Thursday, March 25, 2010

American Police Training and Political Violence

Domani Spero at Diplopundit had a sobering post earlier this week about U.S. efforts to train police in Afghanistan (here), and it left me thinking about the topic of police forces and counterinsurgency efforts.

Today, thanks to a link in the History News Network, I found an article that provides some perspective on U.S. efforts to train local police forces abroad over the past hundred or so years. See: American Police Training and Political Violence: From the Philippines Conquest to the Killing Fields of Afghanistan and Iraq by Jeremy Kuzmarov, assistant professor of history at the University of Tulsa.

I hope that someday a historian will handle the much-neglected topic of U.S. efforts to pacify and administer the Island of Puerto Rico between 1898, when it was acquired as war booty, and 1952 when it became a U.S. Commonwealth. In many ways, the campaign in Puerto Rico was a companion piece to the much larger but shorter-lived one in the Philippines, and it had a political afterlife that is still unfolding.

Do Americans even know that the U.S.-appointed chief of the P.R. Insular Police, a U.S. Army Colonel named Francis E. Riggs, was assassinated by the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party in 1936? Or that there was a nationalist uprising on the island in 1950 that motivated the attempt to assassinate President Truman at Blair House? Or that Puerto Rican nationalists shot up the U.S. Congress in 1954?

The subject of Puerto Rico has long fascinated me, and I've given some thought to researching and writing an article myself about the political conflict - frankly, the counterinsurgency - that took place there between local nationalists and their U.S. government adversaries. Maybe someday!

No comments: