Monday, July 19, 2004

Just like Philippines, only crunchy 

An interesting perspective:

"Now that the formal U.S. occupation of Iraq has passed into military history, some military historians are likening it to an obscure campaign that flared and then faded more than a century ago.

" 'Iraq has many more similarities with the Philippine Insurrection than with any other American experience," says Jerry Morelock, editor and senior historian of Armchair General magazine.

"A professor emeritus of military history at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, Jerry Cooper, agrees. 'The Philippine Insurrection is as good as history gets in teaching about dealing with an opponent who has a different culture, a different language and a different physical setting - and who deeply resents your presence,' Cooper said.

"Historian Brian M. Linn of Texas A&M University has carved an academic niche out of that long-ago campaign, with two books to his credit. He says that the lessons of the Philippines have been largely ignored. 'With the exception of the Marines," he said, "nobody studies these little wars'."
Morelock, Cooper and Linn aren't the first ones to draw these parallels, of course. In November 2003, Thomas Donnelly and Vance Serchuk of the American Enterprise Institute released a National Security Outlook paper titled "U.S. Counterinsurgency in Iraq: Lessons from the Philippine War." It makes for an interesting reading to compare and contrast Donnelly and Serchuk's advice with how the things have turned out in Iraq over the following months. In turn, Max Boot drew on lessons of Philippines and other small wars from US history in July last year. I hope that when in due time Max updates his 2002 classic "The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power" there might be a room there for another chapter on Afghanistan and Iraq.


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