Counter-Insurgency Lessons Learned
Stephen Green presents a chart from Jim Dunnigan which demonstrates, rather convincingly, that insurgencies are in fact defeatable:
Conflict / Period / Victor
Greek Civil War 1944-49 Government
Spanish Insurgency 1944-52 Government
Chinese Civil War 1945-49 Insurgents
Indochina War 1945-54 Insurgents
Iranian Communists 1945-46 Government
Philippine Huk War 1946-54 Government
Madagascar Revolt 1947-49 Government
Korean Partisan War 1948-53 Government
Malayan Emergency 1948-60 Government
Kenyan Mau-Maus 1952-55 Government
Cuban Revolution 1956-58 Insurgents
Sarawak/Sabah 1960-66 Government
I’d be interested in seeing an updated list; surely there have been other insurgencies during the last 38 years. Certainly, the Government chalked up a win in El Salvador in the early ’80s (with an assist from Uncle Sam).
Regardless, Steve makes the following observation after surveying the list:
However, if you’ll look at the dates, you’ll notice that each anti-guerilla campaign took years. The shortest insurgency (Iran’s postwar Communists) was defeated quickly, but Islamic countries never were fertile ground for Soviet-style communism. Soviet tanks, sure, but not outright communism. In other words, we face a long battle in Iraq – and that’s the danger.
If we leave Iraq unfinished – whether it takes three years or a dozen – then we will have thrown away our first, last and best chance at creating the first decent nation-state in the Arab World. We’ll have torn up the Game Plan. Do Americans have the patience to finish the job?
I think we’ll find out the answer to that on November 2nd.