Friday October 12 2007

supreme court dismissal of torture case on state secrets grounds

  • egyptian picked up in Albanian - sent to bagram - tortured - dumped in Albania - Rice told Merrcle it was a mistake
  • the will of the sovereign the public good trumps the law
  • what makes so difficult is that torture does work
  • if it didn't work it would be easy to give up as a tool

but does it work as well as other methods?
should they not redirect efforts to better intelligence?

concentration camps


  • australian war movie
  • the court marshall of 3 irregular calvarymen
  • murdered boer civilians, POW's, used POW and Civilians on cattle cars
  • do not dispute their actions
  • they dispute that their actions were wrong
  • they define themselves as fighting a new war
  • distinction between British and Colonial forces
  • the colonial forces

Villa Des Tournelles

  • large isolated compound in city of algeria
  • four death squads on two shifts
  • place had a large basement
  • extremely efficient
  • every successful counterinsurgency campaign will have a death squad
  • if you don't have on you will lose
  • this is odd because the threat of death will increase peoples motivation to fight
  • it was not utilitarian because they had the resources
  • catastrophic dehumanization set in and they didn't look for options
  • many frenchmen had been fighting for a 1/4 century and learned from the toughest men in the game

Galula substitute

  • relocating villages in Turkey/ Kurdistan
  • this case was the subject of a war crimes suit

forced relocation

  • break the local populations ties to the insurgents
  • improve the security of a population - this will encourage them to support you
  • improve the concentration and geographical conditions
  • protecting the population is the key to succeeding at COIN
  • if insurgents are external relocation will be useless
  • relocation assumes that insurgents are embedded in the population
  • improve monitoring and trap the cadres and auxilleries
  • cut off the supply chain of the gurillas by removing the population and destroying the old properties

New villages

  • built on roads
  • more accessable

last resort

  • it could encourage a backlash with the local population
  • legitmacy is one thing but do you have time and resources to build schools?
  • what most COIN forces did have were a

1. readily available armed forces,
2. will to fight
3. vested interest

  • relocation is an admission of failure that you could not win over the population

war is contest of wills and it comes down to what you are willing to do

  • who credible is the argument that the relocation is for the populations own safety
  • massacre is the last resort not relocation


  • occupation
  • isolate them
  • relocate them

boer war: the british targeted the civilian support network
british put them in concentration camps
open air prisons

  • they move the population out of harms way
  • they make it easier for the government to provide services - but it doesn't
  • moral ambiguity of last resort
  • in conventional wars refugees move themselves
  • a noncombatant i

if a war is about what happens in peoples minds than everyone is a combattant
you don't need popular support when you can work toward popular control
you can't leave people alone so you kill as many as possible and use stalinist tactics on the rest
What Does Victory Look like in a counterinsurgency?

political control of the population is fecal
so why put so much effort into political control?
Why do so many terrible things to attain political control>
when that political control is arguably unattainable and certainly temporary?

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