Thursday, June 23, 2005

What is victory?

Wretchard has an excellent post on what constitutes victory for a guerilla force, and by extension, what constitutes defeat.
Seizing state power over a definite territory is the explicit objective of nearly every guerilla armed force in the world today: if they can achieve that, they win. If they cannot achieve that and have no realistic prospect of ever achieving that, they are defeated, however long they may continue to exist.

Guerilla leaders themselves know this and invariably attempt to create a state-in-waiting in the course of their campaign based on an armed force, a united front of allies willing to support the guerilla's political objectives and a hard leadership core in firm control of both...

In that context, the battlefield victories of the US Armed Forces and its coalition allies are not the empty triumphs the press sometimes represents them to be but expressions of the complete strategic bankruptcy of the insurgency. No national united front; no united hard core of leadership; no victorious armed force. This in addition to no territory and increasingly, no money and what is there left? Well there is the ability to kill civilians and to avoid being totally exterminated by the Coalition; but that is not insurgent victory nor even the prospect of victory.
Read the whole thing.


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