Friday, April 25, 2008

"KILL EVERYONE OVER 10" - General Jacob H. Smith

“The HISTORY of an oppressed people is hidden in the lies and the agreed myth of its conquerors.” - Meridel Le Sueur, American writer, 1900-1996

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Enraged by the surprise guerrilla massacre of U.S. troops on the Island of Samar, Smith carried out an indiscriminate retaliatory campaign upon its inhabitants. [1]His order "Kill Everyone Over Ten" became a caption in the New York Journal cartoon on May 5, 1902. The Old Glory draped an American shield on which a vulture replaced the bald eagle. The caption at the bottom proclaimed, "Criminals Because They Were Born Ten Years Before We Took the Philippines." Smith's conduct of this campaign eventually resulted in his court-martial. [1]

Hi All,

To those who wonder "why to dig the past": We engage in revisiting and revising our past, i.e. historical "revisionism", to develop new emphases and raise new questions on assumptions and explanations for key historical issues and policies --given by our former colonial master America, our Americanized government officials and authors of standardized/official history books, then and now.

The below article is about the notorious, brutal historical event of Balangiga Massacre aka Balangiga Bells. 
This slaughter of Filipino civilians was committed just about a decade after the Wounded Knee massacre.

The murderous acts show a persistent pattern. Remember that the US military has a history of brutality towards non-combatants/civilians. Military brutality towards civilians has been committed against Native Americans ("Indians" - as called by Columbus upon "discovering" America as he mistakenly believed he has found the Indies) within a few years after the American Civil War. 

Such acts were demonstrated by General Philip Sheridan in his several battles during the so-called "Indian Wars" to whom the famous quotation is attributed: "The only good Indians I saw were dead" aka "The only good Indian is a dead Indian," or the slaughter ordered by Colonel James W. Forsyth in the Wounded Knee Massacre, to name two. 

The standard version of Indian-American history is one in which heroic soldiers and frontiersmen, accompanied by their brave wives, resisted the ferocious raids of blood-thirsty Indians.

This ruthless attitude and behavioral pattern by U.S. soldiers was repeated in the Vietnam War(aka American War according to the Vietnamese) exemplified by the My Lai Massacre.]

- Bert

"We Do Not Want Filipinos, We Want the Philippines" - San Francisco Argonaut 1902


“Kill Every One Over Ten:” The Burning of Samar and the Balangiga Massacre

Criminals Because They Were Born Ten Years Before We Took the Philippines. - New York Evening Journal, May 5, 1902

This editorial cartoon, from the May 5, 1902, New York Evening Journal, was drawn in protest of the
burning of Samar, in late 1901, during the American occupation of the Philippines.

News of the campaign eventually reached the United States, and the commander, General Jake Howling Smith, faced a court-martial in May 1902, on charges of conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline. 

During the trial it was revealed that Smith had ordered his soldiers to shoot anyone over the age of ten who had not surrendered, as potential enemy combatants. Smith, found guilty, was given a verbal reprimand and retired without further punishment.

The campaign on Samar was carried out in retaliation for an attack on American soldiers in the town of Balangiga on September 28, 1901. A group of Filipino insurgents armed with bolo knives attacked Company C of the Ninth U.S. Infantry, which the U.S. government had sent to Samar in order to occupy Balangiga earlier that year. 

The soldiers were outnumbered and taken by surprise while eating breakfast; 48 American soldiers were killed in combat and 22 were wounded. Some of the surviving soldiers managed to secure their rifles and fight, killing about 30 Filipinos and escaping to the garrison in Basey.

In retaliation for the attack, American marines under the command of General Jake Howling Smith were assigned to clean up the island of Samar. General Jake Hell-Roaring Smith’s campaign was poorly planned and faulty in its execution. Convinced that he could make Filipinos submit to American control by making war hell, he sought to substitute fire and sword for the benevolent and humane policy that had preceded his campaign.

General Smith instructed Major Littleton Waller, the commanding officer of the Marines assigned to clean up the island of Samar, of the methods he was to employ: I want no prisoners. I wish you to kill and burn; the more you kill and burn the better it will please me. He directed that Samar be converted into a howling wilderness. All persons who have not surrendered and were capable of carrying arms were to be shot. Who was capable? Anyone over ten years of age, according to Smith. At this point, he became better known as Jake Howling Smith.

What followed was a sustained and widespread killing of Filipino civilians.

The basic elements of his policy were few. Food and trade to Samar were to be ended to starve the revolutionaries into submission. He instructed his officers to regard all Filipinos as enemies and treat them accordingly until they showed conclusively that they were friendly by specific actions such as revealing information about the location of revolutionaries or arms, working successfully as guides or spies, or trying actively to obtain the surrender of the guerrillas in the field. 

He gave his subordinates carte blanche authority in the application of General Order 100. (Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 General Orders No. 100, in brief, authorized the shooting on sight of all persons not in uniform acting as soldiers and those committing, or seeking to commit, sabotage.)

General Smith’s grand strategy on Samar involved the use of widespread destruction to force the inhabitants to cease supporting the guerrillas and turn to the Americans from fear and starvation. He used his troops in sweeps of the interior in search of guerrilla bands and in attempts to capture Lukban but did nothing to prevent contact between the guerrilla and the townspeople. American columns marched all over the island destroying habitations and draft animals.

Major Waller, for example, reported that in an eleven-day span his men burned 255 dwellings, slaughtered 13 carabaos, and killed 39 people. Other officers reported similar activity. The orders issued by the general and his emotional statements at the beginning of the campaign had encouraged such unproductive acts. 

As the Judge Advocate General of the army observed, only the good sense and restraint of the majority of Smith’s subordinates prevented a complete reign of terror in Samar. Still, the abuses were sufficient to cause outrage in the United States when they became known near the end of March 1902.

After receiving his orders from General Smith, Major Waller issued his own written orders with regards to his men’s conduct, what they were to seize and destroy, and other matters of similar nature. Towards the end, he wrote, We have also to avenge our late comrades in North China, the murdered men of the Ninth U.S. Infantry. This added more to the rage. The Chinese and the Filipinos were, it seems, of the same nature, and stock, and even ideology. There was no difference among Asiatics.

Waller was later accused of ordering the execution of eleven native guides because, during a long march, they had found edible roots and had allegedly conspired to keep this knowledge from the famished American troops.

Victor Nebrida, Philippine History Group of Los Angeles (1997): The Balangiga Massacre: Getting Even

In American history textbooks, the phrase Balangiga massacre is still used to refer to the combat deaths of 48 American soldiers, not the retaliatory slaughter of thousands of Filipino civilians.

Brigadier General Jacob Smith with Major General Adna R. Chaffee, Tacloban, Leyte, 1902 Photo courtesy National Archives. Before the "Howling Wilderness": The Military Career of Jacob Hurd Smith, 1862-1902 David L. Fritz Military Affairs Vol. 43, No. 4 (Dec. 1979), pp. 186-190

“The true Filipino is a decolonized Filipino.” – Prof. Renato Constantino (1919-1999)

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Anonymous said...

Well I am just one white American who has heard this story before and it is a shameful one indeed. There is much more to tell. Had I been there during that time, I would have deserted and defected and would have set out to kill as many of my former commarades as I could.

micheal steinburg said...

This is why in order to truly learn AMERICAN HIStory. these types of historical stories must be taught in school. Too many stories have American History as a whitewashed version of the truth and do not include the many slaughters of Black, Brown and Yellow people all over the earth in order to promote white and Jewish interests