Lessons Learned

Lesson Learned

There are all sorts of plans being prepared for implimentation in Iraq. Soon, very soon the top general in Iraq and the ambassador will be coming to the Congress with their report on how the “surge” is working and will possibly tell the Congress all about the ‘benchmarks’ and if they are being met or not. Well the first thing that comes to mind is NOT!

In the past the US has employed several plans of action that has been tried in the past and failed. One was the ‘foreign’ administrators to oversee the running of the government. It was a dismal failure, all the guys chose to run the government were ‘outlaws’ from the past. They are trying building a wall to separate the different factions from each other so they would learn to play nice. It did not work in China, it did not work in Northern Ireland, it does not work.

Today I read that the Pentagon is review the French tactics in Algeria against an insurgency. As in Iraq, a foreign, largely non-Arab military occupied an Arab country. The French forces also faced a protracted insurgency that used “extreme and systematic use of terrorism” and was aided by neighboring countries, says Harmon.

In response to those conditions, the French built a complex system of barriers that effectively shut Algeria’s borders. In the Battle of Algiers, the French mapped out city residents and their social networks. This understanding of the society helped in the successful operation to win control of the capital and shut down bomb-making rings there. They also identified local leaders and then held them accountable if someone in their area attacked the French. Small groups of French soldiers were also stationed among the general population, getting to know the communities they were trying to control. This last tactic is now being employed in Baghdad.

Groups of Algerians who disagreed over whether to fight the French or to negotiate. “But in the end, we got united because we knew it was the only way to fight France.”

Unlike the Iraqi insurgency, that unity helped Algerian insurgent leaders develop a strong campaign to undermine political support for the French occupation. They established formal diplomatic ties with other African countries and in Asia and pushed for the United Nations to help end the war and grant Algeria independence. There were also attacks in France proper by Algerian insurgents that killed some 5,000 people, Harmon notes, “to frighten France and make them stop the war.”

After reading and thinking on the subject, I came up with this: France lost their colony! So once again the US is not studying history and in doing so has furthered the violence.

Why does the Bush Administration continue to pursue failed policies and tactics as a ‘way forward’? Your tax dollar at work.



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