Monday, October 31, 2005

Snouck Hurgronje

Snouck Hurgronje was a Dutchman who lived from 1857 to 1936. He was a scholar of Islam and visited Mecca. He wrote several books about the origin and development of Islam. This was of great interest to the Dutch elites of the time.

Most local rulers were quickly taken care of by armies of white soldiers shipped in from Europe, supported by local mercenaries, often Christians from the Molluccan Islands. However at a certain point the Dutch had to face a more formidable foe.

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2 comments:

Robbie Earl said...

Respect for bravery is instinctive. So is contempt for brutality and cowardice.

And the Americans wonder why napalming civvies from 5000 feet doesn't win 'em hearts and minds.

Snouck said...

It pays to be a Gentleman. Not for the gentleman individually, but for a society of gentlemen it pays.

The Americans are using a portion the logic of the German warmaking in the second world war that appeals to the American mind. The Germans used small squads built around crew served weapons such as machine guns and mortars to increase the fire power of their infantry. Also they used all kinds of equipment to increase mobility (trucks)and coordination (radios) of their forces.

The Americans understand this logic very well, and use it with devastating effect. But it works well only in conventional conflicts. As we have seen with the destruction of Saddams Conventional forces in 2003. In order to fight part time soldiers that are typical of low intensity conflicts the soldiers need eyes to see the enemy. And those eyes can only be given light if they know how the enemy lives and thnks. This is the challenge.