We were told that with the rise of terrorist violence [in Algeria], the civilian population, especially in the remote rural and mountainous areas, had been increasingly exposed to wanton acts of violence and brutality. The population of these villages and communities had requested that they be allowed to possess and retain arms and ammunition for their self defence. Accordingly, legislation had been passed providing for the establishment of self-defence groups in villages and communes. The legislation authorized each household to have a gun and some ammunition…
The Head of the Armed Forces, General Lamari, told us that wherever self-defence forces had been established, attacks by terrorists had stopped in 99 per cent of the cases."
It is often said that guerrilla warfare is primitive. This generalization is dangerously misleading and true only in the technological sense. If one considers the picture as a whole, a paradox is immediately apparent, and the primitive form is understood to be in fact more sophisticated than nuclear war or atomic war or war as it was waged by conventional armies, navies, and air forces. Guerrilla war is not dependent for success on the efficient operation of complex mechanical devices, highly organized logistical systems, of the accuracy of electronic computers. It can be confucted in any terrain, in any climate, in any weather; in swamps, in mountains, in farmed fields. Its basic element is man, and man is more complex than any of his machines. He is endowed with intelligence, emotions, and will. Guerrilla warfare is therefore suffused with, and reflects, man’s admirable qualities as well as his less pleasant ones. While it is not always humane, it is human, which is more than can be said for the strategy of extinction.
In the United States and Britain we go to considerable trouble to keep soldiers out of politics, and even more to keep politics out of soldiers. Guerrillas do exactly the opposite. They go to great lengths to make sure that their men are politically educated and thoroughly aware of the issues at stake. A trained and disciplined guerrilla is much more than a patriotic peasant, workman, or student armed with an atiquated fowling-piece and a home-made bomb. His indoctrination begins even before he is taught to shoot accurately, and it is unceasing. The end product is an intesely loyal and politically alert fighting man."