View Full Version : The Army and Marines and Military Government

01-10-2008, 08:41 AM
The Army and Marines and Military Government (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2008/01/the-army-and-marines-and-milit-1/) by Brent C. Bankus and James Kievit at SWJ Blog.

Despite the apparent preference of many of today’s military officers to have some other entity (whether of the US government, the United Nations, or even private contractors?) be responsible for doing so, the United States Army and the United States Marine Corps actually have a long history of establishing and running “governments” in both smaller-scale contingency operations and in the aftermath of major theater war.

An early example began with General Winfield Scott’s publishing, during his 1847 48 campaign in Mexico, a theater-wide code of conduct (General Order 20) that spelled out the rules under which both US service personnel and the indigenous population would be governed. Using relatively rudimentary control measures, General Scott instituted a system that would not only govern the local populace fairly – and thereby, he intended, reduce insurgency incidents --, but also ensure consistent and disciplined interactions by, as well as with, US forces in the region. By most accounts Scott’s “firm but fair treatment” paid huge dividends for his Army, which as a relatively small invading force had trouble enough keeping his overextended supply lines working, let alone contending with any potential large-scale insurgency. Of necessity General Scott established direct military administration over many Mexican towns and villages. Upon the capture of Mexico City in September 1847, General Scott appointed Brigadier General John Quitman, whose combined Army and Marine task force had spearheaded the successful combat assault, governor – military and civil – of that city...

01-10-2008, 03:16 PM
The Army and Marines and Military Government (http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/2008/01/the-army-and-marines-and-milit-1/) by Brent C. Bankus and James Kievit at SWJ Blog.

Great read. I've been thinking recently that the USG agencies are never going to be enough to handle what is demanded if we ever do something similar to Iraq or Afghanistan again.

There was a great article some years ago that without rule of law, you have nothing. All the good COIN in the world doesn't help if there isn't a clear and reasonably fair system of persecuting crimes. Whether by military or civilian actors, establishing a fundamental system of accountability understood (if not accepted) by all is key. Anything else provides IO for insurgents - "look, they take your people in the middle of the night and you can't get any info about them - they're just like Saddam" -or- "I gave up the terrorists in my neighborhood for you and even wrote statements - now they are released from prison and they will kill me and my family - why were they released?? Are the judges corrupt?"

The justice system in Iraq remains opaque, corrupt, and a revolving door. Getting that - and census operations - right would have additional transformative effects.

This essay should also be entered in Military Review's ongoing contest on post conflict operations.