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Counterinsurgency wars are winnable, but require a paradigm shift in the population

Reader comment on item: Must Counterinsurgency Wars Fail?

Submitted by Dr-RJP (United States), Sep 14, 2008 at 13:08

The toughest enemy that a country has in combatting assymetric warfare against insurgencies is its own population. A country's success of mounting and sustaining any counterinsurgency.requires that a large portion of of its populace understand what it is, how it is fought, why the costs are high, and and where and when the ROE (rules of engagement) must be different from "traditional warfare."

In other words, a paradigm shift in how all asymetric wars will be fought from now on. As it stands now, a majority of Europe and anywhere from half to two-thirds of America cannot wrap their brains around the idea that a religious-ideological enemy does not have any ROE, does not behave like a standing army, does not abide by the Geneva Conventions, and specifically targets civilians and civilian structures that are of no strategic value in the conventional sense of warfare.

There is also no such thing as using "proportional responses" to defeat an enemy that relies on disproportionate use of force, and that does not play by any rules, and for whom, "collateral damage," is their modus operandi.

Counterinsurgency wars cannot be fought with one hand tied behind our backs. Counterinsurgency wars cannot be fought through our judicial system. Unconventional wars cannot be fought with conventional ideas, conventional tactics, or conventional outcomes.

All wars are one by making the other guy lose the will to continue fighting, not by bribing him, or offering incentives to get him to stop.

We are living in one of the most dangerous times. The scenario of terrorists getting their hands on a nuke or on biological agents is no longer the stuff of TV dramas like "24," "NCIS," or "the Unit." But, as we learned a year ago, terrorists do not need anything sophisticated to reek havoc on our way of life.

Whether they are wars against countries, against insurgents, or even against terrorist cells, the overarching rule of "using overwhelming force, overwhelmingly" still applies.

Submitting....

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