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Partisan tatics, Terrorism, Unconventional Warfare

TimmyBoy

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One of the common myths about terrorism is that it is the "weapon of the weak" or the "weapon of the poor." Terrorism is not the sole weapon of the weak and poor. It is also the weapon of the rich and powerful.

However, the weak and the poor do resort to unconventional warfare when faced with powerful armies like that of the United States. Hit and run guerrilla tatics or terrorists who blend in with the American population, lead normal lives and then turn to attack high value US targets within the US. This makes it very difficult for powerful countries like the US to combat through their superior force alone. Terrorism is like a strategic form of guerrilla war, much like partisan warfare is a tatical form of unconventional war on the battlefield. Where in partisan war, the enemy attacks a much more powerful enemy, inflicts a few casualties and then vanishes into the night to escape the army's counter attacks. This could happen where the enemy is a civilian who is friendly towards an occupying army during the day, smiling, waving and offerring hospitality and then turning around at night and killing the same soldiers they were nice to. Terrorism is a strategic form of warfare, designed to harm a nation's economy and to do so in an unconventional manner, to also hide in the shadows before striking.

So, when a nation like the United States is faced with an enemy like Al-Queda or the insurgents in Iraq who use un-conventional warfare, what is the best way to defeat such opponents?
 

oldreliable67

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So, when a nation like the United States is faced with an enemy like Al-Queda or the insurgents in Iraq who use un-conventional warfare, what is the best way to defeat such opponents?
Ah, that is a very good question indeed! But, TimmyBoy, from the tone of some of your previous posts and responses to the posts of others, I suspect that you have a particular motive in mind for this question, a motive that is not explicity evident in the question itself. It sounds very much if you are trying to 'bait' someone into posting a response for which you are already prepared and waiting just for the opportunity to slam and flame.

I have some definite opinions on this topic and will be happy to post them and discuss the topic in a civil manner. But I'm not interested in a flame contest.

That is my impression. Now, if I'm wrong about your intentions, I'll apologize here in advance and post up some thoughts on the topic. What about it? Is your question real or is it flame bait?
 

Iriemon

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oldreliable67 said:
Ah, that is a very good question indeed! But, TimmyBoy, from the tone of some of your previous posts and responses to the posts of others, I suspect that you have a particular motive in mind for this question, a motive that is not explicity evident in the question itself. It sounds very much if you are trying to 'bait' someone into posting a response for which you are already prepared and waiting just for the opportunity to slam and flame.

I have some definite opinions on this topic and will be happy to post them and discuss the topic in a civil manner. But I'm not interested in a flame contest.

That is my impression. Now, if I'm wrong about your intentions, I'll apologize here in advance and post up some thoughts on the topic. What about it? Is your question real or is it flame bait?
Regardless of Timmy's motives, I'd like to hear your opinions on this topic.
 

DivineComedy

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TimmyBoy said:
One of the common myths about terrorism is that it is the "weapon of the weak" or the "weapon of the poor." Terrorism is not the sole weapon of the weak and poor. It is also the weapon of the rich and powerful.

However, the weak and the poor do resort to unconventional warfare when faced with powerful armies like that of the United States. Hit and run guerrilla tatics or terrorists who blend in with the American population, lead normal lives and 4hen turn to attack high value US targets within the US. This makes it very difficult for powerful countries like the US to combat through their superior force alone. Terrorism is like a strategic form of guerrilla war, much like partisan warfare is a tatical form of unconventional war on the battlefield. Where in partisan war, the enemy attacks a much more powerful enemy, inflicts a few casualties and then vanishes into the night to escape the army's counter attacks. This could happen where the enemy is a civilian who is friendly towards an occupying army during the day, smiling, waving and offerring hospitality and then turning around at night and killing the same soldiers they were nice to. Terrorism is a strategic form of warfare, designed to harm a nation's economy and to do so in an unconventional manner, to also hide in the shadows before striking.

So, when a nation like the United States is faced with an enemy like Al-Queda or the insurgents in Iraq who use un-conventional warfare, what is the best way to defeat such opponents?
“Again we say that when someone feels that he is unjustly treated, and no one is repulsing or stopping the injustice inflicted on him, he personally seeks ways and means for lifting that justice. Of course, not everyone is capable of finding the best way for lifting the injustice inflicted on him. People resort to what they think is the best way according to their own ideas, and they are not all capable of reaching out for what is beyond what is available to arrive to the best idea or means.
To find the best way, after having found their way to God and His rights, those who are inflicted by injustice need not to be isolated from their natural milieu, or be ignored deliberately, or as a result of mis-appreciation, by the officials in this milieu. They should, rather, be reassured and helped to save themselves, and their surroundings.” (Saddam Hussein Shabban 13, 1422 H. October 29, 2001.)

Saddam understood what the terrorists are better than you, as he understood that the terrorists like Al Quacka are taking the law into their own hands according to their “own ideas” of justice. Such an act of justice by a terrorist is a tyranny, not unlike what Saddam did when he usurped power. So Saddam is just justifying his own morality of Nazi/Baath survival of the fittest when he says that those who use “own ideas“ of justice should be supported.

Civilization can not exist if Terrorism is playing by the rules of warfare, or if it is not a crime.

Timmyboy asked: “So, when a nation like the United States is faced with an enemy like Al-Queda or the insurgents in Iraq who use un-conventional warfare, what is the best way to defeat such opponents?”

The best way to defeat such opponents (terrorists) may not be the just way or right way: it is less bloody to appease them until they claim victory, and it is easier to defeat them with the iron boot of dictatorship and emergency measures when you have no identification friend or foe. The right way to defeat terrorists is through the rule of law, and by convincing the people that taking the law into ones own hands is wrong even when they can not get justice for a wrong. The people should work to bring justice to prevent an urge to take the law into ones own hands through the use of terrorism, but, the laws of man are not perfect, and never will be perfect, that is just the way it is. No removal of the urge for terrorism and no justice was going to happen in Iraq, while it was a State Sponsor of Terrorism and Saddam was a dictator using a feedback loop of emergency laws and measures to prevent terrorists from toppling him:

“I think, that you, often criticize those whom you criticize in order to weaken them, by saying that they use emergency laws, and what emergency laws, by western standards, cannot be a general rule. But now, unlike what you used to say about those whom you accuse of being dictators and despots, we see dozens of emergency laws and measures adopted by the governments of the West, with the US in the forefront, after facing one painful event.” (Saddam Hussein Shabban 13, 1422 H. October 29, 2001.)

When the law does not work for us I still do not believe in taking the law into my own hands, even when I fully understand the urge to do so. And like most people when oppressed I rant and rave, and say stupid things which the rule of law may consider a threat, but I do not intend to act illegally or to take the law into my own hands according to my “own ideas” of justice.

Hamas has never represented the Palestinian people, but you give the terrorists aid and comfort to use what you claim is “a strategic form of guerrilla war” or an “un-conventional warfare,” which is preventing settlement of dispute between the elected government of Israel and the elected government of the Palestinian Authority, and as a result you are the warmonger!

You give Big Brother a reason to watch you!
 

oldreliable67

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DivineComedy,

That is a very thoughtful response. Good job.
 

oldreliable67

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Terrorism is a strategic form of warfare, designed to harm a nation's economy and to do so in an unconventional manner, to also hide in the shadows before striking.
TimmyBoy hasn't yet responded to my inquiry above, but I will add a couple of distinctions to his description of guerilla vs terrorist tactics. Guerillas 1)typically but not exclusively attack opposing military targets, most often with 'hit and run' tactics, very rarely with the objective of gaining or retaining long-term control of area or facilities; 2) depend on the largesse of, or theft from the local populace for sustenance; 3) are typically but not exclusively indigeneous to the area in which they operate; and 4) typically but not always identifiable by some kind of uniform, even if rudimentary (e.g., the black pajamas worn by VC).

Terrorists on the other hand, 1) typically but not exclusively attack civilian targets and/or civilian facilities that are likely to have a high financial or economic impact on the targeted population; 2) depend on financing from a parent or umbrella organization such as a religous organization or government; 3) may or may not be indigenous to the area in which they operate; if not indigenous, typically rely on the permissiveness of the state (in terms of ease of entry and immigration rules/regs) in which they are operating for their ability to go undetected; and 4) typically do not wear any kind of identifiable uniform.

Key difference: guerilla focus is typically defeat of an opposing military force; terrorists focus is persuading civilian populace to accede to the terrorists demands or appeasement, or to pursuade civilian populace to force govt to accede or appease.

These distinctions are far from 'iron-clad', hence the liberal usage of 'typically' this or that. As generalizations go, they're ok, but certainly not gospel.

Gunny, if you are around, you might add to this?
 

Iriemon

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oldreliable67 said:
TimmyBoy hasn't yet responded to my inquiry above, but I will add a couple of distinctions to his description of guerilla vs terrorist tactics. Guerillas 1)typically but not exclusively attack opposing military targets, most often with 'hit and run' tactics, very rarely with the objective of gaining or retaining long-term control of area or facilities; 2) depend on the largesse of, or theft from the local populace for sustenance; 3) are typically but not exclusively indigeneous to the area in which they operate; and 4) typically but not always identifiable by some kind of uniform, even if rudimentary (e.g., the black pajamas worn by VC).

Terrorists on the other hand, 1) typically but not exclusively attack civilian targets and/or civilian facilities that are likely to have a high financial or economic impact on the targeted population; 2) depend on financing from a parent or umbrella organization such as a religous organization or government; 3) may or may not be indigenous to the area in which they operate; if not indigenous, typically rely on the permissiveness of the state (in terms of ease of entry and immigration rules/regs) in which they are operating for their ability to go undetected; and 4) typically do not wear any kind of identifiable uniform.

Key difference: guerilla focus is typically defeat of an opposing military force; terrorists focus is persuading civilian populace to accede to the terrorists demands or appeasement, or to pursuade civilian populace to force govt to accede or appease.

These distinctions are far from 'iron-clad', hence the liberal usage of 'typically' this or that. As generalizations go, they're ok, but certainly not gospel.

Gunny, if you are around, you might add to this?
Seems to me a key feature of "terrorists" is that the goal of their strikes is to cause "terror" particularly among the civilian population. That was why Bin Laden succeeded so spectacularly. The destruction of 2 buildings and 3000 dead were, from an economic perspective, hardly significant events. However, the attacks succeeded fabulously at creating terror in the US populace (and in this regard the terrorists were assisted in their goal by the media and the government), the consequences of which were far more profound. Which, of course, is exactly what the terrorists hoped for.
 

TimmyBoy

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The US government definition of terrorism to paraphrase without quoting exactly word for word, is attacking a civilian population to coerce a government for political reasons. This sort of thing is not practiced just by Al-queda but by the US government itself. The US government, by it's own definition has participated in terrorism. If we, allow our government to participate in such actions without doing anything about it, we are essientially appeasing terrorisism.
 

oldreliable67

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Ireimon,

The destruction of 2 buildings and 3000 dead were, from an economic perspective, hardly significant events.
I wouldn't trivialize the direct economic impact of 9/11. Think about the man hours lost in the next week, think about the man hours lost even after we went back to work but productivity was hugely diminished. The police and fire overtime. Think about the direct costs of the recovery efforts at the site. Think about the costs of rebuilding the PATH station and train lines. Add it all up and its hardly trivial.

Though significant, the direct costs were not anywhere as great as the indirect or follow-on costs. In fact, we are only now seeing the full impact on our national deficit (as I know you are well aware). It can be argued that a large portion of our spending since 9/11 has been either a direct or an indirect result of 9/11. Homeland Security, TSA, military, etc. Just ask youself, what would our budget have been absent 9/11? Its hypothetical of course -- no one can really know with any degree of certainty. But it does seem quite certain that our deficit would have been considerably less.

Remember that interview with Bin Laden? The one where he said his goal was to target so as to inflict maximum financial and economic damage along with the terror? On 9/11, he succeeded with the terror part. I lived thru it and I don't mind telling you -- I was more frightened then than I ever was in the boonies of VN. I doubt that I was alone.

Subsequently, I think he has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams with the financial and economic damage. Its probably not exactly how he intended it -- I think he had more disruption of the capital markets in mind. But it has costs us a bunch nonetheless. But it ain't over yet.
 

oldreliable67

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attacking a civilian population to coerce a government for political reasons...is not practiced just by Al-queda but by the US government
Thats pretty strong. I gather you are referring to contemporaneous events. What examples did you have in mind to offer?

BTW, TimmyBoy, seems like it was bait after all.
 
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