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Thread: Insurgents vs Terrorists -- Is there a difference?

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thepartisan View Post

    Is that an order?
    No, it's a second request. Please fill out your profile to give us a perspective on where you're coming from. It's easy to figure out who I am, as it is to figure out who the regulars are on this site. We've filled out our profiles and introduced ourselves here. Please extend to us the same courtesy.
    Example is better than precept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thepartisan View Post

    That's how you'd like to think of us isn't it, that we are all just blood thirsty inhuman barbarians that would kill our own flesh and blood just to make some gains. Like some badly written hollywood action film. How convenient for you.
    A poor generalization. Don't know where you were slighted by Americans in the past but it's jaded your perspective incredibly. I've been blown up a few times in Iraq but I don't believe all Iraqis are out to get me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thepartisan View Post
    Soldiers use children as human shields.

    Perception is reality. A picture, no matter how benign, can be interpreted many ways. Who knows the real story behind this picture? No one here....
    Example is better than precept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thepartisan View Post
    That's how you'd like to think of us isn't it, that we are all just blood thirsty inhuman barbarians that would kill our own flesh and blood just to make some gains. Like some badly written hollywood action film. How convenient for you.

    Who ever beliefs this lives in a land of fantasy, All gorrilla movements cannot survive without the support of the people, it is the people who hide them and supply them, it is the people that keep a resistance alive.
    Yet there are those among your "movement" who would gladly kill your flesh and blood to advance their cause or agenda.

    And there are many examples of guerrilla movements throughout history that have terrorized the populace into supporting them, or simply not reporting them to any authorities. Most such movements have also harbored segments that steal from the populace, kill those who do not quickly give up what is needed, or simply kill because they enjoy it. They are there, and they have been found in every insurgent movement since the beginning of time. I asked this of another resistance supporter, and now I pose the same question to you: how do you plan to deal with those murderers in your midst?
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    'fraid we can't "leave the semantics aside" JC . "Semantics" = "meaning
    Last time I heard this was at a data modeling meeting. One government type complained that one of our SMEs was "harping on about semantics". Which was funny as the entire point of a data model is agreeing on the meaning of things.

    On the terrorist V. insurgent argument I have always been a bit troubled when we treat these words as synonyms. The Germans actually issued an order directing everyone to refer to the French resistance as terrorists. An insurgent is not necessarily a terrorist nor is a terrorist necessarily an insurgent.

    All military forces have used tactics to frighten its opponents. The use of a siege or the naval blockade of Germany in WWI and the very real fear of starvation could arguably be called a terrorist tactic. But only in the case that it causes fear in the target audience and will cause them to change their behavior (oops, my Psyop is showing). Yet a naval blockade is a legitimate tactic.

    In a case more relevant today, the fear that ones house could be destroyed by a PGM or other bomb, with ones family in it, because insurgents are using your neighbors house to operate out of can be a cause of terror. This is not to say that bombing enemy C2 installations is a terrorist tactic, but it can cause terror.

    I would think that it is the intent of the attack that differentiates between a legitimate military action and a terrorist attack. Of course that begs the question of defining intent.
    It is right to learn, even from one's enemies
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    I've heard of many reports of Soldiers and marines returning from war, going crazy and opening fire on people in america, recently as well. How do you intend to deal with those murderers in your midst?

    Same way as you'd deal with any other kind of murderer right? thought so.

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    Default Ain't There No Mechanics On Hand??

    Lordy-be, those two guys are listening for engine rattle - lifters/rods/valves not seating properly, etc. A good mechanic can walk by an idling engine and tell you if its timing is off. Listen close and they can do more diagnostics than you would believe. I bet they each got a pack of Salems for their troubles too. The gunner is bored sh**less looking around, away from his weapon and this is supposed to be a propoganda piece? If it was going to be propoganda for our side at least they should have been given a wrench to hold in their hands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thepartisan View Post
    I've heard of many reports of Soldiers and marines returning from war, going crazy and opening fire on people in america, recently as well.
    Ok I'll bite, which reports are those? I don't recall news reports of military personnel opening fire on groups of people after their return from Iraq. Admittedly I only follow the US and UK, and a bit of Australian press on a regular basis so I may have missed it.
    It is right to learn, even from one's enemies
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thepartisan View Post
    I've heard of many reports of Soldiers and marines returning from war, going crazy and opening fire on people in america, recently as well. How do you intend to deal with those murderers in your midst?

    Same way as you'd deal with any other kind of murderer right? thought so.
    So you can't answer the original question? Somehow this doesn't surprise me. In fact, I'd be surprised if you even considered the premise of the original question, or the history behind it.

    In any case, this thread has wandered well off-topic. I'd say we get back on topic or lock the thread.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    I'd say we get back on topic or lock the thread.
    Good idea! My thinking is that it is the intent of the attack that differentiates between a legitimate military action and a terrorist attack. Thus intent is important in terrorist v. insurgent in the same way that the Common Law tradition differentiates between murder and manslaughter.
    It is right to learn, even from one's enemies
    Ovid

  10. #90
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    Thumbs up And on we go....

    My position tends to run a little away from that, as you might be able to tell from some of my earlier posts on this thread....

    I lean more toward result as opposed to intent. Many terrorist groups either spin off from existing insurgencies or piggyback existing groups. They may announce that their "intent" is to strike a blow against the oppressive government, but instead of killing a policeman they blow up a school. Granted, that's an extreme example, but it ties closer to my main theory about terrorist groups. Over time (some sooner than later) they become more obsessed with "results" in terms of spectacular damage or body counts and less concerned with real goals or political objectives. This was the basis of the question I posed earlier that went unanswered by someone who has managed to get themselves in a position where they cannot answer....

    The other reason I think it's important to be able to distinguish between the two (legal considerations aside) is that they require different tactics. Blurring or mistaking the two can have potentially catastrophic COIN repercussions, IMO.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    In WWII the Allies were trying to stop factories in occupied France from producing war material for the German army. They bombed the factory a number of times, but found that it was still producing significant amounts of war material.

    To finally reduce factory output to zero they bombed the workers homes near the factory. The thinking was that if you destroyed the worker's housing then they would no longer be able to work at the factory.

    The intent was to stop the factory's output. They did that by bombing the workers. This resulted in destroyed homes and civilian deaths. Using your definition this would have been a terrorist attack. I have some difficulty accepting that line of reasoning.
    It is right to learn, even from one's enemies
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  12. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    The other reason I think it's important to be able to distinguish between the two (legal considerations aside) is that they require different tactics. Blurring or mistaking the two can have potentially catastrophic COIN repercussions, IMO.
    I agree whole heartedly with this. However I don't think it is limited to COIN operations. I suspect that the person who lost a loved one in a hospital that was bombed during a conventional operation would any less upset than if the attack came from a car bomb.

    It is just in COIN we can see the impacts and the secondary and tertiary effects up close and personal.
    It is right to learn, even from one's enemies
    Ovid

  13. #93
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    Agreed. What I was referring to are tactics on the ground. For example, winning over the hearts and minds of third-generation terrorists (think German RAF, Japanese Red Army, some parts of the PLO/IRA) just isn't possible. Negotiation isn't really an option with most of them, because their demands have become so other-worldly that they cannot possibly be met. On the other hand, insurgents can be negotiated with and so on. So a heavy approach with them can be a mistake, just as a light approach with terrorists can have dangerous consequences.

    Just examples, mind, but it's more where my thinking goes with this issue. Certainly there are hangers-on within terrorist groups, and there are also dedicated insurgents that cannot be negotiated with or diverted from their goals.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  14. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mondor View Post
    In WWII the Allies were trying to stop factories in occupied France from producing war material for the German army. They bombed the factory a number of times, but found that it was still producing significant amounts of war material.

    To finally reduce factory output to zero they bombed the workers homes near the factory. The thinking was that if you destroyed the worker's housing then they would no longer be able to work at the factory.

    The intent was to stop the factory's output. They did that by bombing the workers. This resulted in destroyed homes and civilian deaths. Using your definition this would have been a terrorist attack. I have some difficulty accepting that line of reasoning.
    Not necessarily. Targeting means of production (to include the workers) is a much different thing from blowing up a school bus or commercial airliner to protest the working conditions of those same workers. Consider that the average terrorist group practices very little in the way of target discrimination (often going for the easiest targets available...no matter what they are). A terrorist group would have set off a firebomb in a market nearby during peak shopping hours to protest the working conditions rather than launch a bomber raid (which has a fair amount of early warning) against the factory or nearby housing to stop production. They would also continue attacking the area as long as they could produce casualties.
    Last edited by Steve Blair; 06-04-2007 at 08:54 PM. Reason: Corrected wording
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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    Council Member Mondor's Avatar
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    I agree with your post #93. The total environment needs to be such that acts of political violence are unusual and generate a police response. A subdued approach that minimizes violence will, in the end, do more to eliminate the "environment of insurgency" than any other approach. At least any approach we are willing to take.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    Agreed. What I was referring to are tactics on the ground.
    I would like to remind you that tactics in the air are tactics on the ground. You separate them at your own risk.
    Last edited by Mondor; 06-04-2007 at 09:05 PM. Reason: Correct post number
    It is right to learn, even from one's enemies
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mondor View Post
    I would like to remind you that tactics in the air are tactics on the ground. You separate them at your own risk.
    Poor choice of words on my part. By "tactics on the ground" I refer to tactics within the entire area of operations, to include air, land, and sea/riverine. "Tactics in theater" might have been a better choice.
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

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