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2009-05-22 Sri Lanka
How to Defeat Insurgencies: Sri Lanka's Bad Example
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Posted by Fred 2009-05-22 00:00|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [6558 views ]  Top

#1 President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his army have turned the conventional wisdom on fighting insurgencies on its head, adopting strategies and tactics long discredited, both in the battlefield and in the military classroom.

Oh, pray tell oh writer, which military classrooms and which battlefields did you gain your vast knowledge of the conduct of war? /sarc off
Posted by Procopius2k 2009-05-22 06:03||   2009-05-22 06:03|| Front Page Top

#2 'That may be one lesson insurgencies worldwide can learn from the Tigers' downfall.'

That the author has this level of sympathy for these terrorists blows ALL of his credibility.

The only lesson terrorists should learn is that death will come swiftly and their goals will not be achieved.
Posted by no mo uro 2009-05-22 06:13||   2009-05-22 06:13|| Front Page Top

#3 Tamils in Britain, Canada vow to continue the Struggle(TM)
Posted by Seafarious 2009-05-22 07:53||   2009-05-22 07:53|| Front Page Top

#4 Much of this is fine analysis but it minimizes an important point.

The Tamil Tigers did not have many multiple international supporters, apologists and agents. Thus, the government had greater freedom of action. Hamas, Hezbollah, AlQueda have numerous tenured professors, NGOs, media big shots and leftists in Congress (and the WH), to cry for them, to lie for them and to obfuscate for them. Thus the degree of freedom that the victims of terror (US, Israel, Hindus, Etc) is reduced.
Posted by Lord garth 2009-05-22 08:04||   2009-05-22 08:04|| Front Page Top

#5 Boo Hoo, the bad guys lost and Petraeus is evil...why do I even bother reading crap from TIME???
Posted by Art ofWar 2009-05-22 09:40||   2009-05-22 09:40|| Front Page Top

#6 Lack of accurate reporting from the war front was one reason why the international outcry against the military's heavy-handedness was so muted — especially in the U.S.

Right there you blow your argument out of the water, Mr. Unbiased Journalist Guy. Actually, you blew it away right at the start with the title of the article.
Posted by tu3031 2009-05-22 10:11||   2009-05-22 10:11|| Front Page Top

#7 In other new, Time has an Obama on the cover for the 17th time, this time it's M'chelle and her superbly toned arms and giant can
Posted by Frank G">Frank G  2009-05-22 10:30||   2009-05-22 10:30|| Front Page Top

#8 Believe it our not, The Boston Globe...

SRI LANKA'S government was right to finish off the Tamil rebels, despite the risk to and ultimate loss of civilian life. Decisively ending the civil war, which lasted 26 years and killed more than 70,000, will save more lives than were lost in the final assault.

United Nations officials, Western leaders, and human rights groups had called on Sri Lanka to agree to a cease-fire to allow civilians to flee the shrinking enclave where government forces had finally hemmed in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Complying with the request would have been a major strategic mistake.

Those international voices ignored - or maybe didn't know - the pattern to pauses in the civil war: The Tamil Tigers used every cease-fire to rest, recruit, and rearm. Then they took the offensive. That's how they broke a 2002 cease-fire. Another ended in 1995 when the rebels, dramatically, sunk government navy ships.

Beginning this January, Sri Lanka faced the risk that rebel commanders would slip out alongside innocent civilians and live to keep fighting. It had happened before. In 1987, 70,000 troops from neighboring India flushed the Tigers from their northern stronghold in Jaffna. Most of the rebels escaped to reconstitute an insurgent force that would fight for two more decades.

Americans and citizens of other countries that have suffered terrorist attacks should be glad to see the Tamil Tigers and their maniacal leader, Vellupillai Prabhakaran, done for good. They bequeathed the world the suicide bomber. What other deadly innovations would they have produced had the fighting force survived?

As a foreign correspondent covering the region, I saw enough of the Tamil Tigers' terrorism in the late-1990s to know the world is a safer place after their defeat. There was the suicide truck bombing of the country's central bank that killed more than 80 and devastated downtown Colombo, the capital. It was my first trip to the country, and I had rolled past the bank building in a taxi about 15 minutes before the blast.

I also covered the aftermath of the bombing inside a commuter train headed out of Colombo. Peering into one of the train's damaged cars, I unconsciously clutched my forehead as I surveyed the floor and spotted a shoe, scattered groceries, strands of hair and streaks of blood. I was imagining what it must have been like to be idly riding home after a day's work, perhaps bringing home food for that night's dinner, when the bomb exploded in the crowded, enclosed car.

Not only majority Sinhalese were inside that commuter train and downtown near the central bank. Did the Tamil Tigers care about killing other Tamils? No. The Tigers actually targeted Tamil individuals who did not go along with their bloody program.

After I left the region, assassins bombed Harvard-trained lawyer Neelan Tiruchelvam and shot Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, both Tamils. I knew them to be decent men who did not deserve that fate.

For the 12 percent of Sri Lankans who are Tamils, for whom the Tigers claimed to fight, the shame is that indefensible methods tarnished a just cause. Sinhalese discrimination against Tamils, sometimes with violent expression, sparked the rebellion. Sri Lanka has paid a heavy price, in life and treasure, for attempting to subordinate Tamils, who were favored during British rule and still dominate the intellectual elite.

Here's hoping the Sinhalese have learned a costly, painful lesson and, in victory, are big enough to negotiate a new dispensation for the Tamils. I think they may be. Back after the central bank bombing, I heard a hotel manager confess to disrespecting Tamils as a young man and acknowledge, with apparent regret, such acts provoked the violence.

At this point, it would be reasonable for the government to grant a measure of autonomy to Tamil-majority areas of the north and east - short of creating a separate state, which never made much sense on a relatively small island.

If it can heal its ethnic wounds, Sri Lanka has a bright future. With the climate of the Caribbean, a relatively literate population, a savvy business class, and three deepwater ports, the South Asian country could become as prosperous as Singapore, if peace reigns.

Kenneth J. Cooper, a former member of the Globe staff and a former South Asia bureau chief of the Washington Post, is a freelance journalist.
Posted by tu3031 2009-05-22 11:31||   2009-05-22 11:31|| Front Page Top

#9 Kenneth J. Cooper, a former member of the Globe staff and a former South Asia bureau chief of the Washington Post, is a freelance journalist.

He thinks too independently to be allowed to work for WaPo or NYT/Boston Globe...
Posted by Seafarious 2009-05-22 11:39||   2009-05-22 11:39|| Front Page Top

#10 Excellent comentary, Fred. You articulated what I didn't have time to.
Posted by Deacon Blues">Deacon Blues  2009-05-22 19:37||   2009-05-22 19:37|| Front Page Top

#11 Fredman's smoking. Ima hit the tipjar just for adulation
Posted by Frank G">Frank G  2009-05-22 19:48||   2009-05-22 19:48|| Front Page Top

#12 Bravo, Fred. You are well and truly back. :-D
Posted by Barbara Skolaut">Barbara Skolaut  2009-05-22 20:45||   2009-05-22 20:45|| Front Page Top

#13 Agreed, Fred. But a good number of them are going bankrupt without our help.
Oh wait - ...

There's the Snark of the Day!

That was well said, Fred. A fitting epitaph for a long-running ugliness.
Posted by SteveS 2009-05-22 20:48||   2009-05-22 20:48|| Front Page Top

#14 Damage control by the international terrorist lobby, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Media-Industrial Complex.
Posted by Atomic Conspiracy 2009-05-22 22:30||   2009-05-22 22:30|| Front Page Top

#15 To media culturists, the world is a movie and the terrorists have the James Dean role.
Posted by Atomic Conspiracy 2009-05-22 22:34||   2009-05-22 22:34|| Front Page Top

23:58 Halliburton - Mysterious Conspiracy Division
23:57 JosephMendiola
23:46 JosephMendiola
23:37 JosephMendiola
23:34 JosephMendiola
23:02 ed
22:34 Atomic Conspiracy
22:30 Atomic Conspiracy
21:54 Phil_B
21:50 Phil_B
21:48 JosephMendiola
21:43 JosephMendiola
21:40 JosephMendiola
21:39 Kofi Claitle6576
21:27 JosephMendiola
21:24 Frank G
21:15 Thing From Snowy Mountain
20:53 Procopius2k
20:48 SteveS
20:45 Barbara Skolaut
20:36 Barbara Skolaut
20:05 AzCat
20:00 Zhang Fei
19:49 Richard of Oregon

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