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Wrong examples

Reader comment on item: Must Counterinsurgency Wars Fail?

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Sep 14, 2008 at 14:55

For someone relying just on one's common sense the idea that a non-state enemy depending on their limited military and economic resources and without an extensive technical know-how necessary to wage a modern war could defeat a sophistcated army of today looks really queer, if not quite absurd and illogical. How could a gang of savage illiterate Bedouins win against the Red Army that smashed the best army of the modern times - that of Germany?

Yet, we read "In 1983, the analyst Shahram Chubin wrote that the Soviets in Afghanistan were embroiled in an "unwinnable war." " And conversely, how could a mass of uneducated peasants from the jungles of Vietnam stand against the best equipped army of all times -that of the US? What should they have fought the Americans with -bows, spears, axes ... like some tribesmen in black Africa during the 19th century fighting the Europeans? There were no munition factories in Afghanistan, no modern military factories in Vietnam.

So where did the weapons & military advisors to beat the Americans/Soviets with come from? It simply contradicts all logic if we put forth the examples provided without qualifications and based on these premises we proceed to make our inferences(pessimistic or optimistic). Of course, there were some very powerful states and their enormous military and scientific potential that made the victory of Vietnam possible and that helped jihad in Afghanistan gain a tremendous victory over the red kafirs.

The same is valid nowadays in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hence I find in the introductory note ["When it comes to a state fighting a nonstate enemy, there is a widespread impression the state is doomed to fail."] rquiring a\some elaboration. What I do miss in the further analysis is the emphasis on what is really at stake in the "counterinsurgency wars" - the secret intervention of other powerful states on the "weaker" side and thus making this side really strong.

If the states were fighting just non-state enemies, the outcome would always be the same. The unavoidable defeat of the latter. History is full of such examples and Dr. Pipes has named a few. It is when other mighty states enter the stage and act in secret on behalf of the "non-state enemies" giving them weapons, money, allowing recruitment and training etc.etc. that wars are lost by the states that fail to identify the real enemies or what is worse they continue to have friendly relations with their hidden enemies and for political or economic reasons are silent on that nasty problem they are facing. Drying the Saudi cesspool and incapacitating Iran is a sine qua non prerequisite for victory in Iraq and Afghanistan and for Israel's security.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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