THE USE OF torture is older than civilization itself, but its form has changed over the centuries. The Middle Ages were the heyday of elaborate instruments for inflicting pain such as the rack, a wooden machine with rollers and ratchets that was used to pull legs and arms out of their sockets; the iron maiden, an iron cabinet in which the victim stood while a torturer stuck spikes or knives into his body; and the head crusher, a metal vise used to compress a cranium. The harnessing of electricity, and specifically the development of a device called the magneto, in the late nineteenth century created new opportunities for ruthless security services.
The magneto was a small generator capable of producing a high-voltage spark. In the early twentieth century a hand-cranked version was used to start cars, movie projectors, airplane propellers, and other devices. It was also useful for powering field telephones of the kind that became ubiquitous among the world’s armies. By the 1930s the French investigative service, the Sûreté, and the Japanese secret police, the Kempeitai, were using alligator clips attached to field telephones to aid in the interrogation of suspects in Indochina and Korea, respectively. Each crank generated a shock; the faster the operator turned, the more voltage came out. By the mid-1950s this device, nicknamed the gégène, had migrated to Algeria, where among the French forces it won favor over more traditional methods of torture such as the local version of waterboarding—a practice that dated back to at least the fourteenth century—known as the tuyau (water pipe). Of course less elaborate methods of coercive interrogation, such as beating, food and water deprivation, and exposure to heat and cold, remained in widespread use as well. The advantage of the gégène was that it was quick, left no marks, and was not likely to kill the subject prematurely unless he happened to have a heart condition.104
Henri Alleg was to learn firsthand of the gégène and the other fiendish tools of the interrogator’s trade after his arrest on June 12, 1957. A “very nervous” detective held him at gunpoint until the arrival of the soldiers from the Tenth Parachute Division who had taken responsibility for security in Algiers after the start of a terrorist campaign by the National Liberation Front (FLN). A Sten submachine gun jammed against his ribs, Alleg was driven to the local “clearing center,” where he was hailed as a “prize catch.” A French Jew as well as a Communist Party member, Alleg had been the editor of the Alger Républicain, a newspaper that had been banned for supporting the struggle against French rule.
“Ah! So you’re the customer? Come with me!”
Alleg followed a paratrooper lieutenant into a small room. He was told to get undressed and then was tied with leather straps to a wooden plank. Another paratrooper asked, “Are you afraid? Do you want to talk?” They wanted to know who had hidden Alleg while he was on the run. He refused to say. “You’re still playing at heroes, are you?” the paratrooper said. “It won’t last long. In a quarter of an hour, you’ll talk very nice.”
A sergeant then appeared with electrical wires attached to a gégène. The “shiny steel clips” were attached to one of Alleg’s ears and a finger. As soon as the power was turned on, Alleg recalled, “A flash of lightning exploded next to my ear and I felt my heart racing in my breast. I struggled, screaming, and stiffened myself until the straps cut into my flesh.” But he still refused to talk. The electrical clips were then attached to his penis, making his whole body shake “with nervous shocks, getting ever stronger in intensity.”
Next he was untied and dragged by his tie, which was knotted around his neck like a dog’s leash, to another room where the paras pummeled him mercilessly—first with their fists, then with a piece of wood, all the while taunting him: “Listen you scum! You’re finished! You’re going to talk! . . . Everybody talks here!”
Alleg still didn’t talk, so a new session of electrical torture was ordered, this time employing a larger magneto. “In my very agony I felt the difference in quality,” he wrote. “Instead of the sharp and rapid spasms that seemed to tear my body in two, it was now a greater pain that took possession of all my muscles and tightened them in longer spasms.”
Next up was the tuyau. He was carried on a plank into the kitchen, his head wrapped in a rag, and his mouth wedged open with a piece of wood, while his head was soaked in water from a rubber tube attached to a tap. “Water flowed everywhere: in my mouth, in my nose, all over my face. . . . I had the impression of drowning, and a terrible agony, that of death itself, took possession of me.”
Yet even this did not break Alleg. The enraged paras beat him again until he lost consciousness. After wakening him up with “blows and kicks,” they decided to “roast him.” A paper torch was lit, Alleg recalled, and “I felt the flame on my penis and on my legs, the hairs crackling as they caught fire.”
Finally, “trembling with cold and nervous exhaustion,” he was thrown into a cell. He tried to lie down but could get no rest on a mattress stuffed with barbed wire. He wanted to go to the bathroom but was told to “piss on yourself.” No food or water was provided.
So it went for day after day of torture that began after nightfall and sometimes lasted until dawn. From other parts of the building, Alleg “could hear shouts and cries, muffled by the gag, and curses and blows.” He “soon knew that it was in no way an exceptional night, but the routine of the building.”
Alleg turned out to be more fortunate than most of the other “customers.” At the end of his torture, he did not “disappear” or get “killed while trying to escape”—the fate of thousands of other detainees. After a month Alleg was moved to a prison where he was able to write an account of his ordeal. The resulting book, The Question, quickly sold sixty thousand copies in France before being banned.105
Alleg’s account, and that of a few soldiers who objected to the widespread use of torture, raised anguished cries among a French populace that only too recently had suffered similar treatment from the Gestapo. How could “civilized” soldiers resort to such barbarous practices, critics asked? All too easily. The Algerian War, like the Indochina War, had been marked by savagery on both sides from the start.
THE REVOLT HAD begun on All Saints’ Day, November 1, 1954, with seventy scattered attacks across the country. The rebels had few weapons and their tactics were amateurish. At one mine, where the rebels hoped to seize 1,500 pounds of dynamite, they were driven away by a single Muslim security guard.106 So ineffectual were these early efforts that the FLN decided to turn from guerrilla-style attacks on French security forces to terrorist attacks on French residents and their Muslim “collaborators.”
Algeria differed from Indochina in that it had a substantial European settler population—nearly a million pieds noirs (black feet) living among 8.5 million Muslims.107 Ramdane Abane, the most intelligent of the FLN leaders, who might have become an Algerian Mao or Ho if he had not died in 1957 at the hands of fellow rebels, believed in making life intolerable for the pieds noirs and moderate Muslims. He wanted to goad the security forces into reprisals that would turn the apathetic Muslim population toward the FLN. His sinister dicta: “We need blood in the headlines to make the world aware,” and “one corpse in a jacket is always worth more than twenty in uniform.”108
At virtually the same time in Kenya, Mau Mau rebels were targeting a much smaller number of European settlers—29,000 in all, of whom only 32 were killed.109 Yet even this small number of deaths provoked a heavy-handed response from the British. Indeed, as the historian David Anderson argues, all of Europe’s settler colonies in Africa—not only Kenya and Algeria but also Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and South Africa—saw brutal violence in the days of decolonization.110 Next to South Africa, which by the 1950s was no longer a colony, Algeria had the largest white population on the continent, and therefore the scale of violence there was especially high.
On August 20, 1955, there were frenzied attacks on Europeans living around the port of Philippeville. In a nearby mining town, where 130 Europeans lived among 2,000 Muslims, FLN fellaghas (“bandits”) went from home to home during the noonday siesta, slaughtering everyone inside. French paratroopers who arrived shortly thereafter found a scene of horrors. “When I saw children chopped up into pieces, with their throats slit or crushed to death, the women who had been disemboweled or decapitated, I think I really forgot what having any pity meant,” wrote Major Paul Aussaresses. “What was hardest to believe was that these people had been massacred and mutilated by their Algerian Muslim neighbors, who had been peacefully living with them until then.”
The troops found rebels mixed with civilians in the streets and “fired indiscriminately on the whole lot of them.” “For two hours our submachine guys never stopped firing . . . ,” a para recalled. “The barrel of my P.M. [submachine gun] got so hot I couldn’t touch it.” Eventually orders were given to take prisoners. Hundreds of Arab men were rounded up. The next morning they were massacred by “the regiment’s automatic rifles and machine guns.” The French counted 1,273 dead Muslims—so many, a para said, “that they had to be buried with bulldozers.” “I was totally indifferent,” Aussaresses wrote. “We had to kill them and I did it. That was all.”111
Thus was set the pattern of terrorism and reprisal. It is irrelevant to ask who was more to blame—the FLN or the French? Both sides kept the “vicious circle” going.112
To be sure, in the spirit of Lyautey, the French tried some civic-action programs to win the allegiance of the population. These included giving Muslims more voting rights and spending more on their schools and social services. Teams from the Section Administrative Spécialisée—successors of the Service des Affaires Indigènes employed a few decades earlier in Morocco—spread across the countryside to improve life for Muslims. But it was too little, too late. French leaders, even Socialists such as the interior minister, François Mitterrand, refused to countenance independence, which was what the populace really wanted. In their view Algeria was as much a part of France as Burgundy or Provence. That outlook was reinforced by the powerful pied noir lobby, which had an outsize influence in France’s fractured parliament and feared that if the Muslim masses took over, its constituents would face a grim choice between “the suitcase or the coffin.”
In past colonial conflicts, Western armies, composed of soldiers whose own families typically lived far from the battlefield, were often a force of moderation compared with local settlers. The regular U.S. Army, for instance, was more restrained in its use of force against Indians than local militias such as the Colorado volunteers who perpetrated the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864. That was not the case in Algeria, where the French Army was determined to do whatever it took to avenge the defeat it had recently suffered in Indochina. Old salts even referred to their new enemies as “Viets.” The Catholic and conservative officer corps was convinced, on the basis of scant evidence, that the FLN, just like the Vietminh, was part of a global communist conspiracy whose defeat justified any excesses. Indeed the primary lesson that French theorists of guerre révolutionnaire(revolutionary war) took away from Indochina was, as Colonel Roger Trinquier was to write in his widely cited 1961 book, Modern Warfare, that “modern warfare requires the unconditional support of the populace. This support must be maintained at any price.”
There were a few abortive attempts to organize pro-French indoctrination sessions to gain this support with public slogan shouting and song singing, á la Viet, but such theatrics were greeted, wrote David Galula, another influential counterinsurgency theorist who served in Algeria, with “snickers and skepticism” from French soldiers and “complete impassivity” from Muslim villagers.113 Most officers decided they could more effectively sway the populace by simply out-terrorizing the FLN. Their slogan became “Convince or Coerce.”114
THAT ATTITUDE WAS to have fateful consequences when the battle shifted to Algiers, a whitewashed, sun-baked city of French-style grand boulevards, chic shops, and popular beaches. Of 900,000 inhabitants, two-thirds were European. On September 30, 1956, bombs went off in the Milk Bar and Cafeteria, two popular pied noir haunts. A third bomb was planted in the Air France terminal but failed to explode. Three people were killed and fifty injured, including women and children.
The bombs had been planted by three attractive young Muslim women who could pass for Europeans. They had been recruited by Yacef Saadi, the FLN operations chief in Algiers who supervised a network of 1,200 fighters and 4,500 auxiliaries. He, in turn, was assisted by Ali Amara, better known as Ali la Pointe, a former pimp who had been radicalized in prison. He contributed to the mayhem by assassinating the president of the Algerian Federation of Mayors. By the end of 1956, wrote one resident of Algiers, “urban terrorism [had] reached an unprecedented height,” with thirty attacks during Christmas week alone.
Unable to stop the FLN attacks, the civil authorities called in the Tenth Parachute Division under Brigadier General Jacques Massu, a soldier of “dash and vigor” with a face that resembled “a well-worn chopping block.” He was, as an American diplomat living in Algiers said, “a tough man for a tough job.” He had just led his men in a militarily successful but politically frustrating assault on the Suez Canal—an operation that was stopped short of its objectives by American pressure. Now he commanded four understrengthpara regiments, 4,600 men in all, wearing their distinctive “leopard” camouflage and bright red or green berets instead of helmets. The only exception was the Third Colonial Parachute Regiment, which sported high-peaked “lizard” forage caps designed by its publicity-loving commander, Lieutenant Colonel Marcel Bigeard.
The preceding year, on June 16, 1956, while campaigning in the interior, the bled, Bigeard had been shot just above the heart. Evacuation by helicopter and airplane saved his life. A few months later, on September 5, 1956, while jogging alone and unarmed in a seaside town, Bigeard was shot twice more at point-blank range by three young Arabs. A pied noir who was driving by refused to take him to the hospital; he didn’t want to soil his car seats with blood. Bigeard barely survived. Now back in fighting form, he was at the forefront of efforts to protect the ungrateful pieds noirsfrom their Arab enemies.
His regiment—“a war machine of formidable precision”—was given the most important assignment: the Casbah. Literally it meant “the citadel,” a term used to describe what was, to Europeans, the forbidding and menacing native quarter. Here, along dark, narrow, winding lanes, lived 100,000 Muslims. In their midst lurked Yacef Saadi, Ali la Pointe, and their confederates. But how to root them out?
The paras’ methods were depicted with considerable accuracy in The Battle of Algiers, a 1966 film produced by Yacef Saadi. Their challenges included a general strike called by the FLN for January 28, 1957. This was broken by the simple expedient of rounding up Muslims at gunpoint and trucking them to work. Storekeepers who closed their shops had their shutters ripped off by armored cars. The entire city was placed under a “state of siege” that made it look like an “armed camp.” Mobile checkpoints were set up to search “anyone with a brown skin.” Meanwhile the “leopards” cordoned off the Casbah with barbed wire. A curfew was imposed and orders given to fire on anyone caught outside. The bodies were left in the streets until the following morning to impress upon the inhabitants that they had met a force “even more extreme than the FLN.”
To figure out the lay of the land in the Casbah, “a spidery hive of sand-colored buildings,” the paras conducted a census and created a map showing who lived in which house. This was the responsibility of Colonel Roger Trinquier, the hard-bitten old Indochina hand. A preliminary list of targets was then drawn up with the aid of police files. “Gentlemen, your mission is to take back the night from the FLN in Algiers,” Massu told his subordinates. In the early morning hours of January 8, 1957, the first strike teams fanned out into the Casbah, breaking down doors and dragging hundreds of suspects in for questioning. While each regiment had its own interrogation centers, the most promising subjects were turned over to Major Paul Aussaresses, a veteran of secret service work in the Indochina War and in World War II as part of the Jedburghs. He reported directly to Massu, who viewed torture as a “cruel necessity.”
Aussaresses set up operations in the Villa des Tourelles, a two-story structure on the outskirts of town. Every night he and his men gave their “guests” the same kind of treatment that Henri Alleg was to receive in another prison, the difference being, as Aussaresses noted, “the mere fact that they were at the Villa des Tourelles meant they were considered so dangerous that they were not to get out of there alive.” After they had been “broken,” Aussaresses recalled, “most of the time my men traveled about twenty kilometers outside Algiers to some ‘remote location’ where the suspects were shot with submachine guns and then buried.” Other units had their own way of disposing of detainees. Rumor had it that the Third Colonial Parachute Regiment threw suspects out of airplanes over the Mediterranean; the victims were called crevettes (shrimp) Bigeard. In all, during the Battle of Algiers, 24,000 Muslims were arrested and 4,000 disappeared “without trace.” Taken together those figures amounted to a third of the Casbah’s population.
In recent years the myth has become prevalent that torture doesn’t work, that suspects simply tell their interrogators whatever they want to hear. If that were the case, the prevalence of harsh interrogation methods—used by both insurgents and counterinsurgents throughout history—would be inexplicable. In fact few detainees are able to hold out as Henri Alleg did. Torture may be morally reprehensible, but there is little doubt that, at least in Algeria, it was tactically effective. By forcing captured terrorists to identify their confederates and by encouraging other detainees to turn informant so as to avoid the gégène, the paras were able to dismantle the FLN structure inside Algiers within a matter of months. By October 1957, following the capture of Yacef Saadi and the death of Ali la Pointe, the Battle of Algiers was over.115
THE FRENCH WERE winning the war not only in Algiers but also in the rest of the country. They had started the conflict with around 50,000 troops. By 1956 there were 400,000 troops—one for every 21 Muslims. Even without counting at least 120,000 Muslim harkis(auxiliaries) who served in militia units, this exceeded the ratio of 1 counterinsurgent per 50 civilians that is sometimes said to be the minimum to defeat an insurgency. Acting under unlimited “emergency” powers, the security forces detained over 50,000 Muslims and killed many more.116
With the FLN combat organization all but shattered inside Algeria, the group became desperate to infiltrate fighters from its safe haven in neighboring Tunisia. To prevent this from occurring, the French constructed a 200-mile barrier along the border manned by 80,000 troops. The Morice Line, named after the minister of defense, consisted of an electrified wire fence, minefields, searchlights, and electronic warning systems. It proved far more effective than a better-known fortification named for an earlier defense minister: André Maginot. As soon as an FLN breakthrough was detected, the fellaghas would be targeted by prepositioned 105-millimeter howitzers and hunted by troops in jeeps or helicopters. This was the first extensive use of helicopters in war. More than two hundred were deployed, giving the paras the ability to trap and wipe out enemy contingents. “Attempts to break through are virtually all doomed to failure,” wrote a French journalist.117
Meanwhile double agents were recruited within the FLN; the man Yacef Saadi nominated to succeed him in Algiers had been turned by French intelligence. Such coups sowed suspicion in FLN ranks and led to self-defeating purges. Outside Algeria, the French disrupted the FLN arms pipeline. Ships were intercepted in the Mediterranean and arms dealers assassinated in Europe. Also targeted were top FLN leaders in exile. In 1956 an FLN delegation led by Ahmed Ben Bella was flying on a Moroccan DC-3 to Tunisia when the French high command radioed the pilot, a French reservist, and ordered him to put down in Algeria instead. The entire party was arrested on the ground—much to their surprise, since they had been told by the canny stewardess that they were landing in Tunis.118
This unrelenting pressure prevented the FLN from making the transition, as the Vietnamese and Chinese Communists had done in accordance with Maoist teaching, to conventional warfare. Whereas Giap was able to mobilize entire divisions armed with heavy artillery, the FLN seldom operated in units of greater than company strength equipped with light weapons. There was no Algerian Dien Bien Phu and no significant sector of “liberated territory” inside Algeria, although the rebels would continue to enjoy safe havens in Tunisia and Morocco, neighboring states where the French “protectorate” had ended in 1956. By 1959, with the number of FLN attacks rapidly falling, the French armed forces had all but won the war militarily.119 Yet they were about to suffer a crushing political defeat.
THE INSTRUMENT OF the French army’s undoing was its own hero—Charles de Gaulle. Both the pieds noirs and the army were disgusted with the weak Fourth Republic, run by an ever-changing cast of politicians who, they feared, would sell out to the enemy. In May 1958 a civil insurrection broke out in Algiers leading to the formation of a committee of public safety composed of pieds noirs and army officers under the leadership of General Massu. His paras actually seized power in Corsica and threatened to descend on Paris unless de Gaulle was returned to power.
The military’s wish was granted. But de Gaulle did not turn out to be the diehard advocate of Algérie française that they had expected. The pragmatic president realized that permanently pacifying Algeria against the wishes of most of its populace would be too costly to contemplate. The war was already eroding valuable diplomatic capital at a time when France was struggling to emerge from its wartime devastation to become once again an important independent player on the international scene. Algerian independence was growing more popular at the United Nations and even in the United States, where in 1957 Senator John F. Kennedy called for an end to French rule. The French government tried to sell the war effort by hiring Madison Avenue public-relations firms, but the FLN proved more adept at the propaganda war. Its worldly envoys succeeded in winning international recognition despite their fighters’ lack of success on the ground—a feat that would inspire the African National Congress, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and other “national liberation” movements that were to substitute public-relations prowess for traditional measures of military effectiveness.120 The war was also losing support at home. The French public was appalled by the actions taken in their name. The army, in turn, was becoming dangerously politicized by its identification with the pied noir cause.
Under those circumstances, de Gaulle calculated that getting out of Algeria would enhance France’s grandeur—the lodestar of his life. In 1959, as le général later wrote in his inimitable style, “France, through me, announced her intentions to place Algeria’s destiny in the hands of the Algerians.”121
“Ultras” among the army and pieds noirs fought desperately to avert the inevitable. In 1960 enraged Europeans took to the barricades in Algiers, slaughtering gendarmes who stood in their way. The uprising lasted only a week because it was not actively supported by the army. The following year a coterie of generals, including two former commanders in Algeria, Generals Raoul Salan and Maurice Challe, attempted a coup of their own. They briefly took control of Algiers, but the uprising unraveled when de Gaulle appealed over their heads to their soldiers, imploring them in a radio address to stay loyal.
Although they had lost the “battle of the transistors,” some of the putschists were determined to continue the struggle. They formed the Secret Army Organization (OAS) and waged a vicious terrorist campaign that included several unsuccessful attempts to assassinate de Gaulle—the inspiration for the novel and movie The Day of the Jackal. Other foiled plots on the mainland included attempts to blow up the Eiffel Tower and Jean-Paul Sartre’s apartment. But the OAS’s main focus was in Algeria, where, ironically, it copied many of the FLN’s organizational trademarks.
The OAS citadel was Bab-el-Oued, a neighborhood of poor Europeans in Algiers next to the Casbah. The OAS strike arm was the Delta Commandos, several hundred merciless gunmen led by Roger Degueldre, a “harsh” and “hard” former Foreign Legion officer who had been wounded at Dien Bien Phu. “The Deltas were intoxicated, it has been said, with Algérie française propaganda and anisette,” a French journalist wrote, and they had no compunctions about committing murder. By 1962 Algiers was averaging thirty to forty killings a day—far more than during the earlier battle against the FLN and comparable to Baghdad during the early years of the Iraq War. “They kill in cars, on motorbikes, with grenades, automatic weapons, and knives . . . ,” wrote a leading Muslim novelist before he too was slain by the OAS. “Terror reigns in Algiers.”
The French army was finally provoked into a full-scale assault on Bab-el-Oued employing 20,000 troops supported by tanks, artillery, and air strikes. At the same time, using informers and brutal interrogations of detainees, the authorities systematically tracked down OAS leaders. Degueldre was arrested on April 7, 1962, and executed two months later. General Salan was arrested the same month and sent to prison. By the end of 1962 the OAS was finished. In some ways it resembled the post–Civil War Ku Klux Klan, another white-supremacist terrorist group, but with a decisive difference: the KKK had the tacit support of the majority of the Southern population (59 percent white), whereas the OAS acted on behalf of a European minority outnumbered almost nine to one.122
By the time Algeria officially became independent on July 3, 1962, most Europeans had either left or were about to do so. The FLN exacted a vicious revenge on Muslims who had fought for the colonialists. At least 30,000 harkis were killed, often after being tortured along with their families. This was a reminder that just as in Kenya, where the Mau Mau killed far more Africans than Europeans (1,800 vs. 32),123 the war in Algeria was also a civil war pitting pro- and anti-French Muslims against each other. The war as a whole was said to have cost French forces 17,456 dead, 64,985 wounded, and 1,000 missing. European civilians suffered 10,000 casualties. There is no good figure of Muslim war dead; estimates range from 300,000 to one million.124 Notwithstanding the terrible cost of independence, the FLN’s success would inspire countless liberation movements across Africa that within a few years would put an end to the last remaining bastions of European colonial control.
IT IS HARD to exaggerate the bitterness felt within the French army after this defeat. The soldiers’ attitude was captured in two novels written by the ex-paratrooper Jean Lartéguy: The Centurions (1962) and The Praetorians (1963). Indochina was bad enough: “the French Army,” one of Lartéguy’s paras says, “has been beaten by a handful of little yellow dwarfs because of the stupidity and inertia of its leaders.” Now in Algeria, “enough’s enough, we can’t afford any more defeats.” Yet that is just what happened. “Colonel Raspeguy,” modeled on Bigeard, thinks bitterly, “A victor smells good even if he stinks of blood and sweat; the vanquished can drench himself in eau-de-Cologne from Dior, he’ll still leave a smell of shit behind him.”
Soldiers naturally blamed far-off superiors for this smelly surrender; they “felt hatred and disgust welling up against the people back in Paris . . . the highly-placed officials, untrustworthy generals, and shady politicians.”125 What few would acknowledge was that their own tactics had contributed to this disastrous outcome. The use of torture was not new; it had been widespread in Indochina. What was new was the level of public scrutiny such practices received when employed in Algiers, the most European of Algerian cities, with a substantial foreign press corps. The army was not prepared to cope with the resulting backlash. Roger Trinquier had expressed a common view in the ranks when he said prior to the Battle of Algiers, “I care little for the opinions of Americans or the press.”126 He should have cared more.
The Algerian War was the most dramatic example since the Greek Revolution in the 1820s of how a guerrilla organization defeated on the battlefield could nevertheless prevail by winning “the battle of the narrative.” (The IRA and the American revolutionaries also made good use of public opinion, but they had not been militarily defeated like the Algerians and Greeks.) A similar outcome had barely been averted in the Boer War and the Philippine War. From now on Western soldiers would have to pay increasing attention to an aspect of warfare—information operations—that had not unduly troubled their predecessors who had fought colonial conflicts in centuries past. The growing glare of media scrutiny would necessitate a kinder, gentler style of counterinsurgency—one that would be exemplified by the British strategy in Malaya.