"Water Cure" and Balangiga Massacre
|The study of the Philippine-American
War is never complete without mentioning the "water cure" and the Balangiga
Massacre, an incident that brought the Americans their worst nightmare
of the war. But nobody have ever bothered to ask: "What motivated
the Samarenos, armed only with bolos and sheer courage, to carry out the
early morning surprise attack against the Americans?"
If there was the Balangiga Massacre describing the "treachery" of the Filipinos, there was even an earlier American-perpetrated war atrocity that occured in Lonoy, Jagna, Bohol on the Easter Sunday, March 1901, where 406 "insurrectos" were ambushed and eliminated through "civilized" warfare leaving only a few survivors, who pretended to be dead, to tell the stories of their horrowing experience.
The nightmarish impact of the Balangiga Massacre felt by the Americans may never be felt the same by the Filipinos when mentioning their very own Lonoy Massacre, exept to know that there is a historical marker placed at the Jagna battlesite.
of reenactment of "water cure" torture technique to make the
talk. The name "amigo" denotes
treacherous Filipinos that needs to be "civilized".
|A cartoon depicting the order to "kill every one over ten" Filipinos by American Gen. Jacob "Howling Jake" Smith, in retaliation to the Balangiga Massacre.|
|Photo of Filipino nationalist soldiers taken as prisoners of war by the Americans. But as dehumanization took effect on the Americans soldiers during the later part of the war, they no longer took prisoners as evidenced by the Lonoy, Jagna incident.|
Definition of Terms:
Atrocity --atrocious behavior or condition; brutality; cruelty.
Massacre --the indiscriminate; mercilles killing of a number of human beings.Lonoy Massacre: Early Attrocity
Retaliation --the act of returning an injury, wrong, etc.; to return evil for evil.
|Six months previous to
the Balangiga Massacre, the Americans committed perhaps one of the worst
atrocity of the war when they ambushed the brigade commanded by Capt. Gregorio
Casenas on Easter Sunday, March 10, 1901, at Lonoy, Jagna, Bohol resulting
in the death of 406 "insurrectos." According to the relatives of the few
survivors, the Americans shoot every "insurrecto" who were surrendering
and giving up which means that the Americans were not to take any prisoner.
The worst account of the atrocity came from the survivors who lived to
relate their experiences to their kin --that they were bayoneted repeately
In his book Philippine Islands, John Foreman wrote:
|Photo of historical
at Lonoy, Jagna, Bohol, to
commemorate a "war incident"
that ocurred six months earlier
to the Balangiga massacre. For
more details, see "Historical
Shrines and Markers" page.
|[Note: Col. Pedro Samson was the over-all commander of Filipino nationalist forces in the Bohol province for which Capt. Casenas served under his command. ]|
Chilling words from Massacre Survivors
Much has been written about the Balangiga massacre and the treachery of the Filipinos in planning and carrying the attack. But nobody has written or bother to ask what was the motive of the Filipinos to fight the well--armed American tropps belonging to Company "C" of the 9th Regular Infantry bivuoacked in Balangiga on that fateful day of September 27, 1901? Where did the Samarenos got their sheer bolo-yeilding courage. Why?
Many theories were offered as an answer to Samarenos' motive, such as the traditional attrocities of rape, confiscation of farm animals without compensation, and other crimes of warfare. But no one has come up or dare to ask for the motive --that of the possibility that the Balangiga Massacre was a retaliation by the Filipinos by a previous incidents of atrocities committed by the Americans.
Opportunity to Retaliate
The Balangiga Massacre in Samar occurred some six months after the Lonoy Massacre in Bohol. There was plenty of time for the Samarenos to plan and prepare for the retaliatory attack that was motivated by revenge for their fallen comrades in Lonoy. Thus it is safe to advance the Retaliation Theory in explaining the real reason and motive behind the Filipinos' 'treachery' in carrying out the early morning attack against the Americans stationed in Balalngiga.
Although the attack may not be 'civilized' but it was part of war, unfotunately. Facing a formidable enemy, and knowing that they were underamed, the Filipinos had no recourse but to use their bladed weapons and to take every opportunity to surprise the enemy.
Table of Known Massacres with
|Date||Massacre Name||Location||Casualties||Commander||Name of Miniwar||Name of Bigger War|
|November 28, 1864||Sand Creek Massacre||Southeatern Colorado||200 Cheyenes Indians, two-thirds of them women and children, and 9 chiefs were killed||Col. John M. Chivington||Cheyene-Aparaho War||Indian Wars|
|January 23, 1870||Piegan Village Massacre||Montana||173 (53 women and children)||Major Eugene M. Baker||-|
|June 25, 1876||Custer's Last Stand||Little Bighorn River||264 U.S. Cavalry soldiers||Indian Chief Crazy Horse||Sioux War for the Black Hills (1876-1877)|
|April 30, 1871||Camp Grant Massacre||Arizona||86 Apache Indians||-||Victims were under the protection of the Army's Camp Grant; 29 children sold into slavery|
|December 29, 1890||Wounded Knee||Pine Ridge Reservation||146 Sioux Indians including Chief Big Foot, including 44 women and 16 children||Col. James W. Forsyth||Religious "Ghost Dance"|
|March 10, 1901||Lonoy Massacre||Lonoy, Jagna, Bohol||406||Capt. Andrew Rowan||Native traitor betrayed location of "insurrectos"||Independence War|
|September 27, 1901||Balangiga Massacre||Balangiga, Samar||54 out of 74||Gen. Vicente Lukban and Major Eugenio Daza||Early morning surprise attack|
|1901||Balangiga Retaliation||Samar Province||No record||Gen. Jacob "Howling Jake" Smith||Punitive Expidition|
|March 7, 1906||Bud Dajo||Jolo, Sulu||900||Gen. Leonard Wood||Battle of Bud Dajo||Moro Resistance Wars|
|June 11, 1913||Bud Bagsak||Jolo, Sulu||2,000, including 196 women and 340 children||Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing||Battle of Bud Bagsak|
|March 16, 1968||My Lai Massacre||My Lai Village, Vietnam (including the village of My Khe)||300 to 550, to include neighboring My Khe village||Lt. Wiliam Calley, Jr., commanding the elements of the Task Force Barker.||"Search and destroy" patrol by U.S. troops||Vietnam War|
[Note: In the above table, only the Custer's Last Stand and the Balangiga Massacre were not initiated by the Americans wherein they became the "victims" instead of "perpetrators" of atrocities.
— Elihu Root, Secretary of War
"They cut their [victim's]- - - - - off and put them in their [Americans'] mouths. That is the kind of people they have here."
"To keep them prisoners would necessitate the placing of the soldiers on short rations if not starving them. There was nothing to do but to kill them."
1. Axelrod, Alan, Chronicle of the Indian Wars, From Colonial Times to Wounded Knee, Konecky & Konecky, New York, 1993.
2. Tegtmeier, John, Vietnam
War Internet Project, LBJ Library, University of Texas.
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