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29 September 2011

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William R. Cumming

The Army in the Phillipines was also a largely professional force but the political will for a long term stay was made clear almost from the beginning. Was not the fight there also largely against followers of ISLAM?

highlander

You are right! America 2011,hasn't the patience or consensus for long term projects! Get the boys on the 130's, and bring them home.

We've spent trillions,and lot's of good blood,to supposedly kill one raggedy ass(but brillant!)arab. We finally killed him,(All the time and money it took,makes you wonder about all the trillions of dollars spent on national defense, doesn't it?) So bin Laden is dead, have a victory prade, and come home. We financially can not afford this lunacy!

At the end of day, Georgie Bush was the Harvard/Yale educated,village idiot, all you libs said he was.

turcopolier

WRC

No. After Spain left the Filipino Christian nationalists hoped that the US would recognize their independence. They had been fighting a guerrilla war against the Spanish. As usual those who supported the war for independence were a minority. the imperialist faction in Washington decided that the US would not do that. The Christian Filipino nationalists then fought a long and bloody war against hte US which they eventually lost. The Moros in the south of the islands (mainly Mindanao)were not interested in the Phillipines as a "national" entity and still are not. The Spanish had never managed to subdue them and we inherited this task. there were any number of "colonial" campaigns against them. The rest of the islands were quiet except for police problems. There was nothing large scale about this. The PI was garrisoned by the US with one division in which all the soldiers were Filipinos of different ethnicities and officered by Americans. These were regular US soldiers, the famou "Phillipine Scouts." they were highly trained and equipped with the same materiel as the rest of the US Army. There was one "white" US infantry regiment(31st Infantry) in the division but the artillery, signals, etc were all Scouts. After completing an enlistment the Scouts received US citizenship. At the same time the "Phillipine Constabulary" was established as a rural gendarmerie to police the countryside. the constables were filipinos and the officers were Americans. In the '30s FDR decided to create the Commonwealth Government for PI looking forward to indeoendence in 1947. Training and organization began for a National Phillipine army. This force was cadred out of the constabulary. My Father was a captain in the constabulary. He left that service to return to the US Army when
Quezon's commonwealth government told him that to stay he would have to give up his US citizenship. pl

bth

Wouldn't this suggest a much smaller, lighter and longer term American footprint in Afghanistan?

hope4usa

Could someone please explain why we are still in Iraq or Afghanistan. Are they afraid to end the conflicts because it will increase the unemployed? What is it? Frankly, I can't justify another school, bridge, highway,drop of blood lost in either of these countries. Why can't they get themselves the hell out?

Ramojus

"I consider the US project in the Phillippines to have been a considerable success, not perfect, but considerable."

Not to create any trouble or controversy Colonel , but by what metric? The country still has high poverty rates, a Spanish / Chinese oligarchy running the economy. The current president's family, the Aquinos, are oligarch landowners of Spanish blood.

It has "democratic" elections, but they are marred by violence perpetrated by powerful families in localities: barrio, provincial national etc. almost throughout the country.

One of the more recent ones the " Ampatuan massacre", in 2009 where gunmen linked to Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan allegedly abducted in broad daylight a convoy of aides and relatives of a rival politician, Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu, and a group of journalists and shot them.

Admittedly a vast majority of Filipinos are pro American, but I suspect it is more for the opportunity to emigrate to "sa States" for economic reasons than "American exceptionalism"

turcopolier

ramojus

You expect too much. I did not say that we made the PI a paradise, but we did not make it a hell either. The Filipinos wanted us to leave after 50 years of our occupation. we did so. a half baked cake is still not acake. What Lujan wants is beyonf our capacity. We would have to have been there how long?100 years, 200 years? it was impossible. That was the folly of the neocon's dream in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Nevertheless, an expertise based strategy in either country would have made more sense if you were going to occupy them. pl

DanM

In 1921 the Sultan of Sulu (archipelago off Mindanao) petitioned Warren Harding to be declared a US state. In the area in the 1990s you could still occasional trip over people who thought US statehood was the answer to their problems. That said, in Mindanao Black Jack Pershing still had a very bad reputation.

turcopolier

DanM

Ah "the bubble reputation." pl

turcopolier

bth

It would but the time has passed when it would have been possible to get the American electorate to accept such an idea. The final moment expired when BHO opted for a massive troop increase in Afghanistan. pl

Asa

"... relentless effort to better the lot of Filipinos..".

I work with someone who is a devout Christian Filipino who recently emigrated from the Philippines. He may agree with you. I'll ask him.

Me. I think the same terms were used by the Romans when referring to the Britons. The English referring to the Scots. The descendants of the Scots (Americans) when referring to Native Americans.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Besides the tropics, palm trees and culture, there is one big difference between the Philippines and Afghanistan. The USA was replaced the previous Spanish colonial overlords prior to the rise of effective counter-colonial movements and the AK-47.

No one, not Alexander the Great nor the Soviets made Afghanistan part of their colonial empire. We all must see a purpose in our lives but to think that rural mountainous Afghanistan could be turned into a neo-Western Virginia after all the lessons learned the hard way from Algeria to Vietnam in the 20th Century is the height of delusion.

I do agree that small foot, support, divide and conquer, military operations will always have successes like Libya. But, no people will live long under foreign oppression.

William R. Cumming

Thanks PL for the background on the Phillippines Campaign. And Mcarthur who had retired from US Army to run the Phillippines Army was recalled to active duty in WWII?

turcopolier

WRC

A fifty year "campaign?" Macarthur finished his term as CoS of the US Army, retired and then was appointed Field Marshal of the Commonwealth Army which it was his job to create. He was recalled to duty with the US Army in 1940 or 1941. pl

turcopolier

VV

No? The Indians lived that way for 200 years, the Irish for 700, the Scots since the act of Union, the Filipinos for 300 years under the Spanish. let us not indulge in moralistic claptrap. In fact the British and the Ottomans both affected Iraq profoundly. Afghanistan would be a hard nut to crack. As I have often argued the problem with COIN/Nation Building is that is that the price in time, resources and bllood is usually too high. it is not that a COIN war in Afghanistan could not be won. No the problem is that only s fool would want to pay the price. Libya? No nation building! Please! Let them sink or swim. pl

turcopolier

Asa

You and VV can form a club. More moralistic claptrap. In fact the Britons benefted greatly from Romanization. they became Roman. i find it difficult to believe that you think the Act of Union did not benefit both Scots and Englsih. (That in spite of the Langs having been run out of Scotland in the tiem of King William the Orangeman). The American Indians? Ah, you saw "Dances with Wolves." that was a REAL piece of s--t. try "Black robe." pl

judith weingarten

I sympathise with what you're saying but it's not quite correct: Alexander the Great most certainly conquered the lands we now know as Afghanistan as did the Mauryan kings of north India (hence, Ashoka edicts: check out on Wikipedia)and later the Sasanian Persians, etc.

turcopolier

JW

Whoever it is you are adressing - you are correct about Afghanistan, but the Israelis do not seem to have the well being of the Palestinians as a goal. pl

Green Zone Cafe

A salute to Major Lujan. A unit of Dari and Pashto speakers, embedded and wearing Afghan army uniforms and forming close connections to their brave Afghan compadres? The best of our own.

I've seem some of those guys in Iraq, both the American SF and the brave Iraqis. I like to think that whatever the commitment of the USA, the trends of global culture favor freedom.

FB Ali

Major Luján is obviously a brave and honourable soldier, and a good and decent man. For 14 months he has laid his life on the line in the service of his country, fighting the ‘bad guys’, and helping the ‘good’ Afghans win control of their country. Yet, the weight of his experience ─ undoubtedly meritorious and often valorous service for over a year in a small unit in a corner of Afghanistan ─ hardly stacks up against that of the thousands of years of the history of Afghanistan and the region, and the complex relationships, past and present, among its numerous peoples.

Mahmoud and Jawad and Jamaluddin are undoubtedly fine fellows, but the chances of their influencing the destiny of their country are as small as those of Major Luján in doing the same to America’s enterprise in that region. All of them will also likely share in the fate of those who give their lives (sometimes literally so) to the service of some noble cause, only to discover at the end that all they had done was further the devious schemes of crafty men in positions of power.

America has come late to this enterprise of bringing modernity to backward peoples, and order to unruly ones. The Europeans were at it much earlier, carrying the ‘white man’s burden’ for a couple of hundred years before their ignominious ouster in the middle of the last century. They have given this endeavour a bad name, and endowed it with much suspicion, arousing an almost automatic reaction of rejection and opposition.

The title of Major Luján’s piece was obviously chosen by some patriotic sub-editor, but even his more muted hope is likely to remain unfulfilled. Unfortunately (not least for the ungrateful locals), Americans do not have the patience and deviousness that the Europeans, especially the British, brought to such endeavours. When thwarted, the US is likely to just send the bombers in.

Asa

Col. Lang.

One day when you get to heaven and meet with your Scottish ancestors, I hope they'll come around and share your views on the English.

turcopolier

Asa

Heaven? This is a forlorn hope for all us Langs (except my sainted sister). The Scots among them, persecuted by the Sassenach, can discuss it with the English Puritans among them as well. pl

Ramojus

Colonel,

As I recall, wasn't the "American Caesar" recalled as commander of the U.S. Army in the Pacific after he escaped from Bataan (leaving General Wainwright behind) to Australia?

turcopolier

ramojus

You are quite wrong.

"On 26 July 1941 Roosevelt federalized the Philippine Army, recalled MacArthur to active duty in the U.S. Army as a major general, and named him commander of U.S. Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE). MacArthur was promoted to lieutenant general the following day,[99] and then to general on 20 December. At the same time, Sutherland was promoted to major general, while Marshall, Spencer B. Akin, and Hugh J. Casey were all promoted to brigadier general.[100] On 31 July 1941 the Philippine Department had 22,000 troops assigned, 12,000 of whom were Philippine Scouts. The main component was the Philippine Division, under the command of Major General Jonathan M. Wainwright.[101]" wiki

The 22,000 mentioned were all US Army as opposed to Phillipine Army who were not really trained as yet.

The 75,000 man Phillipine Army collapsed under Japanese pressure on Bataan causing the fall of the peninsula. pl

Ramojus

Colonel, you are correct, my bad... I should have first reviewed that excellent book by William Manchester before commenting.

One positive note regarding American involvement in the PI, MacArthur was revered by the WWII generation of Filipinos.

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