Posted by: coastcontact | September 13, 2014

Remember the Maine and other Reasons for Starting a War

History has taught us nothing!

Two Americans were beheaded and those acts, as horrible as they are, is about to lead the United States into another war. 

On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. For some unknown reason, Austria-Hungary believed that Serbia was involved either directly or indirectly. Some people believe that Austria-Hungary was just looking for an excuse to start a war.

  U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor Jan. 1898 - US Naval Institute


“REMEMBER THE MAINE, TO HELL WITH SPAIN!” was the cry after an explosion on that ship caused it to sink with 260 American sailors on board. On April 11, 1898, McKinley asked the Congress for permission to use force in Cuba. To send a message to the rest of the world that the United States was interested in Cuban independence instead of American colonization, Congress passed the TELLER AMENDMENT, which promised that America would not annex the precious islands. After that conscience-clearing measure, American leaders threw caution to the wind and declared open warfare on the Spanish throne.

The Spanish-American War is often referred to as the first “media war.” During the 1890s, journalism that sensationalized—and sometimes even manufactured—dramatic events was a powerful force that helped propel the United States into war with Spain. Led by newspaper owners William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, journalism of the 1890s used melodrama, romance, and hyperbole to sell millions of newspapers–a style that became known as yellow journalism.

Willian Randolph HearstThe term yellow journalism came from a popular New York World comic called “Hogan’s Alley,” which featured a yellow-dressed character named the “the yellow kid.” Determined to compete with Pulitzer’s World in every way, rival New York Journal owner William Randolph Hearst copied Pulitzer’s sensationalist style and even hired “Hogan’s Alley” artist R.F. Outcault away from the World. In response, Pulitzer commissioned another cartoonist to create a second yellow kid. Soon, the sensationalist press of the 1890s became a competition between the “yellow kids,” and the journalistic style was coined “yellow journalism.”

Hearst created several schemes to spark U.S. intervention. The most well-known involved the imprisonment and release of Cuban prisoner Evangeline Cisneros. With his hand in her dramatic escape, Hearst successfully used publicity to rally U.S. interest for the Cuban struggle.

Perhaps the most famous anecdote surrounding Heart’s zeal for the war involves a legendary communication between illustrator Frederick Remington and Hearst. As the story goes, Remington, who had been sent to Cuba to cover the insurrection, cabled to Hearst that there was no war to cover. Hearst allegedly replied with, “You furnish the pictures. I’ll furnish the war.” More detail here.

Tune in to FOX, CNN, NBC, etc. today and you will see the images and hear the tales of ISIS soldiers now reportedly numbering 30,000 or more that are threatening Syria, Iraq, and adjoining nations with their very existence. “Contractors Ready to Cash In On ISIS War” is an article posted by Eli Lake on THE DAILY BEAST. “Islamic State’s rapid growth caught U.S. by surprise” is a headline of the Los Angeles Times.

Don’t you see how headlines and stories are fanning the flames of war? In the confusion the president calls his plans a war then call it an action against terrorists but not a war. “No boots on the ground” is repeated endlessly. What does that accomplish? Proof that the United States is not getting into another war.  – The confusion causes the president’s highest advisers to sometimes say the word “war” and then re-state that we are not going to war.

Even in his Wednesday night speech the president said there is no credible threat on the “homeland.”

When a president has no firm foreign policy he is impacted by the noisiest among us. Prepare for loss of life and other unintended consequences.


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