What if they left? Mao and Guerrilla Warfare
Much media hand-wringing has been heard in the last 48 hours about insurgents possibly escaping the city. How to take this? First a few quotes from Mao Tse-Tung, who successfully prosecuted a variety of guerrilla campaigns before bequeathing such lovely things as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution to history [note: for an excellent film about these events, rent the movie, Huozhe (1994) ("To Live")]. I use the text of Mao's book translated by Brig. Gen. Samuel B. Griffith II, USMC, who had a PhD in Chinese military history from Oxford. Mao's text was written in 1937. Mao's political goal was the complete emancipation of the Chinese people from the Japanese. He states the fundamental steps necessary as these: 1. Arouse and organize the people. 2. Achieve internal unification politically. 3. Establish bases. 4. Equip forces. 5. Recover national strength. 6. Destroy enemy national strength. 7. Regain lost territories. Six full pages of this book are dedicated to the importance of establishing bases. Let's focus on that, as it is the most relevant to the Fallujah battle. Here are some further quotes: "The problem of establishment of bases is of particular importance." "The guerrilla base may be defined as an area, strategically located, in which the guerrillas can carry out their duties of training, self-preservation, and development. Ability to fight a war without a rear area is a fundamental characteristic of guerrilla action, but ths does not mean that guerrillas can exist and function over a long period of time without the development of base areas." And here we have the way to understand what is happening in Fallujah. The battle is accomplishing several goals: 1. Kill all those who fight us. 2. Eliminate a base of operations for terrorist and anti-Iraq forces. 3. Establish a representative government, politically friendly or part of the national government. 4. Allow Iraqi forces to participate in the battles and to build their warfighting skills, and the legitimacy of their government. 5. Defeat various means of insurgent media-strength: safe places to keep hostages; inflated casualty figures. 6. Destroy insurgent command and control networks. 7. Exploit intelligence. The insurgency now has no base in Fallujah. It will soon have no base in Ramadi or the other few towns where insurgents are massed. An insurgency without a base cannot survive. The only places that will be left for bases will be outside the country . . . Syria, Iran, etc, . . .