Monday, April 13, 2009

Americans in Rhodesia pt. 2

As the 1970's began, so did the sparks of revolution and quite frankly terrorsism. Rhodesia, known as the breadbasket of Africa hosted mineral wealth and a well oiled agricultural system. Hacked out of the primal lands of Africa, farms and ranches supplied Rhodesia and surrounding countries with staples of life. Like rural America, it became the backbone of its psyche and economic stability. The quality of life was among the best in Africa for both whites and blacks.

Thomas Blanding, a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam war began to organize private security for these outposts against increasingly violent terror attacks. Some were lured with the old romanticism of soldiers of fortune. Many took contracts and were disappointed that they did not become rich enough to retire to a fiefdom after a few months patrolling cattle tracks and manning observations posts at night. Sadly, those that came and went were not attatched to the country itself and proved of little use to fight the coming scourge.

Initially service in the Armed Forces of Rhodesia was not a first choice for many. Doing so could cause a loss of citizenship in the United States. Going back back to the strategic concepts of the United States during the Cold war, covert support of anti communist forces were common in Africa. The United States was heavily involved in the Congo after Belgum forfeited its colonial rule. When a gap in power appeared, Mobutu was courted heavily by the CIA. The ever grinding chess game with the Soviets was a top priority on the Continent. The US involvement in south east asia was predicated on the premise of stopping communism.

However, a changing political climate in the United States was emerging. The age old issue of racism was being dealt with in a major way. And rightly so. The Civil Rights movement put America on a tight rope of walking the talk at home and abroad.

The terrorist revolution taking hold in Rhodesia was predicated on Racism and Anti Colonialism. The rhetoric was made is such a way that forced countries to choose its side. Would they support European domination of Rhodesia or help the downtrodden African regain its land and wealth from Salisbury. The new America was in a state of indecision and decided to back the British its closest ally.

One might ponder from afar the merits of cutting off support from oppressive white regimes. But that is only one side of the story. Those on the ground away from the halls of power saw that the wars of liberation took the highest toll on those they were supposedly liberating. I find this blurb interesting and more accurate as the facts represent.

" That the terrorist war in the Zambezi salient represents a "national war of liberation" against the established government . That this is total rubbish can easily be proved by the fact that, as the Minister of Defence stated in a television interview on July 22, the largest number of atrocities have been committed against Africans (as was the case in Kenya during the Mau Mau emergency). In other words the people on whose behalf the "insurrection" has been instigated are proving to be its major victims. This fact underscores the basic tenet that the terrorist is essentially a criminal (seeking influence and power within a chosen area with the familiar instruments of the criminal - terror and intimidation), and certainly not a soldier. Hostile news media seeks to identify the former with the latter. This is reflected in the wilful and glib confusion of the two terms "guerrilla" and "terrorist". "


Tango said...

Hi Simon
A Good article part one and two.I am looking forward to your follow up part 3
This is what i got from the internet---
The Differences between Terrorism and Insurgency:
If no single definition of terrorism produces a precise, unambiguous description, we can approach the question by eliminating similar activities that are not terrorism, but that appear to overlap. For the U.S. military, two such related concepts probably lead to more confusion than others. Guerilla warfare and insurgencies are often assumed to be synonymous with terrorism. One reason for this is that insurgencies and terrorism often have similar goals. However, if we examine insurgency and guerilla warfare, specific differences emerge.

A key difference is that an insurgency is a movement - a political effort with a specific aim. This sets it apart from both guerilla warfare and terrorism, as they are both methods available to pursue the goals of the political movement.

Another difference is the intent of the component activities and operations of insurgencies versus terrorism. There is nothing inherent in either insurgency or guerilla warfare that requires the use of terror. While some of the more successful insurgencies and guerilla campaigns employed terrorism and terror tactics, and some developed into conflicts where terror tactics and terrorism became predominant; there have been others that effectively renounced the use of terrorism. The deliberate choice to use terrorism considers its effectiveness in inspiring further resistance, destroying government efficiency, and mobilizing support. Although there are places where terrorism, guerilla warfare, and criminal behavior all overlap, groups that are exclusively terrorist, or subordinate "wings" of insurgencies formed to specifically employ terror tactics, demonstrate clear differences in their objectives and operations. Disagreement on the costs of using terror tactics, or whether terror operations are to be given primacy within the insurgency campaign, have frequently led to the "urban guerilla" or terrorist wings of an insurgency splintering off to pursue the revolutionary goal by their own methods.

The ultimate goal of an insurgency is to challenge the existing government for control of all or a portion of its territory, or force political concessions in sharing political power. Insurgencies require the active or tacit support of some portion of the population involved. External support, recognition or approval from other countries or political entities can be useful to insurgents, but is not required. A terror group does not require and rarely has the active support or even the sympathy of a large fraction of the population. While insurgents will frequently describe themselves as "insurgents" or "guerillas", terrorists will not refer to themselves as "terrorists" but describe themselves using military or political terminology ("freedom fighters", "soldiers", "activists"). Terrorism relies on public impact, and is therefore conscious of the advantage of avoiding the negative connotations of the term "terrorists" in identifying themselves.

Terrorism does not attempt to challenge government forces directly, but acts to change perceptions as to the effectiveness or legitimacy of the government itself. This is done by ensuring the widest possible knowledge of the acts of terrorist violence among the target audience. Rarely will terrorists attempt to "control" terrain, as it ties them to identifiable locations and reduces their mobility and security. Terrorists as a rule avoid direct confrontations with government forces. A guerilla force may have something to gain from a clash with a government combat force, such as proving that they can effectively challenge the military effectiveness of the government. A terrorist group has nothing to gain from such a clash. This is not to say that they do not target military or security forces, but that they will not engage in anything resembling a "fair fight", or even a "fight" at all. Terrorists use methods that neutralize the strengths of conventional forces. Bombings and mortar attacks on civilian targets where military or security personnel spend off-duty time, ambushes of undefended convoys, and assassinations of poorly protected individuals are common tactics.

Insurgency need not require the targeting of non-combatants, although many insurgencies expand the accepted legal definition of combatants to include police and security personnel in addition to the military. Terrorists do not discriminate between combatants and non-combatants, or if they do, they broaden the category of "combatants" so much as to render it meaningless. Defining all members of a nation or ethnic group, plus any citizen of any nation that supports that nation as "combatants" is simply a justification for frightfulness. Deliberate de-humanization and criminalization of the enemy in the terrorists' mind justifies extreme measures against anyone identified as hostile. Terrorists often expand their groups of acceptable targets, and conduct operations against new targets without any warning or notice of hostilities.

Ultimately, the difference between insurgency and terrorism comes down to the intent of the actor. Insurgency movements and guerilla forces can adhere to international norms regarding the law of war in achieving their goals, but terrorists are by definition conducting crimes under both civil and military legal codes. Terrorists routinely claim that were they to adhere to any "law of war" or accept any constraints on the scope of their violence, it would place them at a disadvantage vis-à-vis the establishment. Since the nature of the terrorist mindset is absolutist, their goals are of paramount importance, and any limitations on a terrorist's means to prosecute the struggle are unacceptable.

Source:www guerrilla and terrorist definition

Whatever the definition is all the above are classified in my mind as Criminals which use different methods in reaching their goal-being murder rape bombings or any other form of violent crime ( Guerilla,Terrorist,Insurgents

simon said...

Thanks for commenting. Im finding the more I actually write, the more that is being left unsaid. Many have done marvelous works on this subject, including the analysists of stages of guerilla warefare, coin, terror nexus, and the such. Im just setting up a little bit to introduce the Yanks who did make good on their contracts and the rhodesian cause in perspective.

I view Mugabe's hordes as criminal insurgents and perhaps the recent terror war has influenced what I deem terror. Random attacks in kralls to inspire fear and disrupt the peace make me blur the lines between blowing up buildings.

For me I like talking and learning about southern africa and share a piece or two of what I have had the opportunity to learn. Love your picture. I have a Shepherd myself.

Tango said...

"Love your picture. I have a Shepherd myself."
Thank you Simon.I Love animals -My Dogs are my best friends.
The one on the picture is a cross between a Germand Shepherd and Siberian Husky.
He takes me for a run everyday !

Andrea Murrhteyn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
simon said...

well, thanks for visiting my blog. I do believe that overpopulation is going to increase low intensity conflicts and cause a rise in humanitarian issues. No one can deny that. anywawy....