A Savage War of Peace: Parallels between French-Algerian War and US-Iraq War

Recently it came out that George Bush is reading a special book. It is titled “A Savage War of peace” by Alistair Horne.

Horne’s prescription to Bush “Close Guantanamo as soon as possible”

It discusses the French War against the Algerians and the terrorism of the Algerian Muslims which the French lost due to lack of public support. Horne is a British historian and he provides the 5 reasons why the US War in Iraq is going in the same direction. Comparisons, therefore, are not with US War in Vietnam but with the French war with Algerians. The lessons from that war are important ones indeed.

Dr. Deepak Chopra has listed and summarized them well along with his prescriptions:

1. A conventional army is trying to defeat an unconventional enemy.
To overcome this problem, America would have to train a massive counter-insurgency force to blend in with the Iraqi population. This implies, of course, that they speak Arabic and look anonymous to everyday Iraqis.

2. The enemy concentrates on soft targets, particularly the police, to cause maximum instability.
To protect the police, they would have to be cordoned off. Actual patrolling of the streets or opening the doors of police stations would be kept to a minimum.

3. Torture and abuse have become acceptable methods.
This is one point we definitely can control. Horne urges the U.S. to eschew torture immediately and completely.

4. Borders are porous, allowing the incursion of money and arms from neighboring countries.
This problem can only be solved in one of two ways, both unavailable: post enormous troop strength to patrol Iraq’s entire border or attack and defeat Syria and Iran, the two nations that are offering aid and comfort to the insurgents.

5. There is no viable way to disengage from the conflict.
No experts, civilian or military, can seem to agree on an exit plan that doesn’t lead to a catastrophe greater than the current one.

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Desh Kapoor

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