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30 June 2006

The inevitable consequence of Asymmetric Warfare

General Jacob H. Smith's infamous order,
"Kill everyone over ten"
was the caption in The New York Journal cartoon
on May 5, 1902. The Old Glory draped an American
shield on which a vulture replaced the bald eagle.
Caption is:

"Criminals because they were born
ten years before we took the Philippines."
(from Wikipedia.) Click.

The inevitable consequence
of Asymmetric Warfare

Asymmetric Warfare -- I don't know which twerp first used the phrase -- is Military Gobbledyspeak for a superpower's high-tek military which bumbles into a war against dirt-poor barefoot guerrillas who have neither air force nor navy and who arm themselves with 1940- or 1910-era firearms and $30 worth of box cutters and duct tape from the Tru-Value.

If they can't make their own high explosives, they steal them from our military depots, which have tons of the shit, or from our duds -- our unexploded bombs and ordinance. Then they make vests of plastic explosive and a Tru-Value thumb switch and walk up to an army platoon and FOOMF. Six American flag-draped coffins fly back to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, and the bomber begins acquainting himself or herself with Paradise.

As a fine modern example of Corrupting The English Language, AW ranks with "Collateral Damage," which is Military Gobbledyspeak for a superpower's high-tek military dropping a planeload of bombs on a children's hospital. The bedridden children made the mistake of getting too close to bona-fide military targets.

This *quote,* as best I remember this startling live-TV moment, is very close to Ramsey Clark's outburst on CNN when some US Air Force fuckhead used the term during the NATO bombing of Belgrade (in which the Chinese Embassy was collaterally smithereened):

*Collateral damage -- for god's sake,
call it what it is:

Killing children, women,
civilians, old people.*

Here are our superpower military ideals and doctrine of warfare as we continue to teach them to the professional officer corps at Annapolis, West Point, the Air Force Academy, and the military staff and command colleges:

We go against some Third World nation with overwhelming destructive power -- the doctrine of Shock and Awe -- destroy their military's ability to continue fighting, accept their surrender in some insulting fashion, stand around waiting for the liberated native girls to throw their arms around our soldiers and kiss them in gratitude, and then cable the band to start rehearsing for the huge Victory Parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Mission Accomplished.

Asymmetric Warfare is Evil, because our enemy refuses to stay surrendered, and then refuses to stand up and face us fair and square like Americans. They are cowards and murderers.

They are also winning. Just tossing out figures, but I put the ratio this way. If the US has to spend $12,000,000 per day to fight the War in Iraq, our enemies are spending $3,751.16 per day, not including newspaper coupons redeemable at the hardware store for electrical wire and lantern batteries.

And they're winning. We're certainly losing. Do you think we're winning? Make Vleeptron wise: Leave A Comment.

(Calling me a traitor is not a persuasive argument that we're winning. Aim that intimidating crap at Natalie Maines instead, if you haven't already.)

Our Season of Whistleblown Atrocities began pretty early after Mission Accomplished, with Abu Ghraib. The universal Pentagon response, of course, is that the abuses are committed by a very few rotten apples, but 99.99993 percent of all American soldiers and Marines are Straight Arrow Decent Guys who would never do anything like that.

By an astonishing coincidence, all the rotten apples who end up getting court-martialed are low-ranking enlisted men and women, PFCs, corporals and 3-stripe buck sergeants. Commissioned officers (and gentlemen, by Act of Congress) never force prisoners to strip naked and masturbate for the camera while threatening the prisoners with unmuzzled attack dogs, nor would any American commissioned officer ever countenance or encourage such things by his or her subordinates.

Hardware War is incredibly frustrating for a modern superpower military which still thinks it's fighting World War Two in Europe.

We make a brigade-size battle plan, the helicopters, air support and wheeled and track vehicles all start to rock and roll at 04:45, we race into the sleeping town -- and find no one there whom we can unambiguously identify as enemy combatants. No one is standing up to fight us like Americans. They are all somewhere else, or are wearing sneaky, deceitful Civilian Costumes -- like little-girl and old-women dresses or schoolboy uniforms.

The week before Operation One-Two Punch, nine soldiers in the brigade were blown up or ambushed and killed and maimed. Everyone from Private to Major General, Commanding is Pumped and ready for Righteous American Military Vengeance. When the whistle blows on One-Two Punch, SOMEBODY's gonna be sorry. SOMEBODY's gonna wish they'd never been born.

Unfortunately, the Cowardly Fiends who killed our comrades are nowhere to be found. They've taken the day off to redeem their coupons at the hardware store and make some more Improvised Explosive Devices (MilGobble for Crude, Cheap Bomb).

But like 800 armored, locked-and-loaded, megapumped American soldiers all yelled at 04:45: SOMEBODY's gonna be sorry.

~ ~ ~

The problem is, these are Not Civilized, Gentlemen Warriors like we are.
They are Barbarians, Savages. Massacre and Torture are the only language they understand. Their barbarian sneaky tactics are so frustrating that They are forcing Us to behave that way. We didn't want to. But it's All Their Fault. We came to Iraq to fight a gentlemanly, orderly, rational war with our overwhelming conventional forces vs. their pre-doomed silly antiquated tiny forces.

And we defeated them exactly as we predicted we would, for as long as the Fair and Square Phase lasted.

But they won't stop killing us. They lost. But they refuse to act like enemies who lost fair and square.

And now, if you are expecting SP5_Happy to launch into an Old Toothless Vet's Memoires of the Vietnam War, surprise: I'll skip MY Asymmetric War vs. the Cowardly un-American Barbarians (who won btw) for a change, and hurtle you back 65 years earlier, in the Heathkit TM-212 Time Machine, to America's first Asymmetric War.

They were barbarians. Torture and massacre were the only language they understood. They made us do those things to them. We didn't want to have to fight them that way. They forced us. We had no choice. What else could we do?

~ ~ ~

Agence-Vleeptron Presse Advisory

The following block of this Wikipedia article
runs stet, without changes.

A-VP has added only typographical emphasis:
boldfacing and supersizing.

To help readers recognize anything that might
sound faintly familiar to them.

Like the Army-organized campaign
of letter-writing --
identical language in
personal letters home --
by US soldiers
early in the Iraq War.

~ ~ ~

from Wikipedia

The Philippine-American War

War Crimes

American torture and scorched-earth campaigns

In 1908, Manuel Arellano Remondo, in a book entitled General Geography of the Philippine Islands, wrote: "The population decreased due to the wars, in the five-year period from 1895 to 1900, since, at the start of the first insurrection, the population was estimated at 9,000,000, and at present (1908), the inhabitants of the Archipelago do not exceed 8,000,000 in number." [25]

U.S. attacks into the countryside often included scorched earth campaigns where entire villages were burned and destroyed, torture (water cure) and the concentration
of civilians into "protected zones" (concentration camps). Many of the civilian casualties resulted from disease and famine. Reports of the execution of U.S. soldiers taken prisoner by the Filipinos led to savage reprisals by American forces. Many American officers and soldiers called war a "nigger killing business."

American soldiers' letters and response

From almost the beginning of the war, soldiers wrote home describing, and usually bragging about, atrocities committed against Filipinos, soldiers and civilians alike. Increasingly, such personal letters, or portions of them, reached a national audience as anti-imperialist editors across the nation reproduced them. [26]

Once these accounts were widely reproduced, the War Department was forced to demand that General Otis investigate their authenticity. For each press clipping, he forwarded it to the writer’s commanding officer, who would then convince the soldier to write a retraction.

Private Charles Brenner of the Kansas regiment resisted such pressure. He insisted that Colonel Funston [27] had ordered that all prisoners be shot and that Major Metcalf and Captain Bishop enforced these orders. Otis was obliged to order the Northern Luzon sector commander, General [Arthur] MacArthur, to look into the charge.

Brenner confronted MacArthur’s aide with a corroborating witness, Private Putman, who confessed to shooting two prisoners after Bishop or Metcalf ordered, "Kill them! Damn it, Kill them!"

MacArthur sent his aide’s report on to Otis with no comment. Otis ordered Brenner court-martialed "for writing and conniving at the publication of an article which ... contains willful falsehoods concerning himself and a false charge against Captain Bishop."

The judge advocate in Manila convinced Otis that such a trial could open a Pandora’s box, as "facts would develop implicating many others."

General Otis sent the Brenner case to Washington writing: "After mature deliberation, I doubt the wisdom of court-martial in this case, as it would give the insurgent authorities a knowledge of what was taking place and they would assert positively that our troops had practiced inhumanities, whether the charge should be proven or not, as they would use it as an excuse to defend their own barbarities"; and Otis went on, justifying the war crimes, "and it is not thought that his charge is very grievous under the circumstances then existing, as it was very early in the war, and the patience of our men was under great strain." [28]

Towards the end of 1899, General Otis attempted to repair his battered image. He began to work to win new friends among the journalists in Manila and bestowed favors on any journalist who gave him favourable press. [29]

Concentration camps

As one historian wrote about Marinduque, the first island with concentration camps: "The triple press of concentration (camps), devastation, and harassment led Abad (the Marinduque commander) "to request a truce to negotiate surrender terms ... The Army pacified Marinduque not by winning the allegiance of the people, but by imposing coercive measures to control their behavior and separate them from the insurgents in the field. Ultimately, military and security measures proved to be the (essential element) of Philippine pacification." [30] This assessment could probably be applied to all of the Philippines.

Filipino atrocities

To counter the bad press back in America, General Otis stated that insurgents tortured American prisoners in "fiendish fashion," some of whom were buried alive, or worse, up [to] their necks in anthills to be slowly devoured. Others were castrated, had the removed parts stuffed into their mouths, and were then left to suffocate or bleed to death.

It was also stated that some prisoners were deliberately infested with leprosy before being released to spread the disease among their comrades. Spanish priests were horribly mutilated before their congregations, and natives who refused to support Emilio Aguinaldo were slaughtered by the thousands. American newspaper headlines announced the

"Murder and Rapine"
by the
"Fiendish Filipinos"

General "Fighting Joe" Wheeler insisted that it was the Filipinos who had mutilated their own dead, murdered women and children, and burned down villages, solely to discredit American soldiers. [31]

Other atrocities included those by General Vicente Lukban, the Filipino commander who masterminded the surprise attack in the Balangiga Massacre, that killed over fifty American soldiers. Media reports stated that many of the bodies were mutilated. [32]

Sergeant Hallock testified in the Lodge committee [that] natives were given the water cure, "in order to secure information of the murder of Private O'Herne of Company I, who had been not only killed, but roasted and otherwise tortured before death ensued." [33]

Reporters and Red Cross accounts contradict Otis

During the closing months of 1899, Emilio Aguinaldo attempted to counter General Otis’s account by suggesting that neutral parties -- foreign journalists or representatives of the International Red Cross -- inspect his military operations. Otis refused, but Emilio Aguinaldo managed to smuggle in four reporters -- two English, one Canadian, and a Japanese into the Philippines.

The correspondents returned to Manila to report that American captives were "treated more like guests than prisoners," were "fed the best that the country affords, and everything is done to gain their favor." The story went on to say that American prisoners were offered commissions in the Philippine army and that three had accepted. The four reporters were expelled from the Philippines as soon as their stories were printed. [34]

Emilio Aguinaldo also released some American prisoners so they could tell their own stories. In a Boston Globe article entitled "With the Goo Goo’s" Paul Spillane described his fair treatment as a prisoner. Emilio Aguinaldo had even invited American captives to the christening of his baby and had given each a present of four dollars, Spillane recounted.

Naval Lieutenant J.C. Gilmore, whose release was forced by American cavalry pursuing Aguinaldo into the mountains, insisted that he had received "considerable treatment" and that he was no more starved than were his captors. Otis responded to these two articles by ordering the "capture" of the two authors, and that they be "investigated," therefore questioning their loyalty. [35]

When F.A. Blake of the International Red Cross arrived at Emilio Aguinaldo’s request, Otis kept him confined to Manila, where Otis’s staff explained all of the Filipinos' violations of civilized warfare. Blake managed to slip away from an escort and venture into the field. Blake never made it past American lines, but even within American lines he saw burned out villages and "horribly mutilated bodies, with stomachs slit open and occasionally decapitated." Blake waited to return to San Francisco, where he told one reporter that "American soldiers are determined to kill every Filipino in sight." [36]

Ratio of Filipinos wounded

The most conclusive evidence that the enemy wounded were being killed, came from the official reports of Otis and his successor, General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., which claimed fifteen Filipinos killed for every one wounded. In the American Civil War, the ratio had been five wounded for every soldier killed, which is close to historical norm. Otis attempted to explain this anomaly by the superior marksmanship of rural southerners and westerners who had hunted all their lives.

MacArthur added a racial twist, asserting that Anglo-Saxons do not succumb to wounds as easily as do men of "inferior races." [37]


In the south, Muslim Filipinos resisted until 1913 -- the so-called Moro rebellion. They were never part of Aguinaldo's movement. During this conflict, the Americans realized a need to be able to stop a charging tribesman with a single shot. To fill this need, the Colt M1911 Handgun was developed for its larger .45 caliber ammunition (45 ACP), resulting in additional stopping power.

English education and the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church was disestablished, and a considerable amount of church land was purchased and redistributed. However, the bulk of the land was quickly bought up by American companies with little going to Filipino peasants. [citation needed]

During the U.S. occupation, English was declared the official language, although the languages of the Philippine people were Spanish, Visayan, Tagalog, Ilokano, Pangasinan and other native languages. Also, six hundred American teachers were imported aboard the USS Thomas. The first task of the Thomasites was to reform the education system to one that maintained an anti-Spanish curriculum but glossed over existing American atrocities. [citation needed]

The English requirement barred many from political office and ensured a dependency on American administrators.


Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Philippine-American War

In the fall of 1899, [General Arthur] MacArthur, who was still loyal to General Otis, said to reporter H. Irving Hannock:

"When I first started in against these rebels, I believed
that Aguinaldo’s troops represented only a faction.
I did not like to believe that the whole population
of Luzon --
the native population that is --
was opposed to us
and our offers
of aid and good government.

"But after having come this far, after having occupied
several towns and cities in succession, and having been
brought much into contact with both insurrectos
and amigos,
I have been reluctantly compelled
to believe that the Filipino
masses are loyal
to Aguinaldo and the government
which he heads." [38]

Further reading

* Agoncillo, Teodoro A (1997). Malolos: The crisis of the republic. University of the Philippines Press. ISBN 9715420966. Kenton J. Clymer States "The book provides the best account to date of the inner dynamics of the Filipino side of the war." -- Review: Not so Benevolent Assimilation: The Philippine-American War, Reviews in American History Vol. 11, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 547-552

* Brands, H. W. (1992). Bound to Empire: The United States and the Philippines. Oxford University Press.

* Deady, Timothy K.; "Lessons from a Successful Counterinsurgency: The Philippines, 1899-1902" Parameters, Vol. 35, 2005

* Gates, John M. (1973). Schoolbooks and Krags: The United States Army in the Philippines, 1898-1902. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0837158184.

* Gates, John. "War-Related Deaths in the Philippines, 1898-1902", Pacific Historical Review 53:367+ (1983)

* Gates, John M., The US Army and Irregular Warfare, Chapter 3: The Pacification of the Philippines

* Linn, Brian McAllister (2000). The U.S. Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War, 1899-1902. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807849480.

* May, Glenn Anthony (1991). Battle for Batangas: A Philippine Province at War. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300048505.

* Miller, Stuart Creighton (1982). "Benevolent Assimilation": The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300026978. Kenton J. Clymer States "The War Miller describes is a more believable one than the one Gates pictures."

* Schirmer, Daniel B. (1972). Republic or Empire: American Resistance to the Philippine War. Schenkman. ISBN 087073105X.

* Schirmer, Daniel B. Stephen Rosskamm Shalom (1987). The Philippines Reader: A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship, and Resistance. South End Press. ISBN 089608275X.

* Shaw, Angel Velasco (2002). Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999. New York University Press. ISBN 0814797911.

* Smallman-Raynor, Matthew, and Andrew D Cliff. "The Philippines Insurrection and the 1902-4 cholera epidemic: Part I-Epidemiological diffusion processes in war" Journal of Historical Geography, v 24, n 1, January, 1998, p. 69-89

* T.A. Agoncillo / M.C. Guerrero, History of the Filipino People, Quezon City,1987, pp. 159

* Twain, Mark and Jim Zwick (1992). Mark Twain's Weapons of Satire: Anti-Imperialist Writings on the Philippine-American War. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0815602685.

* Zwick, Jim. Friends of the Filipino People Bulletin

* Zwick, Jim. Militarism and Repression in the Philippines

* Zwick, Jim. "Prodigally Endowed with Sympathy for the Cause:" Mark Twain's Involvement with the Anti-Imperialist League" (Ephemera Society of America (January 1, 1992) ASIN B0006R8RJ8

* Young, Kenneth Ray; The General's General: The Life and Times of Arthur MacArthur, Westview Press, 1994

Government and contemporary sources

* The Philippine "Lodge committee" hearings (A.K.A. Philippine Investigating Committee) and a great deal of documentation were published in three volumes (3000 pages) as S. Doc. 331, 57th Cong., 1st Session An abridged version of the oral testimony can be found in: American Imperialism and the Philippine Insurrection: Testimony Taken from Hearings on Affairs in the Philippine Islands before the Senate Committee on the Philippines--1902; edited by Henry F Graff; Publisher: Little, Brown; 1969. ASIN: B0006BYNI8

* See the extensive Anti-imperialist summary of the findings of the Lodge Committee/Philippine Investigating Committee on wikisource. Listing many of the attrocities and the military and government reaction.


Anonymous patfromloonyland said...

"bogan" is aussie (not ozzie) strine (slang) and it mneas this:

now thassa a short html tag, innit mate ?

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

Aussie ... they themselves, at least the younger ones, get a kick out of identifying Aus with Oz and spelling it Oz.

The best I can squeeze out of this neologism is that younger and leftie and Greenpeace-y ("Nuclear Free Pacific") Aussies are reacting to the older generation's decades of identifying with the USA and its thuggish and often not very helpful or intelligent Cold War imperialist tendencies, and want to re-identify themselves as living in an entirely different kind of utopian land which, very conveniently, L. Frank Baum provided in a fairy tale long ago and it rhymes, sort of, with "Aus."

And bogan, yup, i found the wikipedia definition and inserted it into my post

my planets Yobbo and Hoon are also Aussie/Ozzie slang. They are both uhhh Young Fellows who you pray to God will never date your daughter. They have greased pompadour hair and keep a pack of cigarettes rolled in a sleeve of their t-shirt. One of them, always get 'em mixed up, roars up and down in a noisy old hot rod car, and the other has no noisy old hot rod car and so merely stands around unemployed on streetcorners with his Yobbo and Hoon mates. Seems to me that Yobbos and Hoons are close taxonomic species to Bogans.

Blogger Siderite said...

Whoa! someone let out a lot of steam here. Good steam, too! (I almost said power to the people, lol)

Blogger Vleeptron Dude said...

[also left on Siderite's very interesting blog, which seems to be from Bucharest Romania]


Hiya Siderite!

Thanks for leaving a comment on my Vleeptron post about Assymetrical Warfare and the USA war to "pacify" the Philippines.

What were you Googling for that led you to my post?

I lost my editing control of Vleeptron for a while and started another blog, which is the one I post to now:

Please visit, hope you enjoy it. In particular, my worldwide news service, Agence-Vleeptron Presse, is always very proud of its coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest. How did Romania do in Helsinki? Did you sing about Love? (Did you sing in English?)

Is Ploesti still the refinery complex in the middle of huge oil deposits? Or is American Grandpa way out of date, as usual?

About oil, there's a Saudi saying:

My father rode a camel.
I drive a car.
My son flies a jet plane.
His son will ride a camel.

I speak a very old version of Romanian. It's a dialect from about 200 AD from some place called Dacia. I studied it in school, so I could talk to dead people. (But it lets me eavesdrop on Romanians on Internet Relay Chat.) Buna! Salut!

Look, I just woke up 5 minutes ago and am injecting coffee directly into my heart. But you have a really interesting blog, thanks for bringing it to my attention.

And yes, I have a lot of steam. And yes, POWER TO THE PEOPLE! (You happen to be talking to an Old Sixties Hippie.)

la rivedere!
Bob / Massachusetts USA


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