About a century ago, some men wanted control of Cuba as much as today's conservatives want control of Iraq. And like today's conservatives, they got it. Then, like now, the planning went back many years. In 1854, following a failed attempt to buy Cuba for one hundred thirty million dollars, three American diplomats signed a manifesto in Belgium that explained Cuba's importance to Spain, and that it be imperative "To detach that island from the Spanish dominion."
Cuba was thought to be the key to Caribbean relations as a democratic Iraq is considered the key to friendly and tolerant middle-eastern relations. American expansionists longed for a stronghold in the Caribbean, and the horrible mistreatment and unjustified imprisonment of the Cuban people seemed to be good reasons for conquer.
In both situations, the idea of public opinion may have eventually been persuaded, if the issues had been approached diplomatically.
Spain's mistreatment of the Cubans, although not quite matching that of Sadaam Hussein's toward the Shiites and the Kurds, was appalling, and provided ample reason to pursue on humane grounds. But, there is always a chance that the plan will be rejected and put to rest by timid souls who fail to see the main points and try to create reasons why it isn't respectable reason.
The guerilla warfare and the widespread suffering going on in Cuba in 1898 gave them such respectable reason. There were reports of Spanish children cutting off Cubans' ears and using them as playthings, and another of an eighteen-year-old girl being thrown in jail for defending her virtue against a Spanish police official.
Like the Spanish-American War, the Iraq War took about 4 months, and approximately 400 deaths were ensued on the battlefield. Like Madrid, Baghdad denied any wrongdoing or treaty violations...