American torture in the Philippines. IX

To get at the truth as to the state of civilization of the Filipinos
at the time of the Spanish conquest one must carefully weigh the
evidences of an accumulation of mainly useless and unreliable
documents, and the history of the Philippines has yet to be written in
the modern spirit; but it is sufficient for this discussion to say
that there is no place for the notion that the Filipinos are savages
held in check by religious awe and superstition. Here, as throughout
the discussion, no reference is had to the Moros, the Indonesian hill
tribes of Mindanao, or the mountain wild people of Luzón and a few
other islands. The Negritos remaining are a negligible quantity. There
are cruelty and indifference to suffering, often to a shocking degree.
These are due to an ever present fatalism, which the little real
religious teaching the people have received has built upon rather than
sought to eliminate, and to the absolute lack of an appeal to, or of
an attempt to educate, higher feelings. If it is to be assumed at the
outset that these people are forever incapable of such higher
feelings, then it ought also to have been assumed that they were
incapable of Christianity. Water torture, which has in some cases been
resorted to on our side, is one of the forms of torture to which these
people are accustomed. The list of victims buried alive by order of
guerrilla chiefs, the maiming, mutilations, and secret assassinations
certainly make up an appalling and shocking chapter. War stirs up the
darkest passions among the most advanced peoples, however, and it was
in a degree to be expected that a people untrained in modern
international usages, and never in the past treated as though they
belonged to the brotherhood of man, or were responsible to humanity
for humaneness, would not exhibit an entirely refined code of slaying.
The "ethics of warfare," - after all, is that not a rather paradoxical
phrase? That instances of real brutality on the part of our troops
have been the exception has been stated to be the opinion of the
writer. On the confession of the officer who conducted it, the
campaign in the island of Samar from October to March last must be
excepted from this general statement. He has met the charge of
violating the rules of civilized warfare with the counter-charge that
the people of Samar are savages, and that it was necessary to suspend
many of these rules in order to restore peace and quiet to that part
of the archipelago. By inference, it then became a war of
extermination till one side or the other should cry quits.

Title: Race prejudice in the Philippines.
Author: LeRoy, James A. (James Alfred), 1875-1909.

American torture in the Philippines. VIII

Here is a description quoted in the Washington correspondence of the
Chicago Record-Herald, from John Loughran, who had seen it
"administered to natives in the islands during the first year of
American supremacy" (which was certainly before the natives had been
discovered to be a cruel set of people): - A light but strong rope is
passed across the throat of the man to be examined. It is crossed
behind his back and carried under the arm pits, the ends are again
brought around the neck and over to the back, turned under the armpits
and shoulders, and then the free ends are carried as a girdle around
the waist just at the end of the ribs, and tied fast and securely. A
stick is put through the ropes where they cross between the shoulders,
and then turned to suit. " Will it make a man talk?" Mr. Loughran was
asked. "A wooden Indian would make a speech if you gave him the rope
cure," he replied. Mr. Loughran says that this was far more effective
than the water cure, which is slow. The rope cure often persuaded a
native to reveal the hiding-place of his gun; and it did it quickly,
because he knew that as soon as he consented to talk the stick would
be loosened and would fly back, relieving the agony instantaneously.
Of course, if the victim should have a weak heart, he might die of
shock; but the native Filipino does not seem to be troubled with the
malady. This letter could be filled with extracts like this from
newspapers. The testimony before the Philippine committee proves
conclusively that the water torture was regularly used by our troops.
Captain Glenn, who administered it, as shown in Panay, was at the time
the judge advocate of the island, and as such bound to see that
violations of the laws of war were punished. It was he who gave the
orders to burn Igbaras, which was fired between eight and nine in the
morning and by twelve was entirely destroyed. As to the people, " they
only had time to save the clothes they wore at the time," * was the
testimony of Private Smith, who set the fire and who testified also
that Lieutenant Conger ordered torture by saying " water detail,"
showing that this was no isolated case. Corporal Gibbs testified to
knowing of the water cure at Catbalogan; t tried to peep in at the
windows of the place where it was administered; heard the moans of the
victims. He saw the sickly expression on their faces as they came out.
He heard that one died, ) * Evidence, p. t54o. t Ibid., p. 2303. Note
that this was General Smith's headquarters.


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.
Publication Info: Boston,: G.H. Ellis co., printers, 1902.

American torture in the Philippines. VII

Now Arnold has a detachment of 20 men at Calaca, 7 miles from here. Men that are under him now have told me that Arnold is having men tortured the same as before and other ways besides. This is one of his new ways: A strip of flesh is cut just above the ankle of the prisoner; it is then attached to a stick; the stick is coiled with the strip of flesh. Imagine the torture the poor man must endure! I am told that when Arnold is out looking for some criminal or suspected insurgent he will grab, or have his men grab, any native and ask for information. If the man gives no information, he is put to all kinds of torture. I saw the man that was cut at the ankle. I was over at Calaca the other day. He had his leg all bound up and was out in the road with other prisoners working. Last week a part of this troop, a part of the Calaca detachment, and some of the soldiers from Taal were out in the mountains. I was not along, but have been told by several men that Arnold had his men take an old man to a stream and keep him under water until the man was unconscious. This was because the old man did not give certain information that he was supposed to possess. " Men of H Troop have told me that they have known Arnold to have a man tied to a saddled horse. A few feet of slack was allowed. A man was then mounted on the horse and told to gallop down the road for a mile and then back. If the prisoner could run as fast as the horse it was all well, put if he could not he had to drag. Arnold had had this done several times, and more than once the prisoner was dragged. "Now, I have witnesses for all that I have written about, and should there ever be an investigation of this I will be perfectly willing to be put upon the stand. I know other men that would be willing to do the same. I believe that most of the officers and enlisted men in the army are humane, but those that practise what Arnold has should be brought to justice. It would do me no good to report this matter through army channels, as it would only be hushed up and then I would get the worst of it. Now, I am writing this letter to you; you are a close relation of mine, and for that reason I believe I can write anything. I think that you should bring this before the proper persons. "


Mr. Root must go:
Weir, Andrew K., Weir, P. W.

[Philadelphia?: s.n., 1902]

American torture in the Philippines. VI

BALAYAN, BATANGAS PROVINCE, LUZON, P. I., April 0o, I90o. "MY DEAR
UNCLE: You are a free American citizen, and as such you are entitled
to know how our government is carried on. I have something to inform
you about. It is the terrible cruelty practised upon Filipino
prisoners by American soldiers in these islands. First, I want to know
if the Constitution of the United States e and international law does
not prohibit torture. "We soldiers are representatives of a civilized
nation sent out to these islands to 'civilize' a so-called lot of
savages. These people, are not nearly so uncivilized as is supposed.
You probably have read about some of our men being put to death by
horrible torture, but what can you expect when we do equally as bad to
our prisoners? *Has any court the right to force any prisoner to
confess, no matter how many crimes the prisoner is supposed to have
committed? When I say force I mean to force by torture. The arms of
the United States in the Philippines is representing the law of the
United States. But whether or not it is proper to torture a man-, itis
done anyway, and under the orders of commissioned officers. I have
heard men of other regiments make their boasts of how they have made
captured insurgents tell where their arms were, but never witnessed
the torture but once. "The instance that I have reference to occurred
about two months ago. I told the officer that he had to stop it or I
would report him to higher authority. He said he would not practise it
anymore, so I never informed on him; but now I have information
about him doing the same, and even worse, nearly every day. "While I
was one of a detachment of 24 men doing garrison duty in the town of
Pasay, 3 miles from Manila, a native man about 2I years ot age was
arrested and accused of being a murderer, highway robber, and accused
of rape. Now, whether the man was guilty or not I do not know, but
anyway Lieutenant F. T. Arnold, for he was the officer in command,
gave orders to Sergeant Edwards, both of Troop H, Fourth Cavalry, to
take the man to the basement of our quarters and get what information
he could out- of the man. So Edwards took the man and asked him if he
had any information to give. The man had none. Edwards said to the
rest of the soldiers who had congregated to witness the 'fun' that he
would have to commence operations. The prisoner was stripped naked and
laid on his back on the bare floor. He was then given the 'water
cure.' A rough stick about 8 inches long and a half inch in diameter
was put between the man's jaws. A soldier held the man's head down by
pressing on the ends of the stick. Another sat on the man's stomach,
and still another sat on the man's legs. Edwards had a bucket of water
at hand. Water was poured down the man until it was vomited up. It was
then repeated. This water cure must be a terrible torture alone. The
man heaved and begged for mercy, but to no avail. While down he was
whipped and beaten unmercifully. He was then stood up and asked to
confess. He did not. He was then beaten and clubbed again. I do not
think that a square inch of the man's body was left untouched. He was
kicked. A rope was then thrown across a beam. The man was strung up by
the thumbs. Another rope was tied to his ankles and his feet jerked
from under him. While up he was beaten. "All this time I was a
looker-on. I hoped that the punishment would stop. I dared not
interfere. But when the man was strung up by the neck I could stand it
no longer, so I went to the lieutenant. Before I went to him -I did
not know that he had given orders to Edwards to torture the man if he
did not confess. I told Arnold that I was an- American and that there
was something going on at the quarters that I could not stand. He
jumped all over me and asked if I was not making myself very busy. I
said I was not; that such carryings on were against all law. He said,
in a very sarcastic manner, that I knew such a lot about law. He said
that a lot of men in the army, especially volunteers, think that they
know how to run an army, but they do not. He said: 'Now, when I give a
man to Sergeant Edwards, I want information. I do not know how he gets
it, but he gets the information anyhow.' He said that these people
have no feelings other than physical and should not be treated as
human beings. I told Arnold that I did not come to,get any one in
trouble, but merely to have the torture stopped, that if it were not
stopped I would report the matter to higher authority. I was then
threatened with court-martial for insubordination. About this time
Edwards came in and said that he had succeeded in making the man tell
where the money was. Arnold told Edwards to take the man with him and
get the money. I told Arnold that as the torture was finished I would
not report the matter if it were not repeated. He promised not to do
it again. I then left him. "The prisoner did not show where the money
was. He had only said that -he would show the hiding-place to have the
torture stopped. Three weeks later the prisoner was released. Now,
that was criminal of Arnold.If the man was guilty he should not be
released. If guilty he should not be tortured anyway. - The rest of
the time that I was with the detachment under Arnold no torture was
committed that I know of. " Now Arnold has a detachment of 20 men at
Calaca, 7 miles from here. Men that are under him now have told me
that Arnold is having men tortured the same as before and other ways
besides. This is one of his new ways: A strip of flesh is cut just
above the ankle of the prisoner; it is then attached to a stick; the
stick is coiled with the strip of flesh. Imagine the torture the poor
man must endure! I am told that when Arnold is out looking for some
criminal or suspected insurgent he will grab, or have his men grab,
any native and ask for information. If the man gives no information,
he is put to all kinds of torture. I saw the man that was cut at the
ankle. I was over at Calaca the other day. He had his leg all bound up
and was out in the road with other prisoners working. Last week a part
of this troop, a part of the Calaca detachment, and some of the
soldiers from Taal were out in the mountains. I was not along, but
have been told by several men that Arnold had his men take an old man
to a stream and keep him under water until the man was unconscious.
This was because the old man did not give certain information that he
was supposed to possess. " Men of H Troop have told me that they have
known Arnold to have a man tied to a saddled horse. A few feet of
slack was allowed. A man was then mounted on the horse and told to
gallop down the road for a mile and then back. If the prisoner could
run as fast as the horse it was all well, put if he could not he had
to drag. Arnold had had this done several times, and more than once
the prisoner was dragged. "Now, I have witnesses for all that I have
written about, and should there ever be an investigation of this I
will be perfectly willing to be put upon the stand. I know other men
that would be willing to do the same. I believe that most of the
officers and enlisted men in the army are humane, but those that
practise what Arnold has should be brought to justice. It would do me
no good to report this matter through army channels, as it would only
be hushed up and then I would get the worst of it. Now, I am writing
this letter to you; you are a close relation of mine, and for that
reason I believe I can write anything. I think that you should bring
this before the proper persons. "Lieutenant Frederick T. Arnold was
appointed to West Point from Iowa in I893. He graduated from West
Point in 1897 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Sixth
Cavalry. He is-now second lieutenant of Troop H, Fourth Cavalry. I
hope that the proper people of the United States will take hold of
this case and have all torture in these islands stopped. "Well, my
dear uncle, as I have already written so much on this subject, I will
not write about other subjects. I am in fine health, and hope that you
are the same. Give my love to all. "I remain, your loving nephew,
"ANDREW K. WEIR, JR., "Troop C, Fourth United States Cavalry, Balayan,


P. I." Title: Mr. Root must go:
Publication Info: [Philadelphia? : s.n., 1902]

American torture in the Philippines. V

I have another letter. All that I know about it is that it appeared in
the Portland Oregonian of January 29, 1902, and is as follows:


SEATTLE, January 28.
Clarence Clowe, of Seattle, who recently arrived home from the
Philippines, where he served as a private in Company H, Twenty-fifth
Infantry, United States Volunteers, has authorized the publication of
a letter written by him to Senator HOAR from the islands June 10,
1900. Clowe asks in the letter honorable discharge from a service that
is outraging his conscience. In alleging inhuman treatment by American
soldiers toward Filipinos he says in part: "At any time I am liable to
be called upon to go out and bind and gag helpless prisoners, to
strike them in the face, to knock them down when so bound, to bear
them away from wife and children, at their very door, who are
shrieking pitifully the while or kneeling and kissing the hands of our
officers, imploring mercy from those who seem not to know what it is,
and then, with a crowd of soldiers, hold our helpless victim head
downward in a tub of water in his own yard, or bind him hand and foot.
attaching ropes to head and feet, and then lowering him into the
depths of a well of water till life is well-nigh choked out and the
bitterness of death has been tasted, and our poor gasping victims ask
us for the poor boon of being finished off, in mercy to themselves.
"All these things have been done at one time or another by our men,
generally in cases of trying to obtain information as to the location
of arms and ammunition. "Nor can it be said that there is any general
repulsion on the part of the enlisted men to taking part in these
doings. I regret to have to say that, on the contrary, the majority of
soldiers take a keen delight in them and rush with joy to the making
of this latest development of a Roman holiday."


Title: The problem in the Philippines. Speech of Hon. Henry M. Teller,
of Colorado, in the Senate of the United States ... February 11, 12,
and 13, 1902.
Author: Teller, Henry Moore, 1830-1914.

American torture in the Philippines. IV

That is where General Chaffee, in the letter read by the Senator from
Vermont [Mr. PROCTOR], said the rebellion would be stamped out in a
short tile.
"But no Americans over here blame the army for such measures, as these
natives have no respect for anything short of torture. They are
exceedingly cruel themselves, and they consider leniency a sign of
weakness and fear. The "water cure" is the favorite torture of the
Americans to force the natives to give information concerning the
insurrectos. The native is bound and gagged, and one soldier pours
water and sand down his throat while another beats him on the stomach,
which soon swells out like a drum. This torture is said to be
horrible, and it generally makes the Filipino betray everything, but
many of them are game to the last and carry their secret to the grave.
A soldier who was with General Funston told me that he helped
administer the " water cure" to 160 natives, all but 26 of whome died."

Title: The problem in the Philippines. Speech of Hon. Henry M. Teller,
of Colorado, in the Senate of the United States ... February 11, 12,
and 13, 1902.
Author: Teller, Henry Moore, 1830-1914.

American torture in the Philippines. III


Upon our return to Philadelphia, a few days later, a gentleman known
to us stepped into our office and placed in our hands a long letter
from another soldier in the Regular Army in the Philippines addressed
to relatives in this city. It had every evidence of being sincere and
genuine. This letter described events as they appeared to the writer,
and was wholly without any tone of exaggeration or sensationalism. It
described the "water-cure" torture just as did the letter quoted
above. We give the following extract:, PHILIPPINE ISLANDS, April 5,
1900. MY DEAR --: As this is the last day for some time that I will
have a chance to write, I thought this would be a good time to begin
one. We are still at it, and making preparations for the rainy season,
which is expected about the middle or latter part of June. Any of the
natives who have a gun can turn it in to us and get 830 Mexican
(Mexican money) for it, so a good many are bought in that way. We have
a company of Macabebe scouts here who go out with white troops, and if
they can not get any guns voluntarily they proceed to give the fellow
the water cure-i. e., they throw them on their backs, stick a gag in
their mouths to keep it open and proceed to fill them with water until
they can hold no more, then they get on them and by sudden pressure on
t stomach and chest force the water out again. I guess it must cause
excruciating agony, as they nearly always disclose where guns are
hidden. Of course there is no pay for guns got in that manner. It is
rather a harsh way for us to use them. I wonder how we would feel were
we used in such a manner? The soldiers who look on think it is a huge
joke. These Macabebes are a people who have always been held in
contempt and subjection by the Tagals. They are not very numerous and
not the equal of the latter in anything except ferocity. Had the
former known a year ago that they would take arms for us, I think they
would have exterminated them.

Title: The problem in the Philippines. Speech of Hon. Henry M. Teller,
of Colorado, in the Senate of the United States ... February 11, 12,
and 13, 1902.
Author: Teller, Henry Moore, 1830-1914.

American torture in the Philippines. II

I am inclined to think that Dr. Stuntz himself, if he had been
subjected to some of the tortures which I know some of our officers
have inflicted on Filipinos, would have admitted things that he does
not really assent to the infallibility of the Pope, for example, in
order to escape the sufferings which these entail. Or, supposing that
he or any of us were called upon to witness inflicted on: some near
and dear relative, or friend of ours, a torture which I have reason to
know one of our officers inflicted on a Filipino woman; he or we might
be induced to say almost anything was true which we knew to be false,
in 'order to free one we loved from such shameful treatment. This poor
woman was completely stripped of her clothing, her feet were tied
together, and she was lowered by ropes, head downward, into a well,
until through suffering and fear she gave so-called testimony which
secured the death of four men. That testimony was actually used to
take these men's lives.

Title: The water cure from a missionary point of view: by Homer C. Stuntz.
Author: Stuntz, Homer Clyde, 1858-1924.

American torture in the Philippines. I

Later on Mr. George Keunon, the special investigator of the Outlook,
wrote in the issue of that journal, March II, 11 /01 on this subject
as follows: " For the Practice of torture in the Philippines, there
is no excuse whatever, and yet that we have sanctioned, if not
directly employed, the 'water torture' as a means of extorting
information from the natives seems certain. "An officer of the
Regular Army now serving in Luzon, from whose letters, I have already
made quotation, describes the water torture, as practiced by Macabebe
scouts in our service, as follows: "A company of Macabebes enter a
town or barrio, catch some man-it matters not whom-ask him if he
knows where there are any guns, aned upon receiving a negative
answer, five or six of them throw him down, one holds his head, while
others have hold of an arm or a leg. They then proceed to give him
the " water torture," which is the distension of the internal organs
with water. After they are distended a cord is sometimes placed
around the body and the water expelled. From what I have heard, it
appears to be generally applied, and its use is not confined to one
section. Although it results in the finding of a number of guns, it
does us an infinite amount of harm. Nor are the Macabebes the only
ones who use this method of obtaining information.


" Personally, I have never seen this torture inflicted, nor have I
ever knowingly allowed it; but I have seen a victim a few minutes
afterwards, with his mouth bleeding where it had been cut by a
bayonet used to hold the mouth open, and his face bruised( where he
had been struck by the Macabebes. Add to this the expression of his
face and his evident weakness from the torture, and you have a
picture which, once seen, will not be forgotten. I am not chicken-
hearted, but this policy hurts us. Summary executions are and will be
necessary in a troubled country, and I have no objection to seeing
that they are carried out, but I am not used to torture. The
Spaniards used the torture of water throughout the islands as a means
of obtaining information, but they used it sparingly and only when it
appeared evident that the victim was culpable. Americans seldom do
things by halves. We come here and announce our intention of freeing
the people from three or four hundred years of oppression, and
say 'We are strong, and powerful, and grand.' Then to resort to
inquisitorial methods and use them without discrimination is unworthy
of us, and will recoil on us as a nation.
" It is painful and humiliating to have to confess that in some of
our dealings with the Filipinos we seem to be following more or less
closely the example of Spain. We have established a penal colony; we
burn native villages near which there has been an ambush or an attack
by insurgent guerrillas; we kill the wounded; we resort to torture
as a means of obtaining information; and in private letters from two
officers of the Regular Army in the Philippines I find the
prediction that in certain provinces we shall probably have to resort
to the method of reconcentration practiced by General Weyler in Cuba."


Senate of the United States ... February 11, 12, and 13, 1902.