Not all Americans are dumb ass Yankees - far from it.
The problem is that so few Americans these days seem to know much more than the received version of history that so many bloggistes keep churning out.
One correspondent has reminded me of the great history of those Americans who strongly objected to the rape of Mexico by US forces.
The Saint Patrick's Battalion (Batallón de San Patricio) was a unit of several hundred Irish, Germans, Swiss, Scots and other Roman Catholics of European descent, whose consciences were gravely offended by the Yankee attempts to annex Spanish America and so left the US Army and fought as part of the Mexican Army against the United States in the Mexican-American War of 1846 to 1848.
Ordinarily, this would not be a course open to a Catholic since it would involve repudiating one’s oath of loyalty to one’s own country.
However, necessity argued for a defence of the states subjected to Yankee aggression and these men were among the few who were able to take steps to prevent it. Even the usual option of simply resigning was not enough since they were faced with a people who needed immediate aid against the oppressive invader.
The great majority of these men were, in any case, recent immigrants from northeastern US ports, escaping extremely poor economic conditions in Ireland, which at the time was being grossly ill-treated by deliberately wicked British economic and military policies resulting in the starving and oppressing of the Catholic Irish.
The famine in Ireland was taking place at this time and so resulted in many Irishmen having to leave their native land to flee to America for food and shelter. They were often recruited directly into military service at the ports or, worse, were conscripted on their way south by General Zachary Taylor with fair promises of reward that were often dishonoured.
Many such conscripts were forbidden the free practice of the Catholic religion by the many anti-Catholic officers in the US Army. They also witnessed the conduct of US troops following battle victories with horror and disgust.
They also shared a great sympathy for the Mexicans who were also usually Catholics (although their leaders were usually anti-Catholic Freemasons like their US counter-parts, ironically).
Indeed, as with the Wild Geese of Ireland who served in European Catholic armies, there were many Irishmen who served in the Catholic armies of Latin America.
Captain John Riley, Irish-born and a former NCO in the British Army, had joined the Army in Michigan from but went over to the Mexicans at, appropriately, the town of Matamoros (which means “Moor-slayer”, a title of St James the Greater in Spain. He fought at the Battle of Monterrey in 1846 commanding an Artillery battery.
As so often, these Irishmen distinguished themselves as brave and resourceful soldiers. Doubtless their erstwhile Yankee commanders said, as did King George II at Fontenoy exactly 100 years earlier, “what cursed laws deprived me of such soldiers!”.
The US army's conduct at the previous battle, which had included firing on civilians taking refuge in Catholic churches, resulted in more desertions from the US army.
San Patricios captured by the Americans were, of course, treated with all the usual savagery that one has long since come to expect from Protestants and anti-Catholics. A stooge, show trial was set up with no defence lawyers and no transcripts of the trials were made (err… small matter of the US Constitution being over-ridden yet again by these hypocritical Yankee manslaughterers).
Several were even shot who never even joined the Mexican army! But – hey! – they were anti-Yankee so what does it matter?
Guantanamo Bay, anyone?
Most of the captured San Patricios were hanged or shot.
Some 9,000 US soldiers deserted during the Mexican-American War but only the San Patricios were punished in this way.
Usual reason: they were Catholic.
Yankee dumb ass anti-Catholicism strikes yet again!
According to several sources, those who had left military service before the official declaration of war on Mexico (Riley among them) were sentenced to:
“receive 50 lashes on their bare backs, to be branded with the letter "D" for deserter, and to wear iron yokes around their necks for the duration of the war”
Mass hangings took place at San Angel and Chapultepec.
That odious bully, General Winfield Scott, ordered 30 San Patricios to be executed in full view of the two armies as they fought the Battle of Chapultepec, at the precise moment that the flag of the US replaced the flag of Mexico on the citadel.
By way of example of what these odious Yankee screwballs were like, several sources evidence that this order was executed by the coarse, Yankee heretic and murderer, Colonel William Harney, who already had a very poor disciplinary record and was later court-martialled at least twice.
This brutish rogue ordered Francis O'Connor hanged though he had lost both legs. When informed, the thuggish Harney replied:
“Bring the damn son of a bitch out! My order was to hang 30 and by God I shall do it!”.
See what lovely people those Mex-basher Yankees were?
Whatever happened to that much-vaunted piece of hypocrisy about ending all “cruel and unusual punishments”?
The celebration days for the San Patricios are 12 September (yes, really! Day after 9/11 and the same day as the victorious Battle of Vienna against the Turks), the anniversary of the executions, and of course St Patrick’s Day. They are remembered in Mexico by the naming of schools and streets and even churches and the battalion’s name is written in gold letters in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies.
Viva los San Patricios!