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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic on counterinsurgency warfare, 13 April 2013
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This review is from: Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice (PSI Classics in the Counterinsurgency Era) (Paperback)
I found about this book on a recent issue of "Foreign Affairs (vol.92/1, page 75). It seems that it had a major influence on general Petraeus and on the USA counterinsurgency field manual of 2007. It is a really absorbing reading for its clarity, logical depth and underlying experience. David Galula was a French officer and served in WW2 and then in China, Greece, Indochina and Algeria. He died in 1967and the book is particularly based on the operations in the wars in those areas..
Its first and major point is the "asymmetry" between Insurgency and Counterinsurgency, arising from the disproportion of strength at the outset and from the difference between their assets and liabilities. The established armed forces find their training, organization and weapons largely irrelevant to the new task and need to re-adjust to a new form of warfare in which the object is not killing enemies but to control and gain the support of the population.
The book details the prerequisites and doctrine of Insurgency, as applied with success by Mao Tse-tung .and the Vietminh, as well as the failures in Greece and Malaya.
The second half of the book presents a sharply clear analysis of the strategy, tactics and operations of Counterinsurgency. Four laws are listed as essential: 1) support of the population is necessary - 2)support is gained through an active minority - 3)support by the population is conditional - 4) intensity of effort and vastness of means are essential..
The strategy must be based on a step-by-step approach, selecting areas and making their control irreversible.
The tactics require single direction, with the primacy of the political over the military power, coordination of efforts, primacy of the territorial command, adaptation of minds and of the armed forces to the new requirements.
The last chapter, "Operations" , details eight steps to apply in each selected area: 1) expulsion of the insurgent forces - 2) deployment of static units in close contact with the population, while a mobile unit is kept ready to intervene where and when necessary - 3)contact with and control of the population 4) destruction of the insurgent political organization - 5) local elections - 6) testing the local leaders - 7) organizing a party - 8) winning over or suppressing the guerrillas.
The book is only 99 pages long but its depth, clarity and concentration of logics, common sense and practical examples, make its reading a really unforgettable experience.One really feels to have learned a lot and to be more prepared to understand the present and more recent military events.
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