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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 11:11 am 
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...because "<a href="http://honoluluadvertiser.gannettonline.com/gns/iraqfuture/day1main.html">Insurgency is the only form of warfare that has ever defeated a superpower, most notably the United States in Vietnam and the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s</a>".

It's also the word that was used to describe Mao when he started taking over China. (see sidebar at right).

Also in the article: "If the elections go badly and the political side collapses into chaos, Americans will be facing a debacle that easily rivals Vietnam."

"Let me sum up this difficult arithmetic problem: we are LOSING."


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 3:06 pm 
In both cases you mentioned with the US and Soviet Union, the "insurgent" side had the support of another super power quietly backing it up. I'm not sure about Mao in china, but Pournelle wrote in one of his books that insurgency can only succeed and only maintain itself in the presence of outside support. How to cut that outside support is another hairy issue in itself.

In this case, there are various groups funneling arms in to their favored insurgent group in Iraq. Zarquai (sp) is getting aid from al queda, foreign fighters are pouring in over the syrian border, and Iran is quietly supplying Chalabi and the various millitant Shiite clerics and groups... Syria and Iran are far from superpowers though. Those two combined with millitants from all over the Arab world might combine into something that could be as much of a nusance as support from a super power.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 7:54 pm 
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Modern insurgents attack military, economic, social, political and religious targets to convince the enemy's decision-makers their cause is ultimately too costly in blood, money and political capital to pursue.


The only thing that might persuade Bush to leave Iraq is an incredable defeat of some sort. He's made his decision and unless it becomse literally impossable to maintain it he's not going to change it.

Of course if Iraq hasn't significantly improved in four years then our next president will have a chance to re-evaluate our position.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 8:27 pm 
And a dark part of the back of my mind is imagining "Bush in 2008"...

Levity aside, the next president would have the obligation, not the opportunity.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2005 8:40 pm 
Raif wrote:
And a dark part of the back of my mind is imagining "Bush in 2008"...


Which one?

Raif wrote:
Levity aside, the next president would have the obligation, not the opportunity.


True. I phrased that poorly.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 5:53 am 
BBlalock wrote:
Which one?

Aye, there's the joke. ;) There are so damn many of them... like rats in the walls.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 12:45 am 
Kazriko wrote:
In both cases you mentioned with the US and Soviet Union, the "insurgent" side had the support of another super power quietly backing it up. I'm not sure about Mao in china, but Pournelle wrote in one of his books that insurgency can only succeed and only maintain itself in the presence of outside support. How to cut that outside support is another hairy issue in itself.

Bravo, Jerry P. I've noted that myself on occasion when people were bragging up the exploits of modern "revolutionaries."

While the resistance movements of World War II have always gotten very good press, they would have accomplished nothing without support from the British and Soviets and, even with that support, suffered horrible casualites achieving mostly limited results. Cold War insurgents can claim only slightly better results.

A caveat would be that a truly corrupt government and incompetant military can be defeated by an insurgency feeding only on internal sources, but this situation doesn't come up that often.

Kazriko wrote:
In this case, there are various groups funneling arms in to their favored insurgent group in Iraq. Zarquai (sp) is getting aid from al queda, foreign fighters are pouring in over the syrian border, and Iran is quietly supplying Chalabi and the various millitant Shiite clerics and groups... Syria and Iran are far from superpowers though. Those two combined with millitants from all over the Arab world might combine into something that could be as much of a nusance as support from a super power.

It should also be noted that the Anglo-American force operating in Iraq isn't remotely as powerful as it should be. For a number of reasons---most of which, in my opinion, can be classified as incompetant and/or immoral---we are trying to get the job done with a fraction of the necessary infantry strength, very poor intelligence work, and a disasterously weak civilian aid program.

The Iraqi conflict is playing out not so much like the Vietnam War as like one of the Latin American insurgencies of the late 20th Century, with an under-equipped army and a corrupt, resource-starved civilian administration gradually crumbling under pressure from a dispersed insurgency that has no strength beyond dogged persistance. The dictators who once ruled Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatamala, Peru, Columbia, Bolivia, and Venezuela all would up either dead or in exile. The same thing could happen to the American and native rulers of Iraq if we don't mobilize more resources to support them.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 3:10 am 
Berken wrote:
Kazriko wrote:
In both cases you mentioned with the US and Soviet Union, the "insurgent" side had the support of another super power quietly backing it up. I'm not sure about Mao in china, but Pournelle wrote in one of his books that insurgency can only succeed and only maintain itself in the presence of outside support. How to cut that outside support is another hairy issue in itself.

Bravo, Jerry P. I've noted that myself on occasion when people were bragging up the exploits of modern "revolutionaries."


Very good series of books, that. The two in particular are "Go Tell the Spartans" and "Prince of Sparta"

They're both in the mega-book "The Prince"


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