Insurgency/counterinsurgency educate me

Discussion in 'Military' started by loosecannon, Aug 15, 2010.

  1. loosecannon
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    loosecannon Senior Member

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    The US seems to be getting their asses kicked in the insurgency/counter insurgency game for some 40 years now.....

    But historically it seems like occupation has always been a pretty easy task for you know, occupiers. If you can become an occupier the rest is downhill right?

    Am i missing something here? Has something profound changed?

    Has there been some advent in the asymmetric sciences or technologies that are true game changers?

    BTW Israel seems to be losing their edge as well. And in similar ways.

    School me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2010
  2. blu
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    blu Senior Member

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    the rules have changed. if we did in iraq or afgh what past occupiers did, there would be millions more dead. playing nice and for "heart and minds" is quite the new thing.
     
  3. Toome
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    Toome Active Member

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    Did you go to college? If you did, maybe it's not too late to get your money back.

    I think you need to understand the difference between military and political defeat. Make no mistake about it, the US military owns the battlefield...any battlefield...been that way for a pretty long time. Clearly, your understanding about what really happened in Vietnam is erroneous.

    Insurgencies and counterinsurgencies are political in nature. It's not about taking land; it's about political power; and its roots are the hearts and minds of the people who live on the land. Outsiders are always at a distinct disadvantage because they have to learn how to deal with thousands of years of custom, tradition, superstition, culture and religion. It's why we were so successful in South and Central America and not so successful in Southeast and Southwest Asia.

    To add a twist to the problem, US popular opinion plays a major factor. Like it or not, we are an X-box society: we expect to reach the top level within a couple sessions and have no tolerance for long-term strategies. Counterinsurgencies are exclusively all about long-term strategies. The insurgent has the easier task. Again, it's why we were so successful in South and Central America; we ran insurgencies. It's why we were so successful in Afghanistan in 2002: we ran a text book insurgency. It's a matter of being black or white on the chess board, and being able to think three and four moves ahead and anticipating your opponent's moves as well. Then you have someone sitting behind you second-guessing your moves every step of the way.

    None of this affects the ability of putting steel on target. It affects the will to put steel on target.

    Take a walk in the woods at night with the Devil, and you'll learn these things, kid.
     
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  4. zzzz
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    zzzz Just a regular American

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    I will try to explain in this little space some elements of insurgency and why it appears we have problems with insurgency.

    Insurgency or guerrilla warfare has always been a thorn in the side of occupying forces. Caesar and Augustus during the Roman occupations had to endure continual insurgent strikes. The Germans and Japanese in WWII had guerrilla operations staged against them in all the occupied areas. It is not a new problem and it will always be present when ever a country is occupied.

    The change in today’s insurgency is twofold.

    1. The modernization of the media gives the populace immediate information on casualties and the effects of attacks on occupying troops and friendlies.

    2. The ability of the individual with modern explosives and detonating devices allows an insurgent to inflict greater and greater damage than in the past and to survive those attacks.

    An insurgent needs the media to influence public opinion. Without news reports, the isolated attack usually has no military significance, other than to the possible morale of troops. So the insurgent needs the media to report attacks. The force multiplier of modern weapons allows an insurgent to inflict damage and causalities to a wider area and survive that attack with remote detonating devices. In the past an attack usually resulted in the insurgent getting killed, today that is changing. If an insurgent survives they learn from the attack and the insurgent base is not diminished.

    All of this makes insurgency appear to be a modern element of occupancy. It is not. It has always been there but the lack of media coverage, either through censorship or technological difficulties prevented the news of the attacks getting to the populace. Today it is instantaneous, CNN is on the spot within hours if not minutes. Do you think Caesar allowed news of uprisings to get back to Rome? Hitler? The main change in insurgency is the media access and the ability to report it.
     
  5. loosecannon
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    loosecannon Senior Member

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    you sound like a dickhead impugning my intelligence simply because i asked a question.

    And no I didn't attend a military academy like my Dad, my Brother, my Uncle and my Grand dad did.

    there you go again....later
     
  6. blu
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    blu Senior Member

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    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Marine-Corps-Counterinsurgency-Field-Manual/dp/0226841510/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1282006272&sr=8-1]Amazon.com: The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field…[/ame]

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Accidental-Guerrilla-Fighting-Small-Midst/dp/0195368347/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1282006272&sr=8-2]Amazon.com: The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big…[/ame]

    [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Counterinsurgency-Warfare-Theory-Practice-Classics/dp/0275993035/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1282006272&sr=8-4]Amazon.com: Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice (PSI Classics of the Counterinsurgency Era) (9780275993030): David Galula: Books[/ame]

    also read the works of che guerra , his counter insurgency writings are studied in military schools across the world
     
  7. loosecannon
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    loosecannon Senior Member

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    OK, so you are saying three things:

    1) that media itself makes insurgency more effective by advertising the attacks.

    I dunno if I buy that. That is definitely true of suicide bombings that are terror opps. Like the Shia and Sunni hit squads targeting one another. Or the Taliban attacking the actual intelligence HQ of their own nation in Pakistan.

    But maybe you are right and i just don't see it.

    2)that media makes the impacts of an insurgency seem larger than they are.

    OK, that sounds real. I dunno why that matters. But in the case of VN we quit essentially because we became convinced we were at a stalemate. They may in fact have driven us out via the media.

    3) IEDs. Garage door remotes.

    Sure, and also suicide bombers. Or extremely effective human guided bombs that cost a pittance vs computer guided weapons that cost tens of millions.

    I am not fully convinced tho that that is all of it, or "it" tho. Empires have always been able to make occupation stick. They have always been able to subdue civilian populations with only a handful of exceptions.

    If you can win the military victory the civilian population is a cake walk.

    We seem to be completely floundering in that capacity for about 40 years now.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  8. loosecannon
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    loosecannon Senior Member

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    Ghengis Khan was ruthless and would murder whole populations if they didn't submit to his demands.

    But he also imposed extremely moral rules of engagement and just rule of law.

    On the other side of the coin occupiers often succeed because they offer more than they demand, benevolent dictators. Like Rome.

    The deal is that empires that succeeded found a way to get it done.

    We don't seem to be getting it done. At all.

    A classic example is the advertised expectations of the Rumsfeld JCS who expected that once we overcame Saddam's elite Republican Guard units that occupation would be a cake walk and victory would be secured within a matter of weeks.

    Bush himself later called the swift defeat of Saddam's forces a catastrophic success.
     
  9. loosecannon
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    loosecannon Senior Member

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    I know this an unfair summary, but at face value what you seem to be positing is that insurgency has become so hardened by a systematic approach or a kind of scientific insurgency that it is equal to the strength of empires.

    While i openly admit to not having a good grasp of the whole history of empire vs insurgency this sounds like a dramatic sea change to me.

    Nation states prefer to battle nation states with mechanized warfare.

    What if it turns out that that nation states and mechanized armies are in fact no stronger or more capable than equally organized insurgencies? Insurgencies that span national boundaries and may in fact have no geographic boundaries at all.

    What if the power to destroy via mechanized military might has been surpassed by asymmetrics?

    Don't dismiss it without considering that Wikileaks and a few informants has defied the ability of the US to maintain their shroud of secrecy over state secrets.

    Is the will stronger than the science and the institution?
    Malcom X ~1964

    Malcolm X, 'The Ballot or the Bullet'

    the very next sentence is ironic:
     
  10. zzzz
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    zzzz Just a regular American

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    Today, to wage an insurgency effectively requires media coverage. You pick your targets to achieve the greatest publicity or terror impact. The purpose of the insurgency is to remove the occupier or the government in charge. Insurgents are not powerful enough to remove these forces by force they must influence public opinion enough to get the occupiers to leave.

    Let’s look at Afghanistan. The Russians invaded with a large force but could not subdue the insurgency. Over time the insurgents inflicted a steady stream of causalities and the Russian population got tired of seeing their kids come home maimed and dead for nothing. The Russian government was forced by their population to withdraw. Now the insurgents would not have been able to succeed without outside (US) help and a safe base of operations in Pakistan. This was essentially the same thing that happened to us in Vietnam and is now happening in Afghanistan again. If the insurgency has a safe place to recoup, rearm and train it is impossible to stamp it out. That is why we cannot achieve victory in Afghanistan and why we did defeat the insurgents in Iraq.
     

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