A good example of why learning from the past can be useful.
October 31, 2009
Chimera of Victory
By GIAN P. GENTILE
If history is a guide, then the recent suicide bombings in Baghdad show that the insurgency in Iraq is far from over. Contrary to much of what is written and said, victory is not near and the notion that the “surge” of troops was some great, decisive military action that set the stage for political reconciliation is a chimera.
It was a chimera for the French in Algeria that their bloody counterinsurgency there defeated Algerian nationalists. After the war, which lasted from 1956 to 1961, a myth started to build in the French Army and then found its way into American Army thinking, where it lives on today, that the French military operations defeated the insurgents.
Not true. In fact, the Algerian insurgents chose to lay low while the French Army and people impaled themselves on the political problems of colonial rule. In the end, President Charles de Gaulle ordered the French Army out of Algeria in 1961 and Algeria got its independence.
Phi Beta Iota: The same process was followed with respect to torture. The people in charge of “counter-terrorism” today still have no idea how to address the global context within which terrorism is adopted as a tactic, and neither does anyone in the White House of Congress. We are running on fumes.