Cornell University Press

Jacqueline Hazelton on Counterinsurgency Warfare

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We asked author Jacqueline Hazelton three questions about her new book, Bullets Not Ballots: Success in Counterinsurgency Warfare, and her research on the effectiveness of good governance in ending rebellions.

1. What’s your favorite anecdote from your research for this book?

One of my favorite research anecdotes involves the work I did on the Greek Civil War. I was going through contemporaneous documents at the US National Archives in College Park, MD. The US records included a great deal of reporting on the poverty and misery of Greece after the World War II occupation and the civil war. Necessities were in short supply. “There was an almost total lack of supplies and transport,” one observer wrote. “Even the simplest items such as paper to write on or the pencil wherewith to write were unobtainable, or could only be obtained after days of effort.” The shortages included farm and pack animals. The famine was such that everything that could possibly be eaten had been eaten. The US military advisory mission to Greece knew that the Greek army needed pack animals to get off the (few) roads and into the mountains where the guerrillas were, but none were to be found locally. The United States had to import horses for the cavalry and mules for artillery and pack bearing. “Prior to leaving the United States,” the report noted, “these mules had been given special training for mountain operations.” Reading this report, I saw in my mind’s eye a mule awkward in a climbing harness learning to rappel and belay with other mules observing from cliff’s top and on the ground. This is not to suggest any lack of attention to the tremendous suffering of the Greek people. I also felt great sadness at the plight of Greece’s farm animals and the US mules.

2. What do you wish you had known when you started writing your book, that you know now?

I wish I had know when I started my book the utmost importance of capturing an image of each and every archival document that I stopped to read. I also wish I had known the utmost importance of taking at least sketchy notes on each of those documents. Researchers, beware! If no one has told you this yet, remember it!

3. How do you wish you could change your field of study?

I wish I could change my field of study to make it more daring in exploration, more theory driven, more pluralistic, more merit based, less sexist and more generally bigoted, and more comfortable with the perspectives and narratives of others.

*Featured photo: World War II Memorial. Credit: Xavier crook.

Cover image of Bullets Not Ballots.
Read more about this book.

Jacqueline L. Hazelton is Assistant Professor in the Department of Strategy and Policy at the U.S. Naval War College. Her work has been published in outlets including International SecurityThe Journal of Strategic Studies, and Parameters. Before returning to academia, she was a journalist with The Associated Press. Follow her on Twitter @DrJLHazelton.

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