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SWJED
12-10-2005, 01:28 PM
10 Dec. London Times op-ed - A Lesson About Torture, Half Century On (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1072-1918307,00.html).


...if Europeans who are worried about America’s treatment of Muslims wish to assess the true worth of mass torture in a time of terror, the atrocities committed by the French in Algeria between 1954 and the country’s independence in 1962 bear close examination.

France had far grander aims in Algeria than the United States has in Iraq. She intended to stay indefinitely in a country she maintained was actually part of France. In Algiers, French pieds noirs constituted the majority. Furthermore, the eight-year Algerian war was far bloodier. At least a third of a million died in it.

Yet, the ultimate French defeat did not appear inevitable when the insurgency began. In 1957, the so-called Battle of Algiers was decisively won and the insurgent FLN terrorist campaign was severely curtailed. This was achieved by a variety of tough measures directed at seizing control of the Casbah. Thousands of Arab youths were taken away for interrogation. Around 3,000 never re-emerged...

esbelch32
12-13-2005, 06:40 PM
I don't know if I am breaking some protocol by posting a link, but I figured since it pertained to the article above it might be useful.


...In Morocco in 1942, an air force officer, Captain Delmas, had warned Paul Aussaresses: "Do you know what you risk in entering the special services?"

"Yes, my captain, I risk being killed."

"My poor sir, when you are killed, you are relieved, because you may be tortured before you are blown away. Torture, you see, is less merciful than death."

Captain Paul Aussaresses subsequently was briefed by the Chief of Police of Algiers, in 1955.

"Imagine for an instant that you are opposed to the concept of torture and you arrest someone who is clearly implicated in the preparation of a terrorist attack. The suspect refuses to talk. You do not insist. A particularly murderous attack is launched. What will you say to the parents of the victims, to the parents of an infant, for example, mutilated by the bomb to justify the fact that you did not utilize all means to make the suspect talk?"

"I would not like to find myself in such a situation,” Aussaresses responded.

"Yes, but conduct yourself always as if you will, and you will see which is the most difficult: to torture a confirmed terrorist or explain to the parents of the victims that it is better to allow dozens of innocents to die, than to make one who is culpable suffer."

After a moment of meditation, Aussaresses cast aside his last reservations, concluding that no one had the right to judge him, even if his responsibilities forced him to conduct disagreeable actions, and he would never have any regrets.

Aussaresses, then 35 years old, was the intelligence official in charge of liquidating the Front Liberation Nationale (FLN). The FLN was conducting a savage insurrection that targeted the French colonists (Pied Noir) in Algeria. Many Pied Noir had already been terrorized, assassinated, or mutilated. ...

http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,SOF_0704_Torture,00.html

Jedburgh
12-13-2005, 07:11 PM
Ensure you get the full lesson, and not just selective aspects.

The issue of torture at that time caused huge fissures in the French Army. One general and several other senior officers resigned to protest methods they considered contrary to military ethics, disgraceful to the Army’s image, and, from the operational perspective, counterproductive because they drove Algerians to the FLN. The last point highlights the danger of this sort of "justification" for torture. In most cases, the tactical value of any info gained by torture - which has a high probability of being unreliable in the first place - is outweighed by the negative impact upon the strategic campaign and the resultant support it engenders for the bad guys.

A brief quote from Bernard Fall in an interview in '63 (http://www.ndu.edu/library/ic4/L63-109.pdf): One of the by-products of revolutionary war - to come back to the question the gentleman asked me about the French officers - is that after awhile not only the front lines get fuzzy (because there aren't any front lines), but your higher front lines, of what is morally acceptable and what is not, also get fuzzy. This is really the permanent danger to anyone who has to fight that kind of war. This is what led those French colonels to practice the same tactics which they practiced on the Algerians and Vietnamese, on their own government and people in France. This is a real danger factor. An army which has to fight a revolutionary war changes in character--it changes very seriously in character. This has not yet been studied, but it must be clearly recognized and is certainly worth the study.

Effective interrogation supporting counterterrorism is far more complex and difficult than everyday law enforcement interrogation or military PW interrogation in a conventional conflict. But torture does absolutely nothing to facilitate the effective collection of intelligence information in support of the strategic effort. In that context, it is counterproductive. That is the real lesson of Algeria.

esbelch32
12-13-2005, 07:54 PM
I agree with the points you have brought up Jedburgh, and hope that by posting the above article I haven't made myself out as condoning such practises. I thought some might be interested in one of the participants comments on the fighting there.

Aussaress actually published a book fairly recently, detailing what he saw and did in his time in Algeria. As a consequence, he was put on trial and stripped of military honors (retired rank and pension) and fined.

edit to add-

In reading the link you posted, Mr Fall actually suggests reading Larteguy's "The Centurions". He states that all officers in the story are real with names changed, and I have read that Ausseress is the source for a composite of one specific character in the book. And since that book has been brought up. I can't resist posting one of my favorite quotes-

"Have you noticed that in military history no regular army has ever been able to deal with a properly organized guerrilla force? If we use the regular army in Algeria, it can only end in failure. I'd like France to have two armies: one for display, with lovely guns, tanks, little soldiers, fanfares, staffs, distinguished and doddering generals, and dear little regimental officers who would be deeply concerned over their general's bowel movements or their colonel's piles: an army that would be shown for a modest fee on every fairground in the country.
The other would be the real one, composed entirely of young enthusiasts in camouflage battledress, who would not be put on display but from whom impossible efforts would be demanded and to whom all sorts of tricks would be taught. That's the army in which I should like to fight."

Jedburgh
12-16-2005, 05:12 PM
An interesting resource, regarding this topic, is the US Army's Vietnam Era interrogation field manual (published in 1969). It's available for download in two parts:

FM 30-15 Intelligence Interrogation (http://star.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?9py9LDKDDpxn@LArv6@U0HqFGKMW8.bnxz3R 01uL0w3o4q8oqNiBCcDoq9OVzgQRvfxZh42p9FvRlQ94VAw7RI WMatSh.4maM@AZw6l8iOA/1070317001A.pdf)

FM 30-15 Part II (http://star.vietnam.ttu.edu/cgi-bin/starfetch.exe?2fj.SnU7pcbBcMkM3DENThF@DS.9g5Ut7.5Y qnvdhJhm2lX5lQuCeJatBvjIwfhloX4GbYWGII4T9syQw4kHhz yetfMKQtMC9U4SKmzM.ls/1070317001B.pdf)

In the second link, Chapter 4, Interrogation Support for Stability Operations is of particular interest - our current FM 2-22.3 HUMINT Collector Operations does not go into this subject in the same degree of detail. In light of the topic of this thread, I'd like to quote a bit from Section 4-7, Insurgent Vulnerability to Interrogation:

Humane treatment of insurgent captives should extend far beyond compliance with Article 3, if for no other reason than to render them more susceptible to interrogation. The insurgent is trained to expect brutal treatment upon capture. If, contrary to what he has been led to believe, this mistreatment is not forthcoming, he is apt to become psychologically softened for interrogation. Furthermore, brutality by either capturing troops or friendly interrogators will reduce defections and serve as grist for the insurgent's propaganda mill.

esbelch32
12-17-2005, 12:17 PM
That is an interesting resource, thanks for posting the link.

It is clear that the torture of enemy prisoners is detrimental for multiple reasons. Creating the 'grist for the insurrgent's propaganda mill' is an effect that all of us have seen recently, over there (MidEast) and at home. This was true then (Algeria), as it is now. From the sidebar notes of the 'torture to prevent terrorism' article:


The French military won the war on the ground but lost in the political circles in France. The public, which heard of the wide use of torture and summary executions, launched violent mass demonstrations. In the aftermath of Vietnam and Algeria, France was threatened with civil war. In 1959, French President Charles de Gaulle decided to allow Algeria to become sovereign. The French generals organized a coup in 1961, demanding that "Algeria must stay French." The coup failed. The violent reactions in France to the unpopular war signaled its end in 1962.

I'm not arguing that at all.

While serving as a squad leader, I never had a problem enforcing the standard. What I did have a problem with, was getting my troops to understand why it was necessary. In talking with squad leaders from multiple units in OIF 1 & 2, I noted that this was not a phenomena restricted to my squad/platoon alone...not restricted to 'Joe'.

That is not to say that our military is out of control, but this is a real issue. In order affect change, we must be honest with ourselves. I've seen a lot in the news about this very subject recently. In a way, I am surprised, as I thought that our stance on torture was always very clear. At least, that's what I always took away from the ROE briefs.

Martin
12-17-2005, 06:47 PM
In a way, I am surprised, as I thought that our stance on torture was always very clear. I haven't been on the ground and haven't talked with enough people who has, to know how you/they think about this, but:

Would like to ask you though, and anyone else reading this: Do you think this has something to do with Soldiers associating these rules with the Geneva convention, which has pretty much only been upheld by the Allied forces, and that the convention was written in another time, for another type of conflict, and that the reality they meet on the ground does not resemble the rules written, at all? Then the Human Rights organizations that equate Guantanamo with the Gulags, while ignoring the dreadful acts of the terrorists and insurgents, all the while speaking for an agenda that is not really founded on the facts on the ground... dissoluting the moral they pledge to uphold. Of course, leaving no alternatives.

Basically, if the problem is, partially, who says torture is wrong, and how they motivate it?

Martin

Jedburgh
12-17-2005, 07:26 PM
Justifying the use of torture because terrorists are criminal scum and not a conventional enemy only brings us down to their level. To put this in context, think about how law enforcement deals with child molesters and serial killers all too often - just as great a blight upon the earth as any terrorist - yet they do not stoop to torture to wring out the details of their crimes.

Bluntly put, torture is both morally wrong and operationally ineffective. No matter the context. And it is very important for those who are not trained and experienced interrogators to get it into their heads that torture does not result in the collection of reliable intelligence information. There are certainly exceptions to this, but as a general rule it holds true.

Essentially, a source untrained in counter-interrogation techniques will say whatever you want when you reach a certain pain threshold - physical, psychological, or a combination. Not a reliable source. A source trained in counter-interrogation techniques (to include those who refuse to spout so much as a monosyllable under normal questioning methods) will state what he wants to when a believable threshold is reached. Disinformation or misdirection delivered in a believable manner, under significant duress is far more dangerous to us when integrated into current ops than than the information from the untrained source simply spitting out what you want to hear.

Of course, as we've been discussing, the use of torture detracts significantly from the legitimacy of the counterterrorism and/or counterinsurgency effort. The strategic effects of that cannot be overstated.

As I've already stated, effective interrogation supporting counterterrorism is far more complex and difficult than everyday LE interrogation or military PW interrogation in a conventional conflict/war of maneuver. To repeat myself yet again, torture does absolutely nothing to facilitate the effective collection of intelligence information in support of that effort. In the long-term, it is counterproductive.

The use of torture is indicative of poor supervision and poor training of interrogators - both of which boil down to a leadership failure. Without going into specifics, I'll just say that it takes a while to train an effective interrogator. Graduation from one of the LE or military courses available, or attending the Reid or any other contract courses on the market, does not produce an effective interrogator right off the bat. There is no substitute for experience - getting live feedback in working with real sources tempered with professional mentoring. Manipulative human communications takes time to refine to the point where an individual can deal effectively with the hard cases. Some people, no matter how much training they receive, or how hard they try, will never become effective interrogators. Its not something that is in everyone's nature to apply effectively.

Torture, on the other hand, is easy. In this context, torture is an act of desperation and an admission of failure on the part of the interrogator. Besides being a crime, that is....

From Joint Forces Quarterly: Guantanamo Bay: Undermining the Global War on Terrorism (http://www.ndu.edu/inss/Press/jfq_pages/editions/i39/i39_essaywin_03.pdf)

In addition to undermining the rule of law, the consequence of the policy at Guantanamo has been to fuel global anti-Americanism, which undermines U.S. influence and effectiveness, degrades the domestic support base, and denies the United States the moral high ground it needs to promote international human rights. It appears that these costs have far outweighed the operational benefits that the detainee operations have generated.
From Parameters: Six Floors of Detainee Operations in the Post 9/11 World (http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/05autumn/ayres.pdf)

There is good reason for the international community to agree upon more understandable and more stringent measures against unlawful combatants and terrorists in order to deter hostile forces from adopting such tactics. But we must not legitimize inhumane measures and debase ourselves by adopting anything like the tactics of the common enemies of mankind.
From Military Review: Defining Success at Guantanamo Bay: By What Measure? (http://usacac.leavenworth.army.mil/CAC/milreview/download/English/JulAug05/norwitz.pdf)

Success in the struggle against terrorism will be measured in generations. When future strategists look back on the early years of this decade, they will not judge Camp Delta on the relative value of intelligence reports but on humanitarian issues, how detainees were treated, the legitimacy of the trial process, whether laws reflected evolving definitions of “combatants”, and how detainees were ultimately dealt with when America dismantled terrorist groups. As we discover what the law will not allow, serious action to define what is permissible will follow. Justice—evidenced by whether criminal defendants were successfully defended or prosecuted, acquitted or convicted, fairly sentenced and safely incarcerated or repatriated—will be the enduring legacy of America’s actions at Guantanamo.

Martin
12-17-2005, 07:41 PM
(in case it was directed at me... otherwise, nevermind, and thanks for a good post)
Jedburgh, I did not mean to advocate the use of torture and am sorry if it appeared like that. It was no more than an inquiry to gain a bit more understanding for why torture has occured, and to ask if my thoughts might be on the right track. Which you answered well.

You make sense in your post(s).

Martin

esbelch32
12-17-2005, 11:45 PM
I cannot speak for interrogators. I have dropped many apprehended off at the BDE cell, but I have never engaged in interrogation. I have never allowed my men to engage in interrogation. As Jedburgh states, we were not trained to do such, and left it to those who were.

That said, I would like to expound on the troops views, and again I am only speaking of my own experinces within my own unit. Before we ever crossed the berm from Kuwait into Iraq, we received ROE briefs ad nauseum. More ROE briefs than you could shake a stick at. The point driven home: EPW's were to be treated humanely. Marked, separated, secured, all the stdff normally taught, but the emphasis...humanely. I fielded many questions from within the squad after such briefs- mainly concerning what would be expected of them in specific scenarios. You can imagine the expounding of ideas and situations that took place, but know that like any 8 men, they came up with all manner of questionable situations. I gave them the unwavering stance of 'mistreatment will not be tolerated'. I gave all the good reasons, many cited in above posts, for why such behavior could and would not be tolerated. This was accepted by the men, and as is said, we drove on.

6 months later, I had a squad that was reduced in size significantly (PCS and ETS if you can believe it) as well as an increased AOR. I do not flinch in writing such, as it is common knowledge now and available open source as 'history'...no longer an operational snapshot. Anyways, as violence escalated around us, my men became frustrated with what they perceived to be complacency on the part of the local civilians. The question of treatment of those apprehended, and truthfully, those neighboring and surely knowledgable of enemy activity, came up from within the squad again and again. I continued to emphasize all the answers already provided above. The lowering of our own morals, the strategic implications, the impetus to create new enemies...I hit all the major points and I am sure that I would have made many proud if they had cared to be there and listen.

As my men, and truthfully, myself, watched one of our squad go home missing a leg....as we watched the remains of 2 members of our unit get policed into an FLA...it became much more difficult to keep the men focused. It became difficult for me to remain focused. I did stay focused...but not without great soul searching. If this seems unprofessional, I can only say, it is the truth. As for my men, I am not certain that they all remained convinced of the basics we are discussing. I can say that while I was their squad leader, the standard was enforced.

You ask a hard question Martin and am glad you have asked it. Jedburgh, I honor your belief in the principles, and am truly on your side.

Jedburgh
12-18-2005, 03:36 AM
...as violence escalated around us, my men became frustrated with what they perceived to be complacency on the part of the local civilians. The question of treatment of those apprehended, and truthfully, those neighboring and surely knowledgable of enemy activity, came up from within the squad again and again. I continued to emphasize all the answers already provided above. The lowering of our own morals, the strategic implications, the impetus to create new enemies...I hit all the major points and I am sure that I would have made many proud if they had cared to be there and listen.

As my men, and truthfully, myself, watched one of our squad go home missing a leg....as we watched the remains of 2 members of our unit get policed into an FLA...it became much more difficult to keep the men focused. It became difficult for me to remain focused. I did stay focused...but not without great soul searching. If this seems unprofessional, I can only say, it is the truth. As for my men, I am not certain that they all remained convinced of the basics we are discussing. I can say that while I was their squad leader, the standard was enforced.
That you clearly recognized this effect and did your best to address it within your lane demonstrates your professionalism. You paint an excellent picture of the difficulties of counterinsurgency from the squad level. Only a soldier who has been on the ground and experienced it can appreciate it - someone else could read a dozen volumes on counterinsurgency that essentially boil down to what you just stated, but still not really appreciate the tactical leadership challenge it presents.

This type of operational environment is also extraordinarily difficult for the average HUMINT collector - whether working straightforward tactical interrogation, or the many varied missions of THTs in-country. They are your fellow soldiers, and they feel the same frustrations with the operational environment as the infantrymen. Not to mention that they also tend to receive far more pressure from above to produce while adhering to the standards of conduct we've been discussing.

However, effective mission focus for HUMINT collection requires putting aside those frustrations - even more so than it does for you and your soldiers. Because a HUMINTer deals with locals up close and personal across the spectrum from interrogation to elicitation, permitting personal emotions and frustrations to affect mission execution is death to effective collection. I remarked earlier that torture is a clear indicator of failure on the part of the interrogator. In this context, I am referring to a failure by the interrogator to keep his personal emotions and frustrations separate from execution of the task at hand. Sometimes its a damn difficult thing to do.

With HUMINT in the field, we also have the opposite problem of torture - the old "empathy vs sympathy" bit. Over the years I have seen many a HUMINTer, with "good people skills" slide across the line with a source from empathy to sympathy, losing that degree of separation and thus their effectiveness as a collector. Empathy, the understanding of an individual's perspective, is absolutely necessary in the effective application of manipulative human communications - sympathy, taking that emotional and psychological step towards a source, is also death to effective HUMINT. If an individual breaks down emotionally because a source has been murdered for speaking to the Americans, it may be human, but its not HUMINT. He needs a different job.

GorTex6
12-22-2005, 07:37 AM
"Demoralization of the enemy's forces is an important task. The most effective way to achieve it is by employing a policy of leniency toward the prisoners."
-Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice,David Galula(Veteran of Algeria, China, Greece, Southeast Asia)

GorTex6
12-22-2005, 08:27 AM
someone else could read a dozen volumes on counterinsurgency that essentially boil down to what you just stated,
From what I noticed, you would recieve a more positive reaction by throwing the volumes at their head. Nobody wants to give a ####(or at least the ones around me didn't)

Uncle Scary
12-22-2005, 08:28 AM
In 1978, Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro was kidnapped by members of the Red Brigade. When Italian General Della Chiesa was asked by subordinates if they could torture a few suspects who might know the whereabouts of Aldo Moro, the General replied, "Italy can survive the loss of Aldo Moro. It would not survive the introduction of torture."

Aldo Moro was later executed by the Red Brigades. Italy is still here, the Red Brigades are not.

lirelou
01-12-2006, 08:33 AM
Reverence the comment on Larteguy's "The Centurions" (and "Praetoriens"). The characters in the book are all composites. Thus Raspeguy is based largely upon Marcel "Bruno" Bigeard, but likewise includes bits of Langlais, Brechignac, and several other colourful airborne commanders. Julien Boisferas, the fictional 10th Colonial Para's intelligence officer, was partly based on Aussaresses, who knew Bigeard from their WWII FFI service, but also on Roger Trinquier and Decorse. The real Aussaresses served in a totally different regiment in Algeria. (Bigeard commanded the 3rd RPC, Trinquier was on the 10th Abn Div staff, but followed Bigeard into the 3rd RPC/RPIMa whereas Aussaresses served with the 11th Para "Choc' Regiment.) What Larteguy's two most excellent novels fails to capture is the success of the 3rd RPC/RPIMa (renamed in 1958) in converting captured "fells" to their cause end enlisting them into a 5th parachute rifle company within the 3rd RPIMa. You don't enlist former enemy combattants to your cause by torturing them. And their loyalty to the 3rd Colonial/Marine Paras included participating what was to have been a combat jump into Tunisia in 1961 (changed to airlanding at the last minute).

Which brings me to this point. Many French units were able to distinguish between terrorists, who targeted civiians with bombs, and enemy combattants, who fought openly against the French. And many of these same French units often included commando and partisan units composed of captured ALN cadred by an officer and a few really good NCOs who led these former "fells" on operations against the FLN infrastructure and ALN units in the field. A far better view than that in Larteguy's very excellent fiction can be found in such accounts as Jean Pouget's "Bataillon RAS", Henry-Jean Loustau's memoirs on Algeria (my apologies, title forgotten). The battle of Algiers was fought against terrorists who were targeting civilians. While I greatly respect Gen. Paris de la Bollardiere's moral principles, I do not condemn Aussaresses or the others who engaged in torture to break their way into the cells. They were trying to save innocent civilian lives, both Colon and Arab. The fact that they broke those clandestine cells speaks for the efficiency of their methods. But a contemporary eyewitness account I read long ago notes in an aside that those who often volunteered for services that required the application of torture were not the better elements of their units. Such methods were likely not applied across the spectrum. Otherwise the French would have had little success in recruiting former FLN for their partisan and commando units. Pouget (the model for Philippe Esclavier, and to whom Larteguy dedicicated The Centurions) is emphatic that captured ALN must be treated as combattants, and not as criminals. To extrapolate that experience, I would suggest that those Iraqi insurgents using car bombs and other devices to target U.S. Forces are legitimate combattants, while those who do so to target mosques, polling places, and other civilian targets are terrorists, despite the similarity of their TTP.

lirelou
01-13-2006, 07:43 AM
Just a follow-up to my previous. I ran through Erwan Bergot's bio of Bigeard last night for the battle of Algiers. Of interest, Bigeard emphasizes what an intelligence analyst would call the "pattern analysis" approach to cracking the cells. He lays out the problem that the police had in dealing with insurgents using the existing French legal code, and emphasizes that the Army was not going to be bound by rules of evidence or criminal procedure, and that they were not going to fail. Bigeard attributes his success in Algiers to the fact that his company commanders were given specific pieces of territory and challenged to ferret out the information needed to identify the FLN cells within his regimental area, which included the Casbah. Specifically, he had his intelligence officer prepare a briefing for the unit commanders which detailed all that was known about the FLN and its organization, and capturing that in an organizational diagram with blank spaces showing for persons unknown. The S-2 had gained his information from the Police records, but the individuals were at that time out on the street. At the briefing, Bigeard informed his commanders that it was their jobs to fill in the spaces on the chart, not the S-2's, and that they would be judged accordingly. He emphasized that all they had were the very lowest ranking members of the organization, and that the nature of the organization was that each man would know only the members of his cell, and with luck, perhaps a member of another cell. The cell leader would know the name only of his higher contact. But, with the information they had, they held the keys to filling in the blanks. The advantage of the Army over the police was that the Army, under martial law, could be far more flexible and much quicker to exploit intelligence. They did not need to go to a judge to get a search order, and the same commander who picked up reportable information was the same entity who would be reacting to it. The units subsequently fanned out through their assigned areas, and began bringing in suspects. Deprived of their access to a defense attorney, and in total ignorance of how long and under what conditions they would be held, many of the suspects began to drop snippets of information, which the units immediately followed up on. It was a laborious method, but it allowed his regiment to accumulate enough information to begin piecing a more comprehensive picture together, which in turn generated more operations, more suspects in custody,and more information. The end result was a picture accurate enough to allow a patterned analysis of the insurgents infrastructure, resulting in the arrest and neutralization of its leaders. In the short term, Massu's 10th Abn Div won the battle of Algiers, but Bigeard warned that the victory was only operational, and that enough of a structure had fled to allow the FLN to return and reconstitute their networks, thereby resuming operations. As I understand his take on torture, which he neither denies nor endorses, the issue of torture was greatly exaggerated by both the FLN and the government's enemies in order to discredit the Army and thus build the political consensus in French political circles necessary to prevent the Army from ever undertaking such operations again.

SWJED
05-14-2006, 08:40 AM
Commentary Magazine book review (http://www.commentarymagazine.com/article.asp?aid=12105073_1) - My Battle of Algiers (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0060852240/smallwarsjour-20/103-3213651-7944618?%5Fencoding=UTF8&camp=1789&link%5Fcode=xm2) by Ted Morgan. Book Review by Roger Kaplan.


A well-known journalist and biographer, Ted Morgan, born Sanche de Gramont, was as a young man a reluctant conscript in France’s last colonial war. Morgan arrived in Algeria in September 1956, two years into the gruesome and complex struggle that would put an end to France’s 130-year North African empire. Now, five decades later, he writes that the guerre d’Algérie, which Algerians call their revolution, is worth recalling because of its role in the invention of modern Arab terrorism. But he also means to come to terms with an experience that in his own eyes left him morally compromised, and that remains a subject of sharp political controversy.

Military historians and moral philosophers may quarrel about just what constitutes modern terrorism, Arab or otherwise. But the terrorism of the Algerian nationalist insurgents, which was deliberately aimed at civilians, seemed at the time unprecedented—more cruel and immoral, Albert Camus wrote, than anything envisioned, let alone carried out, by such earlier proponents of terrorism as the Russian nihilists or the Spanish anarchists.

The French response, too, was unprecedented. Torture is no doubt as old as warfare, but this was probably the first time a liberal-democratic regime permitted its own soldiers to apply such methods systematically. To restore security in the capital city of Algiers, French forces rounded up and tortured thousands of Muslims and a few score of their European allies, mostly members of the Algerian Communist party, often killing them in the process or afterward. For recalling this—without regret—in a memoir published five years ago, a retired French general officer named Paul Aussaresses was taken to court and found guilty of justifying torture, a crime in today’s France...

SWJED
07-01-2006, 12:06 PM
A Review of Algerian War of National Liberation Using the U.S. Army's Current Counterinsurgency Doctrine (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display-papers.cfm?q=50) - Colonel Karl Goetzke, US Army. US Army War College Strategy Research Project, 2005.


The Algerian War of National Liberation is a classic counter-insurgency operation. A rebellion arising from within the Algerian population was transformed into an insurgency by the incorporation of an armed political campaign. Underlying this rebellion were socio-economic factors that typically galvanize any political campaign (e.g., distribution of wealth, participation in political intercourse). The catalyst for rebellion and resistance was a popular desire to end the French occupation of Algeria. While the indigenous population of Algeria was overwhelmingly Islamic, religious ideology was not a primary mobilizing factor behind the rebellion, unlike the current insurgencies faced in the War on Terrorism.

This paper reviews the French Army experience during the Algerian War of National Liberation (“War of National Liberation”) in the context of the most recent U.S. Army doctrine on counterinsurgency. This review will focus on the French Army’s counterinsurgency techniques, tactics, and procedures (TTPs) using a framework that is drawn from the U.S. Army’s counterinsurgency doctrine established in Field Manual (Interim) 3-07.22, adopted in October 2004.

THESIS

Among the counterinsurgencies of the last 50 years, the French experience in Algeria is highly relevant to evaluation of current U.S. Army counterinsurgency doctrine to be followed in the War on Terrorism (WOT). Immediate similarities can be found between the counterinsurgency in Algeria and the counterinsurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq. Similarities include terrain, the TTPs of the current insurgents, and their underlying motivations and ideologies. Additionally, this was a major counterinsurgency involving a Western suppression of a rebellion arising in an Islamic population.

ROADMAP

Because many readers will have limited familiarity with the War of National Liberation, the paper provides a brief overview of the conflict. Subsequently, current U.S. Army doctrine on counterinsurgency is introduced. Using this doctrine as a framework, the TTPs used by the French Army are reviewed and then analyzed. This analysis seeks to establish two critical points: (1) Whether the current Army doctrine is validated by the French Army’s experience in Algeria; and (2) Whether the French Army’s experience can be applied to the current campaigns in the WOT.

Mike in Hilo
07-02-2006, 09:39 PM
Thanks for a useful paper. It does seem, though, that we've come full circle. Sure looks as if Fench TTPs were in accordance with FM 3-07.22 because the FM's drafter(s)--to their credit--likely included among their sources the venerable Modern Warfare, by Roger Trinquier, a detailed manual based on the Algerian experience....See especially references to appointment of local "block wardens" and discussion about census-based family ID cards, etc. (Col. Trinquier's nod to internal security practices then common in "Block" countries)--in the FM's Chapter 3, section on CM Ops, paras 3-27 and 3-31 and Appendix C, apparently echoing Col. Trinquier's Chapter 6.....

So what's my point?--To reiterate that Trinquier's classical work, once regularly mentioned in the same breath as "the Brits," also retains the capability to contribute in the current environment, and deserves to be read. I'm not alone in having suggested Modern Warfare for your reading list in the relevant thread, and point out again that the link to the book--in its entirety---can be found in the SWJ Reference Library by scrolling down in the section on Counterinsurgency-Insurgency.

Menning
11-28-2006, 06:27 PM
Two months ago I traveled to Paris and spent three hours interviewing a former French paratrooper who participated in the Battle of Algiers. Here is a part of my interview with him. I hope it is valuable.

On Oct. 4, 2006, Robert Rocher, now retired and living in Paris, discussed his role in the Battle of Algiers and the use of interrogation in counterinsurgency operations.

Question: “What unit were you assigned to during the Battle of Algiers and what was your rank?”
Answer: “I was assigned to the 2nd Regiment Parachute Colonial (RPC) as a lieutenant.”
Q: “What were your duties with the 2nd RCP?”
A: “We were in charge of intelligence work—gathering information. There was an intelligence officer who directed our actions. We arrested terrorism suspects and conducted interrogations. Intelligence is like fish, you have to use it when it is fresh.”
Q: “What was the size of the unit you commanded in Algiers?”
A: “I typically commanded 25-30 paratroopers. The paras were very flexible; sometimes I controlled as many as 50 soldiers.”
Q: “When you arrested someone, what happened to him?”
A: “When the person was still in good health, we took them to our headquarters and interrogated him. If the person was not well, we interrogated him directly on the spot.”
Q: “What interrogation methods did you use?”
A: “The interrogations were conducted verbally and sometimes a certain brutality was used. We used electric shock when necessary. All the interrogations happened as fast as possible, within 24 hours. We were trying to prevent acts of terrorism”
Q: “How often would people talk during interrogation without physical abuse?”
A: “Four out of five talked right away. In some cases we gained good intelligence immediately. Many of the people were very scared and had been forced to cooperate with the terrorists.”
Q: “Were these interrogation techniques used by other units in Algiers?”
A: “All the other units used similar techniques.”
Q: “What happened to the prisoners after they were interrogated?”
A: “We sent them to prison camps in the south of Algeria. It was often for their protection. If the FLN knew someone had been interrogated, the FLN would assume he talked to us and would kill him.”
Q: “Did you ever release anyone on purpose, knowing he would be killed for talking to you?”
A: “It happened.”
Q: “Could you have defeated the insurgency without using inhumane interrogation techniques?”
A: “No, for two reasons. We had to show the native Algerians we were stronger than the insurgents. The fanatical terrorists had the information we needed. They would not talk without brutality.”
Q: “If you used the information you gained from interrogating suspects who talked freely, without the use of torture, could you eventually have beaten the insurgents?”
A: “Those who spoke freely did not have good quality information. The ones who did not want to talk had the useful information. There are two levels of information and we needed the information from the fanatics.”
Q: “How did you arrest people for interrogation?”
A: “We always acted on intelligence. We never simply swept an area and detained all the residents.”
Q: “What else can you share about your counterinsurgency experience in Algeria?”
A: “Counterinsurgency is about creating confidence in the population. Obtaining information is key. Protecting the local population is important to make their life less difficult. When insurgencies prevail, civilization disappears. People are put into slavery by insurgent forces.”
Q: “What was the long-term impact of losing the Algerian War for the French military?”
A: “The army lost its morale after the war. Many officers resigned from the service and the loss fostered a corrosive attitude at the national level of government.”

SWJED
06-29-2007, 12:48 PM
29 June Christian Science Monitor - How to Fight Insurgents? Lessons from the French (http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0629/p01s02-wome.html) by Jill Carroll.


The Pentagon held a screening in 2003 of "The Battle of Algiers," a movie about French troops winning control of the Algerian capital. President Bush says that he recently read Alistair Horne's authoritative history on the war, "A Savage War of Peace." And last fall, Christopher Harmon, who teaches a course on the Algerian war at the Marine Corps University (MCU) in Washington, lectured marines in Iraq about the Algerian model.

Here in Algeria, some of those who participated in that war find little use in the comparison. But the US military – and the American public – continues to study the 1954-62 Algerian war of independence for lessons on how to fight the insurgency in Iraq.

"There are very, very few examples of modern insurgency, and for urban [insurgencies] it's basically this [war]," says Thomas X. Hammes, a US insurgency expert and author of a book on guerrilla warfare, "The Sling and the Stone."

While France ultimately withdrew from Algeria, "the French did much of the counterinsurgency very skillfully," says Mr. Harmon, who is the Kim T. Adamson Chair of Insurgency and Terrorism at MCU. "The American military has been intrigued by the case study for a long time ... it's a very good parallel."...

SteveMetz
06-29-2007, 12:55 PM
29 June Christian Science Monitor - How to Fight Insurgents? Lessons from the French (http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0629/p01s02-wome.html) by Jill Carroll.


I don't know what bothers me more. That Ms. Carroll doesn't know where the Marine Corps University is, or that the U.S. military wants to learn from Algeria. I think we already have that win the battles/lose the war schtick down pat.

Lastdingo
06-29-2007, 01:36 PM
I don't know what bothers me more. That Ms. Carroll doesn't know where the Marine Corps University is, ...

...that's one of the least important and least interesting things on earth. Especially for non-americans, such knowledge or lack of is so utterly uninteresting and does tell less than nothing about proficiency that I lack the words to describe it.

SteveMetz
06-29-2007, 01:41 PM
...that's one of the least important and least interesting things on earth. Especially for non-americans, such knowledge or lack of is so utterly uninteresting and does tell less than nothing about proficiency that I lack the words to describe it.


My point was that one expects basic fact checking from a major publication. If a story doesn't get something this simple correct, it causes readers to question the accuracy of other points.

Steve Blair
06-29-2007, 03:13 PM
Exactly. If one can't be bothered to verify such BASIC information, why should anyone trust the rest of the piece?

Jedburgh
10-12-2007, 03:52 PM
Moderator's Note 17th June 2012

This thread was renamed today alongside merging in a few threads after today's post (ends). There is a separate thread 'Algeria Again? Contemporary affairs':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2079


AFP, 10 Oct 07: French film breaks silence on Algerian war atrocities (http://www.metimes.com/storyview.php?StoryID=20071010-040503-7461r)

A new film described as France's Platoon tackles the savagery of the Algerian war, broaching a topic that, until recently, remained taboo, and helping France face the demons of its colonial past.

L'Ennemi Intime (Intimate Enemy) from director Florent-Emilio Siri is the first big-budget Hollywood-style film that combines action scenes and psychological drama about France's "dirty war" in Algeria from 1954 to 1962.

The film tells the story of idealistic young lieutenant Terrien, played by Benoit Magimel, who takes command of a desolate French army outpost high in the mountains of Kabylia.....

Added 2018 by Moderator, Wiki and then IMDB:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intimate_Enemies_(2007_film) and https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0825248/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv
(https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0825248/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv)

Jayhawker
01-01-2008, 07:04 PM
I suspect the guy who wrote the copy describing the film is toiling under the same old notion that the French have failed to face the truths in their past. I think the French are very capable of understanding the facts of Algeria. Beginning with the film, "The Battle of Algiers," (1966) to General Aussarresses' recent book describing what he did, the French have been naval gazing about this since de Gaulle ended the war. Among the French they face it differently of course, debating things fiercely at times, but it has certainly not been ignored nor has the topic been "taboo."

PeterJensen
03-07-2010, 04:28 PM
At the moment I’m reading ”The Battle of the Casbah. Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Algeria 1955-1957” written by general Paul Aussaresses, who has carried out missions in World War II and in Indochina behind Viet Minh lines and secretly in China to negotiate with the Chinese Nationalists. In January 1955 he was transfered to Algeria for the French foreign intelligence agency. Under instructions from the French Government he was the main covert figure in the counter-terrorist struggle against the FLN (National Liberation Front).

In the book Aussaresses desribes how he defeated the FLN insurgency and annihilated innumerable terror cells in the Casbah of Algiers by a combination of intelligence work, executions, and torture. Aussaressess was all the time following the orders of the French government in Paris and their policy of all-out counter-terrorism.

Aussaressess was interviewed on CBS 60 minutes in 2002, where he actually recommended the use of torture against Al-Qaeda after 11/9.

Here is an extract from the foreword of his book:


What I did in Algeria was undertaken for my country in good faith, even though i didn’t enjoy it. One must never regret anything accomplished in the line of a duty one believes in. Only too often today condemning others means acquiring a certificate of morality. I don’t attempt to justify my actions, but only to explain that once a country demands that its army fight an enemy who is using terror to compel an indifferent population to join its ranks and provoke a repression that will in turn outrage international public opinion, it becomes impossible for that army to avoid using extreme measures. (p.xiii)

From French television a short interview with Aussaresses (In French) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzHGIXnRCK)
An another interview:
(http://www.mefeedia.com/entry/2926696)

I’m not an advocate of torture, but a country is forced to consider how far it is willing to go in fighting terrorists and protect itself against that evil.

Schmedlap
03-07-2010, 05:58 PM
... once a country demands that its army fight an enemy who is using terror to compel an indifferent population to join its ranks and provoke a repression that will in turn outrage international public opinion, it becomes impossible for that army to avoid using extreme measures”. (p.xiii)

Saying it doesn't make it true.

davidbfpo
03-07-2010, 08:40 PM
PeterJensen,


(Final paragraph)I’m not an advocate of torture, but a country is forced to consider how far it is willing to go in fighting terrorists and protect itself against that evil.The dilemmas faced by state agents in an insurgency, or an emergency have been discussed on SWC many times before. Notably in the threads of rendition, torture, water boarding and more. Try this one on interrogation methods as a taster:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=287

The Algerian war does feature too and a quick search on Aussaresses found several comments too - including his jailing after his book was published.

Searching on Algeria shows many threads, using Algiers gets fewer.

M-A Lagrange
03-08-2010, 06:56 AM
I just would like to remind everybody that General Aussaress is the French general Torture. He is a shame for the french army and has been dishonored from several of his distinctions.
The rehabilitation of France during Algeria or Indochina does not pass through the rehabilitation of Aussaress and his methodes.
Yes the use of terror by France did have some results but it also took 50 years for the French society to be able to face it.
Many of the soldiers who served did not accept the military policy of France.
In the long run it had more counter productive effects than positive onces.
Algeria is an exemple of what to do but ALSO of what NOT to do.
And finaly, do not forget that in Algeria, despite having a lower juriditial rank, algerians were french. It was a war inside the nation between its citizen at the very begining.
Saying this, I am proud Algerian got their independance and they diserved it.
But I am not really proud that Aussaress became a model for any one.

davidbfpo
03-15-2010, 04:25 PM
Cross refer to this SWJ Blog article: http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/french-counterinsurgency-in-algeria

French Counterinsurgency in Algeria: Forgotten Lessons from a Misunderstood Conflict by by Commander H. Canuel (Canadian Navy).

Seabee
06-05-2010, 04:47 AM
I just would like to remind everybody that General Aussaress is the French general Torture. He is a shame for the french army and has been dishonored from several of his distinctions.



I think that is unfair to Aussaresses, inspite of the fact that he is a bit of a monster.

His "work" was accepted and condoned by all that served with him.

His "crime" (to the French) is not that he tortured... but that he speaks openly about it.

It is not realistic to say that many soldiers did not accept the policies of the French Military... for one simple reason... explained to me by an ex Commando Marine who served for years in Algeria.

The troops on the "sharp end" were always a minority, the mass of the national servicemen doing what contractors do today. Even National Service infantry did not serve in sectors like the Colonial, Paras, Legion, Cdo marine.

I think it can be assumed that the mentality of a Legionnaire/Para/Colo/Cdo Marine and an unwilling conscript are slightly different.

Hypocrisy abounds....Even men like Bigeard distance themselves from Aussaresses... and if I am not mistaken Bigeard was the first guy to take prisonners over the ocean and throw them into the sea ("Bigeard's shrimps")

To say what Aussaress did was despicable is one thing... to say he shames the army is a totally different ballgame. He is simply the guy who broke ranks and opened his mouth... he does not shame the army, he shamed the "brotherhood".

When I was in the legion I met the tail end of legionnaires etc who served in Algeria, so although I am no expert... I "know"

If you want a real hero... a guy who broke the ranks because of the torture, instead of breaking the ranks by admitting to it.... take Jacques de Bollardiere (the below link no longer works in September 2018 - added by Moderator. So try this:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacques_P%C3%A2ris_de_Bollardi%C3%A8re)

http://legionetranger.org/YEARBOOK/bolladiere.html
(http://legionetranger.org/YEARBOOK/bolladiere.html)

an absolute war hero... who opposed torture and was jailed DURING the war for speaking about it then.

It is ironic that de Bollardiere was the bad guy for being against it then... and Aussaress is the bad guy for admitting to it now....

Seabee
06-05-2010, 05:11 AM
The following 2 in sequence show interviews with Gen A. and a man he tortured....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhuzNL5jWDw&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88Al4--lQ9U&feature=related

He is interesting to listen to....

M-A Lagrange
06-09-2010, 02:46 PM
Seabee,

I do not disagree with your comments. I do also know quite well few people who served during the war in Algeria.
Aussaresse is no hero, no monster but a shame. Biggear was no hero, no monster but a shame too. The opposition to torture was not an openly discussed debate and several officers I knew were not that proud of what they did, knew, and did not denounce. Especially after having fought a previous war against the nazi regime. War crimes stays war crimes...:(:o

My point is that Aussaresse is defenitively not the entry point for french military doctrine and practice of COIN in Algeria, called counter revolutionary war at that time.
Several counter revolution war manual were published and are quite relevant today as yesterday.
I would prefere to look at the french practice of COIN in Algeria that way rather than through Aussaresse. I personally do not buy the ticking clock legitimacy for torture.

jps2
06-09-2010, 03:53 PM
You have to put things in perspective and era :

France have been kicked out Indochine/Vietnam few years ago
most of Officers in duty during Algeria war have been POW and retain during weeks/months by NVT
Algeria was a department of France, something like Alaska for USA
Many French native born have leaved France to begin a new life in Algeria and some where there from decades.
There was still a distance between native French born and locals
Religions was not a gathering factor
Politics asked military to do a police job, searching for armed opponents. The will of results leads some officers, warrants and NCO to cross the line between legal and criminal acts.

There is a proverb in French saying something like "Only those that does not act does no mistakes".

M-A Lagrange
06-09-2010, 06:52 PM
Yes, and there is this one:
la raison d'Etat a des raisons que la raison ignore (The State obligations has reasons that the right/reason ignores).
Does not change anything. Apologizing Assaresses and the "others" is not the best way to look at what was done. (not even talking about participation of some of them to OAS and the generals coup...)
The French army choose to remember Gen Massu because he had regrets and could say he did mistakes. Mistakes are here to makes learn. I prefere to think that Algeria has been a painful learning process for the Frenh army.


There are a lot to learn but not on the side of systematic use of torture and collective punishment.

But your first point is one I already mentioned previously in a comment on Algeria war: this was a war among us. And because of that, it was closer to a civil war than to an issurection against an host government supported by external military forces.

jmm99
06-09-2010, 07:10 PM
I'm on record here at SWC as being a "softie" on interrogation (Comments on methodology (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=90806&postcount=30)) - and like Jedburgh (here (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=90915&postcount=38)), I am more impressed by brains over brawn methodologies in this area (here (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=90944&postcount=39) and here (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=92999&postcount=40)).

I wouldn't advocate the French system; but one should be aware of the argument that sought to justify it. That you will find in a freebie Roger Trinquier (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Trinquier), Modern Warfare: A French View of Counterinsurgency (http://www.cgsc.edu/carl/resources/csi/trinquier/trinquier.asp) (forward by Bernard Fall).

There (in Chap. 4, Terrorism), Trinquier makes his argument for the use of torture as one of the tools in "modern warfare". I believe it is important enough (for purposes of discussion) to lay out in full (bolded type by JMM):


Quite clearly, terrorism is a weapon of warfare, and it is important to stress it.

Although quite old, until recently it has been utilized only by isolated revolutionaries for spectacular attacks, principally against high political personalities, such as sovereigns, chiefs of state, and ministers. Even in Indochina, where guerrillas achieved such a remarkable degree of development that it permitted the Vietminh finally to win, terrorism has never been systematically employed. For example, the plastic bomb attacks outside the municipal theater in Saigon, which caused the greatest number of victims, were not carried out by the Vietminh (see Graham Greene's book The Quiet American).

The terrorist should not be considered an ordinary criminal. Actually, he fights within the framework of his organization,. without personal interest, for a cause he considers noble and for a respectable ideal, the same as the soldiers in the armies confronting him. On the command of his superiors, he kills without hatred individuals unknown to him, with the same indifference as the soldier on the battlefield. His victims are often women and children, almost always defenseless individuals taken by surprise. But during a period of history when the bombing of open cities is permitted, and when two Japanese cities were razed to hasten the end of the war in the Pacific, one cannot with good cause reproach him.

Yassef Saadi, chief of the Autonomous Zone of Algiers (Z.A.A.), said after his arrest: "I had my bombs planted in the city because I didn't have the aircraft to transport them. But they caused fewer victims than the artillery and air bombardments of our mountain villages. I'm in a war, you cannot blame me."

The terrorist has become a soldier, like the aviator or the infantryman.

But the aviator flying over a city knows that antiaircraft shells can kill or maim him. The infantryman wounded on the battlefield accepts physical suffering, often for long hours, when he falls between the lines and it is impossible to rescue him. It never occurs to him to complain and to ask, for example, that his enemy renounce the use of the rifle, the shell, or the bomb. If he can, he goes back to a hospital knowing this to be his lot. The soldier, therefore, admits the possibility of physical suffering as part of the job. The risks he runs on the battlefield and the suffering he endures are the price of the glory he receives.

The terrorist claims the same honors while rejecting the same obligations. His kind of organization permits him to escape from the police, his victims cannot defend themselves, and the army cannot use the power of its weapons against him because he hides himself permanently within the midst of a population going about its peaceful pursuits.

But he must be made to realize that, when he is captured, he cannot be treated as an ordinary criminal, nor like a prisoner taken on the battlefield. What the forces of order who have arrested him are seeking is not to punish a crime, for which he is otherwise not personally responsible, but, as in any war, the destruction of the enemy army or its surrender. Therefore he is not asked details about himself or about attacks that he may or may not have committed and that are not of immediate interest, but rather for precise information about his organization. In particular, each man has a superior whom he knows; he will first have to give the name of this person, along with his address, so that it will be possible to proceed with the arrest without delay.

No lawyer is present for such an interrogation. If the prisoner gives the information requested, the examination is quickly terminated; if not, specialists must force his secret from him. Then, as a soldier, he must face the suffering, and perhaps the death, he has heretofore managed to avoid. The terrorist must accept this as a condition inherent in his trade and in the methods of warfare that, with full knowledge, his superiors and he himself have chosen. Once the interrogation is finished, however, the terrorist can take his place among soldiers. From then on, he is a prisoner of war like any other, kept from resuming hostilities until the end of the conflict.

In France during the Nazi occupation, members of the Resistance violated the rules of warfare. They knew they could not hide behind them, and they were perfectly aware of the risks to which they were exposing themselves. Their glory is to have calmly faced those risks with full knowledge of the consequences.

It would be as useless and unjust to charge him with the attacks he was able to carry out, as to hold responsible the infantryman or the airman for the deaths caused by the weapons they use. According to Clausewitz:


War . . . is an act of violence intended to compel an opponent to fulfill our Will.... Self-imposed restrictions, almost imperceptible and hardly worth mentioning, termed usages of International Law, accompany it without impairing its power. Violence . . . is therefore the means; the compulsory submission of the enemy to our will is the ultimate object. . . . In such dangerous things as war, the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst. As the use of physical power to the utmost extent by no means excludes the cooperation of the intelligence, it follows that he who uses force unsparingly, without reference to the bloodshed involved, must obtain a superiority if his adversary uses less vigor in its application. . . .To introduce into the philosophy of war itself a principle of moderation would be an absurdity.

These basic principles of traditional warfare retain all of their validity in modern warfare.

Although violence is an unavoidable necessity in warfare, certain unnecessary violence ought to be rigorously banned. Interrogations in modern warfare should be conducted by specialists perfectly versed in the techniques to be employed.

What runs through Trinquier's argument is a quasi-theological theme - by a positive response to interrogation (even if that response has to be obtained via violence), the terrorist becomes redeemed and then can be treated as a soldier. Now, I could argue against Trinquier's argument both on legal and theological grounds; but that would just eat up more ink than it justifies.

My own bottom line is that, as a default position, terrorists should be considered more akin to combatants than criminals; but that the possibility of criminal prosecutions should be reserved. That is the US view (more or less - since some members in both the Bush II and Obama administrations have clouded the matter). Other countries reject the US view that an AUMF allows wartime (armed conflict) standards to be used with respect to terrorists.

Of course, US military standards do not allow torture (even of terrorists); and (BTW) summary executions have been outlawed at least since the 1940 FM 27-10 (rev 1944) under which my dad saw combat.

My narrow point here is that there was much more behind the French officers' transitory acceptance of torture in Algeria than the need to get results - although that was a factor, especially when the war was going badly.

As to M-A's "I personally do not buy the ticking clock legitimacy for torture", it is difficult to have a rational discussion since the hypothetical is usually phrased in terms of a nuclear device that will kill millions of people, etc.

I'd posit a simpler set of facts. A person is at a switch that controls an IED. which will probably kill one or more persons if it blows (that is your belief). You are armed and can prevent the switch from being flipped by killing the person at the switch. You have a reasonable belief that the person will flip the switch. So far as I know, that situation comes within the justified homicide doctrine allowing deadly force to be used to protect the life of another person.

Change the facts a bit - instead of a switch, the IED blows unless a code sequence is sent to it. Should you use violence (up to and including deadly force) to obtain the code sequence ? If "no", then you can shoot the guy at the switch, but you cannot torture the guy with the code sequence. Is this a disconnect in overall logic ?

Of course, if you are of the Hanns Joachim Scharff (http://www.amazon.com/Interrogator-Joachim-Luftwaffe-Schiffer-Military/dp/0764302612) school of interrogation, you might well argue that violence is not the better answer - and that "enhanced interrogation" is as (or more) likely to lose information as to gain information.

In any event, once you move away from the guy at the switch (who can be stopped by a bullet to the brain stem), the issues get more complex and darker.

Regards

Mike

jps2
06-09-2010, 07:43 PM
Yes, and there is this one:
la raison d'Etat a des raisons que la raison ignore (The State obligations has reasons that the right/reason ignores).
Does not change anything. Apologizing Assaresses and the "others" is not the best way to look at what was done. (not even talking about participation of some of them to OAS and the generals coup...)
The French army choose to remember Gen Massu because he had regrets and could say he did mistakes. Mistakes are here to makes learn. I prefere to think that Algeria has been a painful learning process for the Frenh army.


There are a lot to learn but not on the side of systematic use of torture and collective punishment.

But your first point is one I already mentioned previously in a comment on Algeria war: this was a war among us. And because of that, it was closer to a civil war than to an issurection against an host government supported by external military forces.
I did not apologize anyone.
I only try to tell that these guys was different than we are : most of them was born during or just after WWII, their scale was different than ours.
Judging facts 45 years old, knowing the issue is biased.
Yes, they cross the red line, but i will not be in that sort of situation : requested to have quick results, doing a job you're not train/prepare to assume, seeing civilians of your own country exposed to IED, without other alternative than doing the dirty job or dismiss.

I do agree about the learns we have to get from Algeria : Police/Counter-Terrorism is not a job for Army.

John T. Fishel
06-09-2010, 07:50 PM
D'acord.

JohnT

Rex Brynen
06-09-2010, 07:53 PM
But your first point is one I already mentioned previously in a comment on Algeria war: this was a war among us. And because of that, it was closer to a civil war than to an issurection against an host government supported by external military forces.

I'm not sure, however, that the majority of Algerian (Muslims) saw it this way. Indeed, a variety of French tactics--from torture through to population resettlement--progressively framed the conflict in Algerian minds as a war of national liberation against foreign occupation, whatever the success of those tactics in breaking the military powerof the FLN.

Its is, of course, entirely possible to "win" the battles of counterinsurgency and yet lose the war.

JMA
06-09-2010, 08:53 PM
PeterJensen,
The dilemmas faced by state agents in an insurgency, or an emergency have been discussed on SWC many times before. Notably in the threads of rendition, torture, water boarding and more. Try this one on interrogation methods as a taster:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=287

The Algerian war does feature too and a quick search on Aussaresses found several comments too - including his jailing after his book was published (from: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=770.)

Have a look at this thread: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=1550

Searching on Algeria shows many threads, using Algiers gets fewer.

The methods required to gain immediate intel probably depend on the war and the enemy.

While I am certain we had clowns who played the strong arm stuff it was amazing that among ZANLA (Mugabe's crowd) who believed not without reason that they would not be taken prisoner how a cigarette and a cup of tea worked wonders. Amazing that within a few days they would be back in the field on our side helping to get their mates of a few days back killed. (not sure their weapon had a firing pin for the first few ops though - there was one TT (turned terr as we called them) who got into a punch up with his old mates and was really pissed when his weapon did not work)

J Wolfsberger
06-09-2010, 09:10 PM
First, aren't we conflating very different situations? In some instances, a political opponent is tortured to obtain a false confession in support of a show trial. In others, torture is used to obtain time critical tactical information. Should these two be considered together? The answer may very well turn out the same, but it I am not certain that result should be assumed.

Second, all of us, or nearly so, subscribe to the moral principle that deliberately inflicting pain is morally wrong. We also subscribe to the moral principle that it is morally proper, in fact laudable, to prevent the death or injury of innocents. When we discuss military use of torture, at least in the tactical environment, we seem (at least to me) to be overlooking, or ignoring, or avoiding, the moral dilemma presented by the conflict of these two principles.

I wasn't there, charged with the responsibility for protecting the citizens in Algeria. What I know of the conflict comes principally from the writing of Jean Larteguy and Alistair Horne. I won't assert one way or the other whether Gen. Aussaresses did or did not do the right thing.

But I am automatically suspect of any judgment that fails, or refuses, to take into account the moral dilemma he faced.

JMA
06-09-2010, 11:30 PM
Second, all of us, or nearly so, subscribe to the moral principle that deliberately inflicting pain is morally wrong.

You go tell a Marine Drill Sgt that inflicting physical pain is morally wrong ;)

No seriously, I don't think we should assume that all "duress" is necessarily torture.

I believe most intelligent people will cooperate once they have the alternative carefully and graphically explained to them. Is that torture?

M-A Lagrange
06-10-2010, 12:20 PM
Well, let's look at Algeria in a large and holistic manner. This war had several aspects and, at least in France, we are looking at it for what it was just now.
1) A war among us: Algeria war was fought on Algeria and France soil. Algerians and French people took part of it on both sides (les porteurs de valises du FNL). Police operations and FNL operations took place both in Algeria and in France (ask my father how was Boulevard de la Chapelle or Nanterre at that time). Police repression occured in France and in Algeria (Mr Bousquet, Prefet of Paris, was a good handy man in throwing people in the Seine).
2) The COIN side: part from the extrem theorisation from Trinquier and some others and Mr A apologie for war crimes, several SOP and doctrines that came out from Algeria war are exactly the ones put in place nowadays. And from that there is to comment and probably learn.
3) the military rebellion and the racist temptation of OAS... No comments.

In many aspect, this war was extremely different from the ones fought nowadays in Afghanistan and Irak. Saying this, I'll be glade to discuss the similarities and differences between the Algeria counter revolutionary and actual COIN practices.

JMA
06-10-2010, 12:47 PM
Well, let's look at Algeria in a large and holistic manner. This war had several aspects and, at least in France, we are looking at it for what it was just now.
1) A war among us: Algeria war was fought on Algeria and France soil. Algerians and French people took part of it on both sides (les porteurs de valises du FNL). Police operations and FNL operations took place both in Algeria and in France (ask my father how was Boulevard de la Chapelle or Nanterre at that time). Police repression occured in France and in Algeria (Mr Bousquet, Prefet of Paris, was a good handy man in throwing people in the Seine).
2) The COIN side: part from the extrem theorisation from Trinquier and some others and Mr A apologie for war crimes, several SOP and doctrines that came out from Algeria war are exactly the ones put in place nowadays. And from that there is to comment and probably learn.
3) the military rebellion and the racist temptation of OAS... No comments.

In many aspect, this war was extremely different from the ones fought nowadays in Afghanistan and Irak. Saying this, I'll be glade to discuss the similarities and differences between the Algeria counter revolutionary and actual COIN practices.

... but you say nothing of the excesses of the other side?

M-A Lagrange
06-10-2010, 03:56 PM
... but you say nothing of the excesses of the other side?

JMA, sorry but for me the excess of the other side are no excuses, in fact detailing excess of any sides are not interesting just not to do lessons. I do not like the idea that excess done by any sides during Algeria war could be used to legitimate illegal actions. France was on the wrong side of History…
My point was just to illustrate the fact that it was a war fought in Algeria and in France.

But, for example, the problematic of “village en demi pension” (occupied during the day by the French forces and during the night by FNL) is interesting and solutions found or their absence to fight against shadow insurgent government could be interesting. :D

JMA
06-11-2010, 05:38 AM
JMA, sorry but for me the excess of the other side are no excuses, in fact detailing excess of any sides are not interesting just not to do lessons. I do not like the idea that excess done by any sides during Algeria war could be used to legitimate illegal actions. France was on the wrong side of History…
My point was just to illustrate the fact that it was a war fought in Algeria and in France.

But, for example, the problematic of “village en demi pension” (occupied during the day by the French forces and during the night by FNL) is interesting and solutions found or their absence to fight against shadow insurgent government could be interesting. :D

If one is in any way unbiased (or interested only in human rights angle) one would put both sides of the argument and explain both sets of excesses so as to gain context. Why ignore the excesses of the other side? By doing so it gives the impression that you condone those actions and choose to focus only on those of the French. Quite honestly it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

M-A Lagrange
06-11-2010, 07:01 AM
From Wiki:


Philippeville 1955:
The FLN adopted tactics similar to those of nationalist groups in Asia, and the French did not realize the seriousness of the challenge they faced until 1955, when the FLN moved into urbanized areas. "An important watershed in the War of Independence was the massacre of Pieds-Noirs civilians by the FLN near the town of Philippeville (now known as Skikda) in August 1955. Before this operation, FLN policy was to attack only military and government-related targets. The commander of the Constantine wilaya/region, however, decided a drastic escalation was needed. The killing by the FLN and its supporters of 123 people, including 71 French, including old women and babies, shocked Jacques Soustelle into calling for more repressive measures against the rebels. The government claimed it killed 1,273 guerrillas in retaliation; according to the FLN and to The Times magazine, 12,000 Algerians were massacred by the armed forces and police, as well as Pieds-Noirs gangs.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algeria_War


Paris 1961:
Despite these raids, 4,000 to 5,000 people succeeded in demonstrating peacefully on the Grands Boulevards from République to Opéra, without incident. Blocked at Opéra by police forces, the demonstrators backtracked. Reaching the Rex cinema (at the same site as the Rex Club on the current "Grands Boulevards"), the police opened fire on the crowd and charged, leading to several deaths. On the Neuilly bridge (separating Paris from the suburbs), the police detachments and FPA members also shot at the crowd, killing some. Algerians were thrown into and drowned in the Seine at points across the city and its suburbs, most notably at the Saint-Michel bridge in the centre of Paris and near the Prefecture of Police, very close to Notre Dame de Paris.
"During the night, a massacre took place in the courtyard of the police headquarters, killing tens of victims. In the Palais des Sports, then in the "Palais des Expositions of Porte de Versailles", detained Algerians, many by now already injured, systematic victims of a 'welcoming committee'. In these places, considerable violence took place and prisoners were tortured. Men would be dying there until the end of the week. Similar scenes took place in the Coubertin stadium... The raids, violence and drownings would be continued over the following days. For several weeks, unidentified corpses were discovered along the banks of the river. The result of the massacre may be estimated to at least 200 dead."[
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_massacre_of_1961


[B]Oran 1962:
On the morning of July 5, 1962, the day Algeria became independent, hundreds of armed people entered European sections of the city, and began attacking civilians. At the time Oran had the country's highest percentage of residents of European heritage. The violence, which lasted several hours, included lynching and acts of torture, was ultimately stopped by the deployment of French Gendarmerie.Estimates of the total casualties vary widely. Local newspapers at the time[3] declared that 1500 were killed. Dr. Mostefa Naït, the post independence director of the Oran hospital center, claims that 95 persons, including 20 Europeans, were killed (13 stabbed to death) and 161 people injured. Other sources claim that as many as 3500 persons were killed or disappeared. 153 French residents are listed at the virtual memorial website. No effort was made to stop the massacre either by the Algerian police or by the 18,000 French troops of General Katz who were still in the city at that time. Orders from Paris were "do not move," leaving Europeans in Oran unaided. The FLN took control of the city shortly afterward.Many French residents believed that the massacre was an expression of deliberate policy by the FLN, embittering them and spurring the exodus of pieds-noirs, nearly a quarter million of whom fled the city in a matter of weeks, leaving it two-thirds empty and economically crippled.At the 1963 trial of Jean Bastien-Thiry, who attempted to assassinate President de Gaulle, defence lawyers referred to the Oran massacre and claimed that Bastien-Thiry's act was justified because de Gaulle had caused a "genocide" of the European population of Algeria.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oran_massacre_of_1962


The career of Maurice Papon as Head of Paris' police force in the 1960s and Minister of Finance under Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's presidency in the 1970s, suggests that there was institutional racism in the French police until at least the 1960s. In fact, Papon was not charged and convicted until 1997-98 for his World War II crimes against humanity in being responsible in the deportation of 1,560 Jews, including children and the elderly, between 1942 and 1944.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_massacre_of_1961

Quite honestly, what ever angle you look at it, it does leave a dirty taste in the mouth.

JMA
06-11-2010, 07:28 AM
From Wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algeria_War


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_massacre_of_1961

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oran_massacre_of_1962


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_massacre_of_1961

Quite honestly, what ever angle you look at it, it does leave a dirty taste in the mouth.

Maurice Papon was convicted of the 1961 Paris massacre. Who has been prosecuted for the Oran massacre of 1962?

I appreciate that after the French surrender/capitulation in the Évian Accords French concerns were to cleanse itself rather than be concerned about the acts of others. However, maybe 50 years on the emotions have settled to the extent that we can deal with history in a more even handed manner?

M-A Lagrange
06-11-2010, 02:05 PM
JMA,

Unfortunately you have it wrong. We did not trial Papon for what he did in Algeria but for what he did during WWII. Therefore asking for the otherside to be clean is irrelevant.
We, actually, are starting to look at it.:o

But this being said, as I said previously, several issues could be interresting to look at.

JMA
06-11-2010, 06:03 PM
JMA,

Unfortunately you have it wrong. We did not trial Papon for what he did in Algeria but for what he did during WWII. Therefore asking for the otherside to be clean is irrelevant.
We, actually, are starting to look at it.:o

But this being said, as I said previously, several issues could be interresting to look at.

Yes I regret that error. I do not wish to get into the specifics but rather stick with the principle.

I have absolutely no problem with the likes of Papon being tried, jailed and ostracised by society. His conviction indicates what kind of man he was.

Having been to the scene where a civilian bus hit a landmine I can't for the life of me see the difference between the likes of Papon and the glorious 'freedom fighters' who seem to get away with murder every time.

So 9 people were killed in the 8 February 1962 Charonne 'massacre'. Yes that needs legal investigation but so do the crimes of the so-called "freedom fighters". I can't stand hypocrisy and need to say that.

jmm99
06-11-2010, 08:16 PM
First off, I reject "relative filth" as a legal defense; but, at the same time, have to acknowledge its practical uses in some areas (e.g., divorce cases).

Once upon a time, though, reciprocity (in fact, the necessity for recipocity) was a recognized component of the Laws of War. I was reminded of that when I was reading through the grandfather of our present FM 27-10 from 1914, then titled "The Rules of Land Warfare (http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/rules_warfare-1914.pdf)"; and found this clear recognition of the necessity of reciprocity (p.11 of .pdf):


7. Nature and binding force. These declarations and conventions, freely signed and ratified by a very great number of the civilized powers of the world, constitute true rules of international law that are binding upon those who are parties thereto in a war in which all belligerents engaged are parties. In case one power, who is a party to the war, has not agreed to these conventions, or having been a party has denounced the same, or has made reservations as to one or more articles, then and in that case the other parties belligerent will not be bound by the convention or by the reserved articles. [1]

[1] The observance by the French Army of the Rules announced is implicitly subordinated to the condition of reciprocity on the part of the opposing belligerent, for if France imposes certain limitations upon her means of action against future enemies, it is naturally upon the condition that they impose upon themselves the same restrictions. (Les Lois de La Guerre Continentale, by Lieut. Jacomet, p. 26.)

Now, perhaps, we could simply say that our grandfathers of WWI were barbaric Neanderthals; but it might better be the case that they had something in requiring at least a certain amount of reciprocity from opposing combatants - and in inflicting retribution upon them if that reciprocity was not given.

Regards

Mike

JMA
06-12-2010, 12:58 AM
First off, I reject "relative filth" as a legal defense; but, at the same time, have to acknowledge its practical uses in some areas (e.g., divorce cases).

Once upon a time, though, reciprocity (in fact, the necessity for recipocity) was a recognized component of the Laws of War. I was reminded of that when I was reading through the grandfather of our present FM 27-10 from 1914, then titled "The Rules of Land Warfare (http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/rules_warfare-1914.pdf)"; and found this clear recognition of the necessity of reciprocity (p.11 of .pdf):



Now, perhaps, we could simply say that our grandfathers of WWI were barbaric Neanderthals; but it might better be the case that they had something in requiring at least a certain amount of reciprocity from opposing combatants - and in inflicting retribution upon them if that reciprocity was not given.

Regards

Mike


I guess by today's requirements I too would be considered barbaric (and I was one of the good guys). (I say requirements rather than standards for obvious reasons)

Quite often the insurgents make it easy for us to think of them as animals and less than human. The rape and murder of Missionaries and their young children and the bayoneting to death of 6 month old infants in my opinion prejudices their right to be treated according to the Geneva Convention.

We lost the "hearts and minds" competition in Rhodesia because we were no match for either set of gooks in terms of sheer brutality. While the US and the world only took Charles Colson (I believe it was) half seriously when he said "If you grab them by the b*lls, the hearts and minds will follow" he was correct in terms of most African contexts if not also elsewhere.

(If there are any doubters out there they should read up on the Gukurahundi genocide as carried out by Mugabe's North Korean trained 5th Brigade in the years after independence. If a soldier wearing a red beret is seen in Matabeleland today the whole Ndebele nation has a collective bowl movement. The Ndebele nation has been crushed, shattered and never to rise again. Thats how you win wars in Africa and neither the Rhodesians nor later the South Africans could bring themselves to stoop to that level.)

Now how does this all apply to Algeria? I think jmm99's point is valid that for that era the French were probably too soft to crush the FLN and break the resolve of the people. Yesterdays SOPs may well be todays war crimes I don't know but surely it must be obvious that you can't fight a war by the Queensbury Rules when the insurgent binds himself to no rules of conduct and indeed relies on horrific barbarity as a means to his ends.

I don't have any argument against studying what happened during the Algerian War and find the conduct unacceptable or if not acceptable then at least explainable. I certainly can't accept a witch hunt aimed solely at the actions of the French and their agents while ignoring the FLN altogether.

jmm99
06-12-2010, 03:23 AM
This is totally a personal thought - and not an argument vs anyone who thinks differently. Anyway, as to this:


from JMA
Quite often the insurgents make it easy for us to think of them as animals and less than human.

I've always liked animals. They act from instinct; and, though nature is very red in tooth and claw, those acts (brutal and unconscionable if done by humans) are part of animal nature. Humans with free will and conscience do not have that excuse.

So, the folks that did what you say (or what Mike Hoare talked about in his book on the Congo; or what Tom Odom has written of Rwanda; and what has occured in any number of other genocides throughout the World during my lifetime) - those folks are not animals, but very evil humans who should be killed one way or the other. Those very evil humans are far below the level of animals by orders of magnitude.

If those very evil humans are roaming the range, the military option to find, fix and kill seems to me the better solution for them. That solution includes the problem of defining and distinguishing the enemy (always difficult in irregular warfare even under sensible rules where a combatant remains a combatant - as opposed to rules allowing "transitory guerrillas" to flip their status on and off).

The question of "Queensbury Rules" would seem to me to come in more when those very evil humans surrender or are captured. Some might say summarily execute them - and that summary executions of irregular combatants were legal prior to the Geneva Conventions. Not so.

From the 1914 US Rules of Land Warfare (linked in prior post):


40. Duty of oflcers as to status of troops. The determination of the status of captured troops is to be left to courts organized for the purpose. Summary executions are no longer contemplated under the laws of war. The officers' duty is to hold the persons of those captured, and leave the question of their being regulars, irregulars, deserters, etc., to the determination of competent authority. Land Warfare, Opp , par. 37.

Land Warfare is a reference to Prof. L. F. L. Oppenheim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L._F._L._Oppenheim), Handbook on the Rules of Land Warfare (1912), prepared for the British Army.

Of course, at that time, military commissions and tribunals were recognized as regularly constituted courts.


17. In cases of individual offenders. Whenever feasible, martial law is carried out in cases of individual offenders by military courts; but sentences of death shall be executed only with the approval of the Chief Executive, provided the urgency of the case does not require a speedier execution, and then only with the approval of the commander of the occupying forces. G. 0. 100, 1863, art. 12.

So, a trial then took place much more quickly than now - and could take place in the field, subject only to limited review.

I can't really see (can't visualize the military actions) where matching the brutality of evil irregulars would gain much for the good guys. If that was being suggested in Rhodesia or South Africa, what tactics were being suggested ?

Occasionally, you see something along the lines of these conflicting thoughts in these quotes (emphasis by me; source in this post (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=64398&postcount=38))


Upon seeing the American commandos, the muhj became nervous, clearly not wanting the boys near their prisoners. A rumor had spread after the laughable surrender deal a few days earlier that the Americans would kill all prisoners in cold blood. In a war zone, that wasn't necessarily a bad reputation to have.

One AQ responded to a question about UBL by saying: "I could tell any Muslim brother where Sheik Usama is; and they wouldn't tell you."

Every nervous muhj guard present during this exchange thought the next action would be an American commando putting a .45-caliber hard ball into the prisoner's smart-ass mouth. But we are more civilized than our terrorist adversaries, a characteristic seen as a sign of weakness by al Qaeda's ilk, and let them live. In a war zone with these people, such compassion isn't such a good reputation to have.

Regards

Mike

GI Zhou
06-12-2010, 03:52 AM
I have an old hard back copy of The Centurions by Jean Larteguy which explains why the soldiers used torture and is a very good book on counter-insurgency, as is the movie, The Battle for Algiers which were both training aids by the Australian Army in counter-insurgency training during the Vietnam War. For how not to do things, for example torture, as well how cells were formed and used.

An old friend of mine, a hopeless Francophile with a somewhat shady background, explained how the cells worked and why after 24 hours or less, any information was useless tactically for any operation like the one to break up the FLN in the Casbah. Torture was the only means by which the French saw as getting the time sensitive information they required to get rid of the FLN in the Casbah. He explained to me that the French officer in charge of the torture complained to his superiors he needed more men, as the torture was physically exhausting his men due to the time constraints required for the information. This is an example of a time constarint.

A man innocently past a house on his way to and from work carrying a newspaper under his left arm. Everyday at a safehouse, which may not be known to the man with the newspaper, another man checks for this person to walk past between a certain time frame to and from work. The newspaper could be missing one day or under his right arm, or if captured the man does not appear at all. The people in the safe house immediately respond to whatever message the newspaper meant or the dissapearance of the person involved. If the authorities cannot break the person with the newspaper prior to his next walk past the house (which they need the address of as well) the organisation knows it has been breached and takes measure to protect itself. It breaks the cell up, but the individuals just move on. The Army then had to find another messenger or link in the chain.

John Grenier
06-13-2010, 11:30 PM
Interesting posts. The "Torture Issue" always gets a lot of attention. I think one of the important lessons to be learned from the French experience in Algeria is how the French people became appalled at the actions of their army and their military leadership when they learned what was going on in la sale guerre. It was pretty clear by the fall of the 4th Republic that Jean and Jeanne Doe in France would not condone the army's behavior in "protecting them" from "terrorists."

Seabee
06-14-2010, 05:40 AM
Having been to the scene where a civilian bus hit a landmine I can't for the life of me see the difference between the likes of Papon and the glorious 'freedom fighters' who seem to get away with murder every time.

Do you make a difference between a landmine and a drone strike that kills civilians?

Best
Chris

William F. Owen
06-14-2010, 06:21 AM
With respect, I think folks are missing the point in the emotional issues that surround torture.
There are two critical, yet entirely separate issues.

a.) Does it produce actionable and useful intelligence?
b.) Does its use undermine the policy?

Fact is, skilfully done, torture works more often than it fails. Anyone saying "information extracted via torture is unreliable" has not thought it through. Torture is a skill, and a team game. It requires training, resources and careful selection of personnel - if you want it done well.
Handing Corporal Doomweeby a pair of pliers and letting loose on some suspect, is not a plan or even sensible.

BUT - Policy. Torture is generally held to be immoral by Western Democracies. It is therefore difficult to set forth a policy based on Western liberal values, if that policy is set forth using torture.

M-A Lagrange
06-14-2010, 06:28 AM
Well, I think that John Grenier point is very relevant. The damage done by torture was more on the army and the support to its operations than the torture it self. You also have to put in perspective that it happened just 10 years after WWII and discovering that the French army was having the same method than Nazi was a in depth shock. But I also see it as a learning process from the army. Painful but for the better.
Saying this, what I found interesting in Algeria war is the incapacity of the French administration to timely understand the problematic.
France did not realise that she could not ask for the colonies to fight 2 world wars for her and give nothing in return. She did not want to see in FNL a liberation movement with populace support before it was too late.

And that is may be one common point of many insurgencies. The longer you wait to identify the political problematic that is supporting the insurgency, the harder it is to fight against it.
IMO, in COIN what is important is the sequencing. COIN as a response is most probably the too late response. COIN operations as a basic principle at the very first moment you take control of an area is most probably the best practice.
Otherwise, taking out the rationalisation of torture based on the fact that an anti communist army is an army of freedom fighter, Trinquier modern warfare is setting the bases of what is actually done. After all, they won the battle of insurgency in a lost war since the very first day.

William F. Owen
06-14-2010, 07:05 AM
After all, they won the battle of insurgency in a lost war since the very first day.
That is a very debatable statement. Between 1954 and 1962, the French Army lost 28,000 dead (avg: 300 a month). The cost of holding onto Algeria was simply too high, in terms of the strategy. The French left because they could not sustain the military engagement. Most French people wanted out because of the human cost of the war.

davidbfpo
06-14-2010, 08:08 AM
Wilf,

I have read a little about the French war in Algeria, including the memoirs of an English-speaking conscript and an English-speaker in the Foreign Legion.

Was the impact of the death toll minimised by the professionals and colonial formations were the operational "hard edge"? I recall at the time of the 'General's Revolt' the conscripts made it clear they were not involved or supportive.

Are there parallels with the US role in South Vietnam? More troops deployed meant conscription.

M-A Lagrange
06-14-2010, 08:25 AM
Wilf,

I do not disagree with you. The death toll during Algeria War was unacceptable for the population in France. I am not familliar enought with the details of the impact of conscription but it was clear that going to war in Algeria was not popular and the death toll made it even less popular. Official media could say what they want, people find out when too many sons are not coming home...


David,

You are perfectly right saying that the conscript did not support the general revolte. But neither did the President (De Gaule if I am not mistaking).

My point was rather on the fact that in Malaysia case, the British did promise independance since the early stages while in the case of Algeria it was promised at the end and without the support of the colon population in Algeria (and without the support of some military). And extremely badly explained.
Still, I do think that not evaluating rightfuly the situation at its early stage was the biggest mistake. And is the one which is repeated.

William F. Owen
06-14-2010, 08:32 AM
Are there parallels with the US role in South Vietnam? More troops deployed meant conscription.
Yes, in terms of the cost of the strategy. Destroying the enemy has to be matched to the cost of doing so.

jps2
06-14-2010, 05:42 PM
David,

You are perfectly right saying that the conscript did not support the general revolte. But neither did the President (De Gaule if I am not mistaking).

My point was rather on the fact that in Malaysia case, the British did promise independance since the early stages while in the case of Algeria it was promised at the end and without the support of the colon population in Algeria (and without the support of some military). And extremely badly explained.

When I was younger, my idea was that Pdt. De Gaulle did a real mistake when he choose to leave, regarding agricultural & petrol resources of Algeria. My analyze, today is (as one of the greatest Pdt we had) that he made the good choice, and the main reason, can't be told to people of France at that time is : demographic.



Still, I do think that not evaluating rightfully the situation at its early stage was the biggest mistake. And is the one which is repeated.
To apply that question to current deployement : Why did the opponents of ISAF fights ? Freedom ? politics ? money (opium) ? religion ? ethnics ?

jmm99
06-14-2010, 07:00 PM
No doubt "war weariness" contributed to DG's decision (Wilf's point); BUT probably more important was the cost of lost opportunities elsewhere if Algeria continued to be a drain financially, and on France's overall posture in Europe and the World.

This:


from jps2
When I was younger, my idea was that Pdt. De Gaulle did a real mistake when he choose to leave, regarding agricultural & petrol resources of Algeria. My analyze, today is (as one of the greatest Pdt we had) that he made the good choice, and the main reason, can't be told to people of France at that time is : demographic.

- that DG made a good choice - seems to be correct (from my armchair view then and now :)). DG had bigger fish that he wanted to fry (sometimes the USA :D); so, Algeria was relatively expendible.

Nixon and Kissinger made a similar choice re: Vietnam where the lost opportunity costs were too great once Southeast Asia (except for "Indochina") appeared to be secure from a Commie takeover.

Regards

Mike

JMA
06-15-2010, 07:28 PM
Do you make a difference between a landmine and a drone strike that kills civilians?

Best
Chris

Yes I do, and I'll tell you why.

If the insurgent lays a mine/IED on a road used by forces and civilians and knows that the military vehicles are to some degree protected from mine blast he does not care who detonates the mine, who gets killed (in other words an act of indiscriminate terrorism)

If a drone is used to fire a missile at the residence of the number two Taliban leader which he occupies with his wife and children then that is IMHO acceptable "collateral damage".

A drone firing a missile into a wedding party and killing women and children is sheer incompetence and should probably be legally actionable.

A note here is that I seldom trust the media in reporting such civilian deaths as I was on the receiving end in Rhodesia of deliberate disinformation where virtually every military camp we attacked in Zambia and Mozambique was supposedly a 'refugee camp' full of women and children. Our PR and media relations were bad and I am willing to assume (unless proved otherwise) that the US has the same problem.

JMA
06-15-2010, 07:31 PM
That is a very debatable statement. Between 1954 and 1962, the French Army lost 28,000 dead (avg: 300 a month). The cost of holding onto Algeria was simply too high, in terms of the strategy. The French left because they could not sustain the military engagement. Most French people wanted out because of the human cost of the war.

Those casualty rates are appalling! I had no idea the war was of that intensity.

M-A Lagrange
06-15-2010, 08:12 PM
From JMM
- that DG made a good choice - seems to be correct (from my armchair view then and now ). DG had bigger fish that he wanted to fry (sometimes the USA ); so, Algeria was relatively expendible.

actually, I also heard that US very pretty much happy that France lost such oil capacity... ;)
Not saying they were happy to see it fall in the hands of the Russias... :wry:

jmm99
06-15-2010, 08:39 PM
The Algerian War - Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_War) has Wilf's 28K KIA + 60K WIA for the French. On the FLN side of the ledger, this:


Mostly civilians, 153,000 dead, 160,000 wounded

1,500,000 dead according to the Algerian government

960,000 dead according to historians

with a longer story in the Wiki's Death Toll (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_War#Death_toll) section:


While it is admitted that any attempt to estimate casualties in this war is nearly impossible, the FLN (National Liberation Front) estimated in 1964 that nearly eight years of revolution had cost 1.5 million dead from war-related causes. Some other French and Algerian sources later put the figure at approximately 960,000 dead, while French officials estimated it at 350,000. French military authorities listed their losses at nearly 28,600 dead (6,000 from non-combat-related causes) and 65,000 wounded.

European-descended civilian casualties exceeded 10,000 (including 3,000 dead) in 42,000 recorded terrorist incidents. According to French official figures during the war, the Army, security forces and militias killed 141,000 presumed rebel combatants. But it is still unclear whether all the victims were actual fighters or merely civilians, mostly due to the Algerian press and second bureau (intelligence) which regarded every Moslem civilian as a rebel.

More than 12,000 Algerians died in internal FLN purges during the war. An additional 5,000 died in the "café wars" in France between the FLN and rival Algerian groups. French sources also estimated that 70,000 Muslim civilians were killed, or abducted and presumed killed, by the FLN.

Historians, like Alistair Horne and Raymond Aron, consider the actual figure of war dead to be far higher than the original FLN and official French estimates, but below the 1 million adopted by the Algerian government. Horne has estimated Algerian casualties during the span of eight years to be around 700,000. Uncounted thousands of Muslim civilians lost their lives in French army ratissages, bombing raids, and vigilante reprisals. The war uprooted more than 2 million Algerians, who were forced to relocate in French camps or to flee to Morocco, Tunisia, and into the Algerian hinterland, where many thousands died of starvation, disease, and exposure. In addition large numbers of pro-French Muslims were murdered when the FLN settled accounts after independence.

Unscrambling all those eggs would be difficult to say the least - so, there's a lot of hot air for propaganda wiggleroom.

That (propaganda wiggleroom) ties in with JMA's last paragraph in his post on the prior page (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showpost.php?p=100545&postcount=40).

--------------------------
As to this, from that:


from JMA

If the insurgent lays a mine/IED on a road used by forces and civilians and knows that the military vehicles are to some degree protected from mine blast he does not care who detonates the mine, who gets killed (in other words an act of indiscriminate terrorism)

If a drone is used to fire a missile at the residence of the number two Taliban leader which he occupies with his wife and children then that is IMHO acceptable "collateral damage".

A drone firing a missile into a wedding party and killing women and children is sheer incompetence and should probably be legally actionable.

More correct than less correct, but each of those examples would have to be expanded to cover the nuances - both military and legal - ranging from OK to "war crime".

Regards

Mike

JMA
06-15-2010, 08:45 PM
So, the folks that did what you say (or what Mike Hoare talked about in his book on the Congo; or what Tom Odom has written of Rwanda; and what has occured in any number of other genocides throughout the World during my lifetime) - those folks are not animals, but very evil humans who should be killed one way or the other. Those very evil humans are far below the level of animals by orders of magnitude.

Evil things are done by people in any conflict, and not just in genocides. Some of these acts are carried out deliberately to 'terrorise' the target population and others merely because the perpetrators are depraved subhumans. (like the RUF in Sierra Leone)

Yes they should be dealt with one way or the other but what do you do when one (or more) of them puts his hands in the air?


If those very evil humans are roaming the range, the military option to find, fix and kill seems to me the better solution for them. That solution includes the problem of defining and distinguishing the enemy (always difficult in irregular warfare even under sensible rules where a combatant remains a combatant - as opposed to rules allowing "transitory guerrillas" to flip their status on and off).

Again I mention the scenario of surrender. What then?

What do you do with Joseph Kony and his LRA subhumans? Why have only a few leaders of the Bosnian Serbs been prosecuted and not also the trigger-men?


The question of "Queensbury Rules" would seem to me to come in more when those very evil humans surrender or are captured. Some might say summarily execute them - and that summary executions of irregular combatants were legal prior to the Geneva Conventions. Not so.

From the 1914 US Rules of Land Warfare (linked in prior post):

I guess it all comes down in that context to what constituted the "competent authority."


I can't really see (can't visualize the military actions) where matching the brutality of evil irregulars would gain much for the good guys. If that was being suggested in Rhodesia or South Africa, what tactics were being suggested ?

My comment there was to 'win the hearts and minds' of a given population through violence driven intimidation resulting in sheer terror. Certainly the Rhodesian forces never got close to out-terrorising the population. Don't cooperate with the security forces and get a slap around the ear, but don't cooperate with the gooks and get killed (often in horrific fashion) - make your choice. There is no choice and we better all start to understand that.

Armies with conscience can never win the 'hearts and minds' war against a enemy who executes civilians who don't cooperate with them. This is why the focus must be on killing the enemy.

JMA
06-15-2010, 08:52 PM
More correct than less correct, but each of those examples would have to be expanded to cover the nuances - both military and legal - ranging from OK to "war crime".

Yes Mike that is the problem facing soldiers today. One man's legitimate act is another's war crime. How the hell does a soldier wade through that minefield today?

tequila
06-15-2010, 09:24 PM
If the insurgent lays a mine/IED on a road used by forces and civilians and knows that the military vehicles are to some degree protected from mine blast he does not care who detonates the mine, who gets killed (in other words an act of indiscriminate terrorism)

A rather odd definition. By this definition anyone who lays a mine where a civilian crosses commits an act of indiscriminate terrorism. One could argue that dropping a bomb into a city neighborhood aiming for a military bunker but knowing that the bunker is fortified while civilian buildings around are not is also committing an act of indiscriminate terrorism. Then we also have cluster bombs.



Armies with conscience can never win the 'hearts and minds' war against a enemy who executes civilians who don't cooperate with them. This is why the focus must be on killing the enemy.

I think 'hearts and minds' is a fallacy - as has been argued ad nauseum on this board the proper method should not be 'support' registered by the population but rather 'control' over the population. 'Control' can be won by any number of means, including through the discriminating use of terror, but also through the provision of security against enemy terrorizers.

Historically there has been a sliding scale. Both methods of control, however, require constant intelligence and interaction with the population. Ignoring the population or treating it as something static, like terrain, is not an option.

jmm99
06-16-2010, 02:51 AM
from JMA
Yes Mike that is the problem facing soldiers today. One man's legitimate act is another's war crime. How the hell does a soldier wade through that minefield today?

First off, the soldier's Powers That Be should adopt a clear set of non-conflicting military operational considerations, diplomatic-political policies and legal constraints. As to legal, one must allocate the Laws of War (military) and Rule of Law (civilian) to their proper spheres.

From that definitive juncture of military, diplomatic-political and legal, the Powers That Be then come up with a set of non-legalistic, blackletter doctrines and rules that will be trained in, not imposed on, the soldier.

The idea is that rules of engagement and rules for use of force are worked into the combat drills - practice makes perfect. If the Powers That Be are smart, they will fall in love with the doctrine "from the masses, back to the masses" and accept feedback from the soldier as to doctrine and rules.

No cookbook exists for this process. Each nation (each tribe) has its own military culture, its own diplomatic-political culture and its own legal framework - just as this board has some differences of opinion concerning the better practices in "counter-insurgency".

It is beyond my kenning as to how that could be done for a coalition of nations trying to handle someone else's counter-insurgency (as in Astan).

I suppose we could talk about surrenders and captures (two slightly different things); but what one should do in those cases would depend on the country and timeframe selected. The rules applied by a djaghoun commander under Subotai would definitely differ from those applied by today's US company commander.

The soldier could also say to hell with it and follow the path outlined by James Molony Spaight, War Rights on Land (http://www.archive.org/details/warrightsonland00spaiuoft) (1911), p.18:


..... for an ambitious subaltern who wishes to be known vaguely as an author and, at the same time, not to be troubled with undue inquiry into the claim upon which his title rests, there can be no better subject than the International Law of War. For it is a quasi-military subject in which no one in the army or out of it, is very deeply interested, which everyone very contentedly takes on trust, and which may be written about without one person in ten thousand being able to tell whether the writing is adequate or not.

;)

Along those lines I suppose we could work up a set of rules that would fit each person's morals and ethics as to what the rules should be. International law profs seem to be good at that - and in trying to impose their rules on others.

Regards

Mike

Seabee
06-16-2010, 01:34 PM
Here is a thought from the peanut gallery....

Did France "loose" or just come to the conclusion that in the modern world there is no place for Colonies. especially ones you have to fight for.

At what point do leaders sitting around the table say "we CAN keep going for another 50 years... but is it worth it?"

Best
Chris

William F. Owen
06-16-2010, 02:32 PM
At what point do leaders sitting around the table say "we CAN keep going for another 50 years... but is it worth it?"

That is what the Policy had to decide. It is that condition that alters the strategy, because of the cost - for France, 28,000 KIA.

JMA
06-16-2010, 02:41 PM
A rather odd definition. By this definition anyone who lays a mine where a civilian crosses commits an act of indiscriminate terrorism. One could argue that dropping a bomb into a city neighborhood aiming for a military bunker but knowing that the bunker is fortified while civilian buildings around are not is also committing an act of indiscriminate terrorism. Then we also have cluster bombs.

If you lay a mine on a road where you have as much if not more chance of killing civilians in a passing bus than the enemy in mine protected vehicles then yes that is "an act of indiscriminate terrorism" and a war crime. If a command detonated mine or IED was used then it would be a different matter.

Yes, using bombing and missiles in a civilian residential area is problematic from the legal point of view (in 2010) and before than from a moral point of view.

Cluster bombs should be illegal and the use of them should be a war crime. We have steadily been getting smarter with the increasing accuracy of bombs and missiles and there is no longer place for the likes of cluster bombs.

Convention on Cluster Munitions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_on_Cluster_Munitions)


I think 'hearts and minds' is a fallacy - as has been argued ad nauseum on this board the proper method should not be 'support' registered by the population but rather 'control' over the population. 'Control' can be won by any number of means, including through the discriminating use of terror, but also through the provision of security against enemy terrorizers.

Historically there has been a sliding scale. Both methods of control, however, require constant intelligence and interaction with the population. Ignoring the population or treating it as something static, like terrain, is not an option.

I don't think 'hearts and minds' is a fallacy, it is just that given the local situations (in most insurgencies) and the actions of the insurgents it is largely a futile process.

You build a school in Afghanistan today and there is a guarantee that within 4-5 years it will probably become a training centre for IEDs or worse.

It all comes back to the selection and maintenance of the aim. That has been lost over time and now the ISAF force is seen to be propping up an illegitimate and corrupt Afghan government. There is no possibility that any 'hearts and minds' campaign in Afghanistan can be won under those circumstances.

jmm99
06-16-2010, 03:54 PM
from Seabee
At what point do leaders sitting around the table say "we CAN keep going for another 50 years... but is it worth it?"

My belief is that both Algeria and Vietnam were decided that way.

Regards

Mike

William F. Owen
06-16-2010, 04:16 PM
Historically there has been a sliding scale. Both methods of control, however, require constant intelligence and interaction with the population. Ignoring the population or treating it as something static, like terrain, is not an option.
So who has ever ignored the population? You do not ignore terrain.

My effort is to take the population out the competition as a whole. They will support who ever wins. Why ask them to be part of the fight?

Gaining intelligence from a population does not require the vast majority of troops to interact with them - in fact, it has best been done by very small numbers of specialists. - this is especially true in very "hard" or non-permissive environments. You don't need to work in the area where everyone like you.

Fuchs
06-16-2010, 05:56 PM
I am still under the impression that the population was the key in the Algerian Independence War.
The general population was quite unimportant, but the Europeans in Algeria (about 70% of them not really Frenchmen, but of Spanish or other descent) were the key.
Their aggressive (at times almost genocidal) behaviour looks to me like the spark that ignited the whole mess after the fuel of war had previously only been warmed up by the indigenous population.

The French Army could imho probably have won the war very quickly by choosing the European Algerians as their opponent and quelling their unrest instead of going after an ever-growing share of the general population.


Going after the "obvious" enemy as quite self-defeating (on the strategic & political level), while going after the counter-intuitive enemy might have enabled a quick and brilliant strategic victory (that would have to be defended by politicians, of course).

The "let's kill as many enemies as quickly as possible till the others give up" path only knew one destination in Algeria; failure.

jmm99
06-16-2010, 05:56 PM
from Wilf
[1] My effort is to take the population out the competition as a whole. [2] They will support who ever wins. [3] Why ask them to be part of the fight?

1. Isolating the population may work if the facts allow it (as in Malaya, where a minority of a minority were isolated from the bush-based guerrillas). If the insurgents permeate the entire population (as in the case of Vietnam), your proposal is not practical.

2. Not necessarily so. They may submit; but if the factors that drove the insurgency to begin with continue to subsist, they will probably lead to future outbreaks.

3. Counter-insurgency is manpower intensive (if done right - e.g., Malaya). If the masses are mobilized, they can provide their own security (as well as their own political and economic development) - thereby allowing the pros to go on to neutralize other insurgents and to mobilize other masses.

Regards

Mike

JMA
06-16-2010, 11:23 PM
The "let's kill as many enemies as quickly as possible till the others give up" path only knew one destination in Algeria; failure.

Only because for whatever reason they did not get that right.

William F. Owen
06-17-2010, 05:21 AM
Only because for whatever reason they did not get that right.
Aha!! - at last! :wry: Concur. Doing stupid stuff is stupid.


1. Isolating the population may work if the facts allow it (as in Malaya, where a minority of a minority were isolated from the bush-based guerrillas). If the insurgents permeate the entire population (as in the case of Vietnam), your proposal is not practical.
I beg to differ. Criminals and drug dealers "permeate" populations. You still go after them without forcing the population to take a side. - and Context, context and context.

2. Not necessarily so. They may submit; but if the factors that drove the insurgency to begin with continue to subsist, they will probably lead to future outbreaks.
Armed force can only be used against armed force. Politics is for the politicians. Military force sets a condition that politics exploits. It's not the solution and never can be.

3. Counter-insurgency is manpower intensive (if done right - e.g., Malaya). If the masses are mobilized, they can provide their own security (as well as their own political and economic development) - thereby allowing the pros to go on to neutralize other insurgents and to mobilize other masses.
Sure. Raise some "local defence militia." - then they are on your team. You are not "winning their support" or doing "armed social work."

jmm99
06-17-2010, 06:12 AM
Fine with me.

1. Criminals are not in the same context as insurgents. However, taking criminals as an example, you (if you happen to be in criminal justice) want a great deal of co-operation from the people - as informants, witnesses and jurors who will convict.

Your initial assertion was "My effort is to take the population out [of ?] the competition as a whole"; which has now morphed to "You still go after them without forcing the population to take a side". Treating the population like a bunch of department store dummies is not a formula for success.

2. Is armed force really the only tool in your personal tool kit ? Maybe so; which is no personal sin if you (like Brig. "Trotsky" Davies) insist on being a pure soldier. But, it does end the conversation with those who believe that military affairs and political affairs have to be co-ordinated - and that insurgency is often a mixed military and political problem - as exemplified by Davies' end of conversation with Enver Hoxha: "...I am a soldier and not a politician.".

3. If you can mobilize the people for a local defense militia, you can also mobilize them in other areas where they also become part of the team.

Frankly, I can't understand why you insist on building such a strict firewall between military action and political action.

Regards

Mike

William F. Owen
06-17-2010, 06:38 AM
1. Criminals are not in the same context as insurgents. However, taking criminals as an example, you (if you happen to be in criminal justice) want a great deal of co-operation from the people - as informants, witnesses and jurors who will convict.
Well the use of the criminal justice system will flow from policy. In Irregular warfare, I just want to get to the kill and/or capture part, with capture always being preferable, but the choice is theirs.

Your initial assertion was "My effort is to take the population out [of ?] the competition as a whole"; which has now morphed to "You still go after them without forcing the population to take a side". Treating the population like a bunch of department store dummies is not a formula for success.
With respect, there isn't any morphing here. There are degrees of application within the context. The population is a constraint on the use of force, and that is driven by the policy. The population is also a sources of information. I don't have to do anything "POP-centric" to exploit those two conditions.

2. But, it does end the conversation with those who believe that military affairs and political affairs have to be co-ordinated - and that insurgency is often a mixed military and political problem - as exemplified by Davies' end of conversation with Enver Hoxha: "...I am a soldier and not a politician.".
Soldiers set forth policy, using violence (or threat of). They do not make policy, but yes, they have to support it, so they have to understand it.
You do not go to a therapist and ask for financial advice - but the therapist has to understand you have money problems. Make sense?

Frankly, I can't understand why you insist on building such a strict firewall between military action and political action.
I do not. I just wish people would realise that military force is a specific tool for a specific problem.
To use a medical analogy, Military force is surgery. Politics is therapeutics. Both are needed. Both need to understand the other, but both are done by separate folks.

Fuchs
06-17-2010, 10:59 AM
Only because for whatever reason they did not get that right.

I do contend this.
The French won militarily, and lost politically/strategically.

Their basic assumption/assertion was that Northern Algeria was a province of France itself, not a colony. It was France.
The military actions against the non-European insurgents proved that the government was a government of Europeans, and not at the same time a government of the people of Northern Algeria.

The heavy-handed military actions proved the opponent's point and led quite inevitably to political defeat.


It would have required a counter-intuitive behaviour that did fit into the political assertion in order to win the conflict (possibly even with great elegance and at low cost).

The "kill! kill! kill!" approach was the dumb and wrong path.


Keep in mind that CvC did not cover the conflict in Spain yet before he died and left an unfinished work. The Napoleonic conflict in Spain was more relevant for the Algerian Independence War than his "break their will and/or disarm them" theory about forcing another government to make concessions.


The "kill! kill! kill!" approach would in my opinion even have been the wrong (way too slow & expensive) path if it could have worked. It was at best suitable to break armed opposition, while a smart approach (cracking down on violent European-descent settlers and behave as a government for all Northern Algerians) could have solved the conflict for decades.

William F. Owen
06-17-2010, 02:05 PM
The "kill! kill! kill!" approach was the dumb and wrong path.

Keep in mind that CvC did not cover the conflict in Spain yet before he died and left an unfinished work. The Napoleonic conflict in Spain was more relevant for the Algerian Independence War than his "break their will and/or disarm them" theory about forcing another government to make concessions.
That is a grossly simplistic misrepresentation of Clausewitian teaching and observation.

Clausewitz's thinking was informed by every armed rebellion in history, that he was aware of. The Spanish insurrection was no different from the native South American insurrections against the Spanish in Peru. Armed Rebellions and insurrections have always been as prevalent as wars between societies and nations.
The issue is the use of arms to prevent the opposing use of arms to present policy. It really is very simple. It is nothing to do with "kill, kill kill." That is childish.
It is to do with the destruction of will, via the instrument of killing. Mao understood this, and so did Thucydides.
The French lost because of 28,000 KIA. That is what broke their will to endure, so the FLN succeeded militarily and strategically solely by killing as a means to set forth their policy.
If the US had only suffered 15,000 casualties by 1973, while inflicting 750,000 on the NVA, the chances are, the US would still be there, - just like Korea.

jmm99
06-17-2010, 06:03 PM
at the end:


from Wilf
I do not. [1] I just wish people would realise that military force is a specific tool for a specific problem.

[2] To use a medical analogy, Military force is surgery. Politics is therapeutics. Both are needed. Both need to understand the other, but both are done by separate folks.

with triple emphasis on "I do not" (B, I and U ;)); and also this:


[3] Soldiers set forth policy, using violence (or threat of). They do not make policy, but yes, they have to support it, so they have to understand it.

[4] You do not go to a therapist and ask for financial advice - but the therapist has to understand you have money problems. Make sense?

do clarify to me your position re: the military effort and the political effort.

So now we have a military effort (you) and a political effort (me). How does command and control work in our little party ?

Regards

Mike

William F. Owen
06-18-2010, 05:10 AM
do clarify to me your position re: the military effort and the political effort.

So now we have a military effort (you) and a political effort (me). How does command and control work in our little party ?

OK, no real context, but...

a.) You are in charge. I work for you.

b.) I provide a service. With good enough preparation, I can find and kill/capture those who are using armed force. Given time, and resources, I can destroy their organisation and/or force them to negotiate, in terms of wishing to abandon the armed struggle. That is why you have an army. If we cannot do it, you need a new army.

c.) I need the necessary legal instruments to do that and I also need the legal support for various forms of long term detention (with and without trial) and intelligence activity.

d.) AND - I need you to have a coherent policy (elections - party political reform? Housing?) that addresses the political dimension/causes of the conflict, so that I can restrict my use of force in line with the policy you wish to set forth. You need to make clear, that the political action will only take place in safe areas, and once the violence has stopped.

e.) and I need lots of money!

So, do I get the job? :cool:

jmm99
06-19-2010, 01:48 AM
I'm not a novelist, but I'll try to flesh out our imaginary journey into small war land. I am putting some parameters on this: we're both indigenous to Country X and no foreign elements are involved to any material extent. So, this is not an FID, SFA, etc. tale.

The insurgency in our country is widespread and cannot be resolved quickly via political, police or military action on a limited scale. We start with a clean slate - new government, successful coup, whatever. The insurgency, from our viewpoint, is an existential threat.

Addressing your points:


a.) You are in charge. I work for you.

OK, Civil Authority takes the lead and, if it prevails, proves its legitimacy. First off, we have to determine how much civil authority and military forces actually exist; as well as what areas are Ours, Theirs and Contested. Our organization is a triangle: Civil Authority (top level), Military Officer (2nd level - you) and Political Officer (2nd level - actually that was me in my original concept before you promoted me :)).

Generally, Rule of Law governs Ours areas; Theirs and Contested areas are under martial law (i.e., the Laws of War). An essential part of this is that the Ours areas must really be that and fully secured. The Military Officer and Political Officer have no authority in the Ours areas, except in cases of invasion of or rebellion in the Ours areas - and then only with respect to the immediate area of the invasion or rebellion.


b.) I provide a service. With good enough preparation, I can find and kill/capture those who are using armed force. Given time, and resources, I can destroy their organisation and/or force them to negotiate, in terms of wishing to abandon the armed struggle. That is why you have an army. If we cannot do it, you need a new army.

Since this is an indigenous, internal armed conflict which is an existential threat to us, we have all the time in the rest of our lives to carry on whatever struggle is required. ;)

The Military Officer and Political Officer can fill in the military and political blanks; but my basic concept as Civil Authority is a co-ordinated military and political strategy which would, if carried to its conclusion, result in the insurgency's neutralization (not a euphemism - it encompasses kill & capture by the military; surrender and conversion to the political).

That strategy would also be flexible enough to negotiate with the insurgents if that has more plusses for us. Obviously, we have to know the military and political sides of the insurgency. Generally, we confront military with military and political with political.


c.) I need the necessary legal instruments to do that and I also need the legal support for various forms of long term detention (with and without trial) and intelligence activity.

As stated, Theirs and Contested areas are under martial law and are considered theatres of war, where the Laws of War ("FM 27-10") control. ROEs and RUFs are wartime, which does not mean that troops have a hunting license to kill everything in the forest. The Ours areas are Rule of Law ordered, except in cases of invasion or rebellion where the Laws of War trump. The basic rule on insurgents is: if you (Military Officer) don't bag 'em, tag 'em and toss 'em into the Poltical Officer's lap for status determination and detention.

My suggestion as to long-term detention, psyops and intelligence activities in general is that they are under the Political Officer's control. Whichever of these functions you feel you need as organic assets are yours to duplicate (tactical intelligence, I'd suppose).


d.) AND - I need you to have a coherent policy (elections - party political reform? Housing?) that addresses the political dimension/causes of the conflict, so that I can restrict my use of force in line with the policy you wish to set forth. You need to make clear, that the political action will only take place in safe areas, and once the violence has stopped.

Yes, we will have a narrative - in fact, two basic narratives. One is our vision for our country's future which should be what we really want; and that, that vision cannot be realized because of the insurgents.

Reduced to a short slogan (expressed in four sets of contradictions):

we = legitimacy + construction + progess = security and opportunity for you.

they = illegitimacy + destruction + regression = insecurity and privation for you.

The second narrative is developed by examining the claims made by the insurgents to decide whether any of those claims can be co-opted by us. If so, political-side would implement those improvements.

In the Ours areas, those narratives have to come to life - another reason to be careful in deciding that an area is fully secured and thus Ours.

As to this, "You need to make clear, that the political action will only take place in safe areas, and once the violence has stopped," - yes and no.

Yes, in the Ours areas where Rule of Law prevails and the Civil Authority (with its normal civilian administrators) carry on.

A qualified "no" In the Theirs and Contested areas, your troops (once they've sliced the salami into smaller pieces) would be immediately followed by Gendarmerie-Intelligence-Civil Affairs units under the Political Officer. They would set up local governance, intelligence nets, and justice systems (detainees, for example, would pass through those courts).

Those units would have status as a separate branch of the armed forces - simply to provide them with combatant immunity when they have to kill insurgents. Once a Theirs or Contested area is secured as an Ours area, martial law ends and the Civil Authority (with its normal civilian administrators) replaces the Gendarmerie-Intelligence-Civil Affairs unit.


e.) and I need lots of money!

No doubt. Your generousity is well known and indeed your need for money is based on that virtue which is one of your pleasures. To seal the deal, I give my IOU secured by all of the gold in the chest at Akiba. :D

Regards

Mike

William F. Owen
06-19-2010, 06:05 AM
I'm not a novelist,
Well I was once....


A qualified "no" In the Theirs and Contested areas, your troops (once they've sliced the salami into smaller pieces) would be immediately followed by Gendarmerie-Intelligence-Civil Affairs units under the Political Officer. They would set up local governance, intelligence nets, and justice systems (detainees, for example, would pass through those courts).
Be careful here. If you are going to dump an administration into this area, you are giving me a lot more work in terms of folks to protect and you are forcing more agencies into my span of command.
Now, I would hope to have Special Branch and my MI guys out collecting HUMINT and "all sources" to support the killing and capture of the Rebels, which will forces them to leave the area.
If we can have relatively good security, then the control of that area can be handed over to the Gendarmerie-Intelligence-Civil Affairs units under the Political Officer - IF they can do the job...

Those units would have status as a separate branch of the armed forces - simply to provide them with combatant immunity when they have to kill insurgents. Once a Theirs or Contested area is secured as an Ours area, martial law ends and the Civil Authority (with its normal civilian administrators) replaces the Gendarmerie-Intelligence-Civil Affairs unit.
OK, but I'm not ever going to be that comfortable with handing over all my networks to some one else - because I may need them back in a hurry.

I would suggest the formation of a "Combined Operations Unit" that would be a one-time Intelligence agency comprising Military/Police/Parks Service/Civ Admin, - that would be the one stop shop in the hard areas, and remain so until the end of the emergency. It operate on the "Committee System" - everyone at the table has to share ALL they have - and they would conduct operations against the rebels. They would cease to exist once their reasons for being ceased.

Fuchs
06-19-2010, 07:55 AM
That is a grossly simplistic misrepresentation of Clausewitian teaching and observation.

Clausewitz's thinking was informed by every armed rebellion in history, that he was aware of.

IIRC he admitted in a letter that he hadn't covered people's wars such as the Spanish insurgency properly yet. That was one of the things he had no time for left.

There's a huge difference between breaking the will of a top-down enemy and a bottom-up enemy.


Besides; I meant you with "kill! kill! kill!" approach, not CvC. CvC wasn't so specific about how to disarm the enemy leadership.

William F. Owen
06-19-2010, 08:10 AM
IIRC he admitted in a letter that he hadn't covered people's wars such as the Spanish insurgency properly yet. That was one of the things he had no time for left.
True, but we have no reason to believe that his specific addressing of that issue would have changed his insight. I admit CvC was left incomplete, but what he did commit to paper has never been proven wrong in its general terms. - and especially in the relationship between Strategy and policy, where armed force is used.

There's a huge difference between breaking the will of a top-down enemy and a bottom-up enemy.
There's a difference. I am not sure it is "huge."

Besides; I meant you with "kill! kill! kill!" approach, not CvC. CvC wasn't so specific about how to disarm the enemy leadership.
BUT I do not say that. To recap.
a.) Use armed force against armed force.
b.) Armed force must be used in line with policy
c.) Armed forces can only kill/capture/destroy or thus deter, based on those things.
d.) Yes! The primary instrument which armed forces use to serve policy is killing.

John Grenier
06-20-2010, 05:30 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/19/world/europe/19bigeard.html

John Grenier
06-20-2010, 05:51 PM
Here is a thought from the peanut gallery....

Did France "loose" or just come to the conclusion that in the modern world there is no place for Colonies. especially ones you have to fight for.

At what point do leaders sitting around the table say "we CAN keep going for another 50 years... but is it worth it?"

Best
Chris

Chris, that is the fundamental question our leaders need to ask. Let's not forget that just a Algeria was heating up, France was reading the ledger on Indochina. 90,000 DEAD between 1946 and 1954. After dorking around in Algeria, CdG finally had the guts to say "enough!" That's what we need today -- a leader who has the guts to stand up and say "enough!" That individual will not be from the the military. It is going to have to come from the political left, because the right makes too much hay by kissing the military's butt. Obama is not the man for the task ... he had the chance, and acted liked a politician.


BTW, check out this link

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/19/world/europe/19bigeard.html

to get us back to the torture piece. I'm just so happy that we Americans have taken the fundamental values that we hold most dear and sacred and taken a great big old sh!t on them so we can have a stalemate (at best -- mark my words, we will "lose" in both AFG and Iraq) in our neo-colonies from which we don't even extract the resources (like there is anything to get from AFG -- at least they have or had oil in Iraq).

What a sad and pathetic state of affairs.

Fuchs
06-20-2010, 06:47 PM
BUT I do not say that. To recap.
a.) Use armed force against armed force.
b.) Armed force must be used in line with policy
c.) Armed forces can only kill/capture/destroy or thus deter, based on those things.
d.) Yes! The primary instrument which armed forces use to serve policy is killing.

1) You liked metrics. Measurable stuff.
Show a metric to attempt to prove your point.

2) Common practice does not necessarily equal best practice.
The German states did not win against France in 1870/71 by killing more or better or the most. They did so by taking prisoners.
Similar in 1940 France, 1940 Belgium, 1940 Denmark, 1940 Norway, Barbarossa '41 saw much more POW than KIA as well.
I do also bet that Britain took more Italians prisoner than it did kill in WW2.

The Middle Ages and Renaissance had dozens if not hundreds of wars that were not primarily about killing either.
Even some Mongol wars were often not so much about killing as about dissolving opposition.


Your emphasis on killing is *unhealthy*. It does not even come close to lead towards best practice or best innovations.

I observed your morphing into a CvC extremist, hardcore Israel partisan and "kill! kill! kill!" advocate of the last two years and I have to say you were a more impressive theorist before that morphing.

Even CvC emphasized disarming the enemy leaders - this includes KIA, WIA, POW and rendering forces irrelevant by other means (cutting off, fixing them through diplomacy at another threatened border, bribing them, keep them busy guarding a coast, letting them fall ill on sieges, and others).
See how awfully short fell your list at (c)?

An emphasis on killing is an emphasis on the most obvious, the least "art" of war and the most "brute strength" approach.

There's not much insight and not many clever options to find in the realm of "kill! kill! kill!", not even on the tactical and much less on the operational level. It's a braindead concept on the strategic level where much more finesse is required.

(Superior) finesse on all levels can improve the current Western forces, a "kill! kill! kill!" doctrine isn't helpful.


The Algerian War of Independence was probably completely unnecessary during the 60's. Clever political decisions could have avoided the costs and risks of that war by sending the military on a completely different mission.
The French followed the "kill! kill! kill!" approach, won militarily - and were still total and unlimited losers of the conflict.

davidbfpo
06-20-2010, 07:21 PM
From the UK perspective:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/military-obituaries/army-obituaries/7841910/General-Marcel-Bigeard.html

A reminder what torture means:
Le Monde published an interview with Louisette Ighilahriz, an Algerian grandmother who told how, as a 20-year old FLN fighter, she had been taken prisoner by French paratroopers who had subjected her to three months of interrogation, during which she had been repeatedly raped and tortured and eventually left to die in a pool of excrement and blood. What made her interview persuasive was that she seemed to be moved less by hatred of her torturers than by gratitude to the French military doctor who had rescued her and whom she now wished to thank in person. At the same time, she had no qualms about naming the officers who presided over her ordeal, notably Generals Jacques Massu and Marcel Bigeard.

Her charges provoked an uproar and stimulated vigorous debate. But while General Massu admitted the credibility of Louisette Ighilahriz's testimony and regretted the behaviour of French forces during the conflict, Bigeard dismissed her claims as a "tissue of lies" and accused those who had stirred up the issue of being communists or intellectuals of the sort whose "treason" had given comfort to the FLN during the war.

M-A Lagrange
06-20-2010, 07:24 PM
I will play the devil advocate here. :cool:
at the end of Algeria war, almost all the FNL leaders were in prison. And some since quite a while. I believe some may think that if they would have been dead, it would have been easier to win the political battle as there would be noone to negociate the Accords d'Evian...

Now let come back to reason :rolleyes:
But the point is also foolish because what really made France loose that war is that colonial empire were no more acceptable (for many reasons, cost, politic, ideology...). And also, the army would have not tried to win the war she lost in Indochina, the situation could have been different.

But we cannot rewritte the past.

I would like also to signal the threat started on the death of General Bigear in general news.
As it was written in the french blog Secret Defense: he was the perfect image of the French army and the French want of it. (In the light as in the dark). From private to 4 start general... A kind of a career!
With his departure (and the one of some others) at least in France, we will be able to look at this war with some objectivity...

Fuchs
06-20-2010, 07:34 PM
Algeria was different. Its coastal region was officially no colony - it was considered to be part (department) of France itself.

The waging of a colonial anti-insurgency war was the cardinal error.
The military didn't behave as was necessary to fit into the narrative of the government.

M-A Lagrange
06-20-2010, 08:02 PM
Algeria was different. Its coastal region was officially no colony - it was considered to be part (department) of France itself.

The waging of a colonial anti-insurgency war was the cardinal error.
The military didn't behave as was necessary to fit into the narrative of the government.

Can't agree more than that with you. As I said, I play the devil advocate for free for Wilf's "kill, kill, kill".
;)

JMA
06-21-2010, 05:36 AM
Algeria was different. Its coastal region was officially no colony - it was considered to be part (department) of France itself.

The waging of a colonial anti-insurgency war was the cardinal error.
The military didn't behave as was necessary to fit into the narrative of the government.

Portugal tried to play the same game with its colonies. Can't work when the people living there are second class citizens.

So then it could be classed as a war of succession.

William F. Owen
06-21-2010, 05:55 AM
There's not much insight and not many clever options to find in the realm of "kill! kill! kill!", not even on the tactical and much less on the operational level. It's a braindead concept on the strategic level where much more finesse is required.
I agree, but ignoring all the personal commentary, and cheap shots aside, that is NOT WHAT I SAY!

Sorry, but you are very deliberately putting words in my mouth in the most simplistic form possible, and I have explained this to you before.

a.) Killing is instrumental to warfare. Yes/No?
b.) You kill only as many as it takes to set forth the policy. If the other side gives up when you've killed 2 pet hamsters, then you stop.

War is a human activity. Central to that is the breaking of will. I am only interested in killing,wounding,capturing enough to break the will of those remaining, - in the service of policy.

M-A Lagrange
06-21-2010, 06:47 AM
a.) Killing is instrumental to warfare. Yes/No?
b.) You kill only as many as it takes to set forth the policy. If the other side gives up when you've killed 2 pet hamsters, then you stop.

War is a human activity. Central to that is the breaking of will. I am only interested in killing,wounding,capturing enough to break the will of those remaining, - in the service of policy.


Wilf, all cheap shots aside,
I think every body agrees that warfare roots are found in killing the adversary in the service of a policy. So let's look at the "kill, kill, kill" issue in terms of efficiency.
There must be a reason why you prefer neutralising the opponent by "killing" him rather than arresting and detaining him. There must be a benefit that capturing does not provide. Otherwise, you just need to capture and detain in high security the maximum of opponents.
Also, in low intensity wars/liberation wars, it is also proven somehow that killing the opponent does reinforce the adversary will. Just as JMA said, in a societal system where you have second class citizens, killing them does reinforce the feeling they have to be abused and then reinforce the opponent support. It does makes it more dangerous but also reinforce the conviction that the loyalist army and police are "racistes". That's what happenend in Algeria and France (Taking apart Mr Papon whom case is pretty clear).
Bigeard, Trinquier and Massu were hardcore anticommunists but they have been also perceived as the arm of a racist administration enforcing racist policies (and it was the case in fact, at least for the policies).

William F. Owen
06-21-2010, 07:10 AM
There must be a reason why you prefer neutralising the opponent by "killing" him rather than arresting and detaining him. There must be a benefit that capturing does not provide. Otherwise, you just need to capture and detain in high security the maximum of opponents.
It is not what I "prefer". It's context dependant. There is usually a need to kill enough to make the rest give up - break their will to continue.
Sometimes, especially in irregular warfare, I want to capture people to help exploit the intelligence benefits, - or serve the policy of using the criminal justice system.
Killing is not the policy. Killing is an instrument of policy.
I am really pushed to make it simpler than that.
I never said or implied "Kill, kill kill." That is a gross, and possibly deliberate misrepresentation of what I have long suggested.

Also, in low intensity wars/liberation wars, it is also proven somehow that killing the opponent does reinforce the adversary will. Just as JMA said, in a societal system where you have second class citizens, killing them does reinforce the feeling they have to be abused and then reinforce the opponent support.
It is not proven. It is an observation devoid of the context of policy. Kill the wrong folks, for the wrong reason and you will not break will of those you seek to set forth the policy to.
When faced with a revolt, or rebellion, by your own population, you have to stop them gaining political advantage via violence. If you do not, then you fail as a Government, and simply cease to exist. - Unacceptable to most political entities.
Again, read what I write: Use Armed Force, against Armed Force - not against those whose death would undermine your policy.

JMA
06-21-2010, 07:23 AM
Wilf, all cheap shots aside,
I think every body agrees that warfare roots are found in killing the adversary in the service of a policy. So let's look at the "kill, kill, kill" issue in terms of efficiency.
There must be a reason why you prefer neutralising the opponent by "killing" him rather than arresting and detaining him. There must be a benefit that capturing does not provide. Otherwise, you just need to capture and detain in high security the maximum of opponents.
Also, in low intensity wars/liberation wars, it is also proven somehow that killing the opponent does reinforce the adversary will. Just as JMA said, in a societal system where you have second class citizens, killing them does reinforce the feeling they have to be abused and then reinforce the opponent support. It does makes it more dangerous but also reinforce the conviction that the loyalist army and police are "racistes". That's what happenend in Algeria and France (Taking apart Mr Papon whom case is pretty clear).
Bigeard, Trinquier and Massu were hardcore anticommunists but they have been also perceived as the arm of a racist administration enforcing racist policies (and it was the case in fact, at least for the policies).

In the early stages of an insurgency that is the time when (legal issues permitting ;) the leaders of the insurgency need to be 'neutralised'. By the time the army have to get involved the shooting has either begun or is inevitable. At this stage it can only get worse when incidents like Bloody Sunday in NI happen. So any "kill, kill, kill" policy must be narrowly focussed on the insurgents. Collateral damage is inevitable but may be unavoidable if the insurgents are to be separated from the people.

Fuchs
06-21-2010, 10:34 AM
Killing is just one of many means of disarming the enemy leadership (and thereby reduce its repretoire and prospects to the point at which they give up).

Any focus on killing and neglect of more refined options is detrimental because the "kill" option has already earned a lot of attention thanks to its obviousness.


Wilf; look at the island hopping strategy. An Admiral Nimitz who followed your approach would not have hadthe idea to bypass Truk, but would have considered it to be a target full of killable soldiers.

Another example is Kurland 1945; Stalin would have had his Red Army attemptto eliminate this pocket at great cost if he had followed you. That was entirely unnecessary, for it took less troops to keep the army cut off in the Kurland pocket than it would have incurred losses to attempt an elimination. The approach with greater finesse (keep 'em cut off) was clearly superior to a kill frenzy.


I am only interested in killing,wounding,capturing (...)
Strange, why do you always write about killing only?

And again; I already gave a list of additional options beyond that triad, less obvious options that require more thought and are often near-perfect substitutes of KIA because they have the same "disarming" effect against the enemy leadership.

Again: CvC mentioned that the enemy leadership should be disarmed in pursuit of breaking its will. The key here is that their options need to be minimized (and we all know that killing insurgents does not minimize the options of insurgent politicians for long). According to Clausewitz, taking away the hope for a successful military (organized violence) effort compels them to accept your terms.
That isn't about KIA/WIA/POW only at all.

Maybe the influence of Leonhard on you can help to explain another shortcoming of your approach; underestimation of countermeasures.
An insurgent that's being hunted, hunted, hunted will become more elusiuve, more elusive, more elusive - and expose himself only to incompetent opponents, such as civilians. Or he adopts tactics that don't expose him much (mines). That's where the conflict in Afghanistan has been for a while. The "kill kill kill" approach has already reached its dead end there.


Your approach overemphasizes the obvious and clouds the view for tactical/operational/strategic approaches that require more finesse.
That's why I put of opposition to your views here. I don't argue for a war without killing. Instead, I point out that the potential for further advances isn't to be found in such obvious things as the effect of killing enemies.
It takes much more intelligent approaches to add improvements on ~5,000 years art of war.

William F. Owen
06-21-2010, 11:25 AM
Another example is Kurland 1945; Stalin would have had his Red Army attemptto eliminate this pocket at great cost if he had followed you.
Huh? Sorry you are talking drivel. I would have isolated Kurland just as Stalin did. What do you not get?
Ever read the paper I wrote on isolation, as part of suppression? No?

Strange, why do you always write about killing only?
I don't. Yes I mention killing a lot, but always in the context of the use of armed force against armed force. - Kill, capture, destroy - aimed at the breaking of will. Kill so as the rest give up!

According to Clausewitz, taking away the hope for a successful military (organized violence) effort compels them to accept your terms.
Hurrah. You get it...and this can be achieved with no killing, capturing or destruction?
I have repeatedly and consistently stated my position on this, and nothing had changed.

Sorry Sven, you are plainly having some issues here with me personally. If you do not get it, then I do not know what more I can do.

Fuchs
06-21-2010, 01:51 PM
Maybe you're just not aware what impression you leave with your writing?
I have issues with approaches to warfare that let me expect unnecessary hardships in the next war. To win by killing as many opponents as possible is among the bloodiest imaginable approaches to warfare.

You should be well aware that you do usually emphasize the "kill" aspect in threads enough to justify being paraphrased with "kill! kill! kill!". You didn't do that to the same extent here, and I do strongly suspect that this was done purposefully to reduce the vulnerability of your position to my critique.



And yes, will can be broken even without kill, capture & destroy having provided any meaningful contribution to it (although that was a strawman argument of yours because I did not argue about their absence, but about the low promise of your approach).

Strategic level example; make diplomatic (and military) progress that mobilizes several neighbours of your enemy as your soon-to-be-allies. They all become potential adversaries of your enemy, he will fear a multi-front war against terrible odds and may give up in a limited conflict (to seek a quick peace by negotiations would at least be a rational choice, and thus be well in the realm of the possible).

Operational level example; deception operations suggest that the enemy won't be able to hold his line, additional offensive preparations motivate him to leave his positions in favour of better defensive positions to the rear.

Tactical level example: Again deception, visual and acoustic impressions - even the mere threat can break the will of a tactical commander. Some (especially limited) wars (such as border conflicts) can indeed be won by simply routing a single regiment or brigade.


Killing is not a particularly promising approach for forcing the enemy to give up in any but the strictly tactical level. Killing fanatizes both sides. It makes it harder to negotiate a moderate peace (because even the own people become more extreme), raising the amount of effort that you need to succeed. It does also activate a lot of resistance will on the upper levels of war (strategic, political, national moral).
A smarter approach would be to keep the flame of war small, for most things are easier then. Think of the French; their morale didn't fully break during WWI even though there were mass desertions in 1917. Their morale was extremely brittle after only about nine months of drôle de guerre, though. A lot of killing during those months would have fired them up, motivated them to invest more into their army's training and improved their overall resistance readiness.


And then there's the example of bombing campaigns. The typical idea is that more bombing increases the likeliness that the enemy gives up.
Yet, a rational analysis shows that the more you destroy, the less he's got left to lose. The threat shrinks.
The credible threat of destruction is actually a greater political lever (at the peace negotiations table) than actual destruction. The sunk costs fallacy can even reinforce this effect; some people want to fight on simply because they cannot accept that such great suffering was for no good.


I'd also like to point out that Germany lost WW2 despite being militarily better equipped and about as well manned a few months before its final defeat than at the outbreak of hostilities. WW2 battles saw much killing, but the local (tactical), regional (operational) and strategic overpowering was the key to success.
The killing, capture and destruction part merely aided the overpowerering effort, and the overpowering would also have worked in a drôle de guerre because the allies would still have had many times as many aircraft, tanks and men by 1945 after six years drôle de guerre - even if no side fired a shot.
Overpowering does therefore earn at least as much attention as the destructive activity of warfare.
Overpowering does fit into CvC's "disarm" if you keep in mind that at excessive force ratios your inferior forces become useless and you're therefore in such a situation de facto disarmed, incapable of expecting success by further military resistance.


War among states is a continuation of (dumb) policy. I believe we also agree that war does not put policy to a rest till its end. Policy goes on, and becomes a part of the war. The artificial separation of combatant and political actions in war that was introduced after the age of kings leading armies makes little sense.
Political actions can substitute for military actions (kill, capture, destroy) and can be extremely powerful.
Some wars in history were won (or prevented) by cutting the enemy's connection to a creditor!


There's so much more than kill, capture & destroy. These three obvious activities are understood even by Third World Colonel-dictators. We should seek the potential for improvement of the art of war in aspects of warfare that have (by comparison) been neglected in military theory because they were less easily accessible.

William F. Owen
06-21-2010, 02:40 PM
You should be well aware that you do usually emphasize the "kill" aspect in threads enough to justify being paraphrased with "kill! kill! kill!". You didn't do that to the same extent here, and I do strongly suspect that this was done purposefully to reduce the vulnerability of your position to my critique.
Sorry, but my position on this, is utterly consistent. I am not aware of being vulnerable to anything other than invention. You cannot capture unless you kill or threaten to kill. That which destroys also kills, etc etc.

Yes, I do emphasise killing (kinetic effects). I do not and have never said pursue it to the exclusion of all else. Killing is only instrumental. You will never get the enemy to surrender, until you have done him some collective harm.
The reason I feel it necessary to emphasise something this obvious is because people here get confused as to the aims of applying armed force, within the context of politics. Armed force means killing - and the things that flow from it. - Capture, breaking of will. IF you are not using armed force, you are using politics and diplomacy.


Strategic level example; make diplomatic (and military) progress that mobilizes several neighbours of your enemy as your soon-to-be-allies. They all become potential adversaries of your enemy....
Strategy uses all instruments of power. Thanks for the lesson.

Operational level example; deception operations suggest that the enemy won't be able to hold his line, additional offensive preparations motivate him to leave his positions in favour of better defensive positions to the rear.
Well I do no believe there is an "Operational level," but OK. Deception Operations? And... Deception operations are predicated on fear of harm/death. Deception is aimed at surprise. Surprise aims to make him unprepared for the harm you will do him.

Tactical level example: Again deception, visual and acoustic impressions - even the mere threat can break the will of a tactical commander....
Again, all nice in a perfect world of poor enemies, and stupid people.

Killing is not a particularly promising approach for forcing the enemy to give up in any but the strictly tactical level.

So Japan surrendered because it wasn't really worried about the next bomb?
The US withdrew from Vietnam because they could risk another 60,000 KIA?
So what you are telling me is that killing is not the best way to break will?

Killing fanatizes both sides. It makes it harder to negotiate a moderate peace (because even the own people become more extreme), raising the amount of effort that you need to succeed.
Seriously? After 3,500 years of organised violence, you want some "better way?"

There's so much more than kill, capture & destroy. .
Give men specifics relevant to the use of force, that can break the collective will. I am of the opinion that Psychological parlour tricks do not work.

As both Foch and Clausewitz warned, I have little patience for the idea that wars can be won without killing. - and I think it can be done better.

Fuchs
06-21-2010, 03:07 PM
Give men specifics relevant to the use of force, that can break the collective will. I am of the opinion that Psychological parlour tricks do not work.

As both Foch and Clausewitz warned, I have little patience for the idea that wars can be won without killing. - and I think it can be done better.

a)
Cut his lines of communications. The amount of required killing/capturing/destruction is almost marginal in comparison to the effect; the enemy will likely withdraw (= broke his will to hold the line or advance).

b)
Please do not repeat that strawman argument yet again. I did not advocate warfare without killing. I advocate improvements of the art of war with smarter approaches than to simply increase the intensity of violence.
A 10 y.o. kid can tell you that killing, capturing and destruction is successful in its computer game. The worthwhile military theory advances need to be pursued in other areas than the primitive & obvious.

Besides; wars can occasionally be won without much killing. That's a niche solution that's not universally applicable, though.



Seriously? After 3,500 years of organised violence, you want some "better way?"

Those who don't should limit themselves to military history and should not discuss modern military theory, for it would be a waste of time.
Yes, I want it to be done better, and for a reason. We had no really major conflicts for 65 years, a similar period as the ~40 years without conflict between modern European great powers before 1912. We are not prepared, and peacetime improvements of military theory can substitute for some bloody lessons the next time politicians really f+*~ it up.

William F. Owen
06-21-2010, 03:42 PM
a)
Cut his lines of communications. The amount of required killing/capturing/destruction is almost marginal in comparison to the effect; the enemy will likely withdraw (= broke his will to hold the line or advance).
As I said before, I'm a big fan of Isolation, at all levels. As concerns the conduct of operations, I'm firmly rooted in orthodox proto-modern warfare. - and you isolate to enhance destruction. Isolation cannot guarantee destruction.

The worthwhile military theory advances need to be pursued in other areas than the primitive & obvious.
OK, that's your opinion. I think you are wrong, basically because most armies are not actually that good at warfare. Most people do not and cannot do "primitive and obvious."
- I just want to do the simplest thing that works and that can be taught in a simple way. At the end of the day you are trusting your ideas to very frightened young men who do not want fancy complicated stuff.

Besides; wars can occasionally be won without much killing. That's a niche solution that's not universally applicable, though. The you wont have to kill that many to find that out. - you cannot plan for it.

We are not prepared, and peacetime improvements of military theory can substitute for some bloody lessons the next time politicians really f+*~ it up.
I'd forget about the theory. I am beginning to think "Military thought" is a largely a pseudo-science. I have just read JFC Fullers 1922, "The Reformation of War." - it's garbage - like a great deal of military theory.

The question I ask is "can this be taught?" If it can, then it might help.

Fuchs
06-21-2010, 07:58 PM
I'd forget about the theory.

Maybe it's time for a new signature?

William F. Owen
06-22-2010, 05:17 AM
Maybe it's time for a new signature?
Maybe. We do need a solid theoretical grounding for strategy, tactics, operations and equipment capability.
...the problem is most is very bad, and will always be meaningless unless it translates into, or supports practice.

Seabee
07-04-2010, 05:19 PM
I would like also to signal the threat started on the death of General Bigear in general news.

I admire his service, but think he was a moral coward.

He would have cursed de Bollardiere for condeming torture during the war, and then cursed Paul Aussaresses for admitting to it....

Hero and hypocrite...

Bob's World
08-15-2010, 11:49 AM
I used Netflix to watch "The Battle of Algiers" on line yesterday.

This is indeed a "must see" movie for anyone involved in any way with our current operations in the Middle East; or even for those who have no direct involvement at all but are trying to understand what is going on and why.

I was surprised by the depth of understanding of insurgency and the balanced approach to telling the story from both sides. An impressive piece of work. Put this on the shelf next to your copy of Galula; and well in front of your COIN FM.

JMA
08-15-2010, 03:20 PM
I admire his service, but think he was a moral coward.

He would have cursed de Bollardiere for condeming torture during the war, and then cursed Paul Aussaresses for admitting to it....

Hero and hypocrite...

The Algerian War was from 1954 to 1962.

Can't see the point in judging the French (torture) actions based on current sensibilities. Look past it and see that much can be learned from that war.

AdamG
01-28-2011, 02:13 PM
David Petraeus Wants This French Novel Back in Print!
Why Jean Larteguy's The Centurions appeals to our generation's most influential military strategist.


A copy of Jean Larteguy's The Centurions, an out-of-print French novel about paratroopers in Indochina and Algeria, can go for more than $1,700 on Amazon. That's reason enough for its republication this January by Amereon LTD for a list price of $59.95. But when I called the publisher, Jed Clauss, it turned out money wasn't his primary motivation: "Look, I'm an old guy," he said, "I'm at the end of my publishing career. I now only do fun projects. But David Petraeus wanted this republished. So I'm doing it."
http://www.slate.com/id/2282462/

Bob's World
01-28-2011, 02:55 PM
Sounds like a great read and true dyed in the wool story of colonial soldiers fighting against all odds to suppress the flame of liberty among the oppressed populace of their colony.

"Centurions" is an accurate title. The Roman business model was "conquer and tax" and it was their Legions that made that business model work.

Which brings us to the sad accuracy and insights into our current approaches in this quote from the article Adam links to above:


In one of his last major interviews, McChrystal told the Atlantic: "We in JSOC [Joint Special Operations Command] had this sense of … mission, passion … I don't know what you call it. The insurgents had a real cause, and we had a counter-cause. We had a level of unit cohesion just like in The Centurions.

So, if cause of the populace is a liberty free from the illegitimacy of some foreign intervening power, what exactly would one call that "counter-cause"? This is what happens when such operations are given to the military to resolve. It is far too easy to become intoxicated by the thrill of the hunt, to become obsessed with the accomplishment of the mission, etc. JSOC has become extremely good at what they do. What we are missing is a context that asks the question of if what they do produces any good.

I sat in too many morning office calls with the Commander, where the other two "tribes" would regale the commander with tales of "HVTs" killed in the night, or truckloads of opium stopped and burned in the desert. Truly some exciting, impressive operations on a near nightly basis. But to what effect on addressing the insurgency or addressing the danger of AQ? Then to lay out the persistent, populace focused efforts of the third tribe across the vast expanses of battle space where few conventional forces venture and where the other tribes only stayed long enough to kill, burn, count and leave. To (albeit rare, and from one BG in particular) comments like "Boy, the other guys are rolling up JPELs like crazy, when are you guys going to do something?"

Some of this is ignorance, and is curable. But stupid is a life sentence.

carl
01-28-2011, 07:08 PM
Bob's World:

You should probably read the book. It doesn't sound like you have. The characters are motivated primarily by anti-Communism. That is how they saw themselves. They didn't see themselves as colonial oppressors. Whether their self-perceptions were accurate, who knows? But they saw themselves as holding back the Communists.

On another question, I read in so many places that night raids and numbers counting are doing us a world of hurt. Do you think that true and will they ever be stopped? From what little I know, they fell in love with these things in Iraq, where it worked; and use them enthusiastically in Afghan, where they don't.

Jedburgh
01-29-2011, 04:07 AM
SORO, Dec 63: Case Studies in Insurgency and Revolutionary Warfare: Algeria, 1954-1962 (http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=AD436814&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf)

The objective of this case study is to contributeto increased analytic understanding of revolutionary (internal) war. Specifically, the study analyzes the Algerian Revolution by examining two types of information in terms of their relationship to the occurrence, form, and outcome of the revolution:

(1) social, economic, and political factors in the pre-revolutionary and revolutionary situations;

(2) structural and functional factors of the revolutionary movement, such as the compositionof actors and followers, revolutionary strategy and goals, organization and techniques.

The study is not focused on the strategy and tactics of countering revolutions. On the premise that development of U.S. policies and operations for countering revolutions--where that is in the national interest--will be improved by a better understanding of what it is that is to be countered, the study concentrates on the character and the dynamics of the revolution.

jmm99
01-29-2011, 05:23 AM
Thank you.

Cheers

Mike

SWJ Blog
05-31-2011, 04:30 PM
Book Review: Identity in Algerian Politics: The Legacy of Colonial Rule (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2011/05/book-review-identity-in-algeri/)

Entry Excerpt:

Book Review: Identity in Algerian Politics: The Legacy of Colonial Rule
by J.N.C. Hill.
Published by Lynne Reinner Publishers, London, United Kingdom and Boulder, Colorado. 2009, 209 pages.
Reviewed by Commander Youssef Aboul-Enein, MSC, USN

With recent and rapid changes gripping the Middle East, it is vital to go beyond the headlines and read a few books to understand nuance and context. Jonathan. N. C. Hill is a lecturer in the Defense Studies Department at King’s College in London. His most recent book is an in-depth look into the complex political history of Algeria with a focus on the impact of colonialism on this nation that has seen more than its share of political violence. Algeria is home to al-Qaida in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and therefore is of special interest in America’s global counter-terrorism effort. The introduction offers an excellent essay on the betrayal of the French reason for colonizing Algeria in 1832, that the French has a civilizing mission. Yet no aspect of French liberty ever make to the Arab Algerian populace. What evolved, according to the book, are a series of laws and privileges that gave increasing civil liberties and outright power to the pied-nior (French settlers in Algeria). One ubiquitous law passed by the French, was the consideration of granting French citizenship to Muslim Algerians, only if they renounce their faith. The book does a marvelous job in laying out the imbalance of rights between the French settlers and the native Algerians. A zero-sum game developed in which any granting of rights to Algerians was perceived by French settlers of Algeria as an erosion of their privileges.



--------
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This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

SWJ Blog
05-21-2012, 11:10 AM
Algeria: The Undeclared War - A Review (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/algeria-the-undeclared-war-a-review)

Entry Excerpt:



--------
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This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

davidbfpo
06-17-2012, 10:37 AM
From the BBC 'France's war in Algeria explored in Paris exhibition' and the opening paragraphs:
On the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence, it might seem an odd choice to mount an exhibition marking 130 years of French colonial rule over the country. But at the Army Museum at the Invalides in Paris, that is exactly what they have done. Algeria 1830-1962 is a look back over France's long military presence there.

An important passage IMO, citing the museum's director Gen Christian Baptiste:
There is no one truth about the Algeria war...There are many truths, and we have done our best to reflect all of them. The difficulty is that even after 50 years the suffering is still very raw. In many cases, the pain has been handed down from one generation to the next.

A historian adds:
They say that memory divides. Only history heals. That is why it is the task of historians and politicians to tell the full story - from all sides.

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18343039

Amongst the three linked BBC stories is one on the film Battle of Algiers and it is almost as SWJ / SWC readers had been to see:
Yacef Saadi, the Algerian guerrilla leader whose memoirs of the independence war formed the basis of the film, La Bataille d'Algers (The Battle of Algiers), which remains one of the most compelling studies of insurrection and counter-insurgency ever recorded.

Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13728540

As SWC readers will know that film has a special place in America's desire to learn and IIRC features in several threads.

davidbfpo
06-17-2012, 10:46 AM
Moderator's Note

I have re-titled this thread and merged a small number of threads to this one, after adding the post above on the current French exhibition. More merging done, four threads moved in.

These are linked threads which are not suitable for merging:

French & US COIN and Galula (merged thread):http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=858

Restrepo and The Battle of Algiers: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=11004

Ambush, IEDs and COIN: The French Experience:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=5585

Obviously simply searching for Algeria will bring back nearly 200 threads and not all refer to the historical contest.

davidbfpo
12-17-2012, 10:44 AM
A short article in the e-journal Perspectives on Terrorism:
explores a less well-known episode in the history of terrorism: The Red Hand (La Main Rouge). During the Algerian war of independence (1954-1962) it emerged as an obscure counter-terrorist organisation on the French side. Between 1956 and 1961, the Red Hand targeted the network of arms suppliers for the Algerian Front de Libration Nationale (FLN) and executed hits against rebel emissaries both in Western Europe and in North Africa. Today, there is consensus among scholars that the Red Hand had been set up by the French foreign intelligence service in order to strike at the subversive enemy. This makes the Red Hand a telling example of state terrorism and its capacity for unrestricted violence in emergency situations. Since the Red Hands counter-terrorist acts ultimately proved to be futile and due to the repercussions caused in France as well, the case study also highlights the limits of this type of counter-terrorism.

Link:http://www.terrorismanalysts.com/pt/index.php/pot/article/view/229/html

davidbfpo
12-24-2012, 11:22 PM
Hat tip to Bill Moore for sending a link to a US e-journal CTX; within is a review of this book 'The Harkis: The Wound that Never Heals' by Vincent Crapanzano.

Using locally recruited troops in contemporary COIN is a frequent subject on SWC, the story of the Harkis remains relevant today, obviously in Afghanistan and other places where an exit is likely.


Based on a combination of archival research and face-to-face interviews, Crapazano’s results are riveting.

During the French-Algerian War, the Muslim community was faced with a choice: join either the FLN insurgency, or the French Army as an auxiliary. As all students of insurgencies know, the only neutrals are dead ones. Indeed, Muslims often joined the French Army only after being forced to witness the slaughter of their family members en masse. All told, approximately 260,000
Algerians of Arab or Berber descent served in various capacities in the French Army as Harkis.

Crapanzano has chronicled the story of the Harkis with a well-researched and heartfelt, deeply disturbing personal journey. He illuminates not only the immediate costs of the Algerian rearguard action, but the less known collateral damage visited upon those forced to make choices that meant only preserving one’s life for the moment. Insightfully written, this work skillfully shifts our focus in one of the great geopolitical conflicts of the twentieth century to the most elemental level, that of the individual.

Link: to the e-journal November 2012 issue:https://globalecco.org/ctx-vol.-2-no-4-november-2012;jsessionid=9441AA7C5D518A2D3C26C364DB59786C the review is on pgs.74-76 'The Written Word' https://globalecco.org/the-written-word

Amazon.com link, no reviews alas:http://www.amazon.com/Harkis-Wound-That-Never-Heals/dp/0226118762/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1356390322&sr=1-3&keywords=Vincent+Crapanzano

Laeke
01-27-2013, 11:49 PM
I see torture was discussed already. The Algerian war has some good other topics, although I'm unsure if there is good english documentation on the subject:

- The "Bleuite" as it is now remembered, a quite successful intoxication campaign by French intelligence, which fed the ALN groups with false info about double agents in its ranks, leading to sometime heavy purges. It was used as a prelude to major operations. However such a manipulation was maybe only made possible in the context of a quasi-civil war where the potential allegiance to the French was very common.

- Apparently some Indochina vets, who had the misfortunes of having been taken prisoners by the Good Uncle Ho, were so impressed by the political "brainwashing" they were subjected to that they tried to implement equivalent methods in French camps within the broader "Psy-ops" experiment. With little success. For this I have a link to an article from an historian working for the Armée de l'Air, but french only (obviously)... http://www.cairn.info/revue-guerres-mondiales-et-conflits-contemporains-2002-4-page-45.htm

davidbfpo
05-02-2013, 12:01 PM
The controversial film 'Battle of Algiers' appears in may threads on SWC, but the linked article is about the actor who portrayed Colonel Mathieu and is worth reading. Some of the pithy comments will resonate on the dilemmas of fighting an internal war, as France saw Algeria and other 'small wars'.

Maybe the Colonel was a man for his times, not today?


Mathieu is the key to the central scene of the film: the moment when he is cross-examined by international journalists about torture. Accused by journalists of being evasive about the methods of victory, he rounds on them. He reminds them of the consequences of blind terrorism:

"Is it legal to set off bombs in public places?... No, gentlemen, believe me. It is a vicious circle. We could talk for hours to no avail because that is not the problem. The problem is this: the FLN want to throw us out of Algeria and we want to stay".

He underlines that there was a political consensus, from right to left, in support of destroying the FLN rebellion.

"We are here for that reason alone. We are neither madmen nor sadists. Those who call us fascists forget the role many of us played in the Resistance. Those who call us Nazis don’t know that some of us survived Dachau and Buchenwald. We are soldiers. Our duty is to win".

At which point Mathieu throws the question back at the journalists:

"Therefore to be precise, it is my turn to ask a question. Should France stay in Algeria? If your answer is still yes, then you must accept all the consequences".Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/martin-evans/pontecorvos-colonel-mathieu-paratrooper-who-embodied-france

SWJ Blog
10-31-2013, 12:12 AM
French Failure in Algeria: A Public Relations Disaster (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/french-failure-in-algeria-a-public-relations-disaster)

Entry Excerpt:



--------
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davidbfpo
12-17-2014, 01:27 PM
A coup by WoTR to republish part of Alistair Horne's book 'A Savage War of Peace', to contribute to the current public debate over torture:http://warontherocks.com/2014/12/torture-in-a-savage-war-of-peace-revisiting-the-battle-of-algiers/?singlepage=1

The WoTR Editor's introduction explains:
Editor’s Note: Nearly 40 years ago, Alistair Horne wrote a magnificent book, A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1590172183/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1590172183&linkCode=as2&tag=httpwaronthec-20&linkId=MELKYNNF4C463VXK). It tells the story of the French-Algerian War, which ended with the victory of the National Liberation Front (FLN) and an independent Algeria, a land that France had considered an integral part of metropolitan France itself. This book has often been revisited in the decades since its publication, most recently during the Iraq War, when – in 2007 – President George W. Bush invited Horne to speak with him at the White House (http://www.salon.com/2007/05/08/alistair_horne/).


One of the most powerful lessons from the book is on the issue of torture. Torture was used, arguably to great tactical effect, by the French during the war, particularly during the Battle of Algiers. Once the extent of the use of torture became public knowledge, however, it changed the debate about the war, in both France and the rest of the world. Given the ongoing debate about torture in America’s war against jihadists, reignited by the recent report on the CIA’s interrogation practices by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, we could do much worse than to revisit what Horne wrote about the use and impact of torture during this savage war of peace. We are proud to re-print a portion of this book with the permission of New York Review Books. We hope that this elegant and haunting passage will illuminate America’s national debate on an issue that is inextricably linked to both America’s counterterrorism strategy and its core values. Our choice to re-print this passage is not an attempt to claim or even comment on any moral equivalence between France’s torture scandal and our own, but to draw attention to the common shape and form that these debates tend to take, within military and intelligence organizations and in society as a whole. This passage, from Chapter 9, begins with the death of Larbi Ben M’hidi, one of the six original leaders of the FLN. – RE


Reading Alistair Horne in the knowledge that the US military included the film 'Battle for Algiers' in its training syllabus, makes it rather poignant. It is not an easy read even today.

Citing the French prefect of Algiers, himself a torture victim in Dachau:
All right, Massu won the Battle of Algiers; but that meant losing the war

davidbfpo
02-20-2015, 08:11 PM
A short blog article on Strife, a Kings War Studies blog, 'Lessons from Algeria: counter-insurgency, commitment and cruelty'. It opens with:
In the Algerian War of 1954-62, the belligerents tore apart a society that had coexisted for a century. The wounds they left were too deep to heal. But the continuation of theviolence after the war and the spiraling civilian-targeted terror campaigns conducted by both French colonists and Algerian independence fighters was not inevitable. Avoiding this type of outcome is the point of counter-insurgency operations today. More than sixty years later, we can see that no counter-insurgency campaign can succeed with aggressive ‘search and destroy’ tactics against embedded insurgentsif the ultimate aim is peaceful coexistence in a divided society. The United States failed to take this lesson to Iraq and as a result had to adapt during its operations.
Any country considering a counter-insurgency operation in the future must weigh up the extra costs of attempting it without this tool. France’s experience in Algeria shows that restraint and long-term commitment are vital if conflicts are to be resolved without the kind of fallout seen in Algeria in the 1960s and Iraq since 2011.Link:http://strifeblog.org/2015/02/20/lessons-from-algeria-counter-insurgency-commitment-and-cruelty/

For reference this incident is seen by Algerians as the "beginning of the end" in 1945:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A9tif_and_Guelma_massacre

Incredibly there is contemporary newsreel of the French response, IIRC with unarmed men being shot down.

davidbfpo
07-03-2017, 01:51 PM
Strife blog has a new article 'Imagining War in Film: The Algerian War in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Winds of the Aures'. (http://www.strifeblog.org/2017/06/30/strife-feature-imagining-war-in-film-the-algerian-war-in-the-umbrellas-of-cherbourg-and-winds-of-the-aures/)

It looks at two films, both post-independence, one French, the other Algerian and concludes - in academic words:
The analysis of these two movies reveals that the memory of trauma and conflict can be shaped by nationalist narratives. This constitution and disciplining of memory is primarily exercised by state-controlled or state-censored cinema serving specific narratives regarding the nature, subjects, and motives of the Algerian war. In the end, we observe how both representations of the conflict divert attention from the realities of post-war nation-building. This helps recognise the (re)productive power of visual media in framing and constituting meaning and identity. The struggle for narrative eminence between Algerian and French filmmakers is a testament to the fact that artistic expression is yet another site for political struggles over power and identity.

davidbfpo
03-08-2018, 07:42 PM
Thanks to WoTR, once more, for a review of 'Inside the Battle of Algiers' by Zohra Drif, which was published in French in 2016 and in September 2017 in English.

Her importance to many here will be from the film 'Battle for Algiers':
Late on a September afternoon in 1956 a young woman entered the Milk Bar, an Algiers cafe popular with European youth. She looked like an average well-to-do French-Algerian, who had stopped off after a day at the beach. In reality, however, she was an Algerian Muslim, her appearance altered to blend in with café’s clientele. After eating ice cream, she departed. No one noticed that she had left behind a beach bag at the foot of the stool she had occupied. Minutes later, a bomb in the bag exploded.
Link:https://warontherocks.com/2018/03/rock-the-casbah-tales-of-a-female-bomber/

From Amazon:
This gripping insider's account chronicles how and why a young woman in 1950s Algiers joined the armed wing of Algeria's national liberation movement to combat her country's French occupiers. When the movement's leaders turned to Drif and her female colleagues to conduct attacks in retaliation for French aggression against the local population, they leapt at the chance. Their actions were later portrayed in Gillo Pontecorvo's famed film The Battle of Algiers. When first published in French in 2013, this intimate memoir was met with great acclaim and no small amount of controversy. It is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand not only the anti-colonial struggles of the 20th century and their relevance today, but also the specific challenges that women often confronted (and overcame) in those movements.

Link to Amazon.com with five * reviews:https://www.amazon.com/Inside-Battle-Algiers-Freedom-Fighter/dp/1682570754 and Amazon UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Inside-Battle-Algiers-Zohra-Drif/dp/1682570754/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520537043&sr=1-1&keywords=zohra+drif
(https://www.amazon.co.uk/Inside-Battle-Algiers-Zohra-Drif/dp/1682570754/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520537043&sr=1-1&keywords=zohra+drif)

davidbfpo
09-16-2018, 02:13 AM
The actual title for this article is: France may have apologised for atrocities in Algeria, but the war still casts a long shadow.

It starts with:
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, wrestled with the demons of his country's colonial past this week by acknowledging that the country carried out systematic torture during the Algerian war of independence. After six decades of secrecy and denials, it was a historic first for a country that long refused to even admit that the brutal conflict - in which Algeria says 1.5 million died - was indeed a “war”.
Link:https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/09/15/france-may-have-apologied-atrocities-algeria-war-still-casts/ and yesterday on the BBC (slightly different e.g. Harki's mentioned):https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45513842

Professor Andrew Hussey, a UK historian resident in Paris, adds his commentary:https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/16/macron-algeria-torture-admission-landmark-in-france-post-colonial-history?