Thursday, October 30, 2014

Invading Washington DC

CK with bipartisan support
University Club, Washington
Last week the AI tour invaded our nation's capital -- Washington D.C.  Contrary to some reports, we did NOT attempt to scale the White House fence in order to drop off a copy of America Invades ( for the Commander-in-Chief.

CK at Rotary
I was, however, honored to have an opportunity to speak at a Washington Rotary function where the message of America Invades was warmly received.  Thank you Jennifer Hara and Washington rotarians!

CK at American History Museum
Smithsonian, DC
We were also privileged to receive a behind the scenes tour of the Smithsonian American History Museum courtesy of author and curator Larry Bird (  Larry is the co-author of a very handsome book on American wartime propaganda from World War II called Design for Victory (

Polk invaded Mexico
At the Smithsonian we saw an election poster for Polk who later led the invasion of Mexico during the Mexican-American war.  Here is a bit from the Mexico chapter of America Invades...

"In 1845, Polk dispatched John Slidell as minister-designate to Mexico City to purchase Mexican territory in the West for the sum of twenty-five million dollars. He was rebuffed. So Polk, not about to take a rebuff for an answer, dispatched Zachary Taylor, a Whig general, with an army of about thirty-five hundred men to Fort Brown, Texas, on the Rio Grande near the Gulf coast.

Polk’s order to Taylor of January 13, 1846, indicated that the United States was not intending to go to war with Mexico but, if Mexico declared war or acted hostilely, then operations should not be limited to the defensive. Thus the president of the United States delegated to a field commander the decision as to whether a state of war existed between Mexico and the United States.

US Army Officer Jacket
Mexican-American war, Smithsonian
The Thornton skirmish was the spark that ignited the powder. On April 25, 1846, a reconnaissance patrol led by Captain Thornton ran into and was defeated by a Mexican force of two thousand men near Brownsville, Texas.

It might seem surprising, but the Mexican-American War was the costliest war for the United States in terms of percentage of casualties versus participants—13,768 died out of the 104,556 that served. Many of these casualties were due to sickness and disease as the Americans won nearly every engagement of the war and occupied Mexico City. At the Mexico City National Cemetery, you will find the graves of 750 unknown Americans who perished in the Mexican-American War and are buried in a common grave."  America Invades (

Actions have consequences.  Invasions are a complex series of actions.  It follows, therefore that invasions will have consequences.  Some of these will be foreseen and foreseeable, others unforeseen.

The Mexican-American war initiated by Polk had far-reaching consequences.  Polk's war resulted in the addition of California, Arizona, New Mexico Nevada and Utah to the Union.

James K. Polk
Smithsonian Museum
It is fascinating to ponder the hypotheticals of a world without President Polk.  The United States would surely have been a much smaller, less powerful nation had it not invaded Mexico.  When you consider the massive historical challenges that the USA faced in the 20th century (fascism and communism) it is difficult to imagine how America could have prevailed without Polk's war.  For this reason I would account Polk one of the most under-rated US Presidents, probably the lost important single term American president.

"Fear Not, Old Abe is Ours!"
Smithsonian Museum
Many of the treasures of the Smithsonian's vast collection are not on display to the public.  We were able to see a political sign for Abraham Lincoln.

All genders helped win WW2
Smithsonian Museum
There were also remarkable posters from World War II.

There were many culinary highlights to our trip to Washington.  We had some excellent microbrews and seafood with Adam Wilson at the  District Chophouse (

Jefferson Monument
Washington DC
We also returned to one of my favorite German restaurants -- the Cafe Mozart (  Great beer, wurst and strudel!

Washington Monument, DC
Special thanks to Jennifer Hara, Adam Wilson and Larry Bird for making our time in DC rich and enjoyable.

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