on America—^he just feils to identifynwhich bad things are his fault and whichnaren’t. He decries the wrecking beingndone in Washington, but he doesn’t indicatenthat there are plenty of people besidesnPresident Reagan who have disbelievednin the “Great Society.” He doesn’tndeal intelligently with the Moynihannhypothesis, but merely attacks that blockbusternwith an ad hominem about thenSenator’s behavior at a long-forgottenncocktail party. It’s pretty early for RogernWilkins to be writing about his life, unlessnhis self-loathing is so genuine as to putntemptations in his mind when he passesnopen windows.nV erhaps getting equality does meanngetting even. But Roy Wilkins would notngo for that. The nation has to keep thenwhite reaction in check in order to gonforward, and maybe, with delicacy, wencan achieve that. These accounts of pastninfemies should not be dismissed. DnEmbarrassment & Hysteria in HistorynStuart Creighton Miller: “BenevolentnAssimilation”: The AmericannConquest of the Philippines 1899-n1903; Yale University Press; NewnHaven, CT.nStanley I. Kutler: The American Inquisition:nJustice and Injustice innthe Cold War; Hill and Wang; NewnYork.nbyAlanJ.LevinenIt is not much of an exaggeration tonsay that since the mid- 1960’s the writingnof American history has become largelynan exercise in what used to be callednmuckraking. Volume after volume hasnpoured forth recounting, often exonerating,neven occasionally inventing lessnpalatable aspects of the American past.nBut, not every ugly episode in Americannhistory has been examined. For example,nthe sufferings inflicted on Loyalistsnduring the Revolution don’t draw muchnattention from American historians.nWhile it is understandable that “reactionaries”nare unimportant to the regnantnideologues, there are other surprisingngaps in the savaging of American history.nAmid all the complaints about allegednAmerican imperialism, this country’snone real exercise in imperialism, thenDr. Levine is a frequent contributor tonthe Chronicles.n88inChronicles of Culturenannexation of the Philippines, is oftennignored. Why? The reason is not difficultnto explain: the imperialism of 1898 isnnot entirely compatible with the left’snpet theory, i.e., William Appleman Williams’sn”Open-Door” thesis. Accordingnto Williams, Americans were not interestednin territorial possessions but inneconomic empire to be attained by forcingn”Open Door” policies of unrestrictedntrade and investment throughout thenentire world. The feet that some Americansnfelt it necessary to acquire a smallnbut unmistakable territorial empirendoes not fit the Williams thesis. The newnleft, even as they produced their analysesnof American foreign relations fromnthe late-19th century to the present,ntherefore showed only slight interest innthe takeover of the Philippines, despitenits seeming utility as ‘The First Vietnam.”nThus, in the absence of rhetorical ideologues,nwhat little has been writtennabout the annexation of the Philippinesnis of feirly high quality. Despite somenfeults, Stuart Creighton Miller’s “BenevolentnAssimilation” continues this traditionnof high standards. It is a detailednand well-written examination of an episodenin American history that may causensome discomfiture and that is hard tonexplain. It is still difficult to accoimt fornthe rapid spread of the notion that possessionnof the Philippines was somehownnecessary to the United States.nIn 1898 business leaders in generalnnnwere uninterested in territorial annexation.nThe United States had little concreteninterest in either the Pacific areanor in keeping the Philippines. PresidentnMcKinley was a “reluctant” imperialist.nHis ignorance of the situation there,nwhich was not atypical, is evidenced innhis remark that it was necessary “to educatenthe Filipinos and uplift and civUizenand Christianize them”: most Filipinosnhad been Christians for four centuries.nThroughout the struggle to beat thenFilipinos into submission, imperialistsnfreely referred to the only Westernizednpeople in the Far East as “barbarians”nand “savages.” Simultaneously, mostnAmericans—^and a majority of the militaryncommanders on the scene—pretendednthat only a minority of the Filipinosnwere nationalists.nWith the exception of General ArthurnMacArthur (fether of Douglas) the seniornmilitary ofiicers of that war do notncome off very weU in Miller’s book. GeneralnFrederick Funston, one of the fewnpopular heroes of the war, was a rascalnwhose career might have been amusingnat a safe distance—out of artillery range,nthat is. Although some of Miller’s referencesnto large-scale massacres are unsubstantiated,nthe war was a cruel one. Villagesnwere burned, prisoners of war werenshot, and torture was freely employed.nGenius was not in evidence in thisnwar. Only the Filipinos’ pathetic weaponsnkept American losses fairly low—annenemy whose chief weapon was thenbolo cannot be considered a formidablenfoe. Miller argues, though he admits thenevidence is not conclusive, that undernMacArthur’s predecessor, the U.S. Armynwas responsible for begirming the war,nwhich civilian leaders in Washingtonndid not want. Miller’s animus toward thenmilitary occasionally gets out of hand. Atnone point, he even makes sanitationnsound imperialistic; “since the nativesndid not share the antiseptic obsession ofntheir conquerors, delousing was invariablyncarried out at gunpoint, as werenother sanitary measures.” His attemptsnto suggest that military brutality in thisn