Monday, May 9, 1898

Vanquished

I am fully aware of the problems in the minds of the Spaniards both in Manila and in Europe. They are searching high and low for the cause of their defeat except within themselves, the root of their problems.

In the newspapers, the Americans are accused of demolishing Admiral Montojo’s fleet with their incendiary shells.

“A pillar thick with smoke,” states the Diario de Manila, “jutted out of the front of the ship. An incendiary projectile against all laws, divine and human, has set the cruiser on fire.” De esos prohibidos por las leyes divinas y humanas.

The same explosive bombs must have destroyed the transport, Isla de Mindanao. It is difficult to arrive at the real truth, unless one takes the patience to examine the wreck. But what is the use of all that? Why should explosive of a certain nature be permitted in one battle and not in another? Why should a melinite shell be more inhuman than peiric acid? Is it more human to blast an enemy with melinite or to burn him with petrol? Only someone with punto de honor can distinguish the finer points between these two forms of cruelty. All should be permissible or nothing at all.

If enemies were to have equal weapons, they would not fight. In fact, it is just as iniquitous to fire powerful weapons and potent chemical shells against weaker adversaries. The abuse of force is the same. Here before us is proof that not only has one the right to fight one’s enemy with weapons a thousand times more powerful, but also, that victory is its own compensation and glory.

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