Monday, March 26, 2007

Discussed Before: Algerian Insurgency v. Iraq

This is a great piece explaining exactly where Petraeus got his ideas (aside from T.E. Lawrence), how it works and how, regardless of how well it works, you still lose at home when you are too slow to figure it out.

Indeed, the 1957 battle for Algiers marked a crucial turning point in the fight against the FLN. By 1959, Galula’s principles had been extended across Algeria. Some 600 “specialized administrative sections” were set up, each headed by army officers to oversee civil as well as military affairs. The new structure finally allowed the French army to use effectively its superior numbers (including 150,000 loyal native troops, more than a third of the total) and conventional military hardware. Helping to put the guerrillas on the defensive were such tactics as the division of troops into “static” and “mobile” units to deal with terrorist outbreaks; the use of helicopters for counterinsurgency operations; and construction of a 200-mile, eight-foot-high electric fence (the so-called Morice Line), which shut down the FLN’s sources of support from neighboring Tunisia. By January 1960, the war that many had considered lost three years earlier was virtually won.

Except at home. Do read the rest.

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