American fury in the Philippines. XLVI / Reconcentration

And Mr. Bacon well says:


We are apt to think about the reconcentrado camps simply in connection
with sufferings which may be endured by those within the camps; and,
in the case of the Cuban reconcentrado camps, where there was not
food, then, of course, all the added horrors of that tropical climate
constituted one of the features of the reconcentrado camps. But the
greatest horror and the greatest suffering which are occasioned by the
reconcentrado camps is not the horror and the suffering within the
camp, but the horror and the suffering without the camp. When a
general prescribes a certain limited area within which he says all the
people must congregate, there must be the corresponding direction
which will enforce that order; and the corresponding direction is that
everything outside of those prescribed limits shall be without
protection, and, both as to property and life, be subject to
destruction. Only in that way can people be carried within the limits
of the reconcentrado camps. It is because life is unsafe out of them,
because life is almost certain to be sacrificed out of them, because
all property left outside is to be destroyed, because all houses are
to be burned, because the country is to be made a desert waste,
because within a camp is a zone of life and without the camp a
wide-spread area of death and desolation. That is what a reconcentrado
camp means. Do you suppose if there is an invitation to people to come
within a reconcentrado camp, that they are going to come there unless
they are forced there? Is there any way to force them except to say
that it is death to remain outside? Why, Mr. President, when the
limited area of a reconcentrado camp is prescribed, the people cannot
be collected and driven in there. The soldiers cannot go out and find
them and drive them in as you would a drove of horses. It is only by
putting upon them this order, this pressure of life and death, that
they are made to flee within the limits of the reconcentrado camps to
escape the torch and the sword that destroys all without. When a
general prescribes a reconcentrado camp,- and I am going, before I get
through, to read Bell's order to show that that is what it means,-
when a general prescribes a reconcentrado camp, he practically says
that everybody outside must come inside or die: he practically says to
his soldiers, Those who do not get inside shall be slaughtered; and
the practical operation is that those who do not get inside are
slaughtered.


Title: Secretary Root's record. "Marked severities" in Philippine
warfare. An analysis of the law and facts bearing on the action and
utterances of President Roosevelt and Secretary Root.
Author: Storey, Moorfield, 1845-1929.