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Thread: COIN Counterinsurgency (merged thread)

  1. #961
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    Before I close for tonight I want to make one important observation. SWJ had degenerated. Those of us who want to maintain a modicum of intellectual integrity need to take the time to post here.

    For those of you who have thanks. For those of you who hanen't, I will address you later.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Carl

    You interpreted my intent correctly. Al-Qaeda leadership is not amoral, and doesn't engage in killing just for the sake of killing. To state that they do is about as simplistic as it gets, and is it is type of American arrogance that regarding our adversaries that puts us at a disadvantage. If we fail to recognize their strategy we risk actually supporting it, which in fact we have none. Their strategy is both sophisticated and complex, and they understand us better than we understand them or ourselves.

    Do they recruit a bunch of foot soldiers that are little more than psychopath killers? Of course, some are so bad AQ rejects them. That doesn't mean they don't have a strategy. The Management f Savagery is worth reading, as are a number of UBL and other senior AQ leader statements.
    If you intended to say AQ pulled off 9-11 because they knew it would result in a thoroughly mishandled 13 year effort in Afghanistan then you are just wrong. Nobody is that smart and nobody could believe we could be as stupid as we have been.

    They may indeed have a strategy but it is anything but complex and sophisticated At least as far as terror attacks on the West go, AQ and all its affiliates seem to have a very simple strategy, stage theatrical attacks to kill as many people as possible when they can and hope for the best. There is nothing beyond that if only for the simple reason they aren't too well organized on an international scale.

    Notice I said "kill as many people". If they were truly interested in hitting us economically there are a lot, a lot of ways to do that. Given what I've read about the training you guys get you know all about them. But AQ and their affiliates don't go in for that. They go in for killing, as many and as spectacularly as possible.

    So I think they do indeed kill because that is what they like to do. In any event they seem quite enthusiastic about taking innocent life.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    We'll lose in Afghanistan because our objective of a stable democratic government that respects human rights isn't achievable within the next decade (on top of the last one) with or without military force no matter how much killing we do or even if we go into Pakistan and deny that safe haven. The problem we should have been focused on is Al-Qaeda, instead we focused on a condition (Islamic culture) that we can't nor necessarily should change.
    If we fail in Afghanistan it will be mostly because we refuse to recognize and contest the primary enemy, the Pak Army/ISI. Historians will puzzle over that one for generations.

    Why is it that every time I say something about doing something about the Pak Army/ISI people immediately think invading the place? There is no need for that because our objective was/is the actions of the Pak Army/ISI. That can be done quite efficaciously sans any kind of invasion. We could at least start by stop giving them money to kill us with. Pakistan is a sanctuary because of the actions of the Pak Army/ISI. The Pak Army/ISI provides support, training, direction and funds to Taliban & Co. They are and have been waging UW upon us and the Afghans. The Pak Army/ISI is the enemy and one that can be quite effectively opposed without setting a booted foot in the country. We never did it.

    There is a civil war of sorts going on within Islam right now and there probably isn't a whole lot we will be able to do directly to affect the result. We will be darned interested in the results though because if the 'convert or die' boys win things will be unpleasant. So regardless of what we can do about that we had better oppose with violence if needed those who would do violence to us.
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    Council Member carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    If you're saying we must impose democracy to achieve legitimacy I disagree with what I have seen and learned to date. In the Ukraine Russia didn't upset the apple cart too much, they pretty much replaced the existing government with their people, but the form of government is roughly the same so there is enough stability to hold a vote. That wasn't true in either Iraq or Afghanistan where managed to erase the existing forms of government (not governance), thus opened Pandora's box creating a situation where democracy wouldn't work. You can't transition from complete chaos into a credible democracy, the institutions to facilitate that don't exist, so as we all know context matters. I do agree that Putin's action in Ukraine will be significantly boosted if the popular vote is perceived to go his way. Whether this was just happenstance or the result of deliberate planning the Russians are taking advantage of a strategic opportunity.
    I must know. Do you really think any vote taken when Putin's special warriors are all over the place is going to go any way but the way Putin directs?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    We can no longer use genocide as a war tactic as in the Boar Wars or even in the American West.
    This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, the casual abuse of the word genocide. It always sounds good but is almost never justified. In my mind genocide is the Holocaust or Rwanda, the intentional full on slaughter of people simply because they belong to a specific group. In general that didn't happen in the American West nor the middle west nor the east, and the bulk of the Indian fighting America has seen was in the east, only the end game was in the west. It may have come close sometimes, I am not familiar with all the wars but when it came close it was the aftermath of a...war.

    In the Boer War it wasn't the intentional killing of the Boer's as in there's a group of them, kill them all. IIRC, it was the result of very badly handled logistics and neglect of people who were in concentration camps. That is criminal negligence but it isn't genocide.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    I must know. Do you really think any vote taken when Putin's special warriors are all over the place is going to go any way but the way Putin directs?
    Which is why I wrote perceived.

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    "If you intended to say AQ pulled off 9-11 because they knew it would result in a thoroughly mishandled 13 year effort in Afghanistan then you are just wrong. Nobody is that smart and nobody could believe we could be as stupid."

    Carl,

    They saw how we reacted to a few casualties in Somalia and they believed they defeated the USSR who they believed were stronger than us. They certainly believed they could defeat us there by undermining our political will and weakening our economy. They attacked the USES COLE and our embassies in East Africa for the same reason but we didn't take the bait so they upped there game. They believe if they defeat us they'll be free to win the caliphate. They were actually surprised at how well we fought initially but you know the rest of the story. AQ won't win strategically either but that doesn't excuse our lack of understanding.

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    Before you criticise others for not contributing to this thread you need to take it on the chin that to open a discussion where a doctrine is considered to be a strategy is merely a waste of time.

    Go back a few years and see that there were very few people around here who challenged the then conventional wisdom on how the war was being/should have been fought in Afghanistan. I note now that as the failure in Afghanistan is self evident more people are crawling out from under stones to join the anti-COIN bandwagon.

    Personally I don't want to read what they say now... I want to read what they said then.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Before I close for tonight I want to make one important observation. SWJ had degenerated. Those of us who want to maintain a modicum of intellectual integrity need to take the time to post here.

    For those of you who have thanks. For those of you who hanen't, I will address you later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JMA View Post
    Before you criticise others for not contributing to this thread you need to take it on the chin that to open a discussion where a doctrine is considered to be a strategy is merely a waste of time.

    Go back a few years and see that there were very few people around here who challenged the then conventional wisdom on how the war was being/should have been fought in Afghanistan. I note now that as the failure in Afghanistan is self evident more people are crawling out from under stones to join the anti-COIN bandwagon.

    Personally I don't want to read what they say now... I want to read what they said then.
    I remember those days. There were more voices then. Now there are a few of us left. Even I am not here all the time. But there were some that used to contribute more often. Some have gone out and created their own sites. World Political Review for example. But those sites are generally one way. What I have always liked about this site is that you could put your thoughts out there and be attacked by those with other ideas.

    The one that was ticking me off at the time I wrote that was COL Cassidy. He wrote a nice piece for the Journal but never came back to look at the comments after. I may not do it, but I at least try to address all the comments addressed to me. Sometimes it is just to say that we will have to agree to disagree, but I try.

    You are right that this is an old topic, but the new manual will bring up old questions, and we have a greater hindsight and more information to draw from. We can't fix the past, we can try to address the future. That is why I am not looking at just Iraq or Afghanistan, but at the theory as a whole.

    Sorry if my personal pet peeve seemed like I was being rude. Not my intent.
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    Default 5 Questions with Dave Dilegge on Small Wars and COIN Cocktails

    5 Questions with Dave Dilegge on Small Wars and COIN Cocktails

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    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carl View Post
    This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, the casual abuse of the word genocide. It always sounds good but is almost never justified. In my mind genocide is the Holocaust or Rwanda, the intentional full on slaughter of people simply because they belong to a specific group. In general that didn't happen in the American West nor the middle west nor the east, and the bulk of the Indian fighting America has seen was in the east, only the end game was in the west. It may have come close sometimes, I am not familiar with all the wars but when it came close it was the aftermath of a...war.

    In the Boer War it wasn't the intentional killing of the Boer's as in there's a group of them, kill them all. IIRC, it was the result of very badly handled logistics and neglect of people who were in concentration camps. That is criminal negligence but it isn't genocide.
    Carl,

    You don't need to kill hundreds of people to commit genocide.

    The word 'genocide' was coined by Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), a Jewish Polish lawyer, following the Nazi destruction of the Jews of Europe. He used a combination of Greek and Latin words: geno (race or tribe) and cide (killing). Lemkin was describing "a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves."

    On December 9, 1948, in the shadow of the Holocaust, and due in large part to Lemkin’s efforts, the United Nations approved the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This convention establishes "genocide” as an international crime, which signatory nations “undertake to prevent and punish.” It says:

    genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    Killing members of the group;
    Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
    http://efchr.mcgill.ca/WhatIsGenocide_en.php?menu=2

    It is the intent to destroy, in whole or part, any group that you can separate out from the whole based on an identifying characteristic. It does not even require death. When we "assimilated" the American Indians into our society effectively destroying theirs, arguably, that was genocide.

    Of course, when we took the children away and taught them how to be American's there was no crime of genocide, so it was all good.
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 05-12-2014 at 12:24 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    What we persist in calling COIN is actually FID; and while not recognizing that causes us troubles; it is our persistence in creating fundamentally illegitimate systems of government and attempting to protect and preserve the same that is killing us.

    Our COIN doctrine validates what we want to do; but it does not warn us that our want is not acceptable, suitable, or feasible. Doctrine should be smarter than that.
    I have pretty much come to the same conclusion. The question remains as to if there are places where things MIGHT work.

    I am thinking now more in line with stability operations, trying to stablize a situation and not let an insurgency start in the first place. I think that is one of our conceptual errors, we think of Iraq and Afghanistan as insurgencies, but they did not start out that way. It was a failure of our stability ops that resulted in an insurgency.
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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Which "FID" and why don't you simply call it "occupation"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    This is a bit of a preemptive strike, as I have not been privy to the new 5-34, but this phrase originally tossed around by COL Gentile that COIN is not Strategy has gotten me to wondering. The more I think about it, the more I think it is wrong. In Iraq and Afghanistan, COIN was the ONLY connection we had to the political strategic objective of a free, democratic country. No other doctrine contained anything about democracy or democratic legitimacy. And while I agree that the doctrine is flawed, that connection is not the flaw.

    So I ask the question, if the strategic objective is a free, stable, democratic state, what other strategy do we have other than the population-centric government building that is found in COIN?

    Simply killing insurgents does not get you any closer. In fact killing insurgents has little to do with the strategic goal. As the doctrine still notes, to stop an insurgency you must address the root causes.

    Perhaps I am confusing strategy with strategic objective. I would think the two would be nested. I will wait to see how the statement is phrased in the new doctrine, but I am curious what other action the military can take that would bring the US any closer to its strategic objective.
    If this is a response to the upcoming FM 3-24, you might as well have what it actually says. I put in a few of the relavent paragraphs.

    1-4. Counterinsurgency is not a substitute for strategy. When counterinsurgents attempt to defeat an insurgency, they perform a range of diverse methods intended to counter an insurgency. Commanders must effectively arrange these diverse methods in time and space to accomplish strategic objectives. The U.S. can use a range of methods to aid a host nation or group in defeating an insurgency. The various combinations of these methods with different levels of resourcing provide the U.S. with a wide range of strategic options to defeat an insurgency. The strategy to counter an insurgency is determined by the ends the U.S. wishes to achieve, the ways it wishes to achieve those ends, and the resources or means it uses to enable those ways. (See paragraphs 1-10 through 1-13 for more information on strategy.)

    1-5. There is a spectrum of involvement in countering an insurgency. The U.S. could enable a host nation by not providing forces that are directly involved in securing the population or attacking the insurgents. For example, the U.S. could provide training or intelligence support to a host nation. Moreover, even if the U.S. is directly involved in defeating the insurgency, its primary role can be only to enable a host nation. A host nation may be capable of providing civil control and security. The U.S. commander can integrate a force into the host-nationís efforts that provides a force to perform direct action or fires provided by airpower or field artillery. U.S. involvement can range from a modest and supporting commitment to a major ground force commitment that may, for a time, take the role of primary counterinsurgent force while host-nation forces become better able to take on that role themselves.

    1-10. When and how the U.S. government provides assistance to other states to counter an insurgency is a question of policy and strategy. Commanders and staffs should understand that the U.S. can respond with a range of measures, many of which do not directly involve U.S. forces securing the population or performing offensive operations, in a counterinsurgency. This manual provides the reader with information on how counterinsurgents may organize tactical tasks in time and space to reach an end state. It cannot and should not be the only reference to conduct counterinsurgency operations for someone who wishes to fully understand the policy tools available to the U.S. to aid a host nation in fighting a counterinsurgency. (See JP 3-24, Allied Joint Publication 3.4.4, and the U.S. Government Guide to Counterinsurgency for more information on counterinsurgency policy tools.)

    1-11. Effective counterinsurgency operations require an understanding of the military profession. The tasks counterinsurgents perform in countering an insurgency are not unique. It is the organization of these tasks in time and space that is unique. For example, geographic combatant commanders employ theater strategy to align and shape efforts, resources, and tasks to support strategic goals and prepare for conflict and contingencies in their region. In support of this goal, theater strategies normally emphasize security cooperation activities, building partner capacity and force posture, and preparing for contingencies and other tasks those are not unique to counterinsurgency operations. For example, a unit can perform security cooperation tasks in support or not in support of countering an insurgency. (See FM 3-22 for more information on security cooperation tasks.) Those units that carry out security cooperation tasks to support a counterinsurgency should understand security cooperation and the tasks they are performing and teaching. Moreover, they should understand how these tasks are used in defeating an insurgency. Soldiers and Marines must start from a foundation of professional knowledge and competence to have a framework for understanding and aiding a host nation in defeating an insurgency. Whether a unit is directly performing the tasks to defeat an insurgency or indirectly supporting a host nation, this manual provides a doctrinal framework for counterinsurgency operations. However, to be effective, Soldiers and Marines must be professionally competent. This is the foundation in understanding another nationís or groupís actions to defeat an insurgency and in providing aid to that nation or group. (See ADRP 1 for more information on professional competence.)

    1-12. Political leaders and commanders must have a dialogue to decide the optimal strategy to meet the security needs of the U.S and states or groups the U.S. supports. Different capabilities provide different choices that offer different costs and risks. U.S. strategy is defined by how it combines these capabilities (the ways), resources them (the means), and its willingness to accept risk in attaining its policy goals Commanders inform political leaders about the prospects for victory and the different costs and risks of various options, and political leaders weigh these costs and risks against their importance to U.S. national interests. Once U.S. policymakers have determined the goals (the ends) of the U.S., the military evaluates operational approaches to conduct counterinsurgency efforts depending on the ends, ways, means, and acceptable risk. The joint force provides a range of capabilities that it integrates into the overall strategy. For example, in a functioning state that is facing an insurgency, the joint force may employ a range of security cooperation tools. Moreover, other tools fall outside of security cooperation, such as direct action and counter threat financing, that the U.S. can integrate into the mix of ways that it will use to defeat or contain an insurgency. The U.S. government integrates the various instruments of national power to create a range of strategic options, of which military involvement is only one part. (For a further discussion on strategy, see MCDP 1-1.) (See table 1-1.)

    1-13. An operational approach is a description of the broad actions the force must take to transform current conditions into those desired at end state (JP 3-0). The commander may use direct or indirect approaches to counter threats. Commanders may find their operational approach is mainly direct, indirect, or a mixture of both. The approach is the manner in which a commander contends with a center of gravity. A direct approach attacks the enemyís center of gravity or principal strength by applying combat power directly against it. An indirect approach attacks the enemyís center of gravity by applying combat power against a series of decisive points that lead to the defeat of the center of gravity while avoiding the enemy strength. Commanders may use a single direct or indirect approach or, more likely, may employ a combination of approaches to counter an insurgency and its influence. Additionally, the emphasis on or combination of approaches may have to evolve as the security situation and insurgent networks evolve. The commanderís intent and the approach(es) the commander selects will drive the methods used by counterinsurgents. These methods may be direct or indirect. Approaches and methods must be nested and clearly linked, since they often involve support from diplomatic, economic, and informational efforts by non-military forces. (See chapter 9 for more information on direct methods and chapter 10 for more information on indirect methods. See JP 5-0 for more information on direct and indirect approaches.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentWilliams View Post
    If this is a response to the upcoming FM 3-24, you might as well have what it actually says. I put in a few of the relavent paragraphs.
    Thank you very much!!!

    ... a quick question, does the manual discuss supporting an insurgency?
    Last edited by TheCurmudgeon; 05-12-2014 at 06:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Which "FID" and why don't you simply call it "occupation"?
    Because it won't always be an "occupation". I would think that would be one of the lesser possibilities. Hypothetically speaking, if we were to support the Ukrainians in their fight against the insurgents by providing training or other technical support, then it would not be an occupation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    Thank you very much!!!

    ... a quick question, does the manual discuss supporting an insurgency?
    Yes. In chapter 1, in a section titled "LAND FORCES AND THE RANGE OF MILITARY OPERATIONS" it states:

    1-18. Insurgencies could also be part of large scale combat or fueled by a regional or global adversary. In a protracted large scale operation, an insurgency often develops in controlled areas with populations sympathetic to the enemy. As such, planning for prevention of an insurgency and integrating stability operations into a prolonged operation is essential. If an insurgency develops, it will require resources to defeat the insurgents. This will reduce the resources available to defeat the enemy in large-scale combat. In addition, an adversary can fuel an insurgency in a host nation to undermine U.S. interests. In this case, the insurgency is part of an adversaryís overall strategy and policy. (See FM 3-05, chapter 2, for more information on unconventional warfare. It provides a U.S. perspective on enabling an insurgency.)
    While it doesn't discuss how the United States would fuel an insurgency (a topic covered in FM 3-05), it does cover the importance of external aid to an insurgency. For example, Chapter 4 provides eight dynamics for an insurgency, one of them being external support.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentWilliams View Post
    Yes. In chapter 1, in a section titled "LAND FORCES AND THE RANGE OF MILITARY OPERATIONS" it states:



    While it doesn't discuss how the United States would fuel an insurgency (a topic covered in FM 3-05), it does cover the importance of external aid to an insurgency. For example, Chapter 4 provides eight dynamics for an insurgency, one of them being external support.
    Unfortunately, not a document approved for unlimited release.

    Thanks again!
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    1-12. Political leaders and commanders must have a dialogue to decide the optimal strategy to meet the security needs of the U.S and states or groups the U.S. supports. Different capabilities provide different choices that offer different costs and risks. U.S. strategy is defined by how it combines these capabilities (the ways), resources them (the means), and its willingness to accept risk in attaining its policy goals Commanders inform political leaders about the prospects for victory and the different costs and risks of various options, and political leaders weigh these costs and risks against their importance to U.S. national interests. Once U.S. policymakers have determined the goals (the ends) of the U.S., the military evaluates operational approaches to conduct counterinsurgency efforts depending on the ends, ways, means, and acceptable risk. The joint force provides a range of capabilities that it integrates into the overall strategy. For example, in a functioning state that is facing an insurgency, the joint force may employ a range of security cooperation tools. Moreover, other tools fall outside of security cooperation, such as direct action and counter threat financing, that the U.S. can integrate into the mix of ways that it will use to defeat or contain an insurgency. The U.S. government integrates the various instruments of national power to create a range of strategic options, of which military involvement is only one part.
    The highlighted section sets up an interesting dynamic between the political leadership and the military leadership. Am I to infer from the italicized section that it is the military leader that advises the political leader on the odds of political victory? I ask because the use of the word "victory" as opposed to "operational success."
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
    The highlighted section sets up an interesting dynamic between the political leadership and the military leadership. Am I to infer from the italicized section that it is the military leader that advises the political leader on the odds of political victory? I ask because the use of the word "victory" as opposed to "operational success."
    Does the United States acheive its policy goal? Thats how I would define victory, not operational success.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    Carl,

    They saw how we reacted to a few casualties in Somalia and they believed they defeated the USSR who they believed were stronger than us. They certainly believed they could defeat us there by undermining our political will and weakening our economy. They attacked the USES COLE and our embassies in East Africa for the same reason but we didn't take the bait so they upped there game. They believe if they defeat us they'll be free to win the caliphate. They were actually surprised at how well we fought initially but you know the rest of the story. AQ won't win strategically either but that doesn't excuse our lack of understanding.
    Their actual actions seem to reflect a rudimentary strategy exactly as I described, set bombs off to kill as many people as spectacularly as you can and hope for the best. If they upped their game it was because somebody had a bright idea and the opportunity presented itself. It was not as if they were students of LBJ gradualism and had been holding back until they needed to increase the pressure. They did what they could when they could as they have since, but it always involved killing people in a theatrical way. They have never gone after the economy as such even though it is an easy target as demonstrated by the attack by parties unknown on our grid last year. They like blood. They like to kill.
    "We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene

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