ABSTRACT

In a recent article Thomas Mockaitis argues that it ‘would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of the principle of minimum force to British counter-insurgency’. While this doctrine could not prevent ‘isolated incidents of brutality at the local level, it did guarantee that campaigns would generally be conducted with restraint’. He refers to what he describes as the two worst incidents in the post-war period, the Farran affair and the Batang Kali massacre, but notes that British counter-insurgency operations ‘have generally been conspicuous for the lack of such excesses’. 1