James Joes, Resisting Rebellion: The History and Politics of Counterinsurgency
- Understanding the tactics employed in insurgencies and the political motivation necessarily linked to every action of both the insurgent and counterinsurgent forces are perhaps several of the most important tasks modern military and political leaders must face.
- Suggests that there are common elements to any successful counterinsurgency strategy (Applies these elements to a counterfactual examination of the US involvement in Vietnam)
- The presence or absence of outside help can be decisive; it is virtually impossible to defeat guerillas that has secure sources of supply and a recovery area / The true objective of counterinsurgency is not to kill guerillas but to marginalize them
Notes from Gloves: Joes, Resisting Rebellion / guerrilla insurgency is fundamentally political 7 / lasting peace comes through conciliation, not military humiliation or decimation 9 / COIN victory comes from justice supported by military power 9 / guerrillas are asymmetric, symbiotic with friendlies in the regular army, 10-11 / while a base of ops is essential to the guerrilla, the guerrilla must not commit to hold any base 18 / guerrilla terror is a mixed bag, with the Cong being the best – all other examples were done by groups that were losing or lost 20 / Cuban “revolution” was actually a Batista collapse due to corruption and loss of US support 21 / rigged elections spur insurgency, and fair elections quash it 24-9 / a history of internal conflict spurs insurgency 29-32 / vanguard elites spur insurgency, unless the gov’t is strong 33-9 / military loss (war, colony) can leave a power vacuum that spurs insurgency39-43 / genocide spurs insurgency 44-9 / religious issues can spur insurgency 50ff / “systematic trampling even on its own laws” is worse for COINs than rebels, who are assumed lawless 59 / ending an insurgency the Chinese way – dump nuclear waste 87 / outraging religious sensibilities can spur insurgency 93 / guerrillas attack LOCs; COINs isolate guerrillas from the populace and from outside help 94 / cutting guerrillas off from outside help via diplomacy or air interdiction is not evidently effective 97-8 / border walls work, though 98 / COIN requires civil control, via civil security 105 / resettlement is a technique with mixed results, but can work if well-executed 106-13 and 120 / local militias first augment, then replace, COIN forces, given enough time 114-21 / loyalists aren’t always loyal – contrast US Revolution loyalists with ARVNs 122-4 and 134-9 / consistently, loyalists have been abandoned to cruel deaths 144 / best weapon against an insurgency is a good intel org 145 / good intel drives ops and deepens fractures in the enemy 146 / humint is good 146-50 / torturing insurgent terrorists to get info had three bad effects – propaganda value, corrosive to COIN morale, sets stage for COIN mutiny or going native 152 / constraint improves the chance of a speedier resolution 156 / discriminate violence – extreme violence – is fine as long as it’s lawful and … discriminate 156-7 / insurgents will try to provoke indiscriminate reprisals 158 / to promote rectitude, maintain troop morale and safety, improve political and mission awareness (why we fight), hold COINs accountable, and don’t count bodies as a MoE 162-3 / benefits of rectitude – fewer casualties, better intel, better morale and discipline, helps phase four, gives nothing sensational to the media 164 / amnesty can be useful, as long as one understands the reasons why guerrillas fight 166 / Chieu Hoi program in Nam worked well 167-9 / 10-1 COINs to guerrillas is a good starting point 171-2 / but there are too many other factors to assert that such a ration – or any other ratio – is decisive 177-9 / better for regional forces to do COIN than far-foreign people like USicans 182 / guerrillas sometimes transition to conventional war 189-90 / Mao led to a myth that guerrillas are invincible 191 / Maoist guerrillas benefited from atrocities by their opponents 202 / Mao’s directives “were neither original nor arcane nor infallible” 207 / these things broke the Venezuelan communist insurgency: army supported civilian president, US COIN training, oil funded land reform, and fair elections 217 / French COIN traditions – collective punishment of civil populace and persistently underestimating the insurgents 220-1 / British COIN style – sparing use of mil force, emphasize police and civil admin, close coop among mil, police, and civil govt, defend populace, deny food to guerrillas, SOF harassment of insurgents, “identify and ameliorate major sociocultural irritants” 222 / Chinese counterinsurgency – conciliation, strategic blockades, food deprivation, amnesty, emphasize good leaders (in Tibet, suffocation) 223 / Japan COIN – insurgent hunter teams, improved mobility, concentrate population, , decent treatment of prisoners (early), strongpoints, collective punishment (later; too brutal to be effective) 223-5 / Russian COIN – smother with troops; isolate from outside assistance; tight control of important towns; subdivide and fortify; destroy settlements, livestock, crops, and orchards; collective punishment; (Tukhachevskii more Maoist, however 226); secret police 225-6 / Portuguese COIN – army became a COIN force, long-term, low-casualty, low-tech, recruitment from native populace, attention to social problems 228-9 / US COIN – isolate guerrillas from outside help and from populace, small-unit emphasis, political and social reform, improved local governance, SWEAT (sewer, water, electricity, and trash), economic assistance, mostly advisory military role, (Nam = more troops, high tech, firepower, body counts) 229-31 / no generalities about COIN are universally applicable 232 / 1) provide a peaceful path to change – need not be democratic, but must be just 233 / 2) commit sufficient resources 234-6 / 3) isolate the conflict area 236-7 / 4) be restrained (Maoist) – don’t plan to kill or capture insurgents, but to justly administer the populace 237-8 / 5) intel is crucial 238 / 6) marginalize insurgents by providing safety and security to civilians 238-41 / 7) offer amnesty 241 / 8) clear weapons caches 241-2 / 9) disrupt insurgent food and water supplies 242-3 / “in guerrilla warfare, tactics are political” 243 / keep pressure on guerrillas 244 / “The aim of true COIN is to reestablish peace. Real peace means reintegrating into society its disaffected elements…. Reintegration becomes incomparably more likely if the COINs deliberate choose conservative military tactics, undergirded by serious efforts to limit abuses against the civil population, redress salient grievance, make amnesty attractive, and erect a legitimate government.” 246