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Thread: Dutch state liable for three Srebrenica deaths

  1. #21
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    Default Be Patient

    Mark,

    I'll add a couple of posts (brief Eye for Eye review and the 1187 surrender of Jerusalem).

    Maybe we need more blood, sex and violence - not necessarily in that order.

    Looking at Srebrenica is something of a slog (near 4000 pages). I skimmed the ToC, and skimmed the chapters having to do with the events just prior to and after the surrender, including the executions. That is:

    Part III The fall of Srebrenica (starts p.1322)
    Chapter 1 The military and political situation in spring 1995
    Chapter 2 Air power: Close Air Support and air strikes
    Chapter 3 No air actions on release of the hostages: a deal between Janvier and Mladic?
    Chapter 4 The mood in the enclave: May - July 1995
    Chapter 5 The period from 25 May 1995 to 6 July 1995
    Chapter 6 The Fall of Srebrenica: 6 to 11 July 1995
    Chapter 7 6 - 11 July 1995 – retrospective accounts
    Chapter 8 Plans to re-take Srebrenica
    Chapter 9 The departure of Dutchbat from Srebrenica

    Part IV The repercussion and the aftermath until the end of 1995
    Chapter 1 The journey from Srebrenica to Tuzla
    Chapter 2 The executions (ends p.1990)
    That is more manageable, but still over 600 pages. It's not only the Dutchbat commander, but some much larger icebergs (Janvier and Rupert Smith) that bear scrutiny in this mess.

    Some thread readers probably have personal or good second-hand knowledge of Srebrenica; but like My Lai it's hard for people to talk about such events.

    Regards

    Mike

    PS: "no-man's land" and "land of the living" - don't let them zombies get you.

    Noticed that Chuckie Taylor got 50 years from the Hague Court this week; he was convicted a year ago. Several years ago, Chuckie Junior was convicted in a Miami federal court on similar charges. (JMM post, with links).

  2. #22
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    Default William Miller's Books,

    The Mystery of Courage (earlier recommended by JMA) and Eye for an Eye (now recommended by me) cover related areas - courage and payback.

    Bill Miller (now teaching at Michigan Law) was raised in Green Bay WI, is a Packers fan, and knows West Side Green Bay bar culture. He probably would fit in at our Pub Monte Carlo. Initially, I was uncomfortable with his dual PhD and JD from Yale; but that was put right by this informal piece on his book "Losing It", Michigan Law: Author Interview with Prof. Bill Miller (Youtube, 5 min). Besides providing a taste of Miller, this is a good video for older dogs to watch - humorously or seriously.

    Eye for an Eye (Google ebook @ $12.00) is a book on moral, political and legal philosophy, written in an easy, non-legalistic manner. Its footnotes and bibliography credential it as a serious work. As its title says, this is an analysis of my favorite: retribution (as well as the associated concepts of reprobation and specific deterrence, although Miller doesn't name them exactly that).

    Miller is an acknowledged academic expert in Icelandic feuds and their sagas. Eye for an Eye more generally focuses on societies based on honor and talion - the latter being "payback" for a "gift".

    The "gift" may be:

    positive - you save my life; I owe you the value of a life (a true exchange means I have to save your life, even if I lose mine).

    negative - you kill my brother, rape my sister; I "owe" you "payback", where "payback" might literally be a "motherf**k" ! (my words; not exactly his).

    Physical and moral courage may enter into payback; but negative payback, especially, may involve outright deceit and perfidy. The payback "victim", who may not have been one of the initial direct "giftgivers", may end up dead without knowing why he was whacked, or that he was about to be whacked. It's usually important to let the "public" know why he was whacked (reprobation); and important to prevent future "gifts" by the whackee (specific deterrence).

    The problem is how to keep the process from escalating. My example: you steal my cows; I'll burn down your barn - with your extended family within it. To solve that problem, a society needs "oddmen" (moderators with community clout) to keep the retribution within bounds. E.g., while our inner cities have an honor code ("don't disrespect me"), the community doesn't have elders with clout over the young warriors who do the feuding. In a well-regulated "oddmen" community, an "unevenman" (who won't play by the rules) ends up isolated, ostracized or whacked.

    That's the basic idea of "Eye" (addressed in the last couple of minutes of Miller's lecture, below).

    Miller has a lecture on Youtube (1hr 10min), which generally covers many of the ideas in his many books and articles. He is best when he deviates from the prepared script; as in the last 10 min of the lecture. Earlier in the lecture, he deals with the Story of the Levite and His Concubine; but unfortunately didn't have time to cover the Battle of Gibeah, which was the result of the Levite's revenge for the rape and murder of his concubine.

    The Levite's tale is based on a "surrender" situation, in the face of bad odds for survival. It certainly has blood, sex and violence in both the "gift" and the "payback".

    Regards

    Mike

  3. #23
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    Default Siege of Jerusalem - 1187; How to Negotiate

    This is a snip from a post in another thread, edited to emphasize that event's negotiations which led to a reasonably happy outcome. We are dealing with real hardball here, which will be something we will see more and more IF warfare becomes more savage in the future (as I think it will).

    The two sources I chose are primarily Arab sources contemporary to the event: the settlement between Saladin and Balian ibn Barzan in 1187 to allow the "Franks" and other Christians to leave the city - and for some Christians to stay. See, Univ. of Michigan Crusades Package - Saladin Takes Jerusalem (p.46 pdf); and Hadia Dajani-Shakeel, "Some Medieval Accounts of Salah al-Din's Recovery of Jerusalem (Al-Quds)" (Fordham link).

    From Saladin Takes Jerusalem:

    This account is from Ibn al-Athir after the battles for Jerusalem.
    ...
    Then Balian ibn Barzan asked for safe conduct for himself so that he might appear before Saladin to discuss developments. Consent was given, and he presented himself and once again began asking for a general amnesty in return for surrender. The Sultan still refused his requests and entreaties to show mercy. Finally, despairing of this approach, Balian said:

    'Know, O Sultan, that there are very many of us in this city, God alone knows how many. At the moment we are fighting half-heartedly in the hope of saving our lives, hoping to be spared by you as you have spared others; this is because of the nature of horror of death and our love for life. But if we see that death is inevitable, then by God we shall kill our children and our wives, burn our possessions, so as not to leave you with a dinar or a drachma or a single man or woman to enslave. When this is done, we shall pull down the Sanctuary of the Rock and the Masjid al-Aqsa and the other sacred places, slaughtering the Muslim prisoners we hold - 5,000 of them - and killling every horse and animal we possess. Then we shall come out to fight you like men fighting for their lives, when each man, before he falls dead, kills his equals; we shall die with honour, or win a noble victory!'
    How to negotiate a surrender when defending a hopeless position - bravado or bluff, and probably bravery, which led to:

    Then Saladin took council with his advisors,all of whom were in favor of granting the assurances requested by the Franks, without forcing them to take extreme measures whose outcome could not be foreseen. 'Let us consider them as being already our prisoners,' they said, 'and allow them to ransom themselves on terms agreed between us.' The Sultan agreed to give the Franks assurances of safety on the understanding that each man, rich and poor alike, should pay ten dinar, children of both sexes two dinar and women five dinar. All who paid this sum within forty days should go free, and those who had not paid at the end of the time should be enslaved. Balian ibn Barzan offered 30,000 dinar as ransom for the poor, which was accepted, and the city surrendered on Friday 27 rajab/2 October 1187, a memorable day on which the Muslim flags were hoisted over the walls of Jerusalem. ...
    According to al-Qadi al-Fadil, Balian ibn Barzan also "offered a tribute in an amount that even the most covetous could not have hoped for." Balian had a large military force (mostly Turcopoles, to whom he as a Turcopole leader was personally committed), with their dependents and retainers, whose ransoms were based on "each man ... ten dinar, children of both sexes two dinar and women five dinar."



    Absent a negotiated surrender, these Turcopoles were dead meat if the city were stormed. Thus, all around, a reasonable result was reached via a pragmatic approach avoiding the complexities of religious theologies.

    A similar approach was taken with respect to the native Christians of Jerusalem;

    Turning to the Recovery of Jerusalem source:

    The Fate of the Native Christians

    'Imad al-Din indicates that, after paying their ransom, the native Christians requested Salah al-Din's permission to remain in their quarters in safety. Salah al-Din granted their request, provided that they paid the poll tax (jizya). Some members of the Armenian community also asked to stay in the city and were allowed to do so, provided that they also paid the tax. Many of the poor from both groups were exempted. Rich Christians bought much of the property of the departing Latins, as has been mentioned above. Salah al-Din allowed them to pray freely in their churches, and he handed over control of Christian affairs to the Byzantine patriarch.

    'Imad al-Din notes that at first Salah al-Din ordered the closure of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Its future was discussed, and some even advised that it should be demolished in order to sever completely the attachment of the Christians to Jerusalem. However, a majority of the Muslims rejected the idea. They argued that demolishing the church would not help, for it would not prevent Christians from visiting it. According to 'Imad al-Din:

    "Those who come to visit it come to worship at the location of the cross and the sepulchre rather than at the building itself. Christians will never stop making pilgrimages to this location, even if it has been totally uprooted."

    Those who spoke in favour of preserving the Church of the Holy Sepulchre even suggested that when the Caliph 'Umar conquered Jerusalem, he confirmed the right of Christians to the church and gave no orders to demolish the building.
    So, in this case, hardball negotiations by the besieged worked.

    But, if Salidin had called Balian ibn Barzan's bet, Balian would have had to do the following:

    ... we shall kill our children and our wives, burn our possessions, so as not to leave you with a dinar or a drachma or a single man or woman to enslave. When this is done, we shall pull down the Sanctuary of the Rock and the Masjid al-Aqsa and the other sacred places, slaughtering the Muslim prisoners we hold - 5,000 of them - and killling every horse and animal we possess.
    and then finish with a banzai charge.

    Would Balian have done so? Saladin thought so; and they had met in many battles and both were well known to each other. I'm not following the Kingdom of Heaven script, which is utter bull$hit; but a lot of my own digging (reflecting prior diggings by others) on this heroic Middle Eastern figure. I credit the Arab account of the meeting as accurate; and that Balian (an Assyrian-Armenian name) would have done "it" - a Masada.

    Did Percival and Wainwright even consider what Balian threatened ? Would any reader consider doing that ? Are "Masadas" a thing of the past ?

    Next, I'll look at sieges ca. 1200-1700, where the 1187 Jerusalem siege stands as a good result for the besieged.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default Sieges 1200-1700; Selecting Siege Commanders

    Lauro Martines, Furies: War in Europe, 1450-1700 (2013; kindle @ $12.64)

    I've mentioned buying this book in another thread; I've finished reading it; and it's worth the buy for this topic - and the topic of "savage warfare" in general. I hate to say it, but IMO we are going to see more and more "armies of locusts" - especially in some parts of the world (Africa, to be blunt).

    This snip of a "Furies" book review is accurate:

    Unlucky were civilians of early modern Europe in the path of an army on the march or in a city under siege. No safer were soldiers, more apt to die from disease and starvation than battle. Vignettes of horror from the era’s maelstroms, grandly titled the Thirty Years’ War or the Dutch Revolt, abound in Martines’ treatment, which tries to raise ethical questions about panoramas of war. ... Mars’ royal sponsors failed to render promised pay and supplies. To square accounts, their generals instead let soldiers pillage the countryside and sack cities, examples Martines draws from eyewitnesses to plunder, arson, and killing.
    This is an excellent book on foraging and pillaging (where "no quarter" prevailed and surrender was not an option) and sieges.

    Unlike sieges after 1700 (perhaps a bit earlier in some places), the sieges of this era (1200-1700) were sordid affairs. Non-combatants and "expended" combatants were often sacrificed so that the besiegee or the besieger could carry on. A standard besiegee tactic was to expel its "useless" citizens from the fortress; the besieger would then drive them back to the fortress walls, where they usually starved to death. Some surrenders were eventually negotiated (similar to that negotiated between Saladin and Balian ibn Barzan). But, in the absence of a negotiated surrender, the rules of "no quarter" and sack generally applied.

    Western Europe was a center of fortress development (China and India were also centers). They may have influenced the Mongols to forego a campaign to conquer Western Europe. Pow, Deep Ditches and Well-built Walls: A Reappraisal of the Mongol Withdrawal from Europe in 1242 (2012; 150 pp. thesis).

    Fortresses, however, are subject to two rules: (1) The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf Rule (bad design, construction, planning and logistics lose big time); and (2) The Trapped Little Pigs Rule (“[T]hen they [the Mongols] have got their little pigs shut up in their sty.”). Of course, if the "little pigs" happen to be Puller's Marines, they might not stay shut up in their sty - and, so, their retrograde assault out of Chosin.

    That brings us to the issue of tradition, personnel selection and training - as to which, I'll say just a little bit and then exit stage left.

    As to selection (for "surrender" situation commanders), I'll start with John Twiggs Myers. He was placed in at least one "surrounded" situation and didn't blink an eye. He "appeared" in two Hollywood movies, both scripted as "surrounded" situations: In the historical epic 55 Days at Peking, Charlton Heston portrayed the fictional Marine "Major Matt Lewis", commanding the American Legation Guard in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion. In The Wind and the Lion, the fictional Captain Jerome (played by Steve Kanaly) "expanded" Myers' historical role, commanding the Marines dispatched to Tangier during the Perdicaris incident. Myers had a whale of a Marine career and his actual exploits in Peking and Tangiers were real enough; but not romantic enough for Hollywood (or, were they ).

    Myers was a USNA grad and one of the "Famous Fifty", a group of 50 USNA grads (ca.1880-1900) who elected Marine commissions. They included five Corps commandants and a gaggle of generals and colonels; e.g., Wendell Cushing Neville and John A. Lejeune. On the other hand, Littleton "Tony" Waller and Smedley Butler enlisted in the Corps after prep school.

    The lesson I glean from this bunch is that the "where from" is far less important than the "what stuff" is in the person - in a word, "character" (and that, including a few "characters" doesn't hurt either ).

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 09-29-2013 at 04:22 AM.

  5. #25
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    Default

    Good stuff there Mike, thank you.

    There is of course a difference between unconditional surrender and a negotiated truce or safe passage.

    Percival's surrender was unconditional. (see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1BD5_nP2NQ )

    As to Wainwright, it is appalling to think that he got the Medal of Honor.

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    jimm wrote: "Did Percival and Wainwright even consider what Balian threatened ? Would any reader consider doing that ? Are "Masadas" a thing of the past ?"

    Good question. I see at least one crucial difference: Balian would have inflicted severe economic damage and would have killed thousands of POW.
    The bansai attack was IMHO a non-thread, being forced to storm the city may have caused even more KIA on the Arabic side.

    What was General Wrainwrights bargain chip? What is the difference between a soldier and a warrior?

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    Default Re: Ulen...; and Outstanding Questions

    I agree with this:

    The bansai attack was IMHO a non-threat, being forced to storm the city may have caused even more KIA on the Arabic side.
    Consider the Japanese non-banzai defense of Iwo Jima, which cost our Marines 26,000 casualties, vs early Japanese island defenses where banzai attacks were employed.

    However, in Balian's case (if his bet would have been called), and if he and his soldiers had executed "Masada" (agreed, the real threat):

    ... we shall kill our children and our wives, burn our possessions, so as not to leave you with a dinar or a drachma or a single man or woman to enslave. When this is done, we shall pull down the Sanctuary of the Rock and the Masjid al-Aqsa and the other sacred places, slaughtering the Muslim prisoners we hold - 5,000 of them - and killling every horse and animal we possess.
    they wouldn't have had much to live for anyway (families and possessions gone); and, while defense of a fortified position would have been more "successful" body-countwise, going out in a blaze of glory probably counted more for them than an enhanced body-count.

    At least that is what the Arab historian said Balian said:

    Then we shall come out to fight you like men fighting for their lives, when each man, before he falls dead, kills his equals; we shall die with honour, or win a noble victory!
    In any event, if unconditional surrender is rejected, there are two options I see in my viewscreen: (1) the banzai charge from an objectively hopeless position (numerous examples); and (2) defense of the fortified position without hope of winning (e.g., Iwo Jima and the Alamo). Add all others you think of.

    A banzai charge which is a "forlorn hope" (the charge allowing some to escape the pocket) is a different issue. Here's an example from earlier in the Crusades (circa the time of Balian's grandfather); ref., History of Outremer -The Kingdom of Jerusalem, 6.Second Battle of Ramleh (2011; this is a totally online 15-week course, all you need free for anyone interested):

    Surely one reason why they stayed was that Baldwin believed the force advancing from Egypt was a small force, only a reconnaissance. Baldwin decided to destroy it with only his cavalry. Stephen of Blois was hesitant and argued for a more thorough scouting report, but given his earlier acts of cowardice, no one listened to him.

    They should have. The Egyptian army in fact was twice as large as the previous one. Baldwin and his army of about five hundred knights rode out over the hills. Coming over a particular rise, they saw the entire army in front of them. There was no possibility of escape, for the Egyptian cavalry was already cutting off retreat. The knights charged into the heart of the enemy.

    This time the Egyptians held. Most of the knights were killed. A few managed to escape toward Jaffa, but the king was not among them. Baldwin, along with those unlucky Crusaders who had survived Anatolia, broke free and made it as far as Ramleh, taking refuge in the single tower there. The Egyptians immediately surrounded them, but night fell and saved them for the moment. During the night, Baldwin escaped. A few others managed it as well, each leaving separately. One of them, Gothman of Brussels, made it to Jerusalem, where he told the citizens to resist because the king still lived.

    At dawn the Egyptians advanced on those who held out in the little fortification at Ramleh. They piled wood around the fortress and set it on fire. Rather than burn to death, those inside formed up for a final charge. Led by Conrad, constable of the kingdom, they plunged into the Egyptian army. Most died, including Stephen of Blois. The Constable was captured and sent with about a hundred other captives to Egypt.
    There, we have two banzai charges. The first allowed some to escape. The second was more in the nature of Camerone, where the enemy allowed some banzai chargers to survive. The uncaptured survivors, namely King Baldwin, reformed a Crusader army with some success in stabilizing the kingdom's borders.

    Stephen de Blois is an interesting figure. He was a craven coward at the earlier Siege of Antioch, where he was a "rope dancer" - escaping down a rope to safety in the countryside and eventually return to Europe. There, he sustained the continuous scorn of his wife, a daughter of William the Conqueror; until, not being able to take it anymore, he set off on the next crusade. Their understanding was that he would not return.

    Questions to be answered by viewers other than JMM.

    So, was Stephen's cowardice at Antioch redeemed by his courage at Ramleh ? And, was his charge at Ramleh really "courage" given his personal motive to redeem cowardice ?

    They add to the other questions asked so far:

    Does anyone here at SWC have personal experience in deciding whether or not to surrender, especially on the unit commander level ?

    So what happened here [at Singapore]? What about his [Percival's] character was missed ? Can modern officer and soldier selection select out for this ?

    Put another way, what made the 1st Marine Division special [on the Canal and at Chosin] ?

    Would the Dutch commander, plus his command, have taken a different decision minus the blue beret ?

    Did Percival and Wainwright even consider what Balian threatened ?

    Would any reader consider doing that ?

    Are "Masadas" a thing of the past ?

    What were the options to unconditional surrender (the only option that Yama$hita said he'd accept) that should have been considered at Singapore and at Bataan-Corregidor before meeting with Yama$hita ?

    What was (were) General Wainwright's [or Parcival's] bargaining chip(s) ?

    What is the difference between a soldier and a warrior ?

    If a difference, how will each perform in a "surrounded" situation and why ?
    Hopefully, I've summed up all the questions asked from this thread's start to date.

    Over three weeks, there's been 1500 views - what are the viewers' opinions on these questions ?

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 09-29-2013 at 09:07 PM.

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    Default Bargain Chip

    @jimm

    My point was that the ARABIC side had to weight the costs, because they decided. From their POV the suicidal attack would have been a plus, the economic damage was the real issue.

    It is undisputed that for the defender a suicide attack would have been the much better propaganda result in comparison to going down in street fighting.

    The work on the Mongolian retreat from Europe, very nice source BTW, thank you, gives a few examples that led to my question what the difference between a warrior and a soldier is or should be in this situation.

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    Default Passing the Mongol Wheel Test

    Ulen...

    Glad you found the thesis interesting. It certainly added to my Mongol references. My interest in the Mongols goes back to the ancient days when I was a boy in the early 1950s. It was greatly focused by SWC conversations with Ken White. Subotai was one in Ken White's short-list of generals who deserved close study. Thus, my more recent interest in Subotai; and eventually my realization that the Mongols were really part of "Gian Gentile's army" (conventional, well-regulated, professional). They were scarcely the semi-barbarian horde envisioned even by such as Carl von Clausewitz (On War, p & h trans.; 7 tiny refs to "Tartars").

    IMO: The Mongols were a very professional and conventionally organized armed force, particularly as compared to the Eastern European rabbles they met and defeated. They had well developed rules of strategy and tactics, and perhaps the greatest operational soldier, Subotai. As British officers were shaped by the Etonian fields, Mongol officers were shaped by the Great Hunts - practice makes perfect. Gabriel, Genghis Khan's Greatest General: Subotai the Valiant (2006).

    For a fictional (based on history) account of the misfortune of a young Mongol officer to be kept frozen in grade for a combat faux pas, see Rutherfurd, Russka (mass paperback, 1991), chap. 3 "The Tatar", the "bad report" at p.154. They also had a well developed sense of their own systematic and moral theologies; e.g., Eliade, Shamanism (1964).

    In tune with that, they developed a set of rules for war, spanning jus ad bellum, jus in bello and jus post bellum. Gabriel's Subotai has a general summary of siegecraft and surrender policies (pp.39-42); and, for individual events, discussions in the four chapters (ch. 3-6) dealing with regional campaigns. Gabriel argues that Russian and Polish fortifications and cities presented no great challenge to the Mongols; but that Germany's castles and cities (and I'd add its mountains and forests) would have been a far harder nut to crack (pp.119-120).

    Subotai lived out his days on the Danube, in close proximity to his son Uriangkatai and grandson Achu who were officers in the Golden Horde of Batu. In 1257, Uriangkatai led an army against the Kingdom of Annam; and took and pillaged Hanoi in December. (Gabriel, Subotai, p.136, nn.22-24). I'd not be an LBJ snark, if I didn't note here that Uriangkatai's concept was not based on "graduated response". In any event, it was not distance or lack of mobility that led to the Mongols stopping at the Eastern Danube.

    Whatever the Mongols did (call it what you will) was driven by military and/or political considerations. The command decisions appear to have been largely left to the judgment of the commander on the scene. Thus, the rules tended to be flexible. However, if the siege commander accepted a surrender, that did not mean that those surrendering would not be killed. E.g., as to jus post bellum, we read such as "All males taller than the axle of a wagon are put to death". See, Massacres.

    It's well to keep in mind that the Mongols operated with relatively small forces (they only appeared to be overwhelmingly large to the credulous, such as Saint Carl); they operated over very long and remote lines of supply and communication; and the people they conquered (like the Mongols themselves) very much accepted the law of talion - and hence could not be trusted. Thus, I tend to accept the answer of the "Massacres" author as the better reasoning behind the Mongols' policies:

    When Genghis Khan attempts the conquest of the world (1209), the Mongol population numbers between 400 000 and 600 000 inhabitants, among which 200 000 are warriors. Together, all the countries targeted for conquest can muster a global population of more than 200 millions inhabitants (which is then 400 times the total number of inhabitants in Mongolia). The Mongols are a tiny minority and their army is almost always outnumbered when facing the various enemies on countless battlefields.

    The fact that their enemies are much more numerous triggers an inferiority complex among the Mongols, and the panic fear that their armies may be drowned some day in the multitude of the conquered populations. The only solution to make these conquered populations less dangerous, would be to decrease their numbers; and the only way to achieve that would be to massacre an important part of each of them.
    ...
    If one asks: why all those massacres?, the only answer that comes to mind is military necessity. The coming of the Mongol horsemen was generally not followed by rebellion (except in the Khwarezm and especially the Khorassan), because the revolts were crushed beforehand by a terror without precedent. Such massacres, when 98% of the population of certain regions is exterminated, leave a lasting impression. When only 2% of the population is left alive, terror works and the survivors have no inclination to revolt anymore.

    Furthermore, during a military campaign, depopulation is sometimes the most convenient means of securing the rear. There is no need to leave behind an occupation army in a depopulated land. The great novelty is to be able to control a territory without ever having to occupy it.

    Partisan war against the occupier is impossible. You cannot harass the occupier, then there is no occupation. This kind of remote control (the Mongol armies are stationed far away from the rare conquered cities that have been left intact) renders all modern techniques of urban guerrilla warfare or jungle warfare completely inefficient against the Mongols.
    What would David Kilcullen say to the last paragraph ?

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 09-30-2013 at 09:31 PM.

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    Default Some context

    Srebrenica was one of six UN 'safe areas' in Bosnia, with three in eastern Bosnia surroinded by the Serbs.

    Here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry for one where the UK provided the garrison:
    From 1992 to 1995 during the Bosnian War, Goražde was one of six Bosniak enclaves, along with Srebrenica and Žepa, surrounded and besieged by the Bosnian Serb Army. In April 1993 it was made into a United Nations Safe Area in which the United Nations was supposed to deter attacks on the civilian population.[2] Between March 30 and April 23, 1994, the Serbs launched a major offensive against the town. After air strikes against Serb tanks and outposts and a NATO ultimatum, Serbian forces agreed to withdraw their artillery and armored vehicles 20 km (12 mi) from the town.[3] In 1995 it was again targeted by the Bosnian Serbs, who ignored the ultimatum and launched an attack on UN guard posts. Around 350 UN servicemen were taken hostage but the remaining men from the Royal Welch Fusiliers who were already stationed there and reinforcement Bosniak troops prevented the Bosnian Serbs from taking over the town. It avoided the fate of Srebrenica, where the Bosnian Serbs continued on to after the failed attempt.[4]
    Link:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gora%C5%BEde

    Another 'safe area' was Zepa, which the Bosnian Serbs took, overwhelming a Ukrainian garrison:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%BDepa

    I'd forgotten the details, but it helps provide some context.
    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Unlike sieges after 1700 (perhaps a bit earlier in some places), the sieges of this era (1200-1700) were sordid affairs. Non-combatants and "expended" combatants were often sacrificed so that the besiegee or the besieger could carry on. A standard besiegee tactic was to expel its "useless" citizens from the fortress; the besieger would then drive them back to the fortress walls, where they usually starved to death.
    I recently watched a documentary on Caesar's siege of Alesia, he used similar tactics to force the Gauls to keep the noncombatants in Alesia and eat up Vercingetorix's food faster, so this actually goes back farther still. Very interesting discussion.

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    Default Ken: HT for the Battle of Alesia

    Is it this Youtube, Battle of Alesia (42 min) - commentary by Richard Gabriel (author of Subutai; and many other military books and articles), inter alia.

    The scene re: famine and sending out the women and children, etc. - starts after 23:30.

    Regards

    Mike

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    Hi Mike,

    No, although I might have to give that a watch sometime. It was the History Channel's Battlefield Detectives: Alesia (https://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/B...7?trkid=438403). I found it pretty well done, although I don't have a lot of secondary exposure to actual history of the period- most of my exposure has been through historical novels. But your quote above struck a chord as the documentary mentioned a very similar tactic. IIRC, Caesar ordered his legionaries to drive the noncombatants back to the gates of the citadel and force the garrison to listen to their wives and kids starve. Eventually the Gauls let them back in the citadel- which consumed the food stores that much faster. Very interesting stuff and a far cry from what the American public currently expects.

    Ken
    Last edited by KenWats; 10-02-2013 at 01:13 PM.

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    kiwi medical doctor, Andrew Thompson, wrote:

    'If blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers show up in your town or village and offer to protect you, run. Or else get weapons. Your lives are worth so much less than theirs.'

    (Source: http://ow.ly/pqUgf )

    Hard to challenge his wisdom... From his personal experience

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    I was never challenged in terms of moral courage as the two mentioned above were. My anger may well be the result of subliminal fear that I too may collapse under those circumstances.
    That was eloquent.

    General comments on this thread.

    I don't know how much interest this thread is getting but I am hugely impressed by the erudition and insight shown in the discussion.

    In the movie Go Tell The Spartans the last scene or two depicts guys doing the right thing regardless. The only people I ever heard of doing something almost exactly similar were some Frenchman in Indochina. They ran an irregular force of mountain tribesman and gave them their personal word that they would stick by. When the French pulled out those guys didn't. They stayed and they died. The American cultural bias about French courage is a bit curious in the light of that kind of behavior.

    My ill informed opinion about surrendering is in two parts. The first is the observation that when wars start, it takes a long time for people to really accept that it is real and people will kill you or others without a thought, that they really don't give a damn if you approve or not. That perhaps is a component in the surrenders of big forces by Hull, Percival and the Dutch commander. To my knowledge, the Dutchman had never seen real combat, nor had Wainwright and it had been a long time since Percival and Hull had seen any. All those surrenders were in the beginning of the war. Maybe part of it was they just hadn't had time to accept what surrender in a war really means.

    On the other hand, you have a guy like Puller. He knew. He had fought and fought at intervals frequent enough that he would have had no doubt what surrender in wartime could mean, especially to Japanese. Besides, it was the Marines.

    On an individual level, maybe it is just the triumph of hope over imagination, or lack of imagination. When soldiers were taken by American Indians say for example, in the War of 1812, they knew what was probably going to happen to them, or should have. But many surrendered anyway.

    JMA makes a hugely important point about the British and Basra. What happened? It wasn't that long ago that the Glowworm fought the Hipper. And contemporary with Basra were the prolonged platoon fights in Afghanistan. What happened?
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Default What People Expect and Measure.

    Thanks to Ken and JMA:

    Ken
    Very interesting stuff and a far cry from what the American public currently expects.

    JMA (quoting Andrew Thompson)
    'If blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers show up in your town or village and offer to protect you, run. Or else get weapons. Your lives are worth so much less than theirs.'
    which led me to look for a siege I vaguely recalled (Chateau-Gaillard); and to find Thompson's article (JMA's link doesn't work for me). They led me to think a bit more about what I bolded in what Ken and Thompson said.

    First to Chateau-Gaillard, which has many references; here are two. Wiki -The Siege of Chateau Gaillard:

    The local population sought refuge in the castle to escape the French soldiers who ravaged the town. The castle was well supplied for a siege, but the extra mouths to feed rapidly diminished them; between 1,400 and 2,200 non-combatants were allowed inside, increasing the number of people in the castle at least five-fold. In an effort to alleviate the pressure on the castle's supplies, Roger de Lacy, the castellan, evicted 500 civilians; this first group was allowed to pass through the French lines unhindered, and a second group of similar size did the same a few days later. Philip was not present, and when he learned of the safe passage of the civilians, he forbade further people being released from the castle. The idea was to keep as many people within Chteau Gaillard to drain its resources.

    Roger de Lacy evicted the remaining civilians from the castle, at least 400 people, and possibly as many as 1,200. The group was not allowed through, and the French opened fire on the civilians. They turned back to the castle for safety, but found the gates locked. They sought refuge at the base of the castle walls for three months; over the winter, more than half their number died from exposure and starvation. Philip arrived at Chteau Gaillard in February 1204, and ordered that the survivors should be fed and released. Such treatment of civilians in sieges was not uncommon, and such scenes were repeated much later at the sieges of Calais in 1346 and Rouen in 14181419, both in the Hundred Years' War.
    Pennell, Highways and byways in Normandy (1900), "Chateau-Gaillard", p.27-31, goes into the misery suffered by the civilians caught between the armies; and that Philip's act of mercy occured only after he personally met with some of the starving civilians who begged him to show mercy.

    Pennell also describes how the castle was captured and adds to the Wiki:

    Wiki
    With supplies running low Roger de Lacy and his garrison of 20 knights and 120 other soldiers surrendered to the French army, bringing to an end the siege on 6 March 1204.

    Pennell, p.31
    In the days when iron protected against iron, it took a good deal of fighting to kill a man, and it is said that only four men fell in this last encounter. Philippe Auguste rewarded Roger de Lacy for his courage by giving him liberty. The English garrison marched out of the castle, and the golden fleurs-de-lys floated over the proud donjon. Chateau-Gaillard had fallen, and with it Normandy was lost to England.
    The distinction made by the French in the treatment of Chateau-Gaillard civilians, vs its knight and soldiers, was a "we-they" distinction based on class and status. The common "we-they" distinctions based on e.g., race, ethnicity, geographic distance ("out of sight, out of mind") certainly did not apply. In fact, the civilians (from an area on the Ile de France - Normandie border) were more closely related to the French army than to the English Chateau-Gaillard garrison.

    This event, like many others, illustrates what that time's public expected - and what lives in that era were "worth" more than others. Here, "worth" is not an accounting item, but is the relative concern (along a spectrum) that a person has for the lives of people at the given Chateau-Gaillard or Srebreneca.

    The Thompson situation expands the facts and issues to the present - and raises added issues, starting with How many more must die before Kofi quits? Former UN human rights lawyer Kenneth Cain says the secretary-general could finally redeem himself by saving lives - after years of lethal passivity (by Kenneth Cain, The Observer, 3 April 2005):

    ... Next to these tributes [to the Rwandan slain] is another installation - a reproduction of the infamous fax by the UN Force Commander, General Romeo Dallaire, imploring the then head of UN peacekeeping, Kofi Annan, for authority to defend Rwandan civilians - many of whom had taken refuge in UN compounds under implicit and sometimes explicit promises of protection.

    Here, too, is Annan's faxed response - ordering Dallaire to defend only the UN's image of impartiality, forbidding him to protect desperate civilians waiting to die. Next, it details the withdrawal of UN troops, even while blood flowed and the assassins reigned, leaving 800,000 Rwandans to their fate.
    ...
    I am co-author of a book critical of Annan's peacekeeping legacy, "Emergency Sex (and Other Desperate Measures): True Stories from a War Zone." My co-author, Dr Andrew Thomson, penned a line that drove the UN leadership to fire him. Lamenting UN negligence in failing Bosnian Muslims whom it had promised to protect in its 'safe area' of Srebrenica - where 8,000 men were slaughtered - Thomson wrote: 'If blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers show up in your town or village and offer to protect you, run. Or else get weapons. Your lives are worth so much less than theirs.'
    Let me be clear about myself. My level of concern is very graduated and very much based on geographic distance. You all know what I think about interventions in Eurasia and Africa; and that I'm no fan of the UN. That being said, if one decides to intervene, one intervenes with both feet well planted; and provides all that is required to execute both non-violent and violent actions.

    The Cain-Thompson book was cited in this report, Promote Freedom or Protect Oppressors: The Choice at the UN Review Summit (by John Bercow MP and Victoria Roberts; September 2005)

    pp.28,29-30

    Humanitarian Intervention

    As part of their obligation under the responsibility to protect, states must be willing to take action to protect human rights. There is a continuum of action from using mediation to sanctions to the use of force. In order to increase the prospect of action being taken to suppress the violation of human rights, the UN should accept the proposed five principles to judge whether intervention should go ahead. They are seriousness of threat, proper purpose, last resort, proportional means and balance of consequences.
    ...
    Member states must be willing to make peace-enforcement and peacekeeping operations most effective. One of the most powerful arguments against humanitarian intervention is that intervention often seems to do more harm than good. Traditionally peacekeepers have lacked the mandate, resources and military might to carry out their mission. The international community must be willing to invest in training, logistics and hardware for their missions.

    What is more, the developed world must be willing to send in its troops. Dr Andrew Thompson, in his book on UN peacekeeping, wrote If blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers show up in your town or village and offer to protect you, run. Or else get weapons. Your lives are worth so much less than theirs. States must accept that there will be casualties in any enforcement effort. The notion of peaceful peacekeeping is a contradiction in terms. As in any military operation, the goals of the mission must dictate the actions taken. It is quite wrong for states to prioritise the safety of the troops over and above the safety of the civilians they are supposed to protect.
    This report (on a whole it sounds like Susan Rice and Samatha Power to me) simply has too much "humanitarian intervention", "responsibility to protect", etc. for me to swallow. But, I fully agree that, if an international or regional organization, a state or group of states, decides to intervene, it can't do it half-heartedly. On the other hand, I'd be a damn liar if I said what Bercow says:

    It is quite wrong for states to prioritise the safety of the troops over and above the safety of the civilians they are supposed to protect.
    I (figuratively sitting here on my a$$ and, as a US citizen, sending our troops to bad places and into worse situations) will always prioritize the lives of American troops over the lives of remote peoples. That's the way I am; and that's one more reason why I'm a reluctant intervenor.

    I also realize that executing a mission may require troops to sacrifice themselves - a "forlorn hope" attack; letting people take pot shots at you (as on the Mexican border); or being killed to protect people that are totally remote from you. That is the point made by Carl and it's valid:

    In the movie Go Tell The Spartans the last scene or two depicts guys doing the right thing regardless. The only people I ever heard of doing something almost exactly similar were some Frenchman in Indochina. They ran an irregular force of mountain tribesman and gave them their personal word that they would stick by. When the French pulled out those guys didn't. They stayed and they died.
    The French and Indochinese dying together in North Vietnam were from Roger Trinquier's special operations group. That story was a tragedy. The fictional "Go Tell The Spartans" (Wiki) is a great film.

    Regards

    Mike
    Last edited by jmm99; 10-03-2013 at 04:43 AM.

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    Default A touch of levity

    Go Tell the Spartans - "Why I'm still a Major" (Youtube clip, 4min).

    Regards

    Mike

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    Default Coming back to the issue of surrender...

    Found this gem in Keegan's: Face of Battle http://goo.gl/Mfsmb9

    Battle of the Somme:
    By 4 p.m. Captain Sparks recognized that his tiny force, now under attack by thirteen German infantry companies from three different regiments, was about to go under. He sent the following message back across no-man’s-land: ‘I am faced with this position. I have collected all bombs and [cartridges] from casualties. Every one has been used. I am faced with three alternatives: (a) to stay here with such of my men as are alive and be killed, (b) to surrender to the enemy, (c) to withdraw such of my men as I can. Either of these first two alternatives is distasteful to me. I propose to adopt the latter.’ Using discarded German rifles and ammunition, he and four N.C.O.s made a final stand in the German front trench while the other survivors escaped into no-man’s-land. There most of them, including Sparks, hid until darkness fell and allowed them to regain the British lines. During the day, the London Scottish, which had numbered 856 at dawn, had been reduced by death or wounds to 266.
    Sparks figured it out while personally under fire... not in some remote HQ far from the front line.

    I wonder what happened to Capt Sparks? Top man if there ever was one!
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-03-2013 at 10:47 AM. Reason: Fix quote

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    Default He survived that first day of the Somme

    Mark,

    Gommecourt - The Battle

    London Scottish - Beset by the 170th Regiment on two flanks the London Scottish now were faced with fresh troops from the 15th Reserve Infantry Regiment attacking down the communication trenches from Rossignol Wood. As they defended their small enclave the senior officer, Maj Francis Lindsay, was shot and killed leaving Capt Sparks of A Company in charge. Faced with the choice of surrender, annihilation or retreat he chose the latter and organised a covering party while the able bodied and lightly wounded were got away into No Man's Land. One of the last to leave, Sparks, took shelter in a shell hole until after dark before returning to the shattered British lines.
    and Leadership in Combat: An Historical Appraisal (USMA; pp.244):

    There most of them, including Sparks, hid until darkness fell and allowed them to regain the British lines. During the day, the London Scottish, which had numbered 856 at dawn, had been reduced by death or wounds to 266.
    This last book may be a gem; just found it and haven't read it. BLUF:

    The OPMS study Group asked the History Department at USMA to study successful combat leadership to identify the trends and characteristics that should be institutionalized in the development of Officers. There were only two restrictions: that the actions studied be in actual combat and that it must clearly involve leadership not management. The characteristics found were indispensible to combat leadership, but not necessarily vital or sufficient to accomplish other essential military tasks.

    The USMA Study unit, organized under LTC Kenneth E. Hamburger, examined over 200 American and and foreign examples in all periods. Both succesful and unsuccesful examples were intensively analysed and discussed to sift out desirable, undesirable, and neutral characteristics. In addition, preservice experience, upbringing, education, service record, physical condition, personal temperment and morality, and life following the incident were studied.

    There was surprising consistency among successful combat leaders regardless of historical period, country or condition of combat. Early in their lives, the traits that made them successful were discernible in some form and were enhanced, but could not be induced, through experience. In no case did a unit in combat overcome the deficiencies of its leader; in almost all cases the leader overcame startling unit deficiencies and incredible problems in mission definition, enemy physical and moral strength [etc., etc. etc.] ... and his own anxiety.
    Regards

    Mike

    - and, from Peter Hart's book on the Somme, he was H.C. Sparks, who according to the Roll of the Ancients joined the regimental association in 1930, was a founder of the The Glenworple Highlanders, and died 15 Oct 1933.

    Another good combat leader from the Somme was Frank Maxwell (the "Brat"), portrayed in The Somme - From Defeat To Victory (Documentary based on Hart's work; 1 hr), starting at 40:00 to end, Tiepval in Sep 1916 - Maxwell was KIA at Ypres in 1917. The Somme's first day is the first 40 min (focus on the Salford Pals).
    Last edited by jmm99; 10-03-2013 at 06:26 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmm99 View Post
    Thanks to Ken and JMA:
    which led me to look for a siege I vaguely recalled (Chateau-Gaillard); and to find Thompson's article (JMA's link doesn't work for me). They led me to think a bit more about what I bolded in what Ken and Thompson said.
    I'll elaborate on what I was thinking when I typed that. We Americans have a few generations raised on stuff like the A-Team or GI Joe, where there's always a good parachute after the plane gets shot down - or the bad guys dive out of the truck before it explodes. We hardly expect our enemies to get killed in combat, much less innocent civilians. So, when we see deliberate harm to "innocent civilians", even for military gain, well... the reaction is not so good.

    Questions that come to my mind (may not be related, and apologize if I'm wandering off topic)
    What if the US treated the siege of Fallujah like Caesar treated Alesia?
    Would there have been any military gain if it had?
    Would this have changed the calculus of the defenders?

    Going back to Alesia. Vercingetorix tried to break out, somewhat coordinated with a relief force attack on the outside of Caesar's siege lines. After a desperate battle he failed and the following morning Vercingetorix turned over his weapons and surrendered.

    Why? He knew his people were going to be enslaved/executed. He personally should have had a reasonable expectation he'd be paraded around as a trophy. He's starving and without hope of victory, but living in defeat seems pretty bad to me too. Wouldn't it be worth it to stick it to the Romans as much as possible? Evidently not. Maybe this isn't a good example as it's so long ago that I don't know that we can possibly understand what's going on in V's mind. On the other hand, I can't think that there could be many worse people to surrender to than a bunch of irritable Romans. Maybe I don't have much imagination

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