Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Counter-Insurgency

I read an article a few weeks ago, thus I don't have a link, about how naming a specific place as an example of effective counter-insurgency is counter-productive, because the insurgents will then target that place. The insurgents are forced to target secure populations because security is what insurgency is all about. Insurgents win by undermining the legitimacy of government, and a government that can provide security is not illegitimate.

This seems like a golden opportunity for taking the war to the enemy. Select an area which is ideal for counter-insurgent actions--an area that gives the insurgents limited mobility, for example, an area with relatively few sources of surface water--and fill it with all sorts of troops. Have them patrol constantly, ceaselessly, until the area is truly secure and the troops know every resident, every doorway, and every rock. Once the area is quite secure, broadcast it to the world. The insurgents will be forced to fight on your ground on your terms--they will be the outsiders with all the inherent disadvantages. If they decide not to challenge your supremacy in that area, you still win, as you still have the advantage of demonstrating the effectiveness of your rule.

2 Comments:

Blogger Noumenon said...

Are insurgents really dumb enough to strike where you are strong just because you say they're weak? Maybe the author was just looking for excuses for our failure to keep towns clear after our initial sweeps.

Here's another thing: something like 14 of the 18 provinces in Iraq are secure almost all the time. But claiming that does the U.S. no good. The insurgents nullify their efforts in the 14 provinces with their high-profile successes in the other four provinces. They don't have to strike the peaceful areas at all to maintain their reputation, as long as they are strong in the area that includes Baghdad and about half the population.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

Are insurgents really dumb enough to strike where you are strong just because you say they're weak?

It's not dumb; it's how the game is played. In a convention war, it makes no sense, in an insurgency, it does.

"Here's another thing: something like 14 of the 18 provinces in Iraq are secure almost all the time."

That just recently came to the news, as in, I hadn't heard those provinces referred to until recently. At any rate, our propaganda is failing dramatically, and "mostly secure most of the time", doesn't really cut it either.

8:58 AM  

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