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Saturday, June 16, 2007

"Genocide with deniability"

Here's a new one: a parallel between the war in Iraq and European settlement of the American West.

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Another case of: right conclusion, wrong facts. I put the 'War on Indians' - 'War on Iraq' media reprise 'out there' in an internet comment, about three months ago. And now again, here, let's 'advance the story.'

In preliminaries, let me forget Tom Hull's improvised rendition of Middle East theatrics. And dismiss his list of three reasons the US 'won' its Indian genocide; or reduce it to one: US used guns, Indians didn't. But keep, and start from, Hull's reference to Ft. Leavenworth.

In Oklahoma Indian Territory. The western frontier of America, with no further destiny at all manifest. 1845. Pre-'49ers. Pre-Missouri Compromise for 'slave states.' Texas then is its own separate sovereign country. US military marches from Ft. Leavenworth, arrives too late to aid the Alamo, forgets it, and goes on across the Rio Grande, invading into Mexico, and slays pedestrians along its way to Mexico City, torture-murders down the list of leaders there until one signs a forced (confession) receipt of $15,ooo,ooo (promissory, some of which is installment-tendered in ensuing years), for California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, and vague areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Which was not Mexico's land to rightly sell, even if a buyer actually paid for it, which US didn't.

So then there is all this 'new US territory' to conquer, and 1845 to 1890, let's say, was all the 'Indian Wars' of conquest. Down to the last man, Geronimo and the Apaches, somewhere in their ancestral Mescalero Mountains redoubt. So 'they'(we) incursion into Arizona's hot, dry, blowing sands; sending back to NY and DC news reports from the uncharted frontier of US imperialism told in military forays, ambush casualties, guerrilla insurgencies, and the whole 'coming of age' romanticism of heroic war adventure, for youngsters then to emulate. So, like 1895 or so, 'they' bring out ferocious fearsome Geronimo, and parade him around in submission, (e.g., the St. Louis World's Fair, TR's inauguration), the popular press's 'Saddam Hussein' subhuman monster of the day.

Also of the day, movies are invented. And movie theatres -- Bijou, Rialto, Orpheum, Nickelodeon. And the cinematic effect of awe-instilling documentaries. Movies with plot lines came later. For now, notice in the first ten movies ever in theatrical (touring) distribution, circa 1905, say, about half of them are versions of vanquishing Geronimo -- so think of them as newsreels, not as movies, and as parallels of nightly televised news reports from Baghdad. Wherever Tucson is, wherever Baghdad is -- schoolkids can't find it on a map -- there is where heroes are hailed. In embryonic cinema, the massmind mainstream media.

Now an action-packed adventure in historic fiction, based on a true story. Geronimo dies captive in a cage at the military prison, and is buried ignominiously, near Ft.Sill, OK, 1908. In 1909, adolescent freshman Prescott Bush arrives at Yale U., New Haven, CT, and takes a co-ed date to be impressed in the new sensation in New Haven: a movie at the cinema Palladium. 'The Night of the Apache,' say. Spine tingling action. Shocking savagery. Inhospitable lands of magnificent vistas, keeping you spellbound in your seat. P.T. Barnum rates it, "worth seeing again and again." No one admitted after curtain time. (Prescott may have better picked a date with Daisy right on campus, where Oregon's A.C. Gilbert, Yale, '10, performed legerdemain magic acts of prestidigitation ... but that's another story, of a better man.)

If your date swoons for the big screen movie model, get yourself some of what he's got -- stirred, not shaken. So, 1916 say, gone to train in Arkansas to be one of those magnificent men in their flying machines, perchance to see Paree, from an officer's vantage above the fray of the war to end all wars, 24-yr-old college-graduate hanger-on Prescott leads his buddies on a raid across the Mississippi to lay seige on Ft. Sill cemetery and disinter, defile, and desecrate Geronimo's corpse of skull and bones, possessed of the brave's virility as if of powdered rhino horn. And to impress the undergrads with, back at Yale, in harrowing tall tale.

And that's how the genocidal curse of this land's noble natives is wrought in eternal infamy for seven generations' sick and putrid progeny of Prescott and that family Bush, immorally inhuman mutants, the genome of the pox on American democracy. Even unto the Evil Office resident in The Fright House.

Coming out blockbuster this season in war theatres everywhere. (Hull got that part right.)

Related material, fresh-found, illustrates quite a coincidence that my thought and this thought -- the same thought -- came to minds the same day, separate and independent.

The LINK is one of those decaying with a 48-hour half-life, in the AP wire, so I am going to extensively quote the material here to preserve it.

Geronimo Great-Grandson Wants Bones Back, By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, June 19, 2007

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -- Legend [?] has it that Yale University's ultrasecret Skull and Bones society swiped the remains of American Indian leader Geronimo nearly a century ago from an army outpost in Oklahoma, and now Geronimo's great-grandson wants the remains returned.

Harlyn Geronimo, of Mescalero, N.M., wants to prove the skull and bones that were purported spirited from the Indian leader's burial plot in Fort Sill, Okla., to a stone tomb that serves as the club's headquarters are in fact those of his great-grandfather.

If so, he wants to bury them near Geronimo's birthplace in southern New Mexico's Gila Wilderness.

''He died as a prisoner of war, and he is still a prisoner of war because his remains were not returned to his homeland,'' said Harlyn Geronimo, 59. ''Presently, we are looking for a proper consecrated burial.''

If the bones aren't those of Geronimo, Harlyn Geronimo is certain they belonged to one of the Apache prisoners who died at Fort Sill. He said they should still be returned.

Harlyn Geronimo sent a letter last year to President Bush, asking for his help in recovering the bones. He figures since the president's grandfather, Prescott Bush, was allegedly one of those who helped steal the bones in 1918, the president would want to help return them to their rightful place.

But Harlyn Geronimo said: ''I haven't heard a word.''

The White House did not respond to messages asking for comment.

Both President Bush and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, attended Yale and joined the elite club.

... according to Yale spokeswoman Gila Reinstein[:] ''If it's true about the bones, that's disrespectful and disturbing,'' she said.

John Fryar, a retired Bureau of Indian Affairs special agent in antiquities recovery and a member of Acoma Pueblo, said if the secret society does have remains, they should be returned to Fort Sill.

''To ignore a request like this for the return of human remains is totally uncalled for. Look at our guys going to Vietnam to recover remains. It's the same thing,'' he said.

For Harlyn Geronimo, this is the beginning of what he assumes will be a long fight and he's preparing in a traditional way.

Six months ago, he and a group of fellow medicine men traveled to Fort Sill and to the Gila Wilderness for prayer ceremonies.

Before any major endeavor, Harlyn Geronimo said, it's typical to hold ''a prayer session that will guide us in the right direction.''

Harlyn Geronimo grew up hearing stories about his great-grandfather and other Apache warriors who fought relentlessly against the Mexican and U.S. armies.

After their families were captured and sent to Florida, Geronimo and 35 warriors finally surrendered to Gen. Nelson A. Miles near the Arizona-New Mexico border in 1886. Geronimo was eventually sent to Fort Sill, where he died of pneumonia in 1909.

Harlyn Geronimo has said he wants to the world to know that the famed Indian fighter was also a healer and spiritual leader.

''Yes, he was a great warrior. At one time a quarter of the entire United States Army was after him -- along with 500 scouts and 3,000 men from the Mexican Army -- and they still couldn't find him,'' Harlyn Geronimo said.

''They had their top athletes involved in tracking him but they couldn't keep up. He was a great military strategist. But many people don't know about his spiritual side.''

Harlyn Geronimo ... would like to see a new biography of Geronimo that incorporates sound historical research and also mines the wealth of information still available from living family members.

''We have a lot of oral history that has been passed down to us that has never been published,'' he said.

Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, www.sfnewmexican.com; Las Cruces Sun-News, www.lcsun-news.com

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