John J. Pershing and Counterinsurgency Warfare in the Muslim Philippines, 1899-1913
Battles and Campaigns
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
American Datu: John J. Pershing and Counterinsurgency Warfare in the Muslim Philippines, 1899--1913 provides a play-by-play account of a crucial but often overlooked period in the development of American counterinsurgency strategy. Tracing Pershing's military campaigns in the Philippines, Ronald K. Edgerton examines how Progressive Counterinsurgency doctrine evolved in direct response to the first sustained military encounter between the United States and Muslim militants. Pershing de-emphasized so-called civilizing efforts and stressed the practicality of building relationships with local Moro leaders and immersing himself in Moro cultural practices. In turn, Moros elected him as a fellow datu, or chief, and Pershing came to realize a fundamental principle of counterinsurgency warfare: one size does not fit all, and tactics must be molded to fit the specific environment. In light of Pershing's military success, this study calls for a reevaluation of the more invasive counterinsurgency methods used by US officers against Muslim militants today, and it addresses the important role the Philippine-American War played in developing modern US military strategy.
"Few people understand the history of Mindanao under American rule as well as Edgerton does. He deftly describes the conflict from both sides, explaining the Moros' perspective alongside US efforts to gain control. Edgerton shows with fascinating detail how John Pershing's 'progressive' approach to governing clashed with traditional, often racist calls for harsh military action and made way for modern counterinsurgency tactics. This book draws you in; you do not want to put it down." -- Kenton Clymer, author of A Delicate Relationship: The United States and Burma/Myanmar since 1945
"This fraught and fascinating biography of Pershing in the Philippines gives a glimpse of the voices of Filipino Muslims as they engaged the governing American military officers. It also establishes Pershing's tactics as the forerunner of today's counterinsurgency strategy associated with General David Petraeus." -- Patricio N. Abinales, coauthor of State and Society in the Philippines