the United States.

Ah, the good old days of empire building....

Posted by Kevin Drum at September 26, 2003 03:07 PM | TrackBack


Comments

Doesn't say much for the CHARLESTON's gunnery, does it?

Is it just me or is Max Boot our Niall Ferguson? Has anyone ever seen these two in the same place at once?

Posted by: Henry Shieh at September 26, 2003 03:42 PM | PERMALINK

Good old days of slow-ass communication.

Now the guy would be like 'Ci, I knew we were at war. I read it on MadridPundit's blog. Sagasta lied. People died'.


Interesting parallel there in the Spanish-American War. The Maine blows up in harbor. . the press and body politic are convinced Spain is responsible and work themselves into a lather. Later investigation proves it wasn't Spain, but it doesn't matter. "Remember the Maine" becomes a battlecry anyway.

Posted by: sidereal at September 26, 2003 03:43 PM | PERMALINK

Carry it further, sidereal. Hearst = Murdoch.

(I'm struggling to remember if there are any remnants of that fort left; I lived on Guam from 1969-1970, but I'll be damned if I can think where it might be).

Posted by: Linkmeister at September 26, 2003 04:20 PM | PERMALINK

reminds me of the first conquest of California. In the 1830's, an American vessel off the coast of that state heard a rumor that the US and Mexico were at war, so it immediately sailed for Monterrey, bombared the unsuspecting presidio, sent the marines ashore and "captured" the city. When he found out there was no war, they had to return the city, and the president had to issue an apology to Mexico. (a real one, not a Bushite one)

Posted by: David at September 26, 2003 04:21 PM | PERMALINK

Linkmiester:
I was on Guam in 1969-1970 on the submarine Kamehameha. Small world

Posted by: redcane at September 26, 2003 04:28 PM | PERMALINK

Kamehameha... The king who united the Hawaiian Islands?

Posted by: John Isbell at September 26, 2003 04:30 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, indeed. But only after fighting much worse than Lt. Jack Myers saw in Guam in 1898!

Hawaii must be just about the only place in the U.S. where, when you mention "the king" everyone knows you're not talking about Elvis. And there's also this Duke guy who's not John Wayne...

Posted by: Keith at September 26, 2003 05:03 PM | PERMALINK

It certainly would be grand if our past and present empire building ways brought us in contact only with civilized folk. Alas, neither the Filipinos in that era, nor the Iraqis in this, seem to know how to play the game. Even in the good old days, only some days were good.

Posted by: Dick Durata at September 26, 2003 06:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Doesn't say much for the CHARLESTON's gunnery, does it?"

The Navy was charged with sinking half a ship off he Olympic penninsula awhile back. They brought a surface ship out and started firing away at it. An associate of mine has a tape. The gunnery was atrocious. The mostly didn't hit the thing. It's a totally bewildering video. Eventually they gave up and some other ship or submarine puts a torpedo into it.

I've often wondered whether the torpedo was the plan all along, and if there werne't some campaign doners firing those guns, like in the japanese fishing boat collision.

Posted by: Boronx at September 26, 2003 06:03 PM | PERMALINK

David: "In the 1830's, an American vessel off the coast of that state heard a rumor that the US and Mexico were at war, so it immediately sailed for Monterrey..."

Must've been some voyage, since Monterrey is some 200 miles inland. :) Are you thinking maybe of Veracruz, which was invaded by the US Army in 1847?

Posted by: Grumpy at September 26, 2003 06:32 PM | PERMALINK

Grumpy-
WTF?!?!
Monterrey is my family's favorite weekend vacation town. I can assure you that it is a tiny penisula on a bay known as Monterrey Bay. They have possible the best aquarium in the country, which sits on the bay, and has many exhibits that incorporate the bay. I can't verify David's story, but Monterrey, California IS vulnerable to sea-based attack.

Posted by: Decnavda at September 26, 2003 06:49 PM | PERMALINK

Decnavda, you may be confusing Monterey, California with Monterrey, Mexico. They's not the same thing.

Posted by: Jake McGuire at September 26, 2003 07:14 PM | PERMALINK

It is a small world- my aunt works at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Posted by: John Cole at September 26, 2003 07:21 PM | PERMALINK

Jake-

David referred to Califonia, so I think I am right about which city HE was talking about. Maybe Grumpy was making fun of David's misspelling, and I, being a horrible misspeller myself, missed the gag.

Posted by: Decnavda at September 26, 2003 07:55 PM | PERMALINK

Um, CALIFORNIA. I swear I was not attempting irony.

Posted by: Decnavda at September 26, 2003 07:57 PM | PERMALINK

And how that empire was won...

A Brave Feat of Arms

Posted by: Dazir at September 26, 2003 08:20 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, *I* was thinking of Veracruz, and was not aware that Monterey, California had been invaded. :) Basically, the US has given Mexico more than a few thrashings through the years.

Posted by: Grumpy at September 26, 2003 08:44 PM | PERMALINK

for the latest on the Philippines: http://www.bulatlat.com

Posted by: Macario Sakay at September 26, 2003 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

redcane, I was living up on Turner Road and attending UoG when not hanging out at the Naval Hospital bowling alley; my Dad was CO of the Public Works Center.

The Kamehameha was recently decommissioned, I regret to say. There's a statue of the King on the main drag in downtown Honolulu.

Posted by: Linkmeister at September 26, 2003 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, America has given Mexico some thrashings, but now with the secret plan to make Bustamante governor and then return California to Mexico, Mexicans will finally, finally, have their payback! I know this is true, because respectable journalist Mickey Kaus clued me in to this dastardly plan.

Posted by: pj at September 27, 2003 05:28 AM | PERMALINK

What is the relevance of any of this? Almost every border in the world was fixed by conquest. Let's stop blaming America as if it were the only offender. Does anyone seriously think California would be better off today if it had been part of Mexico rather than the USA for the last century and a half?

Posted by: Ben at September 27, 2003 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Ben:
Who is blaming America here, and for what? Kevin's post was about a funny incident during the Spanish-American war. The side discussions are about Hawaii and Monterey vs. Monterrey. The post immediately preceding yours was a joke, for pete's sake.

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