Oversight vs. Overreach; Hyde's History; Taking Cuba

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Good morning, it’s Monday, June 10, 2019. Immersed in an editing project, I’ll be out of the office for much of the week, so I’m reprising some of my daily history homilies from years’ past, beginning today.

The noteworthy event I’m highlighting this morning took place in Cuba 121 years ago on this date, when a contingent of U.S. Marines landed on an isolated spot on the island’s southern coast. It seems incongruous that we’ve kept a military presence on that island ever since, but it’s true. Is it time to leave? Perhaps, but this morning we’re looking at how American forces arrived there in the first place.

I’ll have more on this in a moment. First, I’d point you to RealClearPolitics’ front page, which presents our poll averages, videos, breaking news stories, and aggregated opinion columns spanning the political spectrum. We also offer original material from our own reporters and contributors, including the following:

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Constitutional Oversight? Or Unconstitutional Overreach? Frank Miele writes that Democrats’ stated basis for seeking testimony or documents from the executive branch is not found in the Constitution itself.

The Hyde Amendment Isn’t Going Anywhere. Bill Scher offers some historical perspective on the controversy Joe Biden found himself in the middle of last week.

Disruptor-in-Chief Shows How to Win With Mexico. Steve Cortes applauds the president for his refusal to accept the status quo or cower to the nation’s elites.

PolitiFact’s Notre-Dame Retraction Illustrates Digital-Era Pitfalls. Kalev Leetaru examines the fact-checking site’s declaration that a viral photograph was a fake, and its later reversal.

Liberalism in the Progressive -- and in the Larger – Sense. Peter Berkowitz assesses a new book by Adam Gopnik, “A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism.”

Visit to China Dispels “Enemy” Myth. RealClearMarkets editor John Tamny shares lessons from his latest trip to the country demonized by the current administration.

Sensible Wireless Policy Needed to Bridge Digital Divide. In RealClearPolicy, David Williams outlines challenges in allocating the C-band spectrum needed to accommodate 5G technology.

Why “The Idol of Our Age” Resonates With Readers. In RealClearReligion, Chandler Lasch considers the success of Daniel Mahoney’s book about secular humanitarianism’s effect on church thinking about divine mercy and Christian charity. 

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The U.S. Marines who landed on the beach at Guantanamo Bay on June 10, 1898 were led by 57-year-old Civil War veteran Robert W. Huntington. This man, and a sergeant named John H. Quick, were the very embodiment of the United States Marine Corps -- and the American military itself all the way back to the nation’s founding.

Born in 1840, Huntington quit college in 1860 to enlist in the Union Army. He fought at Bull Run, was later detailed to the U.S. Navy, and became a Marine officer. His first wife died young; his second wife, Elizabeth Sherburne Whipple, was the daughter of Maj. Gen. Amiel Whipple, a West Point man killed at the Battle of Chancellorsville.

Sgt. Quick knew none of this pedigree as he followed orders during the 100-hour battle with Spanish irregulars defending Cuba against the Americans on June 10-12, 1898. Quick did know that he and a couple of other men, including a young lieutenant named Draper and a Capt. McCauley, were supposed to wave a flag to the ships offshore signaling when the bombardment should begin and where it should be directed.

Suddenly, just as it seemed the flag-waving sentries were sitting ducks, these young officers were joined on the hill by their commander, Lt. Col. Huntington. The scene was captured by famed war correspondent and Civil War novelist Stephen Crane in a dispatch headlined "Marines Signaling Under Fire at Guantanamo”:

Colonel Huntington came himself to the signal place with Adjutant Draper and Captain McCauley, the quartermaster. When the man stood up to signal, the colonel stood beside him. At sight of the lights, the Spaniards performed as usual. They drove enough bullets into that immediate vicinity to kill all the marines in the corps.

Lieutenant Draper was agitated for his chief. “Colonel, won't you step down, sir?”

“Why, I guess not,” said the gray old veteran in his slow, sad, always-gentle way. “I'm in no more danger than the man.”

“But, sir –“ began the adjutant.

“Oh, it's all right, Draper." 

And so it was. The men on the hill survived the battle, the Marines set up their beachhead, the United States liberated Cuba from Spain -- and "Gitmo" remains in Yankee hands to this day. The question, more relevant than ever, is what we should do with our prize.

Carl M. Cannon  
Washington Bureau chief, RealClearPolitics
@CarlCannon (Twitter)

Carl M. Cannon is the Washington bureau chief for RealClearPolitics. Reach him on Twitter @CarlCannon.

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