Jaw Jaw not War War

I think I would be right in saying that it is very rare for one side or the other to win decisively in a conventional war let alone in a guerrilla vs conventional forces situation. In guerrilla wars it is usual for the local population to be at least neutral if not hostile to the incoming forces. The British found this to be the case in the Boer War over a century ago and it required huge numbers of troops and the removal of many of the local population to concentration camps to eventually secure victory. Nearly all wars end in some form of negotiation, even surprisingly in situations of unconditional surrender. And yet governments persist in launching conventional forces against countries they regard as enemies. Is it perhaps that politicians with no military experience rely too heavily on generals for advice? In the face of a handful of guerrillas it would be unnatural of military commanders to admit that they are powerless. Men bred to fight are not likely to think first of possible defeat. It is therefore tempting to suggest that one cuts out the war bit and goes straight to negotiations. That is of course simplistic but what it does suggest is that conventional methods of dealing with an enemy by military might are not enough. Guerrilla or asynchronous warfare perhaps requires asynchronous tactics. For example, Afghanistan being a large country would appear to be impossible to patrol with such intensity as to deny the Taliban any access to the people who I suspect at best after so many generations of conflict will not take sides. So do the Taliban have vulnerabilities? One would appear to be their reliance on using Pakistan for training camps. Should we not therefore make every effort to seal the border rather than waiting for them to to disperse across Afghanistan itself? We are told that the Taliban derive their income from the opium trade. If the West were to directly compete to purchase the poppies driving up the price paid to farmers, this would eventually deprive the Taliban of their income. What the West does with the poppies is immaterial. Guerrillas rely on mobility. There are now very high tech means of surveillance which could in effect make any movement visible. Study of the normal communication networks of local people must surely make it possible to readily identify unusual movement by even small numbers of people who are then more than likely to be guerrillas. Judiciously placed no go areas would keep the locals out and have the effect of highlighting guerrilla incursions. Adoption of these types of strategy would require re-allocation of resources rather than additional expenditure and might even be less expensive in the long run than the present stalemate. I further wonder how Israel after so many years of conflict with the Palestinian militias can be so confident of success with this particular present operation and why they think it will turn out so differently from all the previous Israeli operations. website https://robthill.wordpress.com Posted via email from robthill’s posterous

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About robthill

I am semi-retired ICT Staff Tutor in Dundee, Scotland and an online facilitator. The views here expressed are my own somewhat quirky feelings about the world as I see it, no doubt just as prejudiced as most other bloggers.

2 thoughts on “Jaw Jaw not War War

  1. Not to mention, in fact, the worldwide shortage of opiates for medical purposes (due, I hasten to add, to distorted incentives, not to some mystical preference for growing illegal drugs rather than the more profitable legal ones). Far too many people, particularly in the Third World are in chronic, acute, or terminal pain because opiates are not available to them.

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