US military's use of mythical monster for psy-ops


26 Responses to “US military's use of mythical monster for psy-ops”

  1. nanuq says:

    “Born in 1908, Lansdale served with the U.S. Office of Strategic Services during the Second World War.”

    They were a strange bunch in the OSS and their Psychological Warfare division. Paul Myron Linebarger (better known as Cordwainer Smith) wrote the book on psychological warfare (literally) and most psy ops operations still follow his principles.

  2. Cnoocy says:

    I’ve been looking for that book for years and here you use it as a random illustration! Thanks!

  3. Anonymous says:

    The team achieved their objective with only one fatality – that’s a win.

    @Volker: you are off-topic – their actions were post-mortem but pre-internment.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Definitively looks like a mix between Patachu and Slowpoke.
    What has science done…

  5. Prufrock451 says:

    Now I have more ammunition for my latest conspiracy theory: that the leprechaun was made up to cover Irish peasants who sabotaged the Vikings!

    “Faith, Vidkun, I dinna know who took yer broadsword: must have been a leprechaun, b’gorra.”

  6. Prufrock451 says:

    And a bit of Googling led me to this fascinating page on the use of similar strategies in Vietnam:

  7. Anonymous says:

    Good to see that serial killers and the US army have something in common.

  8. Grey Eyed Man of Destiny says:

    There’s an excellent asuang subplot in Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke, which just so happens to be the best novel written on Earth in 2007

  9. alllie says:

    Sounds like a war crime to me. We were not at war with the Philippines or anyone in the Philippines.

    • Hexjumper says:

      –Sounds like a war crime to me. We were not at war with the Philippines or anyone in the Philippines. –

      Duh, we sure weren’t. I guess we shouldn’t have been fighting the Huks, what with them being Filipino and us bein’ American and all.

      -Darren MacLennan

      • alllie says:

        Interesting wikipedia article. But anyone who defends the people against the wealthy and powerful sounds like a real hero to me.
        “An important movement in the campaign against the Huks was the deployment of hunter-killer counter guerilla special units. The “Nenita” unit (1946–1949) was the first of such special forces whose main mission was to eliminate the Huks. The Nenita Force was commanded by Major Napoleon Valeriano. The Nenita terror tactics which were not only committed against dissidents but also towards law-abiding people sometimes helped the Huks gain supporters as a consequence.”

        • Ugly Canuck says:

          You mean, against the depredations of the wealthy and powerful, don’t you?
          For simply being wealthy and powerful, alone, ought not to be enough to gain enmity…

    • bkad says:

      Sounds like a war crime to me.

      I hadn’t thought of that. I’m not arguing, but I wouldn’t have thought that anything one could do to a dead body could be a war crime — it’s an inanimate object at that point. I guess I can see how it would be seen that way though.

  10. jphilby says:

    “simply being wealthy and powerful, alone, ought not to be enough to gain enmity…”

    No! because most people who are wealthy AND powerful got that way by emulating Mother Theresa! AND putting out lots of bird feeders!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    You can find out more about Lansdale’s use of folklore in psychological warfare on my website at You might also be interested to learn that he is one of the foremost collectors of military folksongs!

    Lydia Fish

  12. mikelipino says:

    When I was a kid, my parents used to tell me to get home before dark before the aswang were out. I got psy-warefare’d!

    Now they tell me sky santa will be angry if I don’t go to church on Sunday. Fool me twice…

  13. Anonymous says:

    Those of you eager to term this a war crime should take into account that the alternative would have been a conventional assault which would have killed more people in an undoubtedly more horrific fashion. This is one of those cases where what could, strictly defined, be a war crime resulted in less loss of life than a conventional approach would have.

    And don’t tell me that leaving them alone was an option, to the people doing this it was not, that particular decision is for the policy makers.

  14. Azu says:


  15. Volker says:

    Article 17 of the Geneva conventions:

    Parties to the conflict [...] shall further ensure that the dead are honourably interred, if possible according to the rites of the religion to which they belonged, that their graves are respected, grouped if possible according to the nationality of the deceased, properly maintained and marked so that they may always be found.

    • Rayonic says:

      Eh, the dead guy in question was essentially returned to his comrades, who presumably buried him properly. This ploy was basically a combat action anyway, of which there are many that don’t leave a body behind at all.

      In related news, am I a bad person for wanting to see this kind of thing in a videogame? Getting the artificial intelligence working for it would be difficult. If I recall, Crysis allows you to mess with enemy soldiers a bit this way, since you can turn invisible. Stealth games lean in this direction a little bit, but usually the enemies just turn hostile.

  16. Cydonia says:

    That picture at the top really makes this article.

  17. gastronaut says:

    Clever, but there’s too many mettling kids to keep this type of thing to work nowadays.

Leave a Reply