strategies employed by the
U.S. Army over 130 years ago in the desert Southwest helped rout the Al
Qaeda in Afghanistan.
the Taliban and Osama bin
Laden, the foe in 1872 was Apache Indians ignoring a peace treaty
by their chief, Cochise. Much like the modern-dayAfghanis, the Apaches
consisted of many separate tribes and small bands who roamed the rugged
Tonto Basin of Arizona. The renegade Apaches were making repeated raids
on white settlers, who demanded retaliation from their
Cavalry, under the command of
Colonel George Crook, was obviously at a disadvantage in the hostile
where the Apaches knew every twist and turn of the canyons and the
routes through the wilderness. Tracking down the many small bands of
and putting a stop to their terrorism was a daunting task.
military leaders before him,
Crook recognized the value of recruiting native peoples familiar with
terrain to work as scouts, but he carried scouting a step further: he
recruited Apaches at the San Carlos Reservation who supported the
to seek out and fight against their rebelling tribesmen.
scout was initially an honorable
thing to do," wrote historian Eve Ball, whose interviews with Apache
are published in Apache
Voices by Sherry Robinson (University of New Mexico Press,
aided the Army against their
traditional enemies. And in the humiliating confinement of a
it allowed a warrior to have a horse and gun. After Crook began using
scouts against their own people, scouts were alternately branded as
or respected for their effort to bring a futile war to an end.
weary of running and fighting, the most loyal Apaches became scouts."
praised the effectiveness
and loyalty of his Apache scouts, had shrewdly recognized the limits of
his own troops and used his allies to great advantage. Instead of being
outwitted, exhausted, circumvented and possibly destroyed, his troopers
were dispatched in small, highly mobile strike forces -- much like
Army Rangers -- to doggedly pursue each band of warriors as it was
strategy worked," write Robert Utley
and Wilcomb Washburn in the republication of their history, Indian
Wars (Houghton Mifflin, 2002). "Throughout the winter nine
swept the Tonto Basin and its neighboring mountain ranges. The officers
took Crook at his word and never gave up on a trail. In twenty actions
their troopers closed with the quarry every time...
chief explained after surrendering,
his people 'could not go to sleep at night, because they feared to be
before daybreak; they could not hunt -- the noise of their guns would
the troops; they could not cook mescal or anything else, because the
and smoke would draw down the soldiers; they could not live in the
-- there were too many soliders; they had retreated to the mountain
thinking to hid in the snow until the soldiers went home, but the
scouts found them out and the soldiers followed them.'
strategy, which so resembles
the U.S. military action in Afghanistan in 2001, effectively routed the
renegade Apaches and put and end to their raids. It brought peace to an
area that had been repeatedly ravaged by fighting and earned the
a hero's respect from both the local popuation and a promotion to the
of General from President Ulysses S. Grant.
warfare, consisting of strategic
alliances and small commando-style operations rather than conventional
infantry assaults, did not put an end to terrorism on the frontier, for
there were many other areas of conflict for decades to come. But it did
introduce an important gambit to the U.S. military arsenal than would
very useful more than a century later in a wilderness half a world
Southwestern Indian Tribes
by Tom Bahti
KC Publications. 1975
Robert Marshall Utley
and Wilcomb E. Washburn,
From the Native rebellion
of 1492 and bloody attacks at the settlement of Jamestown in the early
17th century to the Sioux War and the harrowing battle at Wounded Knee
in 1891, this history provides a comprehensive and balanced account of
300 years of conflicts between Native Americans and white settlers.
Widely respected Native
American historians Robert Utley and Wilcomb Washburn examine both
battles and major wars.
With Terror and
Theodore G. Shackley
with Richard A Finney