- Jan 2010
Abhishek - you're lacking a little imagination yourself. An average guerrilla war is not an existential struggle but one for political control of a limited territory. Neither side is usually prepared to fight to the bitter end (last man and bullet) although the guerrilla's are often more invested in the outcome and hence prepared to go further (at least if those they are fighting against have power over a much larger area and are not also natives of the disputed region). I never meant to imply hearts and minds wins a guerrilla war by itself but it is an essential part of the toolkit, because if the counterinsurgency forces follow the advice of many on this board (nukes, napalm, extermination and other means of doling out of indiscriminate death) they will alienate the entire population they are trying to control, incur diplomatic opprobrium and probably worse (active military support for the insurgents from outside parties) and lose domestic support for the conflict. The correct response is a combination of a military one solely against those that are active on the guerrilla side combined with sincere efforts to address the basic causes of the political grievance to the extent reasonable and possible. The more immorally and indiscriminately the action against the guerrillas is conducted the more likely it is to lose and this is the reason why terrorist groups from the IRA to ISIS have tried to provoke overreaction by those they're fighting against. Bleeding hearts don't come into it.