The successful Iraq.

The history behind current events.
March 19 2007 5:23 PM

The Successful Iraq

How the United States defeated an insurgency in the Philippines.

(Continued from Page 1)

News of both Samar and the cholera led to an outcry back in the United States. How could America, there to civilize the Filipinos, be responsible for such catastrophes? Senate hearings started in January 1902, and stretched into the spring. They were inconclusive, as were the courts martial of a number of soldiers involved in Samar, including Jacob Hurd Smith. With the winding down of the war, America lost interest, and Theodore Roosevelt, now president after McKinley's assassination the previous fall, was able to declare victory in July.

What does this tell us about today? Interestingly, many of the same issues that have dogged the current American campaign in Iraq dogged American efforts in the Philippines. These include the inability to recognize that the war was not over simply because we thought it should be over, the difficulty in adjusting to a new kind of war, the constant interaction of domestic politics and military affairs, and the divided command structure in the Philippines. And yet, the United States in the Philippines won not only the conventional war but the insurgency. Why?

Advertisement

The answer is relatively simple. The Americans, while they sought to win militarily, also worked to convince the Filipinos that there were advantages to being ruled by the United States. Actions such as the regularization of trade, the building of roads and railways, the revamping of the legal system, the constructing of hospitals and schools, and the awarding of amnesties to surrendering insurgents induced a substantial proportion of the population, revolutionaries, elites, and average Filipinos alike, to make their peace with the Americans. The counterinsurgency in the Philippines resembled a political campaign more than a military one, an election rather than a battle. It was successful enough that when, more than 40 years later, the son of Arthur MacArthur returned to the Japanese-occupied Philippines at the head of a vast American armada, Douglas MacArthur was greeted as a liberating savior. Victory, indeed.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.