Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Today -100: February 26, 1914: Of bentons and roving bandits, deadly drifting, and perjury


Pancho Villa is now saying that William Benton’s widow and one (1) American official can view his body but not take possession of it, and must do so under conditions that would preclude a proper examination, which would presumably show that he died of a revolver bullet wound at close range rather than from a firing squad. Some American officials are discussing whether sending a small military force into Juarez to seize the body would constitute an act of war requiring congressional approval; advocates say it wouldn’t, because there is no government in Mexico, hence noone to go to war with. The US has been quietly moving marines closer to Mexico (New Orleans etc), just in case. The NYT says Villa’s continued defiance is getting irritating to the US government: “It is all the more embarrassed and chagrined by the fact that it is acting in behalf of the British Government. To have a man who has been regarded as little more than a roving bandit defy two great powers is getting on the nerves of the Administration, which realizes the undignified position that it may come to occupy before the civilized world.” But there is a hitch: if the US doesn’t recognize Villa as having an official position in an acknowledged government, then the US can’t act to hold him responsible or make demands of him. Tricky.

Rep. Henry Ainey (D-Ill.) calls Wilson’s Mexico policy one of “deadly drifting,” which is just as alliterative, and therefore just as true, as Wilson’s term for his policy, “watchful waiting.”

One of the witnesses against Leo Frank says she lied after detectives got her likkered up.

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