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Jim Zwick <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Sat, 19 Apr 2003 17:05:40 -0500
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Isn't this a misleading simplification of Twain's views?  We know, and
you have agreed here earlier, that Twain was mistaken about U.S.
intentions towards Cuba and the other Spanish colonies it annexed at
the end of the war to "free Cuba."  Twain revised his views, and was
among the first to criticize the Platt Amendment that, as Twain put it,
placed a new set of leg-irons and hand cuffs on Cuba.  To the extent
that "he was patriotically for the liberation of Cuba," he was sadly
wrong and came to realize that himself.  If he rewrote his 1898
"Words of Encouragement" essay in 1901, I think he would have
replaced each rhetorical "We?" with "Yes!"  The U.S. had proved itself
dishonest, a traitor to its official word to Cuba, and shedders of
innocent blood in the Philippines to steal their land.

He was patriotically opposed to United States domination of other
people's countries, like the limited independence granted to Cuba
(which is a model for what the U.S. is doing in Iraq, by the way --
Iraqis will have a U.S.-sanctioned government while the U.S.
Congress will decide what companies get the contracts to "rebuild"
Iraq, with U.S. companies, by law, getting precedence over others).

Twain's support of the war in Cuba is illuminating.  It is a warning
against believing the current rhetoric about "liberation" of Iraq. To
quote that old Texas maxim George Bush used in a speech a few
months back: "We wont get fooled again."

Joan of Arc fought for the liberation of her own country from British
imperialism.  Twain later compared Emilio Aguinaldo, the leader of the
Philippine Revolution against Spain and the United States, with Joan
of Arc.  Isn't that a strange book for you to be recommending?  Iraqis
might read it.

Jim Zwick