Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Reason #3 Why the US Can't Win in Iraq: Reading is Fundamental
T.E. Lawrence (the famed "Lawrence of Arabia") was a British military liasion officer to the Arabs during World War I. At the time, Arabia was part of the Turk empire and the Arabs rebelled against the Turks. Lawrence ended up fighting alongside the Arabs and produced a book (The Seven Pillars of Wisdom) as a result of these experiences. Lawrence is sometimes called the "Clausewitz of guerilla warfare." His influence reached far beyond the Middle East: General Nguyen Giap, commander of the Vietnamese forces against the French in Indochina, stated that his primary influence was T.E. Lawrence. In particular, Lawrence elucidated six principles of guerilla warfare that have proved to be timeless and are relevant to the Imperial Nation's occupation of Iraq. These are:
"First, a successful guerrilla movement must have an unassailable base-a base secure not only from direct physical assault, but from attack in other forms as well, including psychological attack. Second, the guerrilla must have a technologically sophisticated enemy. The greater this sophistication, the greater this alien force would rely on forms of communications and logistics that must necessarily present vulnerabilities to the irregular. Third, the enemy must be sufficiently weak in numbers so as to be unable to occupy the disputed territory in depth with a system of interlocking fortified posts. Fourth, the guerrilla must have at least the passive support of the populace, if not its full involvement. By Lawrence's calculation, "Rebellions can be made by 2 percent active in striking force and 98 percent passively sympathetic." Fifth, the irregular force must have the fundamental qualities of speed, endurance, presence and logistical independence. Sixth, the irregular must be sufficiently advanced in weaponry to strike at the enemy's logistics and signals vulnerabilities."
Alas, Chaos observes that the Boy King and his minions have been woefully ignorant of history, and reading Lawrence now would be an exercise in futility, even if they were so inclined, which they are not. Iraq is now a dramatic example of Lawrence's principles in action, effectively stymieing the mightiest military on the planet.