Friday, April 02, 2010

Chicago Street Violence - The Savage Wars of Peace: CPD =USMC?

CHICAGO - Six people were shot on the South Side this morning in two separate incidents at the same place.
It began when four people were wounded near 66th Street and Marshfield Avenue on the South Side around midnight this morning.
Chicago Tribune April 2, 2010 - or Haiti 1919?

I have been reading several histories of Haiti and a biography of Chesty Puller. Poor Haiti. Eternally, Poor Haiti.

Historian and biographer Jon Hoffman wrote in Chesty,

The island of Hispaniola had a long and troubled history. Spanish colonizers disposed of the Indians who lived there and imported African slave labor. The French took over the Western third of the island in 1697 and christened it Haiti. These eleven thousand square miles - 75 percent mountainous interior and 25 percent coastal plain- produced an abundance in coffee, sugar, and other cash crops. By 1791 the rich colony had a population of twenty-five thousand whites, thirty thousand free mulattoes and half a million black slaves.The slave rebelled that year. A decade and half of conflict brought the creation of an independent state and the death of 70 percent of the inhabitants, including all the whites. The nation never achieved prosperity or stability due to an unending series of revolutions and coups. The mulattoes, advantaged by their status under colonial rule, maintained French culture and governed the country. The true power brokers, however were the cacos, lawless rural blacks who formed gangs and provided a violent boost to any would-be leader willing to pay for their assistance. With their interests ignored by both the mulattoes and the cacos, the vast majority of population remained poor, illiterate and sickly ( Hoffman, 24.)

Into 19th Century Haiti came Imperial German agents of the Kaiser and American sugar and coffee interests (HASCO: Haiti Sugar Company). By 1914, Woodrow Wilson sent U.S. Marines with an occupying force from 1919 -1934. In The Savage Wars of Peace Max Boot recounted this tale of how America and Haiti came into a diplomatic agreement boosting American involvement in Haiti

In 1915, President Wilson sent Marines to occupy Haiti, where they would stay for nineteen years. But, being a legalistic people, we wanted to put a legalistic gloss on this occupation, and, therefore, the State Department drafted a treaty that would ratify long-term, open-ended American occupation of Haiti. The question was how to get the President of Haiti to sign this treaty, because in the past when Haitian presidents had seen their poll approval ratings plunge, they had often literally been torn to pieces. Therefore, this was not something that the President of Haiti wanted to risk.

The job of getting the treaty signed was given to Major Butler, U.S.M.C., who was detailed to the Haitian gendarmerie. Major Butler went over to the Presidential Palace and asked for the President and was told that the President was in the bathroom, so Butler said, "Okay, I'll wait." And then, as one hour turned to two, it suddenly started to dawn on Major Butler that perhaps the President was not planning to emerge from the bathroom. But, being an enterprising Marine, he did not let a minor thing like this stand in his way. He just marched outside the Presidential Palace, grabbed a ladder, propped it up against the wall, climbed up to the second floor, and looked inside the window of the bathroom, where he saw the President sitting, fully clothed in his pinstriped trousers and top hat and morning coat, reading a magazine on the toilet. So Major Butler calmly opened the window, jumped into the room, took out a pen, took out the treaty, and said, "Sign here, Mr. President," and the President did.

The Marines landed. These Marines brought roads, sanitation and safety. In their wake came Progressive/Pacifists alleging torture, abuse and racist Imperialism.

The Marines left in 1934 and Haiti returned to its independent ways under the Duvalier Family. The killing and misery continued, but a mythology emerged that portrayed the Cacos ( the gang-bangers) as heroic and noble. Not unlike, the public relations work that Chicago newspaper columnists, Marxist Lawyers and Academics have done for Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, Mickey Cobras, Four Corner Hustlers and the Black P. Stone Nation.

Last night Chicago witnessed Chicago Police in the role of the U.S. Marines in Haiti circa 1919-1934.

Chicago police are investigating nine separate shootings spanning a 24-hour period that left two dead and seven wounded. The victims' ages ranged from 11 to 27-years-old.

The Cook County medical examiner's office identified the fatalities as Lacharles Johnson, 27, and Jeremy Lindsey, 16, both of Chicago.
And a disturbing trend appears:
Police have no one in custody in any of the shootings.
The 800-man-shortage in the Detective Division rears it's ugly head. That 30-something percentage clearance rate last year? We'll bet 100 dollars toothpicks it dips lower this year. All thanks to no hiring for two years by Daley.
from Second City Cop

History visits Chicago streets every day. Maybe Chicago cops should adopt the Old Campaign Hats of Small War Marines.


Dominick O Maolain said...

Interesting coincidence. The Major Butler referred to in the Haiti operation was Smedley Darlington Buter

I think at the time of his death he had been promoted to general, and was the most decorated Marine in history.

I have only begun to read up on him, but he was the famous for blowing the whistle on an alleged plot by a ring of industrialists to overthrow the U.S. Government in 1934.

Late in his life he undertook a lecture circuit to various pacificsts groups and wrote a book called "War is a Racket", supposedly describing how foreign policy was manipulated by big industrial concerns. I haven't found a copy of that book yet.

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during most of that period I spent most of my time as a high class thug for Big Business . . .", supposedly written by him in a 1935 article for a magazine called "Common Sense".

pathickey said...

He was a heroic and honest man.

Today, such a man gets hauled before sneaky little Senator Carl Levin and gets sullied in the corporate media.

LL said...

Maj. Butler would have felt far less comfortable in the present-day service than he did during his service. War is clearly a Racket. And yes, I'm a retired Lieutenant Commander in the US Navy and served in Combat with SEAL Team Five. And recently completed a novel, WHITE POWDER, A Novel of the CIA and the Secret War in Laos (avail.

It's tough finding the truth in government. There is an uncomfortable blend of incompetence, malfeasance, feather-bedding, outright theft and occasionally, patriotism. Sifting one from the other can be daunting.

Dominick O Maolain said...

Yeah, it's a shame that service people tend to get used like that.

But don't think that Smedley had it all smooth in his own day. Whisleblowers were never very popular. At first the New York Times called the 1934 "capitalist" plot allegation a hoax, tried to make an *ss out of him.

But a report from the House of Representatives on the whole thing more or less bore him out, and the Times was forced to eat their words.

Funily enough, there don't seem to have been any prosecutions of the principles involved in the plot.