From Publishers Weekly
This is a thoughtful history of two successful counterinsurgency campaigns (the Philippines after 1898 and Malaya 1948–1960) and two failures (Algeria 1954–1962 and Vietnam). According to Arnold (Tet Offensive 1968
), in the Philippines, the entire U.S. army of 70,000 spent a decade brutally suppressing a poorly equipped, almost leaderless rebellion. The British campaign in Malaya enjoyed the priceless advantage that the insurgents were Chinese, a minority and traditionally hated by the majority Malays. Despite this, victory took 12 bloody years. French forces had overwhelmed Algerian rebels when French President De Gaulle ordered a withdrawal, having decided the political cost of remaining in a hostile country was too great. And American troops in Vietnam killed so many Vietcong that North Vietnamese troops took over most of the fighting, but the civilians never trusted the government to protect them—and all insurgencies feed off this failure, notes Arnold. The author makes a convincing case that killing insurgents never defeats an insurgency. That happens when a nation's population feels safe, a painful lesson that America is relearning the hard way in Iraq and Afghanistan. B&w illus. (June)
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“Delivers needed insight and historical precedent to the current war debate.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A thoughtful history…[Arnold] makes a convincing case that killing insurgents never defeats an insurgency. That happens when a nation’s population feels safe, a painful lesson that America is relearning the hard way in Iraq and Afghanistan.”—Publishers Weekly