Monday, November 06, 2006

The Rules of the Game

Counter-Insurgency operations circa 1605

Last night I came home from a long-week-end in London.

The journey was puncuated by the crackle and lights of fireworks celebrating the 401st anniversary of a failed coup d'etat by a group of middle-class religious loonies.

It got me thinking about the whole history of insurgency and armed political movements.

Thankfully that immoral cynic the War Nerd explains things for me in his latest article, here's the last section:

Just remember, everything they told you is wrong. Here's a quick list of the main points. Go and meditate upon them. Memorize them while I whack you with this stick like a good Zen teacher should.
  1. Most wars are asymmetrical / irregular.
  2. In these wars, the guerrillas / irregulars / insurgents do NOT aim for military victory.
  3. You can NOT defeat these groups by killing lots of their members. In fact, they want you to do that.
  4. Hi-tech weaponry is mostly useless in these wars.
  5. "Hearts and Minds," meaning propaganda and morale, are more important than military superiority.
  6. Most people are not rational, they are TRIBAL: "my gang yay, your gang boo!" It really is that simple. The rest is cosmetics.
You can read the rest here.


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