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Max Boot on Invisible Armies

Thursday, February 7, 2013

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HH: Invisible Armies is the brand new book by my guest, Max Boot, a frequent guest here on the Hugh Hewitt Show. Max is the Jeanne Kirkpatrick senior fellow on national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. You read his work in the Wall Street Journal. We’ve talked many times on this program about matters related to war and peace. But Invisible Armies is something else. The subtitle is An Epic History of Guerilla Warfare From Ancient Times To The Present, and epic understates it. It’s exhaustive, it’s absolutely riveting, and Max Boot, welcome, congratulations. I don’t know how long Invisible Armies took, but it must have taken a long time.

MB: Well, thanks for having me on, Hugh. It took six years, so I’m delighted to be here to talk about it.

HH: Let’s focus on that for a second. Six years ago you started into Invisible Armies. How quickly did you realize this is a daunting task to trace guerilla warfare through the centuries?

MB: Well, as I started to delve into it, it clearly, it became obvious to me how much material was out there, because one of the big points that I make in this book is simply how pervasive, how ubiquitous guerilla warfare has been throughout history. It’s not a one off occurrence. It’s not a new phenomenon. It’s always been there. And so as you get deeper and deeper into the history, what you find very quickly is you can get overwhelmed by all the examples, and you just have to pare it back to create a readable narrative that sustains the reader’s attention.

HH: Now Max, this is on my bedside table, and has been for three weeks. I don’t know that it’s ever going to leave, because it’s a fascinating way to quickly find what one needs to know about the latest headline, wherever it’s happening in the world. But I doubt many scholars of a particular subject, as you are now of guerilla war, have ever had the chance to chat with, observe in action, follow around, one of the practitioners of that which they’re studying. In your case, at least David Petraeus, many others as well, but how did that interaction influence Invisible Armies?

MB: Well, you’re right. It was an unusual, perhaps unique vantage point, because of course most people who write history do so on the archives. And of course, I spent a lot of time in the archives as well. But I also spent some time on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, working as a part time advisor to General Petraeus and other American military commanders, and observing those operations first-hand. And that gave me a real sense of how tough it is to deal with an insurgency, all of the complicated issues, the different lines of operations, the different considerations from purely military and tactical to strategic and public relations and everything else that goes into formulating a successful campaign, because you know, when you’re a historian, you tend to see everything with the vantage point of hindsight, and you tend to think that everything worked out the only way it could have worked out. But when you’re an observer of real events in real time, you understand very quickly no, there are many different ways it can go, and it really is depending on the initiative and the way that individuals grapple with the forces of history. And so it was a real privilege to see how that unfolded.

HH: Now Max Boot, at the moment that we talk, General Petraeus has left the public stage. But when I read the names like Charles Callwell, T.E. Lawrence, Robert Thompson, David Galula that you listed in Invisible Armies as the genuine experts on, and innovators against guerilla warfare, it’s insane that the country would deny itself the experience and the intelligence of General Petraeus. Did any of these other four individuals have spectacular falls and recoveries, as I hope Petraeus does?

MB: Well, there’s no question that a lot of these other individuals also had checkered episodes in their careers. T.E. Lawrence is one that comes to mind, who was the victim, apparently, of a homosexual rape when he was fighting the Turks in World War I, and then later had what became known as a flagellation disorder, where he paid an airman to whip him on a regular basis. He had this very bizarre, weird, private and emotional life, but that didn’t change the fact that he was one of the most consequential practitioners as well as theorists of insurgency of all time. And he left a huge imprint on the Middle East. And so I would hope that in the case of General Petraeus, we can forgive him whatever his personal indiscretions might be, and focus on his professional achievements, which I believe have not been sullied in any way by the scandal that led to his resignation from the CIA.

HH: I agree with that 100%, and especially as one reads through how difficult it is to understand, anticipate and defeat guerilla insurgencies, it is insane for this country not to make use of that. I also liked your chapters on Lansdale, himself a quirky guy, but without whom the Philippines might not be free today.

MB: Yeah, Edward Lansdale was one of these great characters that I just loved researching and writing about, the quiet American who once used to be a household name, and now has been largely, if unfairly, forgotten, this former San Francisco advertising man who joined the CIA and the Air Force, and was sent to the Philippines in the late 40s to help the Filipinos deal with this massive Communist uprising known as the Huk Rebellion, and without a lot of U.S. troops, in fact, with no U.S. troops. He nevertheless went out into the boondocks, figured out what was happening there, talked to the Filipinos, and figured out a strategy. And more importantly than figuring out a strategy, he figured out the right man to implement that strategy. He found a Filipino state senator named Ramon Magsaysay, who became minister of defense, and then president, a great leader who working with Lansdale helped to defeat this insurgency. It’s really a model for how the U.S. can have a big impact, even without sending a lot of troops.

HH: Yeah, you remind me, Max Boot, when I was reading this, in 1978, I went to work for President Nixon in San Clemente as one of his writing staff, ghost writing people, and stayed for two years through the book, The Real War, and Leaders. And the one person he always talked about that never got their due in the postwar era, I think he pronounced it Magsaysay. You just pronounced it Magsaysay, this extraordinary individual whom you write about in Invisible Armies, who was sadly lost in an airplane crash. He must have been, we only know him from books, etc., but Nixon would talk about him a lot as being, along with Lee Kuan Yew and others, architects of the postwar era that people have forgotten.

MB: Absolutely, Magsaysay, or Magsaysay, however you pronounce it, the Tagalog name was one of these great men who was not corrupt, who was hard-working, dedicated to the future of his country, and also a very, very successful counterinsurgent, who in many ways reminds me of another very successful counterinsurgent in more recent times, who also has not gotten, perhaps, his proper due, and that’s Alvaro Uribe in Colombia…

HH: Yes.

MB: …who brought Colombia back from the edge of defeat against FARC, and orchestrated a brilliant counterinsurgency campaign, similar in many ways to the one that was carried out in the Philippines in the early 1950s.

HH: I’m talking with Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations. His brand new book, Invisible Armies, is linked at Hughhewitt.com. It’s at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and of course, in every bookstore. You’ll find it absolutely indispensable. I personally recommend you get the hardcover, because if you are like me, you find books like this, you have go back and forth and find the index and things. And so the iPad and the Kindle don’t work as well. But either way, just read it. You’ll be fascinated, and you’ll be drawn in. And as we go through this hour, and we talk about some of these key insurgencies, realize that I am skipping through this book, literally skipping. It’s hundreds of pages of fascinating stories. In fact, I had read a couple of books by a great British writer, Peter Hopkirk, on the Afghan insurgencies of the British imperial era. And you recapture and condense those, Max Boot, so you’ve got a lot of great stuff to work with. But it’s a cook’s tour for people who don’t have time to read imperial history over the course of 30 years.

MB: Yeah, there’s no question that there’s a lot of history out there which I try to condense down into a narrative that is relatively brief and makes sense, but also encompasses the important conflicts. And certainly the ones that the British fought, among others in the imperial era of the 19th Century, were absolutely vital to shaping the world and making it as it is today.

HH: Have you found out if it’s been added to the Commandant’s list, yet, or to all the variety of reading lists that the professional military keep sending out to their officer corps to keep them current?

MB: It’s a little early for that, because it’s just out, but certainly my previous books have been on those reading lists, so I hope that this one might earn a place as well.

HH: How’s the reaction among the professional cadres? I mean, there are very skilled counterinsurgency experts at all the war colleges in many of the places one would look, and this is an ambitious book that we’re going to tread on a lot of toes. What do they think?

MB: It’s actually been pretty good. I just came back from speaking at the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama. Last week, I spoke at the Naval War College in Rhode Island. And I certainly got a good reception, but there is no question that there is a battle going on for the future of the military, because while some people in the military think that it’s incredibly important to keep up this counterinsurgency expertise that they have developed over the course of the last decade, there are also a lot of voices saying no, let’s get out of the counterinsurgency business, we don’t like this way of fighting, let’s get back to doing conventional war, let’s focus on the Pacific, let’s focus on other regions instead of the messy Middle East where we’ve been dragged into these counterinsurgencies that we don’t want to be a part of. And so there’s this battle going on now for how the military will define itself in the post-Afghanistan, post-Iraq era. And I think my book certainly plays a role in that debate.

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HH: Max Boot, I want to start with where I left off in the last segment. Guerilla wars can be won. People sometimes don’t want to hear that, because it involves an enormous commitment. But that is the inescapable conclusion of Invisible Armies, along with the parallel conclusion, they can also be quite carelessly thrown away and lost.

MB: That’s absolutely right, and there was a tendency, especially in the post-World War II era, to hold up guerillas as being kind of these superhuman deities who could not possibly be defeated by military force. But a lot of that is really an outgrowth of a few notable successes by Mao Zedong in China, for example, or Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. What I found in the course of my book research is that yes, it’s true, the win rate for insurgents has been going up the last several decades. They’ve been winning roughly 40% of their wars since 1945, up from 20% in the pre-1945 period. But the flip side of that is 60% still are defeated. And just as most business startups don’t become Apple or Microsoft, so most insurgencies never become the Chinese Red Army, or the Vietminh or the Vietcong. Most do not achieve their objectives. And they can be stymied of they are fought in the right way.

HH: Now Max Boot, I want to illustrate the book by paying close attention to one chapter, perhaps the chapter that most impacted me with a parallel to where we are today, and that’s Chapter 46, Convince Or Coerce, the chapter on the Algerian war of independence, 1954-1962. And it impacted me, because one, I kind of knew it was out there, and I don’t know much about it until I read your chapter. I learned an incredible amount. It’s a riveting account. And the same time, it feels like the present war in Afghanistan to me. And would you begin with just sort of a summary of what happened there, and whether or not you think my uneasiness about the parallel is legitimate?

MB: Well, what happened in Algeria, which had been ruled by France since 1830, is that in 1954, there was an uprising led by a nationalist group known as the FLN, the National Liberation Front. And the result was atrocities on both sides. They would slaughter European civilians because there were roughly a million European settlers in Algeria known as the pied noir, and then in turn, the French security forces would torture and slaughter the Muslims. It was a very bloody war on both sides, with the rules and laws of war being completely unobserved by either side, because both sides were determined to do whatever it took to win. And ultimately, the French prevailed in a very narrow tactical, military sense, in that they managed to put down the FLN campaign of terror in the city of Algiers, they managed to prevent the FLN from forming large military units which could present a real threat to their rule. But all of that, none of that mattered at the end of the day, because even though the French were winning a victory on the battlefield, they were losing the battle for public opinion, in part discredited by the very rough tactics, including the use of torture, which they employed to try to defeat the FLN. That cost them public support at home, it cost them public support abroad, and ultimately, it led to Algeria’s independence in 1962.

HH: And having achieved tactical success on the battlefield arose a political leader, de Gaulle, of course, who surprised everyone in a way that perhaps President Obama is not surprising us, but simply declared we’re giving up, we’re leaving. And that is what I see happening now, is that on the cusp of victory, or at least a favorable stasis in Afghanistan, we’re giving up, Max Boot. That’s where the parallel worries me.

MB: I am worried, too, and I think you’re right, Hugh, to be worried about this, because this is the way that superpowers in the modern age, or even great powers in the modern age, lose wars. They’re not defeated on the battlefield. It’s similar to the way that the U.S. never truly lost a battle in Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan. The French never lost a battle in Algeria, either. Nevertheless, the power of public opinion, when it turns against the war, when the leaders on the home front decide that the cost of the war is no longer worth paying, that can be decisive. And the guerillas know that. The insurgents understand that. They understand that information operations are their most important weapon, that propaganda is the way they’re going to win. They’re not going to defeat the French army or the American army on the battlefield. What they’re going to do is they’re going to influence media coverage of the war to send a message back home that this is not a conflict worth fighting. And in the case of Afghanistan, that strategy has been all too successful, as we see from the public opinion polls which show that very few Americans support the war effort anymore. And even President Obama, who once called this the necessary war, has now become deeply ambivalent about it, and seems to be desirous above all else of pulling our troops out by 2014, which could hand a victory to the Taliban they haven’t really earned on the battlefield.

HH: Talking with Max Boot about his book, Invisible Armies, Chapter 46 about the Algerian war for independence. At the end of that chapter, Max, you write that the battle of the narrative was lost by the French. And what you’ve just been talking about now is the battle of the narrative in the Afghan context. I think that narrative is now no Western nation can win, the Taliban inevitably will come back, and it’s just time to cut our losses. Is that a fair summary of perhaps a diseased, but nevertheless dominant narrative?

MB: I think that is the dominant viewpoint, and I just don’t think it’s right, because if you look at the lessons of history, whether in the ancient past or more recently, you can see that military force if properly applied as part of a larger counterinsurgency strategy can be very successful. I mean, look at what happened in Iraq in 2007 when the situation was far worse than it’s ever been in Afghanistan. Despite that, with the surge, the change in strategy that was implemented by General Petraeus, violence fell by more than 90%. And we’ve seen some similar success, if more localized in Afghanistan over the last several years, but that remains very fragile and not lasting unless it’s backed up by continuing American support for the Afghan security forces. And your concern and my concern is that that support may not be forthcoming. And if it’s not, then I don’t think the Afghan security forces can hold against the Taliban, who continue to have sanctuaries and support in Pakistan, which is one of the biggest factors determining the success or failure of any insurgency.

HH: One quick question before we go to break, that is I learned in the Algerian chapter that the French employed a fence on the Tunisian border, and that it worked.

MB: Yes, they actually did manage to block the FLN from incursions into Algeria. They had the fence, and they also had quick reaction forces in helicopters and Jeeps that would rush to the scene of any attempt to break through the fence, and catch the infiltrators, similar in some ways to the success of the Israeli separation barrier along the West Bank, which has been one of the keys to defeating the second intifada.

— – -

HH: Max Boot, right at after the Algerian fiasco for the French, you have a chapter on the Malayan emergency. And you know, most Americans listening right now are just going to, their eyes are going to glaze. They’re not going to know about this. But this was a giant success, and also President Nixon always used to refer to this as being the example of how one wins, as opposed to loses, and he was talking of course about Vietnam at that time. Again, begin with just a summary of what we’re talking about here.

MB: Well, in Malaya, the British faced a very entrenched insurgency from the Malayan Races Liberation Army, which was one of many communist/nationalist insurgent groups of the post-World War II period. And the situation was getting worse and worse until the early 1950s when General Sir Gerald Templer showed up in Kuala Lumpur to take command. And what Templer did was he essentially laid out a very similar type of hearts and minds strategy to the kind employed by Petraeus in Iraq, and by other successful counterinsurgents throughout history, where he didn’t focus his effort on sending his troops through the jungles thrashing around trying to find these wily and elusive guerillas who could never be pinned down. Instead, he focused his efforts on security the population with initiatives such as setting up the new villages, which were these fortified villages where Chinese squatters, who were prime recruits for the communist movement, these Chinese squatters were moved into these new villages where they had medical facilities, schools, fields they could work, but they were surrounded by fenced and armed guard, and thus cut off from the insurgency. And what he was doing was essentially drying up the sea in which the insurgent fish swam, to use the Maoist metaphor. That was a very successful strategy, especially when coupled with a promise to the people of Malaya to grant them independence if they would cooperate with the British to defeat this communist uprising. And what Templer realized, and what all successful counterinsurgents realize is to win, you have to have first, security, and then legitimacy. You can’t just impose your will at bayonet point. You have to give the people some positive reason why they would side with the government. And in the case of Malaya, Templer gave them independence, the promise of independence which was something that the French never did in Algeria, and that’s a lot of the reason why the French lost in Algeria, because they were asking the Algerians to fight for a continuation of French colonial rule, which not surprisingly was not very popular.

HH: And of course, at the end of this chapter, you review. The Brits not only succeeded in Malaysia, they succeeded in Kenya, they succeeded in Cyprus, they succeeded in Northern Ireland, to a certain extent, and they always, they kind of had an evolving playbook, but they never went in thinking it was going to be easy, Max Boot.

MB: That’s right. They understood it was going to be a long term strategy. They were not going to be quick or easy victories. They understood that in this kind of war, they should use a minimum of firepower, because if you use too much firepower, you create a lot of civilian casualties, you cause a lot of resentment, and you can create more enemies than you eliminate. And so they, the British really in the 50s and 60s, really did a great job of developing what’s now known as this population-centric counterinsurgency, or hearts and minds counterinsurgency, which focuses on securing the population. And again, what Petraeus did in Iraq, what Uribe has done in Colombia, what the British more recently have done in Northern Ireland was really an update and a continuation of that very same strategy.

HH: So why when we went into Iraq, and even into Afghanistan, were we so unprepared with so much history on how to successfully combat counterinsurgency? How did we not know how to do it?

MB: There’s a tragic tendency towards amnesia in our armed forces, because in Vietnam, after a lot of trial and error, the Army and Marine Corps finally figured out how to fight the right way. But then as soon as we got out of Vietnam, they said well, we never want to do this again, let’s get back to preparing to fight a conventional adversary, the Red Army. And so by the time we went into Iraq and Afghanistan, we had largely forgotten all the lessons learned from Vietnam, or that we could have learned from Malaya in earlier counterinsurgencies, and our armed forces were not well-prepared. It took years to relearn what had been, what should have been obvious from the past. And it took this process of trial and error, of innovation on the part of small unit leaders, junior officers and NCO’s to figure out the right way to do things. And that process culminated in a new field manual on counterinsurgency, which was really the intellectual renaissance, which made possible the surge in Iraq.

— – -

HH: Max Boot, I’ve done three interviews. This is the third in a series of three about Afghanistan. I talked to Rajiv Chandrasekaran towards the end of last year about his book, Little America. Then I had Jake Tapper on about The Outpost. Now as I read Invisible Armies, I’m struck by the fact that if I had read Invisible Armies first, I would have been able to slot those other two, and the success and the failure that they record. In Helmand Province, the Marines have been successful. They had the right number of troops, the right number of strategies, the right kind of commanders, and it’s secure now as Rajiv details. However, out in the far wastelands where Forward Operating Base Keating is, I think it’s Kumar Province in Afghanistan, it’s been an epic failure because of the very reasons you detail in this book. It’s as though there are two different wars going on in Afghanistan, and you talk about it in Invisible Armies as well, and two different strategies.

MB: That’s right, because only in a small part of Afghanistan have we actually implemented this classic, tried and true clear and hold strategy, which has been used by the Army and the Marines in Helmand and Kandahar Provinces in the south, where they have gotten great results. But President Obama never sent enough troops to Afghanistan to enable that strategy to be carried out in the east. He did not send as many troops as General Stanley McChrystal requested. And so McChrystal had to make a choice. Was he going to do a little bit of everything all over the country? Or was he going to focus his efforts, where he could do real clear and hold operations? And he decided to do real clear and hold in the south, and kind of do a holding pattern in the east, thinking that eventually he could swing his forces around to the east and repeat those operations there. But now that’s impossible, because the troop drawdown is happening so fast, there simply aren’t enough forces to do that in the east. And so as a result of that, there’s still enemy sanctuaries an hour’s drive from Kabul, and it’s not because it’s impossible to root them out. It’s because we have not sent the forces, or given the commanders the time to do that. And so now we’re drawing down, and leaving potentially a very dangerous and unstable situation behind.

HH: Max Boot, here it is in early February, and I never believe in Monday morning quarterbacking campaigns too much, but I was a big admirer of Governor Romney’s. You were one of his senior foreign policy advisors. He avoided this conversation about what to do in Afghanistan, probably on the advice of his political staff, not talking about additional troops. Did you ever have that conversation inside the campaign, that there was an argument to be made for winning in Afghanistan?

MB: Absolutely. I think there were a lot of us who were on the foreign policy defense side who were frustrated that there was not more attention paid to this war effort in the larger campaign, and that was because I think that the campaign consultants, and the people who were running the campaign figured that was a loser, nobody wanted to talk about Afghanistan, that he would win the campaign simply by talking about jobs and the economy. And it didn’t work out. And I think in a way, it was a missed opportunity, because it’s true that not a lot of people are that eager to maintain troops in Afghanistan. But on the other hand, they also want to see that a candidate is a true commander-in-chief, that he is going to be a strong leader, and he understands the issues and will do what it takes to secure the gains of our troops. And I think Governor Romney missed a chance to make that clear.

HH: I think Senator Rubio, or Senator Paul, or Congressman Ryan, whoever is thinking about running, Governor Jindal, they really ought to read Invisible Armies, especially the last section on implications. These are the distilled consequences of doing this much work, research, writing, and actually participation. And number five of those, Max Boot, the most important development in guerilla warfare in the last 200 years, has been the rise of public opinion. And this brings me back to what’s been going on in the last ten years, our war fighters – McChrystal, Petraeus, Odierno, General Allen. They never go, or very rarely go to argue directly to the public. General Petraeus appeared on this once from Iraq, General Odierno once, General Allen never. They’re afraid of public opinion, and our political leaders, they run away from these debates, because they’re afraid of being called warmongers. If nothing else, I hope Invisible Armies impresses upon these men, and women, that leadership requires that they make these cases, and they make them in a persuasive, detailed fashion.

MB: Well, you’re absolutely right, Hugh, and I think there has been a real communications vacuum when it comes to some of our recent wars, which was only broken occasionally, for example, during the surge in 2007, when President Bush allowed General Petraeus to testify before Congress, and to take a leading role in defending what the troops were doing. But President Obama almost never speaks about the war in Afghanistan, and he’s basically stifled his commanders by telling them that they’re not allowed to speak out, either. And so nobody is really making the case to the American people about what’s going on and why it’s important, and why the war effort is still winnable. Instead, public opinion is being shaped by news stories about terrorist attacks, casualties, friendly fire fatalities, all these bad news events which shape a narrative of defeat and a war that’s not going anywhere, which I don’t think is the way the troops on the ground experience it. But that message is not getting out.

HH: Max Boot, also we are not caught up in this drone warfare debate, and it brings to mind number nine of your implications – establishing legitimacy is vital for any successful insurgency or counterinsurgency. If drones become illegitimate in this public debate, we will have lost an enormous strategic advantage over our enemies. But I fear that’s where a cadre of hard left intellectuals want to take us. What’s your assessment of this debate?

MB: Well, there’s no question that there is a small lobby which is adamantly opposed to drones. But you know, on this issue, I will give President Obama credit, because he has not been listening to what Amnesty International and the ACLU have to say. He has actually been pretty aggressive about ramping up drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and other places as well. He’s taken a pretty expansive view of his commander-in-chief authority in order to do that. I mean, I don’t think these drone strikes are going to defeat any of these insurgencies, which can only be done by providing security on the ground whether by ourselves or by our allies. But at least the drone strikes can keep a lid on the problem. They can keep the enemy off balance and disrupt their operations. So I think at this point, it’s essential that we do continue those drone strikes, and luckily, it looks like President Obama feels the same way.

— – - –

HH: Max, it’s a short segment, but I wanted to finish by talking about the last of your implications. Most insurgencies are long lasting. And then it’s very sobering. The average insurgency since 1775 has lasted ten years. The figure is even longer for post-World War II insurgencies, 14 years. I just don’t know that Americans have it in them to fight these kind of wars successfully. We are not that kind of an imperial power.

MB: Well, there’s no question that the length of these conflicts presents a real challenge for modern liberal Western democracies. But the good news is we don’t necessarily have to have our own troops on the front line for 10, 15 years. The best model for these kinds of wars is the one that we’ve basically been following in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is even if it’s necessary to send a lot of troops to begin with, and usually, it’s not going to be necessary, but even if it is, you want to stand up the host nation forces as quickly as possible, creating allies in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, who will do the bulk of the fighting for you. And then you can ramp down your own effort. You don’t have to have your troops on the front line anymore. They can simply be providing support. And in the case of Afghanistan, if we were actually able and willing to do that, if we resist the temptation to remove all of our troops in 2014, if we keep behind a force of advisors and troops who can assist the Afghans with relatively limited risk on our side, because our troops are not going to be on the front line, but if we can just assist the Afghan allies, they can continue fighting the war for years to come, and hopefully, ultimately, prevail. That’s the best model that we have.

HH: And a concluding comment, Israel has been following that model, because they are the host nation. They are on the front line, and they have succeeded since 1948 in holding at bay guerilla warfare. Do you project that they will continue that sort of success, Max Boot?

MB: I would think so. I mean, certainly the Israelis have faced a persistent guerilla threat from day one. And the fact that Israel is thriving and surviving is testimony to the fact that they have beaten back the guerillas. But of course you know, in this kind of war, you can never rest on your laurels, and the Israelis know that they face potent new weapons such as missiles, and of course the ultimate threat, a nuclear weapon possible emanating from Iran. That is something that could end that country overnight. And so that’s why I don’t think any Israeli leader is very sanguine about the future. They understand they have to be very, very vigilant if they are to survive as a nation in this very embattled neighborhood.

HH: For a history of Israel’s vigilance, and indeed of the West’s entire engagement with guerilla warfare, go right now and get a copy of Max Boot’s book, Invisible Armies: An Epic History Of Guerilla Warfar From Ancient Times To The Present. Max, thanks for spending an hour with me. Terrific book. I appreciate it greatly. It’s going to impact how this country does thing, I hope, for a long, long time to come.

End of interview.

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