August 13, 2005

Gary Brecher in

One of the arguments for the War Nerd being Mark Ames, editor of the Moscow eXile, and/or one of his colleagues is that in over three years of writing tremendous stuff, the only time Brecher's work has ever appeared outside the eXile was in my UPI interview with him. You would think that a writing talent like that would get snapped up. Then again, maybe not -- the media's demand for fresh voices offering penetrating insights is limited.

Anyway, here is the beginning of a Brecher column in It's not completely original, but it provides an excellent introduction:

The Insurgency: Neighborhood Watch: The Pentagon won't own up to the fact that it takes a village to run an insurgency.

"Gen. George Casey, the U.S. commander of the multinational coalition in Iraq, told reporters on [June 27] that the worst-case estimate of the size of the Iraqi insurgency is less than one-10th of 1 percent of the country's population -- that is, a top end of 26,000 people supporting the insurgency." -- The Guardian

If you've been following guerrilla wars as long as I have, you have to laugh when you hear Army PR guys say that the Iraqi insurgents are just a teeny-tiny bad apple in a big barrel of shiny Red Delicious Iraqis. One bad apple -- that little beady-eyed Al Qaeda operative Zarqawi -- is supposedly responsible for the whole mess. Sorry, folks, but insurgencies just don't work that way.

Of course, you can't blame US Army guys for doing their job -- lying to the press. But you sure can blame the press for buying it. I can't believe how pig-ignorant reporters are about the basics of guerrilla warfare. This planet has been bursting with guerrilla wars for the past century, but the perky, smiley guys 'n' gals reporting from Iraq still know more about hair spray and "Dating Do's & Don'ts" than they do about urban warfare.

I'm just the opposite. Ever since I flunked puberty, I've dedicated my life to studying war. While the kids who grew up to be TV correspondents were fixing their hair, I was in the library memorizing Jane's Armored Vehicles and reading every issue of Armed Forces Journal and Aviation Week. And the more I read, the more I realized war these days isn't about hi-tech hardware, it's about urban guerrilla tactics. That's my specialty.

So for me, Iraq has been like a bad re-run. I knew it was going to be a disaster, and said so way back in 2002. And sure enough, the situation has gone to Hell strictly by the book, right on schedule.

Guerrilla war depends on two "obvious" facts -- so "obvious" nobody in the press even mentions them:

1. The people who live in a place care more about it than the foreign occupiers, and so they'll outlast them in a long guerrilla war.

2. So the only way to defeat the guerrillas is to wipe out or displace the population.

It's been done. The Brits did it in the Boer War a century ago. They were stuck in a losing war against an insurgency by the Boers, so they dragged the Boers' women and kids into the concentration camps to die of every horrible disease in Africa. It worked. A quarter of the civilian population was wiped out, and the Boers lost heart and surrendered, giving the Brits access to the gold and diamond mines. Even now the Boers still burn with hatred over what the Brits did to them, and you can't blame the poor bastards. [More]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

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