Training your enemy
This came in over the transom
The following is taken from Time Magazine, January 3, 1949
Fu's Fate. In segmented North China , General Fu Tso-yi continued to play a strange sort of game with the Reds. A Communist broadcast had condemned Fu (along with Chiang Kaishek, Sun Fo, most of the new cabinet and others) as a war criminal, deserving a "just penalty." The broadcast added, however, that Fu "could lessen his fate somewhat" if he would immediately surrender Peiping and Tientsin .
While keeping his bargaining position behind the defenses of the two cities, Soldier Fu showed clearly that he had taken the hint. Last week his troops handed over to the Communists the great industrial and trading center of Kalgan , with all its bulging warehouses and factories intact. No destruction of any kind was carried out. Explained General Fu blandly: "All supplies, factories and manufactured products there . . . are wealth of the people and the property of the nation."
Some background, General Fu Tso-yi, by most accounts was the most competent of all the Chinese Nationalist generals. His troops were the best American trained and equipped troops in the Chinese Nationalist army – much better trained and equipped than their Chinese communist counterparts. American military advisors had confidently predicted that Fu’s American trained and equipped Chinese Nationalist troops would convincingly rout the Chinese Communists on the battlefield.
The Nationalist generals were often corrupt and incompetent. And interestingly, Nationalist soldiers, when confronted with Chinese communist armies, were often disposed to give up, join with and turn over all their American made guns and equipment to the communists rather than fight their Chinese compatriots – despite having “superior” training and weapons.
Two to three years later, in the Korean War, American infantry would be confronted by Chinese troops that had been trained by American advisors and were equipped with American made weaponry. To reiterate, American troops would be fighting an “enemy” that had, in part, been trained and equipped by their own military. Blowback was a bitch.
Three week later, on January 31, 1949 , Time Magazine would update the life and times of General Fu Tso-yi and his troops:
“Last week, a typical Chinese solution ended the 40-day Communist siege of China 's ancient capital.
“ Peiping 's ( Beijing ) massive gates swung open and through them General Fu ("I will defend this city to the last!") marched 100,000 troops for "reorganization." At Peiping , Nationalists and Communists signed an agreement designed to "shorten the civil war, satisfy a public desire for peace and . . . prevent the vitality of the country from sinking any further." The agreement did not mention "surrender."
Other points included: establishment of a "liaison" office responsible for "military and political affairs during a period of transition"; continued operation of "utilities, banks, warehouses and schools"; continuation of postal and telegraphic service with the outside world.”
General Fu was later rewarded by Chinese Communist regime with a military commission in the Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA).
What happened in China in 1949 is eerily similar to what happens when members of the Iraqi army and police are confronted with the insurgency – whether Shia or Sunni. They either don’t show up or join their Iraqi compatriots. In Amara, the British turned Camp Abu Naji over to the Iraqi army (Iraqi 4th Brigade, 10th Division) to defend. Within 48 hours, the base was overrun and looted by the Mahdi army. The Iraqi army initially put up a token defense of the base, but mostly watched as the Mahdi army looted anything of value. Simply put, the Arab Iraqis are not going to fight for a government they associate as puppets of a foreign power. History bears out that the Iraqis are not alone in this sentiment. No group of people is going to fight for a regime that lacks legitimacy in the eyes of the populace. It did not happen in China ; it did not happen in Vietnam ; it will not happen in Iraq .
posted by Steve @ 10:34:00 AM