Winning against guerillas
What does it take to win a war against a guerilla force? To those who say the war isn't won until every guerilla is defeated (and by implication that we'll never win in Iraq), Wretchard, at the Belmont Club has many arguments, my favorite of which is:
What does it mean to win a war against guerilla insurgents? What does it mean for a guerilla insurgency to triumph? The one answer that is popularly advanced -- one that is implicit in Scoblete's argument -- is that guerillas win if they simply remain in existence. This site lists more than 383 armed guerilla groups extant in the world today. Clearly all of them exist and just clearly not all of them are triumphant. There are, for instance 27 armed guerilla groups in India, 9 in Britain (the most famous of which is the Irish Republican Army) and 11 in the United States. Yet no one asks whether it is premature to declare the Westminster Parliament in control of the Northern Ireland or wonder whether Los Matcheteros will take over the Washington DC. And the reason is simple: while the IRA and Los Matcheteros are still likely to exist in 2010, there is little or no chance that these organizations will seize state power in all or even part of Britain or the United States. Seizing state power over a definite territory is the explicit objective of nearly every guerilla armed force in the world today: if they can achieve that, they win. If they cannot achieve that and have no realistic prospect of ever achieving that, they are defeated, however long they may continue to exist.