Last week in my Chicano History class, we learned about the fall of the Aztecs at the hands of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes. After learning about why Cortes invaded, how he invaded, and what the results were after he invaded, I drew an awfully similar comparison to an action of a recent President of the United States of America: George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Although they had different roles in their respective invasions, they both had the leading hand in their conquests.
After Cortes landed in the America’s and discovered the Aztec civilization, he had a simple plan: attack them and topple the leader, whom happened to be the great emperor “Montezuma II.” He thought that if he could remove their leader, everything that was Aztec would crumble beneath him. This seems a little similar to what Bush thought about what would happen if he removed Saddam Hussein, doesn’t it? The next thing I found similar between these two figures is that after they defeated their enemies, they both took part in seizing the wealth of the capital. It is widely known that Cortes looted the Aztec city for all of its gold and wealth and sent it on a boat back to Spain. The situation in Iraq is a little bit different. Bush faced harsh criticism early in his campaign against Iraq due to the notion that the war might actually be about seizing the Iraqi oil supply, a nation that holds the second largest amount of tapped and untapped oil reserves in the world. His administration commonly labeled this claim as absurd. But in 2008, an article posted in the UK based newspaper “The Guardian,” stated that all of the Iraqi oil field contracts were being divided between British and United States oil companies such as BP, Exxon Mobil, and Chevron. The US State Department played a large hand in dividing up these oil reserves. Oil companies in nations such as Russia were given no part in the contracts as a result of the division.
Some of other comparisons that I came across were that both of these leaders stayed in their conquered territories long after the defeat of the people. Cortes remained in what was the Aztec Empire for many years, “trying” to keep the Aztec way of life in tact, while teaching some of the remaining noble Aztec families to speak Spanish and write in Roman characters. In Bush’s case, he toppled the Iraqi government, found no weapons of mass destruction (his motive for going there in the first place), but now wanted to stay to implement Western democracy in the Middle Eastern nation. After the defeat of their foes, Hernan and Bush had to now deal with harsh resistance movements from the remnants of the people they had conquered.