Friday September 14 2007


  • action creating insecurity
  • tactic
  • not territorial
  • does not include insurgency


  • action intended to overthrow a government
  • includes violence, terrorism,
  • aim is to take sovereign power

American counter insurgency manual

  • sara seul - car center for human rights - wrote the forward
  • ngos have been consulted on it
  • very politically correct
  • inconclusively

Victory: different schools of thought

  • you cannot win counter insurgency without human rights abuses
  • you can only win if you abuse human rights
  • how do interested parties define victory?


  • how important is victory
  • forign intervention vs. defending the homeland
  • dimensions of comparison?
  • determines the course of negotiation theory
  • commitment will make details that seem unimportant crucial to the negotiation

counter insurgency vs. insurgency

  • two sides of the same coin
  • you do not fight insurgency with insurgency
  • do not involve two similar types of forces contending
  • operations are different from

classical warfare

  • organized around the battle of armies
  • designed to contain civilian casualties
  • close relationship between battlefield victory and durable settlements
  • in the modern world settlements are less durable

paradoxes of war

  1. the more you protect your force the less secure you may be
  2. the more force is used the less effective it is
  3. the more successful coin is, the less force can be used
  4. sometimes doing nothing is best
  5. some of the best weapons don't shoot
  6. a host nation doing something tolerable is often better than a foreign nation doing something well
  7. a tactic works this week but not next week
  8. tactical success guarantess nothing
  9. important decisions are not made by decisions
  10. outcomes in the battlefield are not related to political outcomes

1. the more you protect your forces the less secure you may be
the more concerned you are with protection the more resources you devote to it and less time you have to fight
operations are conducted at certain times and certain areas - this blinds soldiers to the environment
this allows insurgents to choose the initiative - they pick the time and place of attack

2. the more force is used the less effective it is
the purpose of war is to serve a political objective, the nature of war is to serve itself
people become desensitized to mass violecnce - people adapt to it as a part of the systemic structure
peoples world view - it becomes easier to keep fighting than to move forward in any other way
what if whatever comes out of Irak is worse than Saddam - that is why nobody wants to take responsibility
the more you alienate the civilian population - the more good will the insurgents will enjoy
this is theoretical - not always true
Galula and tromkey - both believe in the use of terror against neutral and hostile forces
they do not feel neutrality is an option
if this cannot be achieved through reward it must be achieved through fear
this is substantiated by the amount of violence gurilla groups use against their own population
you want them to be more scared of you than the other side

3. the more successful counterinsurgency is, the less force can be used
in conventional war as enemies loose they get desperate and casualties increase
if one side starts winning the other side starts quitting
classical greece - if you run you back is exposed - casualties increase - if you drop your shield you run faster and casualties go down
if you are not careful - if you fight as if in pitched battle - and you start winning - you can destroy credibility and foster resentment
how do you know when your winning?

4. sometimes doing nothing is best
do something! - not reacting is the worst option
in counter insurgency you often don't want to acknowledge it
this is why politicans create the illusion of action with a committee
what would happen if a parliment passed a bill to ban the creation of committees?

5. sometimes the best weapons don't shoot
embaressment is a powerful tool

6 a host nation doing something tolerable is often better than a foreign nation doing something well
the quality of the service is less important than who is doing
rural latin american - the government is too busy with cities to focus on the rural -
develops capacity - sometimes it sticks
for example: taxation and delivering services
a vehicle for development

7 a tactic works this week but not next week
operating in a reactive environment
a difficult environment that wants to fail
ideas are context specific
this is more difficult for militaries to understand with their centralized bureaucratic structure
in an reactive environment where there is no consistency this is less effective
in coin you want to keep iniative by expecting things to stop working and trying new things
you can't wait until you start failing
margins of error are much smaller for the counter insurgent
expectations are higher for governments

8 tactical success guarantees nothing
strategy - grand overarching plan for marshalling resources (victory in iraq) - army
operations - grab bag, specific missions and actions that enact a strategy - brigade
tactics - what seargents do specifically on operations to meet the objectives of the operation - section
necessary sufficiency
daily success often are insufficient for justifying mission success
for example casualties may go up but the troops may have more confidence because they are taking more risks
US army war college - if tactical success is not present you will start to loose,
1. tactical victory improves motivation of troops if they are not winning visiby they think they are loosing,
2. if they are not around the locals they can communicate with them,
3. it is out natural definitive job - that is what we are there for
your not going to win the war

9 important decisions are not made by generals

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