Saturday, December 27, 2008

Will General Patton's Plan for a Domestic Counter-Insurgency "War" During the Great Depression Be Used in Present Day America?

In July 1932, General Geogre S. Patton, the future World War ll star, served under Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur, as a major leading 600 troops, including the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, in an action to disperse protesting veterans known as the "Bonus Army" in Washington, D.C.. MacArthur ordered the troops to advance on the protesters with tear gas and bayonets. Patton did as ordered. It is not likely he objected for Patton also had broader ideas of how to deal with rowdy Americans.

Little known is the fact that, Patton put together a counter-insurgency plan to deal with the Great Depression, if things got out of hand in the United States.

William Norman Grigg believes that Patton's plan may be used in present day America, if things get out of hand during the current crsis. Here's Grigg's summary of Patton's plan, including snippets from the plan itself :
In administering either Martial Law or Military Government, Patton – predictably enough – prescribed the pitiless application of lethal force. He digested his doctrine of domestic military missions into what he called "The Law and the Prophets of Riot Duty," a canon that includes the following directives:

"Take no orders from civil officials – federal, state, or municipal."

"You may and should cooperate with police or state troops who may be present; but you and not they are the judge of the amount and character of this cooperation."
"Should some orator start haranguing the crowd and inciting them to violence, grab him even if it brings on a local, small fight. Small fights are better than big ones. Words cunningly chosen change crowds into mobs."

"Warn newspapers, theaters, and churches that if they encourage the mob, they are guilty of aiding them and that their leaders will be held personally accountable. Freedom of the press cannot be construed as 'license to encourage’ the armed enemies of the United States of America. An armed mob resisting federal troops is an armed enemy. To aid an enemy is TREASON. This may not be the 'law,’ but it is fact. When blood starts running, the law stops."

"If you have captured a dangerous agitator and some 'misguided’ federal judge issues a writ of Habeas Corpus for him, try to see the judge to find out what he is liable to do…. There’s always the danger that the man might attempt to escape. If he does, see that he at least falls out of ranks before you shoot him. To be soft hearted might mean death to your men. After all, WAR IS WAR."

"As in all military operations, information is vital. By the use of detectives, soldiers in civilian clothes, and friendly citizens, get all possible information about the condition within the city."

"The use of gas is paramount…. While tear gas is effective, it should be backed up with vomiting gas."

"Although white phosphorous is incendiary, it is useful in forming a screen for the attack of barricades and defended houses."

"If you must fire, DO A GOOD JOB. A few casualties become martyrs; a large number becomes an object lesson."


  1. Here is the entire original article that Patton wrote in Nov 1932 - much more interesting than the summary :


  2. @ kochevnik

    Thanks. Very interesting.