Thursday, July 30, 2009

Their 'counterinsurgency.' Our revolution.

“Iraq look[s] less like either Vietnam or World War II--the analogies that politicians and pundits keep closest at hand--and more like an amalgamation of the Korean War and America’s McKinley-era counterinsurgency in the Philippines. Like Iraq, those were murky, bloody conflicts that generated long-term benefits but enormous short-term costs. Like Iraq, they were wars that Americans were eager to forget about as soon as they were finished.”

-- Ross Douthat, “The War We’d Like to Forget”, in the NYTimes

After the Battle of Mount Dajo, March 9, 1906. [Source]

“The 'McKinley-era counterinsurgency' wasn't a counterinsurgency so much as a war of conquest. The U.S. was fighting for control of the islands after promising them their freedom from the Spanish. It was extremely bloody, accomplished with great and indiscriminate violence. If we're to take counterinsurgency as a war among the people to win their allegiance through providing for their welfare and aspirations, this was the opposite. We just killed a lot of Filipinos until they quit fighting, particularly after the leader of the insurgent band, Emilio Aguinaldo, was captured. The U.S. turned the Philippines over to a form of 'self-government' that was really a different form of domination at the hands of the military and private American corporations. It did, however, work, in the sense that the U.S. was not militarily challenged in any significant way for decades.”

-- Spencer Ackerman, “Why’d The Philippines Work Out So Well For Us?”

While we're at this, hand over those Balangiga bells now, will you?

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