Top critical review
A must read for torture and counterterrorism military education
on May 3, 2015
The author would be a war criminal today, and to be honest, should have been even in the 50's. He is the argument for torture as a means of facilitating the counter-terrorism cycle. There are immediate and short term results to this methodology, and could help smaller nations where terrorism is an existential threat to their regime.
However, the General seems to gloss over MANY issues with his argument. His actions, and actions of his unit, we're so horrendous the public opinion of the French people was lost, torture and murder was a major factor. The French people did not think the actions of the unit were morally just. They won the tactical battle but lost the war of support and the crumbling of French presence in Algeria began. Terrorism, by the FLN, was not an existential threat to France proper, only on Algeria as a constitutional state of the nation of France. It was not a colony like its neighbors. The French people did not view the actions of the FLN as an existential threat to them. The actions of this unit led to a direct shift in homeland French public opinion. Interesting is the contrast with the Pieds Noir, who rightly viewed the FLN as an existential threat to their lives and existence in Algeria, therefore were wholly supportive of these operations. Perspective is everything.
Another interesting perspective is on the fact so many of these Soldiers, and leaders, were survivors of the Nazi occupation, and all those horrors, then the vicious fighting in French Indo-China culminating in the surrender at Diem Bien Phu, followed by the prison camps of the Viet Mihn. Those same veterans turned around and behaved exactly in the same manner as their former enemies.
This is a great complimentary with "A Savage war of Peace"