The headlines read “Mattis impressed by Bizarre Indonesian Ceremony.” Indonesia’s Special Forces (the Kopassus) put on a special show at the country’s Army Headquarters for General Mattis before he departed for Vietnam. He expected to see Indonesian Special Forces do a hostage rescue scenario. Instead, he watched men in camouflage dance around, head butt flaming bricks, and chomp the heads off cobras.
The Secretary of Defense was in Indonesia to “repair” damage done by Indonesia’s Special Forces who reportedly committed murder, rape, and torture under Indonesian leader Suharto in 2010. He believes that those who committed those violations are no longer involved with their Special Forces. But instead of the expected hostage rescue demonstration, he got something else entirely.
According to Agence France-Press,
“To the sound of beating drums and with their faces daubed with camouflage, the elite soldiers launched a wild martial arts display as they demolished wood and brick obstacles with kicks, punches and headbutts.
The US delegation looked on as the men then killed live snakes, including cobras, and served their blood to each other in a sign of brotherhood. One fighter even tore apart a snake with his teeth.
Nearby, a commando rolled around on broken glass while another shot apparently live bullets at a balloon held by his blindfolded comrade – with one round missing the target, although no one was injured.
An aerial display saw soldiers launch themselves from helicopters together with dogs to stage a mock manhunt for a pair of ‘terrorists’.
Back on land, a dog then jumped through an open car window to grab one of the pretend radicals.
‘As you see, the dogs beat the terrorist,’ a military official said following the show at Indonesia’s Army Headquarters to round of the US defence secretary’s visit.”
The men dragged snakes out of sacks and twisted them around until they were exhausted, then proceeded to tear them apart and drink their blood. There’s probably a shock factor there, but not particularly “lethal” for combat. And the purpose of breaking flaming bricks with their fists and heads, walking on fire, rolling around on glass…ok.
Indonesian Special Forces train in Tae Kwan Do, as well as with swords, staffs, wood and bricks. Martial arts are often lethal in hand to hand combat. But up against machine guns? Not so much.
Mattis appeared to enjoy the display and made some comments to that effect.
Warning: graphic video
Featured photo via Department of Defense