What the British did right in Northern Ireland but are botching in Iraq…

Alex Evans at the Global Dashboard has some sharp observations to offer from Martin van Creveld’s The Changing Face of War: Lessons of Combat, from the Marne to Iraq. Though some detail such as, “never once did the British inflict collective punishment such as curfews” is highly questionable, there also are some interesting comparitors. Alex himself though is probably on to the most useful insight when he notes the inverted kill rate at the end:

My partner on that occasion was a British colonel, regiment of paratroopers, who had done several tours of duty in Northern Ireland. What he said can be summed up as follows: the struggle in Northern Ireland had cost the United Kingdom three thousand casualties in dead alone. Of the three thousand, about seventeen hundred were civilians….of the remaining, a thousand were British soldiers. No more than three hundred were terrorists, a ratio of three to one. Speaking very softly, he said: And that is why we are still there.


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