Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Guerilla Warfare

In the last fifty years there have been many civil wars, most of them conducted by communist guerrilla armies (I lost a good friend in the Philippines in a Huk ambush). In our antagonism toward communist guerilla armies and now our antagonism to terrorists, we might not see the difference between guerrilla warfare and terrorism.

Recently, Fidel Castro and his brother, General Raul Castro, said that they were against terrorism. General Castro said that if any of the El Qaeda prisoners escaped into Cuba, they would be captured and returned to the Americans.

Che Guevara, the Argentinean guerilla leader who helped Castro take Cuba, knew the difference between guerilla warfare and terrorism. Here is his distinction in his book Guerrilla Warfare:

“It is necessary to distinguish clearly between sabotage, a revolutionary and highly effective method of warfare, and terrorism, a measure that is generally ineffective and indiscriminate in its results, since it often makes victims of innocent people and destroys a large number of lives that would be valuable to the revolution. Terrorism should be considered a valuable tactic when it is used to put to death some noted leader of the oppressing forces well known for his cruelty, his efficiency in repression, or other quality that makes his elimination useful. But the killing of persons of small importance is never advisable, since it brings on an increase of reprisals, including deaths” (Guerrilla Warfare, pp.61-62).

Both of these groups were/are enemies of the United States. People get killed in both cases.

Guerilla warfare is not indiscriminant killing as in terrorist killing. Guerilla warfare, as in traditional, historic warfare is after an objective and to win the war. Acts of terror is to cause terror, to immobilize the populaces.

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