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Thursday, April 27, 2006

From a Reader... 
Something nobody ever talks about is that history has alreadyanswered the question of whether or not more troops would have stoppedthe violence in Iraq or made it worse. All you have to do is look atthe last time a great western power fought a protracted Musliminsurgency, which is the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962).

The French had 500,000 troops in Algeria, which at that time had apopulation of 9 million. If you scale the troop-to-citizen ratio up tomatch Iraq's population, that would mean we'd need 1.5 million troops inIraq. We currently have about 138,000.

The French lost 18,000 troops killed over an eight-year period, or2250 a year. Again, if you scale it up to Iraq ratios, it would be 6750a year. We're losing about 700-odd a year, and that figure is falling.

Between 350,000 and 1.5 million Algerians were killed. To scalethose figures up to Iraq, multiply them by three. So far in Iraq, about32,000 have died, including terrorists.

The French used a policy of collective punishment in Algeria: If avillage harbored insurgents, the village was bombed from the air or hitwith artillery strikes. The French also tortured suspects to death,rounded people up by the thousands and shot them without trial, and putabout 2 million in concentration camps. And they still lost the war.

With less than 10% of the troops (proportionally) that France had in Algeria, and with a policy not of conquest but of partnership, look whatwe've accomplished. More importantly, look at the slaughter we'veavoided.

Something to thank Rumsfeld for.

Comments:
Relativity always helps to shape perspective. Excellant info.

Thanks for sticking around. Air Assault!
 
Historical perspective is something totally missing from modern journalism. Given are raw numbers of injured, killed, etc. etc.

But not once do we see an insight such as this, where things are put into perspective by relating them to past conflicts. It's really too bad, because both Desert Storm and OIF easily qualify in the top 5 least bloody major military conflicts since the industrial revolution.

The same can be said of cost. Raw numbers show huge expense, but related to percentage of GNP or GDP, OIF has been ridiculously cheap compared to our nation's past interventions.
 
The French used a policy of collective punishment in Algeria: If avillage harbored insurgents, the village was bombed from the air or hitwith artillery strikes. The French also tortured suspects to death,rounded people up by the thousands and shot them without trial, and putabout 2 million in concentration camps. And they still lost the war.

No - the French military WON the war. The FLN was on the ropes, but De Gaulle threw it away.
 
You don't support this illegal war, I hope?
 
They also had the pied noires and years as the colonial occupier, i.e. they knew the land, languages, etc.

So the Russian was wrong when he said "Quantity has a quality all of its own." (paraphrase)
 
An example on the other side was the successful American counterinsurgency in the Phillipines. In a country of population 7 million, facing an insurgency that could field up to 100,000 guerilla fighters, we triumphed over the course of two years with an occupation force that averaged 40,000 at any given time.
 
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