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Urban Guerrilla Warfare$
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Anthony James Joes

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780813124377

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813124377.001.0001

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: Looking Back and Ahead

: Looking Back and Ahead

(p.151) Conclusion: Looking Back and Ahead
Urban Guerrilla Warfare

Anthony James Joes

University Press of Kentucky

These conflicts demonstrate that the record of urban guerrilla warfare in the twentieth century is one of complete and sometimes tragic defeat, and one that will likely persist into the twenty-first century. By deviating from the teachings of Clausewitz and Mao Tse-tung, urban guerrillas—even those enjoying mass support—expose themselves to certain structural impediments that make success highly improbable. Hence, it is important for the US to be cautious when committing its armed forces to urban battles because a determined, albeit badly armed, opponent could inflict serious casualties on even the most well-equipped and well-trained troops. If the US has determined that it has no other option but to engage in an urban counter-insurgency mission, the keys to its success will be isolation, intelligence, and political preemption. The lawful conduct of US counterinsurgency forces toward prisoners and civilians also will prove beneficial not only in intelligence gathering but in uplifting the morale and public perception of the military as well.

Keywords:   urban guerrilla warfare, counterinsurgency, isolation, intelligence, political preemption, rectitude

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