The World Owes Indonesia (Part V)

The World Owes Indonesia (Part V)
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The struggle for Indonesian independence from the Dutch left a very deep meaning to the nation. Not only Indonesia finally proclaimed the independence in Aug 17, 1945, it also had to defend it againts the invading power tried to regain its lost territory(Dutch army), and this time along with the WWII winning power, the British. It was well-known as Dutch Agression I and II, an endless war story to tell, not only it took so many lives of both sides, it also left unrivaled heroic stories nationwide.

General Abdul Haris Nasution was one who grab the pictures of the war, and delivered them into some books, one of the most notable one is "Fundamentals of Guerilla Warfare". Most military academy worldwide use this book as one of their guiding reference, and i have been made aware that national library in many countries has this book as one of their collection.

 Otto Heilbrun, an American military writer was interested in the book, and he said : " Nasution is the only guerilla leader who also has practical experience in counterinsurgency operations, many which were carried out after indepence had been granted" and " we should pay attention to Nasution's concept of the science of war, a topic that he raises three times in his book. The science of war , he says, not only consist of the knowledge of tactics, strategy, and logistics, but also embraces science, propaganda,economics, and sociology. It embraces, in fact, all facets of the art of turning the population agains the enemy"

It is said that "Fundamentals of Guerilla Warfare" is still used in Westpoint (US Military Academy) to teach the cadets about insurgency and contra-insurgency.

This is the summary of the book :

  1. War in this century has become a total people’s war.
  2. Guerrilla warfare is a war of the weak against the strong.
  3. Guerrilla warfare cannot, by itself, bring final victory: guerrilla warfare can only weaken the strength of the enemy.
  4. A guerrilla war is usually an ideological war. Warfare is a total people’s war.
  5. Guerrilla warfare does not mean that all the people are fighting.
  6. A guerrilla war must not consist of unorganized destruction; it must be of systematic character.
  7. A guerrilla movement has its base within the people. The people support, care for and conceal the guerrillas.
  8. The enemy’s arsenals are the guerrilla’s sources of weapons.
  9. The principal requirements for guerrilla warfare are: a people who will give assistance, sufficient geographical room, and a war of long duration.
  10. A total people’s war needs a unified leadership, not only at national level but also down to the local level.
  11. The anti-guerrilla war must aim at severing the guerrilla fighters from their base, ‘the people’, and must therefore emphasize political, psychological and economic movements. The guerrilla must be opposed with his own tactics.

From Wikipedia :

?"The fullest expression of the Indonesian army’s founding doctrines is found in Abdul Haris Nasution’s 1953 Fundamentals of Guerrilla Warfare. The work is a mix of reproduced strategic directives from 1947-8, Nasution’s theories of guerrilla warfare, his reflections on the period just past (post-Japanese occupation) and the likely crises to come, and outlines of his legal frameworks for military justice and “guerrilla government”. The work contains similar principles to those espoused or practiced by other theorists and practitioners from Michael Collins in Ireland, T. E. Lawrence in the Middle East and Mao in China in the early Twentieth Century, to contemporary insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nasution willingly shows his influences, frequently referring to some guerrilla activities as "Wingate" actions, quoting Lawrence and drawing lessons from the recent and further past to develop and illustrate his well-thought out arguments. Where the work substantially differs from other theorist/practitioners is that General Nasution was one of the few men to have led both a guerrilla and a counter-guerrilla war. This dual perspective on the realities of ‘people’s war’ leaves the work refreshingly free of the dogmatic hyperbole and ideological contortions of similar revolutionary works from the period and manages to be both brutally direct in the methods it espouses and jarringly honest about the terrible price revolutionary guerrilla war exacts on everyone it comes in contact with, ‘the people’ most of all."

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