And we move on to Bruce Hoffman’s piece where he suggests that the insurgency currently in Iraq might come under a definition called “netwar”. This is a concept thought up by RAND analysts John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt in 1992. Defined as:
Unconventional warfare involving flat, segmented networks instead of the pyramidal hierarchies and command-and-control systems (no matter how primitive) that have governed traditional insurgent organizations.
Hoffman suggests the solution:
It is a battlefield situation that a conventional military often cannot cope with, and we must learn to adapt. We must build effective indigenous intelligence capabilities so that we can identify the signs of an incipient insurgency; establish, train, and forge close cooperative relations with a functioning and capable police force; improve the safety, security, and living conditions of the local population, thereby gaining their confidence; and take advantage of the training capabilities, language skills, and cultural awareness and sensitivities of American special-operations forces, whose mission specifically includes the training of foreign militaries. In the end, however, no matter how sophisticated a response we develop, and no matter how new the insurgents’ strategies are, a simple lesson that has been learned and forgotten again and again still applies: Don’t let insurgencies get started in the first place.
Sounds like the first rule of invading countries.