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13 January, 2012
Secretary Root's Record:"Marked Severities" in Philippine Warfare|
Mr. Root's Charges Against the Filipinos
|His statement that "Filipino troops have frequently ... tortured to death American prisoners who
had fallen into their hands, buried alive both Americans and natives," would seem to imply a
great many wanton murders of our men "in the course of three years of active conflict,... among
many thousands of troops." This assertion is best met by the official statistics.
On July 23, 1902, Major James Parker, of the adjutant-general's office, gave out the following
figures, published in New York Tribune and other papers:
The total number of troops sent to the islands up to July 16 was 4,135 officers and 123,803 men.
The losses were: killed or dead of wounds, 69 officers and 936 enlisted men; deaths from
disease, 47 officers and 2,535 enlisted men; deaths from accidents, 6 officers and 125 enlisted
men; drowned, 6 officers and 257 enlisted men; suicide, 10 officers and 72 enlisted men;
murdered, 1 officer and 91 enlisted men.
Out of 123,803 men, only 91, and out of 4,135 officers 1, are said to have been murdered. That
they were all murdered by Filipinos is not stated; but, if we assume that they were, and that all
these deaths were really murders, Mr. Root will hardly ask us to believe that any considerable
number were "tortured to death" or "buried alive."
What becomes of his statement that these crimes were frequent?
This total of deaths, weighed against the thousands of Filipinos killed in our first battle and the
hundreds of thousands slain since, shows the real nature of our contest, especially when we read
Major Parker's statement that there were 2,567 engagements between February 4, 1899, and
April 30, 1902, and that
in almost no case in these engagements did American troops surrender or have to retreat, or have
to leave their dead and wounded in the possession of the enemy,
which leaves very few Americans in Filipino hands to be tortured or buried alive.
Our total of killed, officers and men, was 1,005 in 2,567 engagements. Our reported loss in the
first battle was 250, which leaves about 750 deaths to be accounted for by 2,560 engagements.
Was a war ever more bloodless or more one-sided, less "desperate" for the victor?