Friday, May 25, 2007

Sarin Gas Cause of Gulf War Syndrome

Gulf War Syndrome has affected between 100,000 and 300,000 Gulf War Veterans. The brave men and women have been told since 1991 that the problem was all in their heads, or worse, they were making-up the whole story. They are not crazy and they are not liars. They breathed in deadly sarin gas manufactured by Saddam Hussein's bastard regime.

According to the Army Times today, military officials, researchers, and politicians now are positive the cause of GWS is sarin gas exposure from explosions and air dispersal when, in March 1991, a chemical weapons dump in Khamisiyah was destroyed by US forces. The VA, however, responded with a ho-hum, "We're going to study this."

Study: Sarin at root of Gulf War syndrome

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Friday May 25, 2007 11:57:15 EDT

As benefits administrators, officials and politicians argue the worthiness of studies on Gulf War syndrome, researchers say they have no doubts that they’ve found the root of the problem.

Sarin gas.

And they have advice for as many as 300,000 troops exposed to small doses of sarin in 1991: Don’t use bug spray, don’t smoke and don’t drink alcohol.

“Don’t do anything that would aggravate a normal, healthy body,” said Mohamed Abou-Donia, a neurobiology scientist at Duke University who conducted two studies for the Army.

Research released in early May showed that 13 soldiers exposed to small amounts of sarin gas in the 1991 Gulf War had 5 percent less white brain matter — connective tissue — than soldiers who had not been exposed. A complementary report showed that 140 soldiers who were exposed had the fine motor skills of someone 20 years older — what researchers called a “direct correlation” to exposure.

The data was the work of Roberta White, chairwoman of the Department of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health.

Her study was noteworthy because it was funded by the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments, and used Pentagon data to triangulate the locations of troops who were in the path of a huge sarin plume unleashed when U.S. forces destroyed an Iraqi chemical weapons dump in Khamisiyah in March 1991. The study also used new technology to look at troops’ brains.

Of the 700,000 service members who served in Desert Storm, 100,000 have reported mysterious symptoms. Until recently, each study commissioned by the VA and Pentagon concluded the problems were caused by stress and had no physical cause.

“We’ve been asking for this for so long,” said Denise Nichols, a Gulf War veteran who spends much of her time fighting for more information. “It’s not surprising to me. It’s what I would expect.”

Nichols, like the other veterans, has heart palpitations, a cough, nose bleeds, joint aches, spine pain, twitching in her legs and leg pain. She also reacts to strong chemical smells with coughing so heavy she can’t breathe, she said.

The issue surged to the fore in a Senate hearing Wednesday as Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., asked if the VA would send out letters to veterans who may have been affected, as they did to 100,000 troops at higher risk of brain cancer because of sarin exposure.

Murray called the study a “great example” of how recent research can provide guidelines for care. It seems easy enough: If a soldier complains of Gulf War syndrome, why not check him out with an MRI?

She called the study’s findings “overwhelming,” but noted that the VA’s response, once again, was merely: “We’re going to study this."

“They were told, ‘It’s all in your head, you’re making it up.’ Now there is a study that provides a direct link. They deserve to know the answer,” Murray said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., called the research “profound.”

“We started out by denying there was any problem,” he said. “It shows that many soldiers may have suffered brain damage.”

Dr. Gerald Cross, acting principal deputy undersecretary for health at the Veterans Health Administration, agreed with Murray that troops deserve answers.

But Cross said Sanders’ description of the findings “is different from how I read it.” Cross called the findings of White’s research a “slight anatomical variation.”

The debate over this issue goes back 16 years to when U.S. forces blew up the chemical munitions dump in Khamsiyah and released a plume of sarin gas to which thousands of U.S. troops were exposed — something the Pentagon denied until 1997.

As more research was done, and as veterans systematically sought details through the Freedom of Information Act, scientists showed Desert Storm vets exposed to sarin were at higher risk for brain cancer. And the veterans eventually showed the Pentagon knew that as many as 300,000 service members had breathed in small doses of the toxic fumes.

Paul Sullivan, of Veterans for Common Sense, said he filed FOIA requests in 1994, and then helped ensure research was made public that showed veterans were not making up their illnesses.

Eventually, 10 years after the Gulf War, the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses was created by Congress. It held meetings to determine what needed to be done, to review research, and to fund further research outside the VA and Defense Department, Sullivan said.

“That’s why, in the last few years, you’ve seen all the sarin, depleted uranium and pyridostigmine bromide research,” Sullivan said. “It’s a bittersweet victory because people waited so long.”

To date, he said, no one has contradicted that research. As such, Sullivan said he thinks every Gulf War veteran should automatically be presumed to have been exposed to sarin.

In 1999, working on behalf of the Rand Corp., Beatrice Golomb, professor of internal medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, reviewed every study she could find on the issue. She said it was the first time anyone had pulled all that research together.

Golomb said she found a link between symptoms of Gulf War veterans and their exposure to sarin, pyridostigmine bromide (PB) and bug repellent, all of which overstimulate muscles by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase, a chemical that signals muscles to stop moving. The tongue, being a big muscle, eventually cuts off a person’s ability to breathe if it is overstimulated.

In the case of the bug repellent, the ill effects are aimed at the bug, not the person wearing the repellent.

In large enough amounts, PB is harmful, but in small doses it acts to prevent nerve agents from overstimulating muscles, and the effects of PB itself are temporary and reversible.

Exposure to sarin alone would be problematic enough. But for Gulf War veterans, exposure to sarin as well as PB and/or bug repellent may have been what ushered in Gulf War syndrome.

Abou-Donia’s research showed the combination of nerve agents, PB, bug spray and stress could cause any of those chemicals — as well as any lurking viruses — to cross the blood-brain barrier, causing other problems. He said he has no doubt there are other long-term effects of low doses of sarin on other body systems, citing chronic fatigue, muscle weakness and fibromyalgia as symptoms.

White’s work came in the wake of animal research that showed persistent central nervous system effects and acetylcholinesterase inhibition following exposure to sarin at levels too low to produce clinically observable symptoms.

The use of PB among troops, and PB’s potential role in Gulf War syndrome in combination with other substances, also has been scrutinized.

PB slows the effects of nerve agents, giving troops more time to self-administer antidotes. Research has shown PB offers troops a better chance of survival against the nerve agent soman, rather than sarin, because soman works much quicker than sarin.

Golomb’s research showed that just before the Gulf War, the U.S. government knew Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had sarin in his arsenal, but had no evidence he possessed soman.

As such, she said “there was no benefit” to giving troops PB to increase their survival odds in the event of a sarin attack as long as they had access to the antidote, she said.

Yet according to the Pentagon, about 250,000 troops were given PB during the Gulf War.

Golomb said the U.S. military changed its PB policy because of the report she did for Rand and is not dispensing it to troops in the current war in Iraq.

John Rash, who did research on PB for the Pentagon in the late 1970s and early 1980s, was charged with ensuring people could react with their antidotes quickly enough to prevent nerve gas poisoning.

Rash’s research looked at the long-term effects of PB in combination with sarin and soman on rats. At first, he said, the filaments separating muscle cells “turned to soup.” But within days, the membranes reappeared and the rats seemed to have recovered.

“That’s what made the Army particularly like our study,” he said.

But he said he didn’t look at how the drug would affect any other body system. And, he said, he knew the combination of stress and drugs could cause the agents to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Rash said his study was never published because the U.S. military didn’t necessarily want to publicize the results during the Cold War era. But he said it will come out within the next two years.

A human study in 1997 showed subtle deficits in short-term memory and attention, a slight elevation of hospitalization for circulatory diseases, and a twofold increase in brain cancer deaths more than four years after exposure.

To Abou-Donia, the connection became clear after terrorists hit a Tokyo subway with sarin in 1995. Hospital workers who were never in the subway but who worked with sickened passengers came down with the same symptoms reported by Gulf War vets.

“At last they can have peace of mind because they know what it was, most likely,” he said.

But, he said, there isn’t much that can be done now — although he cautioned Gulf War vets not to use insecticide.

“It’s kind of too late to do much of anything,” he said. “But the body has many redundant systems. Usually, if the damage is small, other neurons will take over. As time goes by, people will adapt.”
An extensive list of units exposed to sarin in the 1991 Gulf War is available online. If you or a loved one was in The Gulf War in 1991, and are experiencing the symptoms associated with sarin gas (heart palpitations, coughing, nose bleeds, joint aches, spine pain, twitching in legs and leg pain, reaction to strong chemical smells with heavy coughing, chronic fatigue, muscle weakness, and fibromyalgia, deficits in short-term memory and attention), please check the list and seek proper medical treatment. There is no guarantee treatment will help, but knowing the cause of the illness is better than not knowing.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Al-Qaida "Torture for Dummies" Manual

An al-Qaida 'Torture for Dummies' handbook was discovered along with the tools of the trade by American forces in Iraq during a raid April 24, 2007. Also, found during that raid was an Iraqi man suspended by a chain from the ceiling. The man had been kidnapped by al-Qaida and was beaten everyday of his captivity. A week earlier, in another raid in Karmah, four men and a boy were rescued from a padlocked room. They had been tortured with "chains, cables, and hoses." For the full version go to The Smoking Gun.

That's it?! That's al-Qaida's idea of torture? Good grief, what a bunch of weenies. Here's what REAL torture looks like:

This is the 21st Century, for goodness sake! Blow-torches, drills, pliers, head vise - that is so Medieval. Al-Qaida needs to join the modern world of torture which uses unconnected electrical wires, dog leashes, and snarky comments about the prisoners genitalia. Now that's torture. At least it is according to the anti-America, blame America first, liberal leftist, black is white, up is down, good is bad crowd.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Immigration Reform Act and SPP Connected

The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), working hand-in-glove with the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SSP), will release their final report to the legislative bodies of the three major North American countries - Canada, United States, and Mexico - this coming September 30. Part of the "North American Future 2025 Project" report dealing with "labor mobility" reads:


Much of the contemporary literature on globalization principally focuses on the liberalization of trade and investment and, to a lesser extent, on labor mobility and its direct or indirect implications on a nation’s economy. Nevertheless, the phenomenon of international migration of labor is embedded in the current trend of economic openness. Economic linkages serve as bridges for the international movement not only of goods and capital, but also of people. Such changes in the global economy have led to the creation of a new international division of labor—the shifting labor markets that arise from changing the geographic specialization of global production patterns. Production now transcends national borders and is facilitated by advances in technology and communications as well as increased financial deregulation. The changing global production system and the increasing demand for a mobile labor supply will inherently affect domestic and international labor markets and wages into the year 2025.

The North American Future 2025 project will examine the trends in North American labor mobility—that is, the flows of labor migration—factoring in projections of demographics, growth in each country’s gross domestic product, job creation in formal and informal sectors, and differences in wage levels. By examining the demand-pull and supply-push factors that affect labor mobility in North America between the present and 2025, Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) North American Future 2025 Project policymakers from Canada, the United States, and Mexico will be able to formulate sounder national policy as well as identify possible areas in which trilateral and transnational policies can be coordinated.

In 2000, the United Nations estimated that, of a global population of 6 billion people, about 175 million—or 3 percent of the world’s population—were international migrants. The level of Mexican migration into the United States was greater, with 9 percent of Mexican-born individuals living in the United States. The free flow of people across national borders will undoubtedly continue throughout the world as well as in North America, as will the social, political, and economic challenges that accompany this trend. In order to remain competitive in the global economy, it is imperative for the twenty-first-century North American labor market to possess the flexibility necessary to meet industrial labor demands on a transitional basis and in a way that responds to market forces. This demand will prompt policymakers to think creatively about prospective policy options.
The "Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007" being debated in the Senate this week, initially would grant amnesty-lite to 12-20 million illegal aliens, including thousands of gang members and suspected terrorists. Along with the amnesty-lite, the act provides speeding the process for the implementation of the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

The White House and Senate compromise immigration bill refers to the SPP agreement signed by the heads-of-state of Mexico, Canada, and the US on March 23, 2003. The agreement has been compared to the roadmap that created the European Union. The EU began as a simple harmonization of economic regulations and border crossing simplification, too.

Time-stamped May 18, 2007 11:58 p.m, page 211 of the proposed immigration law reads:

"It is the sense of Congress that the United States and Mexico should accelerate the implementation of the Partnership for Prosperity to help generate economic growth and improve the standard of living in Mexico, which will lead to reduced migration."
Welcome to Camerico, North American Union.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Top 10 Reasons to Reject the non-Amnesty Act

"Nonimmigrants in the United States previously in unlawful status", i.e., border jumpers, lawbreakers, foreign invaders, weeds, alien criminals, are to be given amnesty, well not amnesty, but something that looks, smells, sounds, and walks just like amnesty. The Secure Borders, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Reform Act of 2007, Title VI, in the Senate now, says all the foreigners here in the United States sans permission can now be here legally by simply applying for a "Z" visa.

Right off the bat, what this legislation does is tell every Tom, Dick, and Mohammad that we don't really care about the rule of law in this country. We will forgive just about anything, and maybe indeed anything. After all, the traitorous Democrat leadership has not been arrested and charged. The Heritage Foundation concludes that this Act will "cripple law enforcement and undermine the rule of law."

1. A Massive Amnesty: Title VI of the bill grants amnesty to virtually all of the 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens in the country today. This amnesty would dwarf the amnesty that the United States granted—with disastrous consequences—in 1986 to 2.7 million illegal aliens. It is also a larger amnesty than that proposed in last year's ill-fated Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act. Indeed, the Senate's bill imposes no cap on the total number of individuals who could receive Z-visa status.

To initially qualify for a Z visa, an illegal alien need only have a job (or be the parent, spouse, or child of someone with a job) and provide two documents suggesting that he or she was in the country before January 1, 2007, and has remained in the country since then. A bank statement, pay stub, or similarly forgeable record will do. Also acceptable under the legislation is a sworn affidavit from a non-relative (see Section 601(i)(2)).

The price of a Z visa is $3,000 for individuals—only slightly more than the going rate to hire a coyote to smuggle a person across the border. A family of five could purchase visas for the bargain price of $5,000—some $20,000 short of the net cost that household is likely to impose on local, state, and federal government each year, according to Heritage Foundation calculations.

Expect a mass influx unlike anything this country has ever seen once the 12-month period for accepting Z visa applications begins. These provisions are an open invitation for those intent on U.S. residence to sneak in and present two fraudulent pieces of paper indicating that they were here before the beginning of the year.

That is precisely what happened in the 1986 amnesty, during which Immigration and Naturalization Services discovered 398,000 cases of fraud. Expect the number of fraudulent applications to be at least four times larger this time, given the much larger applicant pool.

2. The Permanent "Temporary" Visa: Supporters of the bill call the Z visa a "temporary" visa. However, they neglect to mention that it can be renewed every four years until the visa holder dies, according to Section 601(k)(2) of the legislation. This would be the country's first permanent temporary visa. On top of that, it is a "super-visa," allowing the holder to work, attend college, or travel abroad and reenter. These permissible uses are found in Section 602(m).

A law-abiding alien with a normal nonimmigrant visa would surely desire this privileged status. Unfortunately for him, only illegal aliens can qualify, according Section 601(c)(1).

And contrary to popular misconception, illegal aliens need not return to their home countries to apply for the Z visa. That's only necessary if and when an alien decides to adjust from Z visa status to lawful permanent resident ("green card") status under Section 602(a)(1). And even then, it's not really the country of origin; any consulate outside the United States can take applications at its discretion or the direction of the Secretary of State.

3. Hobbled Background Checks: The bill would make it extremely difficult for the federal government to prevent criminals and terrorists from obtaining legal status. Under Section 601(h)(1), the bill would allow the government only one business day to conduct a background check to determine whether an applicant is a criminal or terrorist. Unless the government can find a reason not to grant it by the end of the next business day after the alien applies, the alien receives a probationary Z visa (good from the time of approval until six months after the date Z visas begin to be approved, however long that may be) that lets him roam throughout the country and seek employment legally.

The problem is that there is no single, readily searchable database of all of the dangerous people in the world. While the federal government does have computer databases of known criminals and terrorists, these databases are far from comprehensive. Much of this kind of information exists in paper records that cannot be searched within 24 hours. Other information is maintained by foreign governments.

The need for effective background checks is real. During the 1986 amnesty, the United States granted legal status to Mahmoud "The Red" Abouhalima, who fraudulently sought and obtained the amnesty intended for seasonal agricultural workers (even though he was actually employed as a cab driver in New York City). But his real work was in the field of terrorism. He went on to become a ringleader in the 1993 terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center. Using his new legal status after the amnesty, he was able to travel abroad for terrorist training.

4. Amnesty for "Absconders": Title VI's amnesty extends even to fugitives who have been ordered deported by an immigration judge but chose to ignore their removal orders. More than 636,000 absconders are now present in the country, having defied the law twice: once when they broke U.S. immigration laws and again when they ignored the orders of the immigration courts.

The Senate's bill allows the government to grant Z visas to absconders. Though the bill appears to deny the visa to absconders in Section 601(d)(1)(B), Section 601(d)(1)(I) allows U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials to give an absconder the Z visa anyway if the absconder can demonstrate that departure from the United States "would result in extreme hardship to the alien or the alien's spouse, parent or child."

This is a massive loophole because so many things can be construed to constitute "extreme hardship." This might include removing a child from an American school and placing him in a school in an impoverished country, or deporting a person with any chronic illness. Attorneys representing aliens would also argue that if any member of an absconder's family is a U.S. citizen, then the other members must remain in the United States, because the separation of family members would constitute extreme hardship.

This would also be a reward to those who have defied U.S. immigration courts. Those who have successfully fled justice could receive the most generous visa ever created, but those who complied with the law and have waited years to enter legally would have to wait longer still. (Indeed, the massive bureaucratic load caused by processing Z visas would undoubtedly mean longer waits for those who have played by the rules.) Further, those who have obeyed the law and complied with deportation orders would not be eligible for Z visas.

The effect of this provision may already be felt today. Why would an illegal alien obey a deportation order while this bill is even pending in Congress? If the alien ignores the deportation order, he may be able to qualify for the amnesty; but if he obeys the order, he has no possibility of gaining the amnesty.

5. Reverse Justice: The bill would effectively shut down the immigration court system. Under Section 601(h)(6), if an alien in the removal process is "prima facie eligible" for the Z visa, an immigration judge must close any proceedings against the alien and offer the alien an opportunity to apply for amnesty.

6. Enforcement of Amnesty, Not Laws: The bill would transform Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from a law enforcement agency into an amnesty distribution center. Under Sections 601(h)(1, 5) if an ICE agent apprehends aliens who appear to be eligible for the Z visa (in other words, just about any illegal alien), the agent cannot detain them. Instead, ICE must provide them a reasonable opportunity to apply for the Z visa. Instead of initiating removal proceedings, ICE will be initiating amnesty applications. This is the equivalent of turning the Drug Enforcement Agency into a needle-distribution network.

7. Amnesty for Gang Members: Under Section 601(g)(2) of the bill, gang members would be eligible to receive amnesty. This comes at a time when violent international gangs, such as Mara Salvatrucha 13 (or "MS-13"), have brought mayhem to U.S. cities. More than 30,000 illegal-alien gang members operate in 33 states, trafficking in drugs, arms, and people. Deporting illegal-alien gang members has been a top ICE priority. The Senate bill would end that. To qualify for amnesty, all a gang member would need to do is note his gang membership and sign a "renunciation of gang affiliation."

8. Tuition Subsidies for Illegal Aliens: The Senate bill incorporates the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act). The DREAM Act effectively repeals a 1996 federal law (8 U.S.C. § 1623) that prohibits any state from offering in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens unless the state also offers in-state tuition rates to all U.S. citizens. Ten states are currently defying this federal law. Section 616 would allow these and all other states to offer in-state tuition rates to any illegal alien who obtains the Z visa and attends college.

The injustice of this provision is obvious. Illegal aliens would receive a taxpayer subsidy worth tens of thousands of dollars and would be treated better than U.S. citizens from out of state, who must pay three to four times as much to attend college. In an era of limited educational resources and rising tuitions, U.S. citizens, not aliens openly violating federal law, should be first in line to receive education subsidies.

Further, legal aliens who possess an appropriate F, J, or M student visa would not receive this valuable benefit. Nor would they be eligible for the federal student loans that illegal aliens could obtain by this provision.

9. Taxpayer-Funded Lawyers for Illegal Aliens: The Senate's bill would force taxpayers to foot the bill for many illegal aliens' lawyers. Under current law, illegal aliens are not eligible for federally funded legal services. Section 622(m) of the bill would allow millions of illegal aliens who work in agriculture to receive free legal services. Every illegal alien working in the agricultural sector would have access to an immigration attorney to argue his case through the immigration courts and federal courts of appeals—all at taxpayer expense. This provision alone could cost hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

10. Amnesty Before Enforcement Triggers: Proponents of the Senate approach have consistently claimed that it would allow delayed amnesty only after certain law enforcement goals are met. The text of the bill, however, tells a different story. Section 1(a) allows probationary Z visas to be issued immediately after enactment, and Section 601(f)(2) prohibits the federal government from waiting more than 180 days after enactment to begin issuing probationary Z visas.

These probationary Z visas could be valid for years, depending on when the government begins issuing non-probationary Z visas, according to Section 601(h)(4). Moreover, the "probationary" designation means little. These visas are nearly as good as non-probationary Z visas, giving the alien immediate lawful status, protection from deportation, authorization to work, and the ability to exit and reenter the country (with advance permission). These privileges are listed in Section 601(h)(1).

I never thought I'd ever write this, but, if France can enforce their immigration laws and deport those in the country without proper authorization, why can't we? Even Iran has just expelled 400,000 illegal Iraqis from their territory, why can't we? It's not a crime to defend ones property and country. Not doing so, is.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

America Owns the Southwest and Here's Why

A few months ago, a Vietnamese woman with whom I work, asked why the immigration issue with Mexico was such a big deal. I explained about the differing perspectives of who owns the American Southwest, how it was obtained over the years by various cultures, and finally owned by the United States. I turned to see a Mexican woman who had legally immigrated here years ago, shaking her head 'no' signifying that my version was just so much Gringo propaganda.

In the US, we are taught that a war was fought between Mexico and the US, Mexico lost, and the US paid several millions of dollars to purchase the lands north of the Rio Grande. We were taught that Texas was an independent republic, the Republic of Texas, for several years, and California, too, was an independent country, The Bear Flag Republic of California, for several weeks before the Mexican War. In Mexico, schools teach that the greedy Gringoes attacked Mexico without provocation and stole the land. As with so much of history, neither view is exactly correct.

Recently returned from an Iraq duty tour, Allan Wall (currently living in Mexico) provides a short history of the Mexican-American War that has been the cause of so much controversy since it was fought. Historians in both countries agree on the basic facts of the of the conflict and the aftermath, but people's perceptions have been muddied by the nationalist spin given by each country.

The average American doesn't know much about the Mexican War, and thinks about it less. But here in Mexico, they do think about it - a lot. In Mexico, everybody knows that "the U.S. took half our national territory." "La Intervencióón Norteamericana" has been described - by Mexican writer and Nobel laureate Octavio Paz - as "one of the most unjust wars of conquest in history." Not only that, but the loss of Mexico's northern territories has been used as a reason- an excuse, really - for the economic failures of Mexico, compared to the economic success of the United States. According to at least one poll, conducted in 2002 by Zogby in Mexico, 58% of respondents agreed with the statement that "the territory of the United States' Southwest rightfully belongs to Mexico." Now that's definitely a different perspective. In a lighter vein, some Mexicans jokingly quip that, when the U.S. took half of Mexico's territory, we took the half with the paved roads.

Some Americans are shocked to learn that Mexicans actually have a different historical perspective than we do. How dare Mexicans say the U.S. took the Southwest from Mexico? How dare they have a different perspective than us? It's time for a reality check. Different nations have different historical perspectives on the same historical events. That's one reason they are different nations. Of course, Mexicans say that the U.S. took (or even "stole") the Southwest! Why wouldn't they? We've got to get over this naive belief that everybody in the world has the same values, and that everybody wants to be just like us.

Maybe we should have thought twice about importing millions of people from the only country on earth with an irredentist claim against us - and then encouraging them not to assimilate!

It's not that the facts of the war are in dispute. A Mexican historical text and an American historical text provide the same facts about the war. It's just that the "spin" is different. (And nowadays, some of the American treatments of the war are more critical of the war than the Mexican ones).

Even some of the arguments used on our side are a little lame. Some try to prove the territory wasn't conquered. After all, we did pay $15 million dollars for it. True, but that makes it sound like a garden variety real estate deal. Mexico was soundly defeated, and as defeated nations throughout history, had to abide by the terms of defeat. It was a conquest.

And historically, there's nothing unique about that. Just about every country in the world was formed by some type of conquest, and just about all the real estate in the world has been conquered and re-conquered, some of it quite a few times. That includes Mexico.

The contemporary conventional Mexican view is that the evil Spaniards conquered Mexico. But when Hernan Cortes arrived in 1519, the present-day country of Mexico did not exist. The Aztec Empire (itself a product of conquest), only covered about a quarter of present-day Mexico. After the Spaniards conquered that empire, they went on conquering numerous other indigenous entities, including the Tarascan Empire, enemy of the Aztec Empire, thus assembling the enormous colony of "Nueva España," which was renamed Mexico, after independence. Furthermore, throughout the history of independent Mexico, the government has repeatedly used force to subdue rebellious tribes and areas, and keep them in Mexico. So yes, Mexico was formed by conquest as well. Nor is invading a neighbor country at all rare. In fact, it's the most common form of international invasion there is.

And supposing the Mexican War hadn't started in 1846, it's quite probable Mexico would have lost the territories anyway. The region in question was far from the heartland of Mexico, and sparsely settled. Neither the Spanish Empire nor the independent Mexico which succeeded it, did much to develop the area, which was prone to frequent anti-government uprisings. In the 1840s, there was speculation that the British, the French, or the Russians might take try to take it. But the most likely possibility would have been that growing communities of unassimilated American settlers would have revolted, seceded from Mexico, and joined the U.S.

It was the Texas dispute that provoked the Mexican War. Americans had settled in Texas, they didn't assimilate, they became the majority, and seceded from Mexico in 1836. That was not the first time that Mexico lost territory. Upon independence in 1821, Central America had been part of Mexico, but Mexico lost that territory in the 1820s. Funny, I never hear about a Mexican "reconquista" of Central America.

The Republic of Texas was independent from 1836 to 1845, during which time it was diplomatically recognized by the U.S., France, Britain, Holland and Belgium, and Mexico was unable to get it back. After Texas joined the Union in 1845, the dispute erupted again. Both countries sent troops into the disputed territory between the Rio Grande (which Texas said was the border), and the Nueces River (which Mexico said was the border). In April 1846, the two armies clashed in the Thornton Skirmish, followed by several battles in May of 1846, after which, President Polk asked for and received a declaration of war from Congress. Three months later, the Mexican Congress reciprocated.

Nowadays, of course, the war is seen as the attack of a strong U.S.A. upon a weak and peaceful Mexico. But at the time, both countries were about equally hawkish and ready for war. Mexico had a larger full-time military (27,000 Mexican men under arms vs. a U.S. Army of about 7,000 soldiers - a number which soon swelled when volunteers flocked to join).

Nowadays, the idea of conquest is very unPC. But in 1846, neither the U.S. nor Mexico was against the idea of conquest in principle. It's just that each country wanted to be the conqueror and not the conquered. Mexico's government planned an invasion of the U.S., predicting that as Mexico invaded, the slaves would revolt and the Mexican flag would fly over the U.S. capitol in Washington. The Mexican government planned to annex parts of the United States, in the Louisiana/Alabama region. What a plan!

But they didn't have the chance to do all that, because the U.S. Army invaded Mexico first. Brigadier General Zachary Taylor ("Old Rough and Ready") invaded and occupied part of northeastern Mexico, including the city of Monterrey, which fell after a fierce battle involving house-to-house combat, in September of 1846. After the battle of Buena Vista (February of 1847), conventional war in that theater was over, though there were guerrilla attacks against U.S. forces. In another prong of the invasion, Colonel Stephen Kearny marched west from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, taking Santa Fe and arriving in California. There Kearney linked up with Captain John C. Fremont, and some of those unassimilated American settlers who had already declared independence from Mexico. On July 7th, 1846, the Navy landed and did its part. By February of 1847 fighting in this theater was over.

Mexico had still refused to surrender. So President Polk sent an invasion force to take Mexico City. This expeditionary force, under the command of General Winfield Scott ("Old Fuss and Feathers") landed at Veracruz, on Mexico's Gulf Coast, and carried out the largest American amphibious landing up to that time. Veracruz was taken in March 1847. Then the U.S. Army fought its way inland to Mexico City, taking the same route as Hernan Cortes in 1519.


With the fall of Mexico City in September of 1847, major combat operations were over, although in both Taylor's and Scott's occupation zones, there were continued enemy attacks on U.S. supply convoys - just as in Iraq today. Why did the American army defeat the Mexican army? The American army, composed 100% of men who had volunteered, was better trained and better equipped, had its own supply convoys and medical personnel to care for the wounded. The U.S. Army's artillery was a decisive factor - each cannon's crew was overseen by a seasoned NCO, known as "chief of the piece." The Mexican army was mostly composed of draftees, had Napoleonic-era weapons, and sometimes left its wounded behind, not a great morale inducer. The classic Mexican history work México Á Través De Los Siglos, points out that, though the Mexican soldiers in the rank and file were brave,

"...the mutual confidence between the leaders and officers did not exist, the weaponry was old and defective, the artillery was small and of short range, the cavalry was mostly useless, the movements were slow and heavy, and finally, ambulances and supplies of provisions and everything necessary for the good service of an army on campaign were lacking." (México Á Través De Los Siglos, Vicente Riva Palacio, 1880).

Mexico's loss was also due to internal disunity. In the face of the American invasion, Mexico's leaders did not form a government of national unity and work together to defend their country. Instead, Mexican leaders often seemed more concerned with maneuvering against each other, than against the enemy. In December of 1845, with war imminent, General Mariano Paredes was sent north with an army to face off against the Americans. But on the way, he changed his mind and decided instead to return to Mexico City and overthrow the government. That's how the more hawkish Paredes became president, replacing Jose Joaquin de Herrera, who was willing to compromise on the Texas issue. In August of 1846, Paredes himself was deposed by Mariano Salas. The presidency actually changed hands four times that year, and by March of 1847, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was in charge of both the government and the military. He resigned after the Mexico City defeat of 1847.

Also during the war, the Mexicans had an internecine dispute about church property, an attempt to install a Spanish monarch, and about 35 uprisings throughout the country. Some Mexican communities didn't support the war effort, and many had no qualms about trading with the American enemy. Others were simply indifferent, and stayed out of it. The Yucatan Peninsula, which had been independent from 1841-1843, declared independence again on January 1st, 1846, and announced its neutrality during the Mexican War. But the indigenous Maya revolted against Yucatan's white elite in the "Caste War," which broke out in 1847. The whites were forced to retreat into the walled cities of Merida and Campeche in 1848. After the U.S. withdrew from Mexico, Yucatan's leaders rejoined Mexico. It began a long drawn out reconquest of the Maya territory which didn't end until 1901.

The Mexican War had its contemporary American critics, mostly among the Whig party. Critics of the war included former president John Quincy Adams, John C. Calhoun, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau, who spent a night in jail because he refused to pay a $1 tax in protest. Abraham Lincoln opposed the use of the Thornton Skirmish as justification for the war, although he still voted for funds to supply the U.S. Army in Mexico, and later supported Zachary Taylor's presidential campaign. Among the 200 junior officers in the war who wound up being generals (Union and Confederate) in the Civil War, was future president Ulysses S. Grant, who, at some point in his life, decided that the war was evil. But whatever Lincoln and Grant thought about the Mexican War, as president, neither man offered to give the conquered territories back to Mexico.

When Mexican leaders signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, they were almost out of money, and the country was on the verge of a revolution. The American troops who had defeated the Mexican army, were occupying strategic parts of the country, and negotiator Nicholas Trist made clear that without a transfer of the territories, there would be no treaty. So the Mexican leaders decided to sign the treaty to avoid greater losses. It was signed on February 2nd, 1848 and ratified by both congresses several months later. The U.S. Army withdrew from all the territory it was occupying except the newly-annexed territories.

In the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the U.S. gained nearly all the Southwest, - all of California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming. (The area south of the Gila River in the present-day states of Arizona and New Mexico, was purchased from Mexico in the Gadsden Treaty of 1853). So the Southwest is part of the U.S., and has been for over 150 years, longer than most present-day national states have been in existence.

Even the Mexican Constitution doesn't claim the Southwest! That's right. The Mexican Constitution, in articles 42 - 48, spells out the extent of Mexican territory. It mentions Mexican islands, continental shelf, and airspace, Mexico's 31 states and federal district, but it never mentions California, Texas or Arizona. So take that, you reconquistas!

When reflecting upon the Mexican War, some Americans ask why we didn't just annex the whole country. And there were actually people in favor of that - the "All Mexico" movement. But there were several reasons that didn't happen. One was America's North-South divide, especially the congressional balance between free states and slave states, with northerners fearing that Mexico would be divided into slave states, and thus upset the balance. But John C. Calhoun and others opposed annexing Mexico for National Question reasons. In 1848, the U.S. population was about 21 million, and the population of Mexico about 7 million, a third of ours. How well could we have assimilated 7 million Mexicans, with all the racial, cultural, social, nationalistic differences that would have been involved? Annexing Mexico would have changed the character of our nation. Ironically, today's leaders have no such qualms.

Today our leaders apparently see no problem in merging us with Mexico, despite the differences between our societies. They are merging our countries on several levels. At one level is the mass migration of Mexicans into the U.S., coupled with a multicultural ideology which encourages non-assimilation and retention of their Mexican identity. At another level, inter-governmental agreements are moving us closer to some sort of North American Union.

It's a century and a half after Guadalupe Hidalgo. Who will be the winners in this century? Will it be the U.S.A., Mexico - or a transnational elite, for whom all the residents of our continent are just interchangeable pieces in a vast market? The next few years will give us the answer.

They say, "the truth will set you free", but no matter how many times the truth is researched and presented, it will not be the truth one side wants to hear. Many "reconquista" Mexicans believe they will take over the Southwest and all will continue in prosperity as if it never left American hands. The probable outcome would be that the economy would collapse under the rampant institutional corruption of Mexico, which ultimately was the reason California and Texas revolted against Mexican rule in the first place. Mexico pre-dates the founding of America by a few hundred years, the Mexican Governor California actually sent well wishes to George Washington in the War against King George. But, look how far each nation has come since the founding of each nation. America leads the world in almost all things, and Mexico is still a third-world basket case crying foul.

After the Mexican War, many in the US complained about the continuing strife along the border. In 1916, General John "Black Jack" Pershing was sent to secure the Mexican/ American border from Pancho Villa and his revolutionary army. He failed to stop the cross-border depredations. Today, Mexican drug gangs conduct their illicit business, killing indiscriminately on both sides of the border. These are the kinds of barbarians countries have always built walls and fences to keep out. From the Great Wall of China to the Israeli Wall to the Baghdad Walls, and the wall Saudi Arabia is building on it's Iraqi frontier each nation has contended that good fences make good neighbors. Keeping out the barbarians, maintaining the peace and safety of their own citizens was paramount. The United States had legitimate grievances against Mexico in the 1800's which were solved in a time honored fashion. Now, we demand that our rights be protected against the foreign barbarians.

Does Mexico Really Own the Southwest?
By Allan Wall

EcoLogic Powerhouse

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.