How revolutions are won

Just the other night, a friend and I had a discussion about the current state of affairs in the Middle East - in particilar, Palestine and Israel, after watching a segment on Female Suicide Bombers. It was in no way contentious - and if anything it surprised to find some so squarely "on the fence" as I was. But that is not the point, the conversation focused on that fact that regardless of all the logic in the world that serves to point fingers, in the end, the problem is Israel's. The only fundamentalism that will save either side, is fundamental change. -- The next day, I read this passage in Founding Brothers.
"...when [George] Washington spoke about the need for national unity in 1796, his message resonated with all the still-fresh memories of his conduct during the revolutionary war. Although he actually lost more battles than won, and although he spent the first two years of the war making costly tactical mistakes that nearly lost the American Revolution at its very start, by 1778 he had reached and elementral understanding of his military strategy; namely, that captured ground -- what he termed 'a war of posts' -- was virtually meaningless. The strategic key was the Continental Army. If it remained intact as an effective fighting force, the American Revolution remained alive. The British army could occupy Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, and it did. The British navy could blockade and bombard American seaports with impunity, and it did. The Continental Congress could be driven from one location to another like a covey of pigeons, and it was. But as long as Washington held the Continental Army together, the British could not win the war, which in turn meant that they would eventually lose it."

What is scary to me are the parallels the last statement might have with the Palestinian "uprising" - or to be honest, "revolution." I am not about to put Arafat on par with George Washington, although it wouldn't surprise me if his own people do. But you can help but see the similarities between the war waged between England, and the then country-less Americans, and Israel and the Palestinians. On one hand, I am constantly surprised that the Palestinians are still as formidible as they always have been - despite all of the tactically successful efforts of Israel.

In any event, the statement could apply to any revolutionary group - that if you can keep your troops fighting, that ultimately the power being broken away from (no matter how big or powerful they might be), will have to capitualate.

And that is all I am going to say.



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