Low Intensity Warfare (Part 1)

Luis Quispe lquispe at blythe.org
Thu Jun 27 22:39:28 MDT 1996

                     LOW INTENSITY WARFARE
                    NON-MILITARY COMPONENTS

Counterinsurgency is the first axis of the low intensity war.
When in a country the war undermines an established order and
there is a potential danger or risk; well, we should look the
example the Vietnam. In 1964, the United States considered its
participation in Vietnam as mainly military; in 1967 there was a
change, a turn in the direct action against the USA, priorly they
had been a main force, but from 1967 on, emphasis was placed on
the native troops to fight the guerrillas, that way they began to
see the war, moving the threatened government and with them as
advisors. In 1969, Nixon proposed the so-called `Nixon Doctrine':
the host country assumes the main responsability of providing
soldiers for its own defense against an insurgency. That is why
we say they are debating a counterinsurgency war doctrine,
getting out lessons not just from Vietnam, but also from other
wars; they are beginning to propound themselves a theory of the
so-called low intensity war, the military action develops like in
any other war just using the `lowest,' most elementary means, but
which for the attacked country are great, for example, for the
U.S. to send out one hundred helicopters is nothing, but for Peru
that is a lot. The `low intensity war' follows its
counterinsurgency mold, but demands of them a series of changes;
they have established other forms, other structures, readjusting
their air transport troops, mechanized infantry, task forces,
armored cavalry, etc.; in what respects bellic shapes, the lowest
possible, new strike shapes, a complex use of all their forces
depending on the particular situation presented.

We are interested in seeing their `non-military' components;
there are four components:

1) Intelligence. Worry about improving their intelligence
service; it is said that `the intelligence effort is the
foundation of all the low intensity war operations.' Object of
their intelligence: to see if there exits latent insurrection,
information about insurgents; meteorological conditions; terrain
and population; they study all that, what for?, to reduce to a
minimum the insurgents' espionage, subversion and sabotage
activities. That is in their Manual, in their regulations; and
they apply it according to the degree of the insurgency which may
be initial, middle or mature; for example Huallaga is not the
same as Piura and when they say about Lima that Ate Vitarte is
Red, is because we are there. Militarily they differentiate
incipient or emerging insurgency from more mature insurgency,
according to that they apply things differently; aiming at
forming anti-guerrilla forces and according to each case what
organizations to form.

2. Psychological Operations. Psychological war school, Fort
Bragg, founded 1952. Central objectives are two:

a) To modify relations among soldiers themselves; they can not be
arrogant or bossy and must win the population over, and to do
that they must modify the activities of their armed forces.

b) To change the conduct and perception of the population, of the
insurgents during the war; that is how the population sees them
and how the insurgents see the counterinsurgency war as a
failure. They seek a change of opinion, for example in the Middle
East they must change their conduct as regards women, alcoholic
beverages, because of local customs. They want to change the
population and the insurgents, to see war is wrong, that is not
possible to conquer Power; to the population they say, for
instance, `there is no light because the towers got blown up,
`the terrorist wanted to blow up the water tanks,' or against us,
`terrorist, your war is not accomplishing anything.'

How does an intelligence officer act? The intelligence officer is
less interested in weapons and troops, what is of interest is the
morale of the troops; the morale of the civilian population
friendly to the enemy; if there is or not a black market;
problems of currency and everything related to strikes or
absenteeism. Interrogations. Must be made within 48 to 72 hours
to take maximum advantage of the state of shock, disorientation
and fear. To prepare the comrades and combatants so they are
prepared for fortune in times of tension. Psychological
techniques. Psychological aerial attacks by armed propaganda
equipment operating in the areas under control of or disputed by
the guerrilla.  Objective: desertions because it undermines the
morale of the insurgents and elevates that of their captors; they
could kill to create fear and above all the use of flyers, which
is the form more commonly used.

Their field Manual on low intensity conflicts aims at
establishing internal defense and development plans and it
conceives psychological operatives as part of this (OPSIC); they
say: `you must defend yourself to plant,' example rondas or civil
defense. They must keep in mind to which group their
psychological operative is directed: insurgents, to put them on
the side of the government; civilian population, to win, maintain
and strengthen the support of the civilian population for the
countries government and for their programs of internal
development and defense; host country and allied forces, same as
for civilians, with emphasis in building up and maintaining high
spirits in those forces loyalty and discipline are critical
factors in the struggle; the goal is that all support those
forces in the struggle against the insurgents; neutral elements,
to gain the support of group of foreigners not compromised inside
or outside the host country by letting them know the activities
of the insurgents, for instance, `they kill peasants,' `they are
link with drug traffic,' etc., groups or hostile powers, that is,
those supporting the movement, to convince the population that
the insurgency will fail, or instance, `why you spend so many
millions which are not going to be good for anything'; case in

3. Civilian matters. The objective is to minimize the
interference of the local population with military operations.
Slogan, `to intensify combat operations through civic-military
cooperations.' To paint themselves well, gilding their actions;
therefore, the civic call is to intensify their combat action,
aimed at mobilizing the civilian personnel so that the population
will support the military and the government, to the elimination
of military problems, military, political and social; that is,
the least problems the better. Civic action is particularly
important. U.S. State Department definition: `use of
overwhelmingly native forces, of projects useful to all levels of
the local population.' `Countryside: education, training, public
works, agriculture, transport, communications, public hygiene and
health and others contributing to social and economic development
and that can be useful too to improve the reputation of the
military forces with the population' (Military Dictionary, page
230). The author says this conveys increasing the so-called
humanitarian aid. That way the North American people are moved to
accept the participation in these sinister activities. This civic
action sees the degree of development of the revolution, its
phase, and organizes things accordingly. They say it is not a
matter of numbers but of improving ad, for example, not how many
get cured but improvement of the population general health; the
fulfill these chores because they are key to develop their combat
role. That is the purpose of medical programs, for example.

4. Control of the population and resources. Objective: to
disassemble the infrastructure of support to the revolutionary
movement and avoid new adherents to the cause. To accomplish it
they join the activities of intelligence, psychological
operations, civilian matters and strictly military measures. That
is all the non military and also the military form so as to
control the population.

`They assemble pacification programs' (page 138). That is what IU
(United Left), the Church request: it is part of the population
control to `win the minds and the hearts of the population and
fundamentally of the peasantry. Objective: to improve hamlets, to
achieve the economic and political security of the same'
Wonderful! Fujimori promising to provide security and confidence.
If we analyze this in the light, how do IU, the Church appear?
Those are global plans of imperialism.

`Forcible resettlement,' `strategic hamlets' and `forcible
incorporation of the population to the tasks of defense.' Three
questions apply. `By forming civilian self-defense patrols or
forces. It is the same thing IU says, even the name is the same.
In Vietnam it says that some 24 millions South Vietnamese were
concentrated in 17,000 concentration camps, for which all methods
were combined: destruction, terror, seduction, division and
impoverishment. The economic plan which impoverishes the people
and in particular the peasantry serves that purpose and in that
way the PES ends up in resettlements, hamlets and self-defense,
to be used as concentration camps. About strategic hamlets, the
book, `The age  of Counterinsurgency,' by Douglas S. Blaufarb,
explains the object of these hamlets; it says, `the purpose is to
dry out the sea of friendly peasants in which the "Vietcong Fish"
swims,' instead of emphasizing on military activities, that is to
separate the guerilla from the masses, never to allow it to
happen. The means by which they aimed at cutting the relationship
between the guerrilla and the hamlets was by bringing to the
inhabitants of the hamlets the benefits of government and
defenses around the hamlet, physical defense to repel open attack
(and in that way the population could sleep at night) and the
procedures for survival and reorganization (food control), to
prevent their use by the guerrillas. In some cases they were even
paid for the damages caused. To support the pacification task the
support for civilian operations and revolutionary development'
was established. The author says, in fact this was not
accomplished by the means used; the population got bombed,
resettled by force or trapped in cross fire as a contending
party, in encounters at their homes or around their homes. That
was applied to those resist ding. More, the pacification effort
meant a veritable massacre of the population, like  `Operation
Phoenix,' conceived by the CIA and which pretended to neutralize
the guerrilla by eliminating any means to their supporters. It
did not succeed even with mass murders, in 1968, when `Operation
Phoenix' was under the direction of the USA, 26,369 Vietnamese
civilians were murdered, 33,658 jailed under infernal conditions.
For that reason Blauferb concludes that the infrastructure can
not be eliminated without first eliminating the organization
leading it. That means the Party; formidable lesson; the French
proposed: 1)to scrub out the leadership of the Party and 2)to
break up its relationship to the masses. First Party because
while there is a Party the revolution will go on.

`Forming people's self-defense forces.' Created in January of
1968 as a national program; compulsory to all military age men
not enrolled in the armed forces; volunteers: women, elderly and
children older than 12 years. In 1970 it was calculated that the
grouped population oscillated around 4000,000, although the
official figures claimed it was three million. They always
inflate. `The people's self-defense forces' were the
responsibility of the chiefs of the hamlets; it says, `villagers
rather informal and not military,' `it was one of the causes and
at the same time one of the indicators of an improvement on the
situation in the countryside.' `the act of distributing weapons
was symbolic'; that is being applied here. Five years later, they
were defeated; those are transitory improvements. The CIA agent
says the pacification plan failed because such a task, he says,
goes beyond the advisory and assistance, since the leadership of
he natives is vital and counterinsurgency requires giving a
strong voice to the rural population on their own affairs so as
to incorporate them to the national political process, that is,
so they express political force, in turn recognized and accepting
what they propose. Can they give the peasants influence,
political decision? They are not going to be able to give them
that, that is why they had problems and the pacification plan

According to the low intensity conflict Manual, the population
and resources control program complements and supports other
defense and interior development programs. Objectives combined
with matters of civic action:

1) to mobilize material and human resources in the name of the
2) to uncover and neutralize activities by the insurgents;
3) to provide a physical and psychological environment for the
   people; and
4) to cut any support existing between the population and
   insurgent forces.

Extract from the book "Let the Equilibrium Rock the Country,
Communist Party of Peru."

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E-Mail:lquispe at nyxfer.blythe.org
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