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US: The Maine and 9/11

It is interesting to compare the blowing up of the USN Maine and of the World Trade Center. There are similarities: Both dramatic explosions aroused anger and a desire for revenge. The scapegoats were Spain and Saddam Hussein. In both cases the accusation was unfounded, but both suffered the wrath of the US.

There are also differences; Mackinley had fought in the Civil War and, having seen first hand its horrors, hesitated to act in Cuba. Bush did not see war and therefore had fewer compunctions about seeking revenge. American successes in 1898, notably Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders charging up San Juan Hill, had panache, as did in its more modern form the attack on Iraq.

At first the Cubans welcomed the Americans, but then relations soured as the US sought to impose democracy and to gain commercial advantages. The present state of US-Cuban relations is the end consequence of the US intervention, which alienated also Latin America as a whole. US troops were at first welcomed in Iraq, but the Arab world was alienated.

I sincerely hope that US-Iraqi relations do not deteriorate as those with Cuba have. This is indeed a case where comparisons are odious.

Ronald Hilton - 11.30.03