Monday, March 30, 2009

History may be repeat

As I do research into my ancestry I am often struck dumb by matters of genocide or other things that are very disturbing.

My grandfather commanded a contingent of "colored regulars" who were at various times in the forefront of the Spanish-American War in Cuba and the Philippines, as well as being the famed "Buffalo Soldiers" of the Indian Wars.

His oldest son, my father was a founding member of what has become one of the biggest insurance companies in the world, USAA. At an early meeting of the group of officers who organized the company it was almost casually remarked that (paraphrased) "If it hadn't been for Lieutenant Loughborough's skill with the machine gun, most of us wouldn't be alive."

My grandfather died before I was born and my father passed when I was 4, so I have almost no personal recollection of him, but throughout my childhood I was constantly told what a wonderful man he was.

The patriarch of the Loughboroughs was my great-grandfather, Nathan who served as an official in John Adams' government and whose plantation included what is now Georgetown in the District of Columbia. I think he and his son were Confederate Citizens, whatever that meant. It's quite likely that they owned slaves.

I have to say that these findings are disturbing, but of course out of my control.

I hope that the Filippinos don't hold me responsible for my forebears traveling thousands of miles to commit genocide, but I can see how they might in view of the fact that our nation is doing quite similar things today. We elect a president to end the warring and he increases the troop level in Afghanistan.

We march in protest and rail against the destruction of our economy by our continuing funding of military adventures all over the world under the pretext of defending ourselves! But reform of the Defense Budget is piecemeal and totally inadequate to the necessary task of dismantling the Military-Industrial Complex.

We don't need cluster bombs, spent Uranium-tipped shells and armor, or hydrogen bombs to protect us from terrorists. The hypersonic airplanes are an incredible burden to bear when we have 20% of our people without health care provision and still far too many going hungry or being without shelter.

My pathetic efforts to solve all this by enabling "Everyone/Everything/Everywhere/Always Connected" seems quixotic in view of the bloodlust that pervades our foreign policies.

Any useful ideas, anyone?


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