Sunday, June 10, 2007

The more I read about guerilla warfare...

...the more hopeless our occupation of Iraq seems to me. I just read this post on Firedoglake:
This is the most important point in this entire essay [Mao's essay on Guerrilla warfare], and indeed the most important thing you need to know about guerrilla warfare, occupations, terrorism and insurgency. If the movement has the support of the population, they cannot be destroyed. Period. No matter how many you manage to kill, there will always be more. Now support doesn’t mean “do you prefer the guerrilla movement” in a poll, it means practical support - are they willing to feed them, hide them and act as their ears and eyes. The general estimate is that if a guerrilla movement has between 10% to 20% of the population of an area behind it, until you can break that support of the population for the guerrillas, any victories over them will be purely temporary.(2)
[emphasis added.] Between 10% and 20% is all you need to make all victories futile? Well, back in September 2006, there was this poll:
WASHINGTON -- About six in 10 Iraqis say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, and slightly more than that want their government to ask U.S. troops to leave within a year, according to a poll in that country.
Well, as the previous paragraph says, answering a poll is different than providing real support. But if six in ten say they support attacks on U.S. forces, it doesn't take too large a proportion of that 60% to push the percentage of active supporters into that 10%-20% range. The range where all victories over the guerrillas are purely temporary.

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