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IWP holds colloquium for Edward Lansdale

Dr. Thomas Marks speaks at IWP Colloquium on Edward Lansdale
Dr. Thomas Marks speaks at IWP’s Colloquium on Edward Lansdale.

On June 5th, IWP hosted a one-day colloquium titled Liaison & Legacy: Edward Geary Lansdale, focusing on the late U.S. military intelligence officer, advisor, and expert on irregular warfare who practiced his craft in the Philippines and Vietnam.  He was known as the “quiet man” based on the erroneous notion that he was the inspiration for a character in Graham Green’s 1955 novel The Quiet American.  As stated by Dr. John Lenczowski, IWP Chancellor and moderator of the first panel titled “Knowing Lansdale,” Major General Lansdale was “a practitioner and seminal thinker about the arts of statecraft.”

The brainchild of Dr. Christopher Harmon, IWP Professor of terrorism, counterterrorism, and military strategy, the colloquium sought to bring together experts on Lansdale and those who knew him personally.  For example, Mr. Mike Benge, a former U.S. Agency for International Development employee who served in the Civil Operations & Rural Development Support (CORDS), knew and worked with Lansdale and his close associates in Vietnam.

John Lenczowski's signed copy of Lansdale’s autobiography In the Midst of Wars
Dr. John Lenczowski showcased his signed copy of Lansdale’s autobiography In the Midst of Wars.

Panel two focused on Lansdale’s work in the Philippines in the 1940s and 50s, where his ideas about irregular warfare and winning the population’s “hearts and minds” were refined during the Philippine government’s successful counterinsurgency campaign against the Huk rebellion.

The third panel looked at Lansdale’s work in Vietnam and the Pentagon, and panelists noted that Lansdale was “cut off at the knees” by senior members of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations so that he never had an opportunity to fully employ his “hearts and minds” concepts and techniques.

The colloquium resulted in new revelations about Lansdale.  Dr. Harmon stated “Mr. Don Bishop (panel 1) uncovered a rare memo by Lansdale about what qualities one needs to be a good foreign liaison officer.”  Harmon also highlighted that [IWP Dean and panel 3 moderator] Dr. James Robbins “pulled in a range of Vietnamese communist’ official statements about this American – that was a fresh perspective.”

Although it was an invitation-only event, the proceedings were recorded, and a short video will be made available at the IWP YouTube channel.

Donald Bishop speaks at IWP Colloquium on Edward Lansdale
Donald Bishop speaks at IWP’s Colloquium on Edward Lansdale