Thursday, May 08, 2008

The recent and the distant past.

Those who are interested in the historical study of counterinsurgency should look at the Combat Studies Institute monographs. One of the real weakenesses of the site is that it doesn't have an RSS feed, which would make it easy for readers to be notified of the arrival of new articles by an RSS aggregator.

Among the offerings are two conflicts separated by a hundred years. Matt Matthews looks at the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war, and Robert Ramsey looks at US counterinsurgency in the Philippines more than a century ago. It's often forgotten that the US Army did counterinsurgency (during the Indian Wars and in the Philippines long before it was remolded into the big-battle instrument of the two world wars. But what's new is old and what's old is new.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was in the Philippines Insurgency where this urban legend about Black Jack Pershing and his bullets dipped in pig's blood got started:

HOW TO STOP ISLAMIC TERRORISTS...... it worked once in our History...

Once in U.S. history an episode of Islamic terrorism was very quickly stopped. It happened in the Philippines about 1911, when Gen. John J. Pershing was in command of the garrison. There had been numerous Islamic terrorist attacks, so "Black Jack" told his boys to catch the perps and teach them a lesson.

Forced to dig their own graves, the terrorists were all tied to posts, execution style. The U.S. soldiers then brought in pigs and slaughtered them, rubbing their bullets in the blood and fat. Thus, the terrorists were terrorized; they saw that they would be contaminated with hogs' blood. This would mean that they could not enter Heaven, even if they died as terrorist martyrs.

All but one was shot, their bodies dumped into the grave, and the hog guts dumped atop the bodies. The lone survivor was allowed to escape back to the terrorist camp and tell his brethren what happened to the others. This brought a stop to terrorism in the Philippines for the next 50 years.

5/08/2008 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Can you imagine the howling if we did anything like that now.

5/08/2008 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Feedity creates RSS for sites with no RSS feed

5/08/2008 08:32:00 PM  
Blogger Lucky Pierre said...

Teresita wrote, "All but one was shot, their bodies dumped into the grave, and the hog guts dumped atop the bodies."

I know that's an apocryphal story, Ter, but it wouldn't work anyway. We have seen the Islamists dump their religion wholesale, which much more strictly forbids the killing of Muslims than it says avoid pork. Yet Saddam was the biggest mass-murderer of Muslims ever, and al-Qaeda are runners-up. Some Iman would come along with a Fatwa that said Muslims buried under pork guts by infidels get 144 virgins to make up for it.

5/08/2008 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Valentine Smith said...

Never underestimate your enemies capabilities. But don't underestimate the capacity for superstitious cultural "ticks" to be turned against them either. PsyOps are rarely big ticket items.

5/08/2008 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Thank you, wretchard, for all the posts and links you have provided over the years on counterinsurgency and Islamic terrorism in the Philippines. I find them fascinating, with lessons learned applicable today.

Would you happen to have any links for the 11th Cavalry, U.S. Volunteers? Two of Funston's officers on the Aguinaldo expedition were from that regiment, which usually seems to get mixed up in research with the 11th U. S. Cavalry (Regular).

5/08/2008 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

I've recently been reading Shelby Foote's Civil War trilogy. Sherman was somebody else who knew how to deal with counterinsurgency and "low intensity resistance" -- Foote quotes some of his correspondence on snipers harassing traffic on the U.S. controlled parts of the Mississippi River -- he made no bones about it -- he'd burn offending towns to the ground. No question he'd be tried as a war criminal now, after his marches through Mississippi, South Carolina and Georgia, but he sure knew how to deal with insurgency.

5/09/2008 06:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

El jefe maximo: No question he'd be tried as a war criminal now, after his marches through Mississippi, South Carolina and Georgia, but he sure knew how to deal with insurgency.

We didn't have nukes in 1864, so we sent in W.T. Sherman. In the battle of Bull Run (or First Manassas, depending on where you hail from), civilians were spreading blankets on the periphery of the battlefield to have picnics and watch the fighting. Three years later there had been some changes, and now we were taking the war directly to the civilians, because it was just the short, sharp shock needed to finally end the bloodshed.

5/09/2008 07:28:00 AM  
Blogger El Jefe Maximo said...

I don't disagree at all Teresita. I still think the lawyers and professors would put him in a cell today.

5/09/2008 01:32:00 PM  

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