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Milton J. Madison - An American Refugee Now Living in China, Where Liberty is Ascending

Federalism, Free Markets and the Liberty To Let One's Mind Wander. I Am Very Worried About the Fate of Liberty in the USA, Where Government is Taking people's Lives ____________________________________________________________________________________________ "Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Tolerance in the face of tyranny is no virtue." -Barry Goldwater-

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Mao And Insurgency....

Mao was a pioneer in insurgency strategy/tactics and wrote the book on how to engage and defeat a superior military foe.
Most importantly, Mao understood that effective insurgency warfare was more than a nagging guerrilla campaign.

At its heart, it was political. Win the hearts and minds of the people and you have created a conflict too costly in blood, money and, most importantly, political capital for your enemy to pursue.

The Americans won almost every major battle in Vietnam, and yet they lost the war. Near the end, they were facing a massive, full-blown nationalist insurgency, meaning they had fully lost the support of the Vietnamese people. At that point, the choice was kill millions more Vietnamese in an untenable war, or leave.
So Iraq has just completed their elections on December 15th. Do you think that the insurgents in Iraq are winning or losing in this war? Are the hearts and minds of the common people being won by the insurgents? With a turnout of 70% in the elections on the 15th, it looks to me as if the terrorists are not getting the cooperation from the population that Mao or Ho Chi Minh had.
Mao also realized time could be an extremely effective weapon. He realized early that the urban proletariat didn't have sufficient force to control China so he had to win the support of the peasants. This was a slow process, but it taught Mao that even a vastly superior enemy could be worn down over time.
The insurgents, in my opinion, made a critical mistake and targeted civilians, sometimes randomly in their attacks. The Terrorists in Iraq let the strange and hateful Islamic ideology of blood lust and death get in the way of tactics proven to work in China and in Vietnam. The insurgency of Saddamites and 7th century Islamists have been unsuccessful at proving their case to the common people of Iraq.

The the phases of an insurgency as written by a Rand piece I read today...
1. Survival-the insurgency infrastructure of guerrilla warfare is developed: a recruiting campaign, repositioning of weapons and munitions, and a new ideology of resistance and a propaganda apparatus to spread the ideology.

2. Military rampup - A small-scale offensive designed more to shake the determination of the invading forces and their countrymen than to have a serious military impact. In this phase, the insurgency progresses from sporadic, relatively small- scale activities to carefully planned, coordinated, calamitous attacks. "Command cannot be highly centralized," Mao wrote, in words that could describe today's Iraqi resistance. "If it were, guerrilla action would be too limited in scope."

3. Conventional warfare - After a successful campaign of small-scaled activities, more coordinated attacks, conventionally can be conducted. At this point, the insurgents must have the hearts and minds of the population in order to effectively launch these operations. Without local support, they will fail in the preparation as locals inform authorities.
The phase 3 operation is where it all comes together.... from the Mao homepage...
An insurgency may not require all phases for success, nor are these phases separate and distinct from each other. Regardless of the number or the duration of the actual phases the insurgency undergoes, its leadership necessarily will initiate some type of final consolidation activities. These may include removing potential enemies or establishing additional control mechanisms. At a minimum, they will probably include educating the society about its new government.
So really who are the insurgents in Iraq? Are they the Saddamites, the frothy mouthed Islamists or the US itself? It appears as if you look at Mao's formula for success, there are elements of this process in GWB prosecution of the war. In order to win, one must organize and educate the population. In Vietnam and 1940's China, its largely uneducated and poor populations were large masses of people looking for something new. Iraq has a relatively literate population where some remember prosperity and peace prior to the Saddam years. The insurgents in Iraq have been somewhat successful at these tasks...
Throughout this period, the insurgents use psychops to--
*Exploit grievances.
*Influence the populace.
*Heighten expectations.
*Promote the loyalty of insurgent members.

As the insurgents consolidate their initial plans, their organization coalesces into a shadow government. After this, they concentrate on--
*Gaining influence over the populace.
*Infiltrating government, economic, and social organizations.
*Challenging the government's administrative ability.
*Recruiting, organizing, and training armed elements.
But it appears as if this effort has been losing ground as of late. As more and more of the typical people are drawn into the political process, we can expect less and less support for the insurgents. It seems as if the Iraqi government and the US are actually achieving the consolidation phase of the insurgency as oultined in the last part of the previous quote.

And the critical element of moving from the 2nd to the third phase involves setting up a government that can draw people in. Mao used the Communist Party mechanism to achieve the 3rd step...
THE MAOIST EXAMPLE: THE PARTY
The Maoist and Marxist party organization illustrates how to achieve effective centralized direction of a mass-oriented insurgency. Analysis of this organization provides a basis for understanding mass-oriented insurgency.
The party focuses on eventual control over all three main elements of the organization: the core element, mass organizations, and armed elements. It begins with control of "liberation" committees that parallel the country's existing government at the local, subnational, and national levels. These committees interlock organizationally to ensure party control over their activities. The interrelationships of these elements may vary from one insurgency to another, but this interlocking arrangement, with its high degree of centralized control, usually emerges.
But it appears as if the US and the new Iraqi government have been able to achieve these goals quicker and more effectively than the insurgency in Iraq has.

Maybe GWB and the military have read the book too and understand how all of this works. Maybe this time, the US can actually pull off a seachange in the Middle-east. At least that is what I think and it appears that it is on course to happen. So, who really understands what is going on their in Iraq? The Howard "the coward" Dean Democrats or GWB and his formula for success?

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