Sunday, January 20, 2008

AmericanGoy explains: Counter Insurgency (Contrarian View Series).

The tactics and methods of counter insurgency do not change; they haven't since XIX Century.

As a colonial power occupying a foreign country whose people do not want you to be there, you need three things to stay in place:

1. You need intelligence on who is shooting you. For that, you need soldiers and administrators who speak the language, but more, you need people who are experts in the region and the country, preferably who were living in country for a decade or so.

2. You need an efficient administration who help out the local populace that is not hostile to you or at least refrains from shooting you. Build hospitals, wells, treat the sick kids for free, build good will.

3. You need a ruthless occupying army, putting into practice that dreadful word called PACIFICATION, which is army (every army in the world) code word for rolling up your sleeves, going into a village and putting all the men (sometimes the women and children too) against the wall and shooting them; then burning the village to the ground. Rape of women and/or kids optional.

The combination of these tactics wins a counter insurgency war.

The degree of which each tactic is emphasized over the other depends on local conditions and your military and administrator know how, wisdom and professional skills.

What do we have in Iraq?
We have soldiers whose job it is to drive a humvee back and forth on a road escorting trucks carrying ice cream, fruit juice and Haliburton et al profits, from Kuwait to Baghdad/Falujah/Al Hillah/Basrah etc.

We have soldiers kicking in doors and intimidating women and children in houses for no apparent reason. Perhaps once you do that, soldier, you should shoot at least the man of the house - that way the Iraqis will be scared of you instead of just being bewildered and bemused and ultimately clueless why these strange foreigners with guns came (usually it is a jealous neighbor, who dislikes the target of the raid, for whatever reason - different Islamic sect, too rich, spurned from marrying daughter, whatever).

So what about the hearts and minds, the "hip" modern concept of counter insurgency?
The war was lost not when the idiotic Bremer, who really represents the best America has to offer in career diplomats (you get to be a diplomat by graft, corruption and ass kissing) disbanded the Iraqi Army and turned the country's population into 70% unemployment zone; no, the war was lost when, after "liberation", American soldiers did NOT demolish Abu Ghraib, the prison where Saddam's thugs tortured men, women and children, but instead started to use said building complex, for the same reasons - to imprison and torture Iraqi men, women and children.

'Meet the new boss, same as the old boss'

THAT was the moment the war was lost.

THAT was the moment we ceased to be liberators, and started to be occupiers.

After that, no amount of hearts and minds, hospital and school building, "surges", kicking down doors will work.

After Abu Ghraib, the only way to win Iraq is to turn on pacification, with whole villages going up in smoke and scores of dead women and children.

And despite US military using an incredible tonnage of bombs on any urban area or village where shots were fired at American soldiers (or thought or heard they were fired) (this is a dirty little secret of Iraq War now - the USAirForce bombing of civilians 100 times more than Israel was doing in Lebanon with 100 times more casualties - see here, here, here, and here), the USA is ultimately too squeamish to pull that off.

Sobering conclusion - no matter what we do, the war is already and irrevocably lost. Unless we want the USArmy to complete its transformation and turn into the Waffen-SS.

Bonus material:
Pacification operations

Perhaps you clicked the pacification link and were confused what it was linked to. To explain, it links to the great forum, and the post is by one of their moderators, Mr. David Thompson. He lists the fascinating World War 2 document, Extract From Supplement to War Diary of 3d Panzer Army, August 1941 to January 1942, Concerning Execution of Partisans and PW's", in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10. Vol. 10.

It lists day by day pacification operations of one specific German Army unit in Russia. I believe that this source will demonstrate to you, the reader, what guerrilla war and pacification operations (going on in Iraq now) are all about.

Following are some entries that I find illustrative of the whole process:

17th Army Command, Section Ic/Counterintelligence officer.
Activity Report for the period 11 March 1942 to 13 August 1942.
[18th Army was subordinate to: Army Group North from 22 June 1941 until 31 December 1941. The War Diary was kept by 1st Lieutenant Count Magni from 22 June 1941 to 18 December 1941, and by 1st Lieutenant von Bebr-Negendanck from 19-31 December 1941.]
2 July 1941: 2215 hours: * * * The Commander in Chief reports from Riga as follows: 67 men were killed and 15 murdered of the advance detachment Lasch which had crossed to the east bank The commander in chief has ordered that all Russians captured in Riga must be shot in retaliation.

Corps Command Post
3 November 1941
Corps Headquarters XXVIII Army Corps
Ic, Ic--Activity Report, Part III.
At Tossno a fire broke out in a sawmill and destroyed all the machinery. The fire, however, was prevented from reaching the lumberyard. It must be assumed that this was an act of sabotage. As a countermeasure 13 persons (selected from persons refusing to work and from known Communists) were shot by the Security Service.

17th Army Command
Operations Section
Enclosure 1 to War Diary No. 2.
Ic Reports of Army Corps from 13 December 1941 to 10 March 1942.
Ic morning report of the XLV Army Corps.
5. Five hostages were shot as a reprisal measure for a German sentry being fired on by civilians at Shabelkovka.
All civilians who tried to cross our lines were shot on suspicion of espionage, since armed civilians had attempted last night to break through to the south near the mouth of the Torez river.
24 July 1942: Transit camp 180 reports that concentration camp Gorlovka was dissolved on 22 July 1942. Prisoners held there partly handed over for labor assignments, partly admitted into PW camps, and partly liquidated. During the existence of concentration camp Gorlovka 1 March 1942 to 22 July 1942, 655 civilians passed through the camp; among them--
released, 93;
for labor assignment, 195;
liquidated, 158;
handed over to Security Service 23;
handed over to Secret Field Police, 5;
escaped, 2;
transferred to a civilian hospital, 2;
died, 1.

14 April 1942: Secret Field Police Staff Commissariat interrogates a civilian, who, at 1830 hours, loitered around near the motor pool. During the transport to the counterintelligence officer and to the Secret Field Police he tried to escape twice. Result of interrogation showed that he was an imbecile who could constitute a danger for the troops. He will be liquidated.

17th Army Command, Operations Section Ic
Enclosure 1 to War Diary No. 3
Ic Activity Report Counterintelligence Officer from 15 March 1942 to 13 August 1942 [Handwritten] Enclosure XI to Activity Report Ic
17th Army Command, Section Ic/Counterintelligence Officer.
3 April 1942: Secret Field Police Staff Commissariat liquidates the Russian Simeon Jssajev on suspicion of having been a member of the destruction battalion and for unauthorized wandering around.

To High Command of Army Group B, Ia
No. 7142/42 Secret, dated 4 September 1942.
Directives for Raiding Detachments:
2. d. If the prerequisites for surprise no longer exist, for instance, because inhabitants appear by chance, the chosen site must be immediately abandoned if the troublesome witnesses cannot be eliminated silently.

Special Fuehrer order dealing with counter insurgency warfare:
In this connection, the Fuehrer has issued the following order:
1. In the guerrilla warfare the enemy employs fanatical fighters trained in the communist ideology who will not shrink from any act of violence. This is now, more than ever, a matter of life and death. This struggle has nothing to do any more with soldierly chivalry or the regulations of the Geneva Convention.
If this war against the bands in the East and in the Balkans is not waged with the most brutal methods, the available forces will in the near future no longer be sufficient to overcome this plague.
For this reason the troops are justified and obliged in this combat to resort to all measures--even against women and children--without leniency, as long as they are successful.

Army Headquarters
2 April 1943.
2d Army Command, Ia No. 967/43
Subject: Experience gained during anti-bands warfare' Reference: Teletype Army Group Center Ia NO. 2324/43 of 10 March 1943.
2. To B ll figure 12: During interrogation of bandits, also women, all means have to be employed to obtain the necessary statements interpreters are to be specially trained for the interrogation of bandits. It is frequently necessary to interrogate an individual bandit several times in order to get a result.

I think that after reading this, you get the idea of what counter insurgency war is all about and what it entails.

My favorite is the one about the imbecile, who must be liquidated anyway. It is chilling, funny and sickening all at once. That some staff officer of the Wehrmacht wrote this passage speaks volumes on not just counter insurgency war, but on us, the humanity in general.

Don't have the stomach for it? Then what is America doing in Iraq? This is the only proven way, in history, to win a counter insurgency war. The stuff that happened at Abu Ghraib - electrodes in genitalia, rapes of prisoners, siccing of dogs at prisoners, mock executions, beatings, deprivation of sleep and forcing prisoners to stand in cold rooms for hours on end, this stuff is not abnormal in a counter insurgency war.

That is the norm.

It is a necessity.

So, as an American, YOU need to ask yourself one question:
'Do we need to occupy Iraq?'

If you answer 'Yes', then you have to accept Abu Ghraib type prisons and all that entails.

web analytics

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that your topic gives an interesting view of comparison between present day anti-partisan strategies, and 1941 anti-partisan strategies.

However, I believe that the Nazi partisan wars(interesting reports btw) and the current american military struggle are totally different in context, and should therefore(i am talking about effectivity here, i am not taking the nazi methods in moral judgement) be treated differently.

Firstly, the situation of war. The nazis were so extreme in their methods (killing civilians for partisan acts) because of national-socialist ideology, and, the most important factor, the brutest method which would require the least soldiers to maintain and control a settlement. They needed every man they could on the front, and their main goal was to keep supply lines open, and execute orders and methods that would benefit the german-russian war in the most direct way.

The americans however, are in for t the long term. They NEED the people, they want to stabilize the country as soon as possible vs an unknown foe.

Forced obedience always beats willing obidience. They need to win the support of the iraqi people. They need to show that the american "liberators" are a blessing to the iraqi people.

To need to rebuild Iraq for the people. Make them feel safe. Educate them.
At the same time, cut off any way of terrorist propaganda. Do not let them win new recruits.

Then, when you have cut off the growth of partisans through enemy recruitment, use the help of the civilians to take them down. Without support, you cut the terrorist tree from the roots, instead of hacking away at branches that will grow again in an instant.

Winning the trust of the people is actually a battle that is being fought on micro scale. Individual cases like you describe with americans breaking into a room doesnt sound too disastrous, but if this is being done in a large scale on a micro level, the civilians just sees them the same as the russians did with the nazis during 1941.

I have actually seen alot of cases in newspapers where alienated American soldiers pretty much have zero understanding of the culture and terrorist threat, and are treating the civilians in a way that makes the civilians see the americans as the occupiers, not the liberators. I think that extensive training is needed for every american soldier to improve their behavior towards individual civilians.