Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today -100: December 15, 1910: Of fatally deficient armies, abolishing war, and Pancho Villa

Secretary of War Jacob Dickinson sent a report to the House of Representatives on the weakness of US military defenses, which was hurriedly recalled before it could be published after someone realized that this wasn’t anything they really wanted to advertise. Still, it leaked out that the report called the army “fatally deficient” and the militia worse. Dickinson wants a military three times bigger (400,000) and much better armed in order to defend against a theoretical trans-Atlantic invasion. And he evidently leaked this report in order to pressure Taft, who is far less concerned about an amphibious assault by Belgium or wherever.

Andrew Carnegie creates a peace foundation with a gift of $10 million. After its done its job and war is abolished forever, the money will go to addressing whatever the “next most degrading evil or evils” afflicting humankind might be.

Mexican rebels fought a larger number of the Mexican Army to a standstill. The latter is taking no prisoners, bayoneting wounded and surrendering rebels. Also, every man in the hamlet of Cerro Prieto was hauled out and ordered to prove that they had not participated in the revolt. 30 could not do so to the satisfaction of the mayor, and were killed. Pancho Villa (is this his first mention in the Times?) and his band took time off from the revolution to rob a Chinese man, extort money from a ranch superintendent, and burn a store.

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