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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Rummy speaks: We can't win in Iraq

Well, that's a paraphrase, but I think that's the gist of it:
Asked how long Americans might be fighting in Iraq, Rumsfeld said: "We know that insurgencies can last five, eight, 10, 12, 15 years and we've said that. We also know that insurgencies ultimately are defeated, not by foreign occupying forces but by the indigenous forces of that particular country."
Such fertile ground for blogging, in just two sentences. First, he hints that US troops may be there for a decade or more. Then he suggests that, being foreign occupiers, they can't defeat the insurgency.

Aside from this is the total nonsense of that second sentence. For one thing, insurgencies frequently win--the colonists' insurgency against the British in the 1770's and the Vietnamese battle against first French and then American occupiers are two with which Rummy should be familiar. Secondly, occupiers are frequently successful in defeating insurgencies, at least for lengthy periods of time. The US government defeated numerous Native American "insurgencies" in the 19th century. It also managed to repress insurgent movements in several territories won in war--some for decades, as with the Philippines and Cuba, and others which continue to this day, such as California and the other states won in the Mexican war, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and others. In several of these cases, the "insurgencies" can be said to have been defeated permanently by the foreign occupiers. Similar cases can be found in the history of British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian and Japanese imperialism. Insurgencies sometimes win, and when they lose, they lose at least as often to the foreign occupiers as they do to indigenous forces. In other words, Rummy's statement is COMPLETELY false.

The problem isn't just that Rummy and Bush are ignorant. It's worse than that. They KNOW things, and what they KNOW is almost always wrong.

BTW: Here's WordNet's definition of insurgency: "n : an organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict."

By this definition, Rummy and the regime-changers in Washington are the real insurgents in Iraq. It appears that they may in fact be defeated by indigenous forces. So maybe Rummy was right after all.