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The Moro War: How America Battled a Muslim…

The Moro War: How America Battled a Muslim Insurgency in the Philippine…

by James R. Arnold

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This book about America's first extended ground conflict with a Muslim society can't fail to resonate with current events, and Arnold seems to do a fine job of capturing the ebb and flow of how policy drove whether the American army undertook aggressive moves or not. While certainly not written to point fingers, the governorship of Leonard Wood can't help but to compare unfavorably with that of, say, John J. Pershing, if only because of Wood's grand-standing drive for distinction led him to sanction acts that are hard not to describe as genocidal.

As for what would have been the other option, apart from not getting involved in the Philippines in the first place, Arnold suggests that the American invaders failed to recognize that there was more of a social structure to work with than they cared to admit. Of course, this would have meant a tolerance for the superficially Islamic tribal culture of Mindano and the Sulu Archipelago that was unlikely in an army and government in a hurry to impose order and commercial development, and had absolute conviction that they were in the right. ( )
  Shrike58 | Mar 9, 2012 |
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Book description
As the global war on terror enters its second decade, the United States military is engaged with militant Islamic insurgents on multiple fronts. But the post-9/11 war against terrorists is not the first time the United States has battled such ferocious foes. The forgotten Moro War, lasting from 1902 to 1913 in the islands of the southern Philippines, was the first confrontation between American soldiers and their allies and a determined Muslim insurgency.

The Moro War prefigured American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan more than superficially: It was a bitter, drawn-out conflict in which American policy and aims were fiercely contested between advocates of punitive military measures and proponents of conciliation.

As in today's Middle East, American soldiers battled guerrillas in a foreign environment where the enemy knew the terrain and enjoyed local support. The deadliest challenge was distinguishing civilians from suicidal attackers. Moroland became a crucible of leadership for the U.S. Army, bringing the force that had fought the Civil War and the Plains Indian Wars into the twentieth century. The officer corps of the Moro campaign matured into the American generals of World War I. Chief among them was the future general John Pershing-who learned lessons in the island jungles that would guide his leadership in France.

Rich with relevance to today's news from the Middle East, and a gripping piece of storytelling, The Moro War is a must-read to understand a formative conflict too long overlooked and to anticipate the future of U.S. involvement overseas
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Documents the early twentieth-century battle against Muslim insurgents in the southern Philippines, discussing the fierce debates between military supporters and peace advocates while offering insight into the challenges faced by U.S. forces and the contributions of future general John Pershing.… (more)

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