Showing posts with label insurgencies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label insurgencies. Show all posts

Sunday, November 18, 2012

New Pages and Formatting Changes

I gave the blog a bit of long overdue attention. Also I did something that has been in my head for a couple weeks. I put together pages for the Thoughts on Insurgencies Series and Guerrilla War stuff and another for fitness (a link to my other blog). While the Thoughts on Insurgencies Series already existed this will make it easier to find them. Hopefully you enjoy the new changes. Please let me know if you are having issues with seeing things on different platforms, with dead links or whatever.

Have a nice day,
Ryan

Friday, October 12, 2012

Ethics in Everything and Target Selection in Fighting and War

This one has been brewing in my head for awhile ever since Mountain Guerrilla and then American Mercenary wrote about the topic. (Since they wrote so long ago I couldn't find their specific posts within the amount of time I was willing to put into the matter.) In any case the topic has sat sufficiently and either turned into fine wine or some rotten cabbage dish. Anyway here we go.

A few overarching principles:

1) We have free choice.

2) Actions have consequences.

As Kurt Sutter (the guy behind Sons of Anarchy) said about killing off Opie "Bad thing's don't happen in a vacuum." Sooner or later somehow bad things usually happen to people who do bad things.  Maybe it is about life choices or personality sets or social circles, call it what you want. It isn't always 1 to 1 or right away but things have a way of coming around. 

3) As momma said other peoples bad behavior does not excuse ours.

4) There are clear lines of right and wrong. Between the clear lines of right and wrong are varying degrees of both.

5) While it is not a get out of everything worthy excuse the circumstances surrounding an event matter.

6) If in doubt, do onto others as you would want them to do to you.

So here we go. I am responsible for myself and the minor children in my care. I cannot control if Bank of America and the global banking oligarchy are destroying our economy or whatever. I have read about folks who think that B of A and the global banking oligarchy destroying our economy justify all manner of financial shenanigans on their part. I personally do not feel this way. If I swipe my credit card for a tank of gas or to buy some cool kit online I am promising to pay them back within the 42 page customer agreement I didn't read. If in a year or two I buy some land or a home I am promising to pay them back.

Things happen in life that can affect our finances. If people have a life changing event like being seriously injured or disabled or a sudden unplanned job change and a hard time replacing the income they can fail on some things. This is sad but happens in life. Bankruptcy exists for a reason. That being said I have a hard time with people borrowing money they know they will not be able to pay back or 'strategic defaults'.

This does bring us back to point 5. Jingle mailing B of A when you can afford the payment is a bit different than getting owner financing from a neighbor, ceasing payment and making them go through a ton of effort to get you out. Sort of like stealing from Mom and Pop's corner store is a bit different than Walmart. It doesn't make these actions right, just that I can see how someone could feel a bit less bad about them.

Fundamentally lethal force should be used judiciously in defense of life, limb, eyesight and essential property.  The words most commonly used in legal circles are ability, opportunity and jeopardy. Ability is about a weapon or disparity of size that means they have the ability to harm me. Opportunity is about proximity; a  guy with a knife can't stab me from 50 yards away but somebody with a gun could shoot me. Jeopardy is that you reasonably believe to be in danger. Randy Coulture or Bass Rutten (both famous professional fighters and all around scary guys) would have a hard time justifying shooting an narmed 200 pound man while 5 ft 100 pound Sally could justify shooting that same 200 pound man.

Property is an interesting sticking point. I won't shoot somebody if they try to steal my TV (but will shoot someone trying to take food that will feed Wifey and Walker during an emergency). That is what insurance is for and to be honest popping off meth heads for stealing my TV just isn't worth the hassle.

In some states people have the legal right to use lethal force in defense of property. Even setting aside ethical considerations it probably just isn't worth the hassle of shooting a meth head trying to steal your TV. If you fix the window and get a TV things can be back to normal in a couple days while shooting Meth Head Bob could very well ruin your life.
Anyway that sums up my opinion on that. Onto the crazy Mad Max, Red Dawn times.

The idea of using lethal force a bit freely is a common theme in survivalist circles. A lot of this blustering is just BS, sometimes 6 pack deep BS. However even factoring that in some seriously warped beliefs still exist.

To paraphrase AM  "the concept of ethically justifying the profession of arms (or killing outside of the most narrow defensive scenario) is dubious at best."

There is how the world should be and how it actually is. People shouldn't fight and counties shouldn't have wars. Also people should date based on personalities and character not shallower things like boobs, butts, biceps and bank accounts. When they disagree adults fight and when countries (or tribes) disagree they go to war. Sometimes they do it for good reasons and other times for bad reasons but most of the time they are in between. If you want a job that is easy to always feel good about become a doctor and volunteer free medical services to disadvantaged children.

There is a definite need to respond with some proportion to events.  Shooting or choke slamming a hungry 10 year old kid who is trying to steal from your garden doesn't make sense. Having a variety of options like basic hand to hand skills, mace, tasers, rubber bullets, etc helps here.

I do not believe that you must wait for somebody to attack you to respond. If you know a fight is coming better to be attacking their camp at 3am than them doing the same to you. That being said this is a hard one to balance. Folks would have to be pretty bad (like the classic roving robbing raping gang) or I would have to be pretty darn confident they were going to hurt me or mine to go this way.

Outside of a direct self defense situation such as in a civil war or guerilla situation things get even more complicated. Somebody can be an active participant in a conflict without pulling triggers. Hitler didn't (to the best of my knowledge) personally kill anybody but he was obviously a participant. In my opinion active participants, leaders and such are fair targets.

Everyone who disagrees with your agenda is not a legitimate target. Also the friends and family of legitimate targets are not automatically legitimate targets. Just because someone else can justify burning down houses with women and children inside doesn't mean that I will stoop to the same levels.

It is worth noting that low level folks who work in support of an organization may not actually believe in it or even in some cases be working voluntarily. A secretary who worked for the county might just be trying to feed her kids or not have a choice of staying on when the Chinese invade. A guy who runs a coffee shop can't very effectively turn away a bunch of young guys with guns. Especially those who are able to trash the shop and hurt his family without reprisals if they want. The question of whether you can justify ethically kill someone is different from whether you should. 

I don't want to get into target selection too deeply because that is a different post that has been written by other people. Simply put you figure out the goal and the effect which you believe will lead to said goal and then look to achieve it by selecting appropriate targets. I would argue that low level support type employees of the regime who are not actively of your same broad regional/ cultural group are better targeted by recruiting, co opting, bribing or coercion than violence.

Example: Jill is a normal 40ish lady in one of those executive assistant/ admin type jobs. She is a key person in a fairly important office at the district/ county level of the regime. You could easily kill Jill or grab her for a quick interrogation then kill her. You would learn some of what she remembers off the top of her head and disrupt internal processes there for a week or so.

On the other hand if you do some analysis on Jill other opportunities may exist. It may be possible to have somebody (a recruiter or their cut out) approach her at the right place and time. If she is leaning toward the regime or apolitical (Despite what politically active and strong feeling people think a lot of folks don't really care and just want to live their lives.) there may be an easy button to push or threaten to push. Selecting, recruiting and running sources is like target selection a whole other topic and one I am not all that well qualified to write on. My point is that Jill might develop into (willingly or less so) a very valuable source. She could help you fill in who they players are, tell you what is coming down the pipe, push through or falsify paperwork that is convenient for you and lose or misfile stuff that would hurt you.

In fact if the best guerrilla campaign you can come up with is to kill the regime's low level soldiers and support folks it is advisable to do some self education and research instead of acting. It is not that they aren't valid targets just that it isn't a winning plan.

Let's touch on that low level soldier for a second to try and explain the difference between killing some poor bastard and killing that poor bastard for a purpose. Finding a nice place to waiting for the random PLA soldier to walk by and busting a cap in his dome is fine I guess. On the other hand if you were to kill that same PLA soldier today then a couple guys in the market tomorrow and kidnap another off chasing some skirt in a week you might well force the local PLA leadership to restrict movement to larger groups. This will restrict their movement because folks can't go out in onesies and twosies to do whatever. Also it will hurt their morale and force their presence to be more aggressive.

To put it another way let's say Billy Bob and his cousins happen to stop and blow up the ambiguous lone water truck. It is just the first enemy thing that came by. On the other hand Tom's group, in conjunction with other groups also decides to start blowing up (or whatever) water trucks. Their goal is first to hurt the morale of the PLA by killing their showers and forcing them to eat field rations instead of real food. The long game and primary purpose is to make them start guarding the water trucks. This will tie up resources that could be used for active combat and will generally stretch their already thin resources even further.

Make sense?

Precision in lethal targeting is desirable. Obviously you want to kill the folks you mean to kill, not the school bus full of kids in front of them. This runs all the way from training to actually hit what you aim at to choosing when, where and how to engage targets.

There is a trade off between collateral damage and payoff. Collateral damage alienates people from your cause, gives the enemy PR opportunities and generally complicates your life. The amount of collateral damage that is acceptable for an operation varies based on the payoff.  This is really complicated and I don't think there are easy answers. If the equivalent of Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Stalin and Kim Jong Ill are all in the same place at the same time you hit it and use resources and energy to mitigate the collateral damage. On the other hand killing a soldier or minor figure but killing 6 random civilians and injuring 30 with a bomb is a bad trade. While I wouldn't target them specifically if a low level regime employee could get caught in something it wouldn't bother me too much.

The topic of collateral damage in the context of urban operations, people in houses and such is complicated. Proportion is important here as is the tactical urgency of the situation. Leveling an apartment building because somebody took a pop shot from a window is not smart. On the other hand of you are being effectively engaged or taking casualties do what you must. If somebody is stupid enough to shoot at some folks walking by from their house they should expect hate to be brought down on them. Shooting an RPG at a room that has a machine gun which is effectively engaging your element is probably a decent choice. If that RPG collapses the whole place and kills some innocent folks I'm sorry but those are the breaks.

Prudent target selection is very important. Aside from worries about collateral damage we have to consider that resources including time, money and ammunition are finite. This is especially important because Guerrillas are historically vastly out numbered and fairly poorly supplied/ resourced. A guerrilla group cannot trade a dead soldier and a case of rifle ammunition for the same regime blood and ammo. They will run out of men and weapons first which means they will lose, period.

We have to look at payoff. Guerrillas need to find times when they can shoot 200 bullets, kill 2 or 3 PLA soldiers and get away clean with them shooting lots of ammo and dropping a bunch of bombs onto an empty wood line. Also coming back to our previous point (if this is that organized) this needs to be in support of a desired effect.

While it is true that killing every PLA soldier would result in winning that isn't plausible and doesn't pass the historic reality check. Remember, if your group was capable of meeting the enemy openly in large scale combat this would be a conventional war, not a guerrilla war. A more plausible goal is to make the cost in terms of money and blood of pacifying/ holding the area more than the regime is willing to pay and wait until they give up. Or maybe conducting enough violence via attainable goals like wiping out a small outpost to make PR points until you are able to gain enough political backing to win that way or put together an army able to fight openly. All 3 of these options (fight till they leave, win via politics or win via open conflict) have historical presidencies though there is some muddling between the first two.

 So in conclusion. I think it is ethical to kill people who are trying to kill you or directly and tangibly supporting them. However unless they are trying to kill you it is prudent to target specific groups in pursuit of your overall objectives. Don't do something just to do it, do it to achieve an effect. 

Anyway this post got really long and rambling. Hopefully it makes you think about some things. Input is welcome.









Friday, August 10, 2012

Body Armor, To Buy Or Not And When To Use


The topic of body armor has come up again recently. I have talked a bit about it in the past. Anyway here we go, some of this will probably be new and some will be rehashed.The first question is if you should buy body armor. I would say that folks who think they might end up on the two way range some day would be well advised to acquire body armor. It saves lives and gives a useful advantage. It broadly comes in two types soft armor (like cops wear)  and rifle plates. Soft vests can sometimes be had pretty cheap. They will stop most pistol rounds and buckshot. It comes in class 2A, 2 and 3A. Each successively heavier type stops larger/ faster bullets but is also heavier and thicker. A lot of folks recommend class 2 as a good compromise. One of these might be handy if you have to make large cash transactions or otherwise function at increased risk in a normal non mad max world. Rifle plates are solid ceramics or steel plates that stop heavier/ faster rounds including most common rifle rounds up to the .308/30'06 range. They are relatively heavy, cumbersome and expensive. Then again they do stop rifle bullets. While a stripped plate carrier could theoretically be concealed under a coat or sweatshirt they are not something most folks would wear outside of a war zone or situation where a gunfight was likely. When to buy it is however a practical question. Once you have some basic weapons w/ ammo and ancillary stuff, some food and other gear it might be a good time to look at body armor. The subject of cost comes up here. My experiences as a consumer and brief google research show the following for prices. A soft vest will probably cost as much as a decent used revolver (around $300) and a plate carrier with rifle plates costs about as much as a mid shelf AK or lower end AR ($600ish or more). This is honestly something folks on really low budgets may have a hard time affording. I wouldn't fault somebody who was doing their best to slowly work through their families needs in a logical way and had to put off the purchase of body armor indefinitely.That being said if you have several nice pistols and a half dozen military pattern rifles but no body armor your priorities are skewed. I would recommend that you stop collecting guns. Delay the purchase of your next toy vital survivalist tool, consider maybe selling a safe queen and get the stuff you need to have every possible advantage on the two way range. Personally I would place body armor before gen III night vision. This is simply because of cost as body armor costs about 1/5th as much as a PVS 14 monocle. [While night vision is another topic most of the things said about body armor could be amplified about night vision. Very useful but very expensive.]When to use it. Personally body armor is part of my home defense plans. I want every possible advantage, fighting fair is for idiots and losers. Lots of folks talk about how body armor is not useful for insurgents or  guerillas or generally in modern "4G" warfare. I have to observe that most of them have not been a boots on the ground (vs say a senior FG officer in some redundant "command") participant in one of these conflicts. Lots of lives are saved by body armor. There is a reason that historically speaking fatalities are down (though amputees are up by percentage) in our recent conflicts. Body armor saves lives. A plate carrier will typically weigh around 20 pounds (plates at 7-8lbs each, a couple pounds for the carrier, potentially side plates, etc) give or take. A full up IOTV weights more and to be blunt I would not recommend it for most civilian or G applications.Some folks talk about how the added weight slows you down. Some argue this is a significant factor in recent conflicts, particularly Afghanistan. I read a great article about this called Bring Back The Light Infantry which I linked to in an old but if I do say so myself pretty awesome post.For me if things went all Red Dawn and I was playing guerrilla with remaining parts of my unit, buddies or whatever I would be inclined to wear body armor far more often than not. The decision would be a trade off between the protection body armor offers and the decreased mobility it brings. Mostly this would be an issue if we needed to carry a particularly heavy load to sustain ourselves for a long period or due to heavy items needed for the mission. Also if speed was important and the risk of contact was quite low I might consider ditching the armor. Certainly I would wear armor if conducting any sort of planned operation such as a raid or ambush. Basically unless there was a really good reason (or reasons) not to I/we would wear our darn body armor. Not too long ago I found myself doing a timed run in interceptor body armor, a uniform, boots and a helmet. Two miles took me 16 minutes plus a few seconds but I do not remember exactly; so about a minute to a minute and a half longer than it would in shorts and running shoes. Of course adding a chest rig with a bunch of magazines and a rifle would be an increase in weight but you would have that stuff either way. The point I am trying to get at is that body armor, especially a basic plate carrier with 2 rifle plates, just ISN'T REALLY ALL THAT HEAVY. If you have a strong core, a bit of muscle and run/ ruck regularly like you should be doing anyway wearing body armor, though it does increase the suck a bit really isn't an issue. I have to humbly submit for consideration that if a person who isn't fit enough to go play war wearing body armor isn't fit enough to play anyway.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Interesting Reading

I read a Operation Banner An Analysis of British Operations in North Ireland. It is dry, and one sided but interesting all the same. Probably a pretty good overview of the topic and it is hard to argue with the price. If anybody has read some other good stuff on the IRA or the Troubles please drop it in the comments section for me to check out. Extra bonus points for PDF's because I am cheap.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

E and E Baby- Fun Watching Mantracker

Yesterday I watched Mantracker for awhile. I talked a bit about the show some time ago. Today I have some more basic thoughts:

First be in shape. This means being able to run fast for a short period, at a moderate pace for awhile and walk carrying a moderate load for many miles.

Second have good broken in boots. I know it is easy to say a splurge is worth it if you have the cash but low quality books cause all sorts of problems and generally fail to live up to basic expectations.

Third condition your feet to walking carrying a load while wearing boots. This is admittedly sort of a synthesis of the first two but it is it's own beast because running wearing light shoes (which would let you be in shape) does not translate into properly conditioned feet. Feet are a place where some folks are lucky and others are not. If you are lucky then just keep up with your general PT and wear broken in boots. Thankfully I fall into this group.

If someone using a higher speed form of transportation is following you there are really three options. First you can go where they cannot follow. This is a pretty desirable option though it only works if there is a widespread area sufficient in size to lose them or hide. A couple acre swamp or a single nasty ridge probably won't do it as a single exit point or two can be watched. The second option is to level the playing field. A horse or an ATV or a car is not hard to put out of action but armored vehicles are a lot more problematic. The third option would be to just hope that you can lose them. Think needle in haystack or a field full of haystacks. This is probably more of a hope than a plan. If there is a good line of sight or they have dogs this option really sucks.

Lastly knowing how to navigate and having the basic tools (compass and appropriate maps) to do so is essential. Hard to get away from somebody and get to wherever you are going without knowing where you are or in which direction you are headed.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Quote of the day

Like the jellyfish, the absence of a backbone to be broken was the greatest defense
of the tribes against the waves of state power which beat upon them.
M. A. Yapp

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Quote of the Day

“This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”


-Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale
 
I believe this was a quote of the day some time back but I stumbled into it again and thought it worthy of the repost. Think about it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Books Worth Reading: Guerilla War and Insurgencies

I was talking to a fellow recently who asked me about potentially putting together some sort of book list. I guess this is the first in the series though if you dig through past book reviews you could get some ideas. Maybe at some point I will make a stand alone page or something.

I really enjoyed On Guerilla Warfare by Che Guevara. Yeah the guy was a Commie but he fought a successful guerilla war. I have nothing in common with his beliefs or goals but I got a lot out of his writing. Now that I have a bit of a sense of the man (assuming he wasn't dead) it would be interesting to sit on a patio with a good bottle of run for an evening and discuss all manner of things. Definitely some lessons to be learned here. It is a quick read and I got a lot out of it. Definitely worth reading.

I also read Mao Tse-tung on Guerrilla Warfare. A total pedo and generally a terrible person but he did execure a successful insurgency against the Japanese then took control of China and kept it. This one is relatively long at 128 pages. It has that Oriental way of talking in a circular fashion around subjects. All the same I got some stuff from it.

Over the deployment I read and really enjoyed The Other Side of the Mountain. At some point you will see a review on it (I think it got stashed for a rainy day). The book is a sort of Soviet after action review from the side of the Afghan guerilla fighters. These two Soviet guys tracked down and talked to a bunch of former Afghan guerilla fighters and leaders. It is pretty long, some of the vignettes are redundant or boring and the maps are next to useless (I have absolutely no artistic skills and could make better maps after drinking a half bottle of Whiskey) but it is very worth reading. The insight of highly motivated and poorly equipped guerillas fighting a well equipped mechanized fighting force that has way too much ground to cover and varying motivation is very interesting.

The first book in the "series" The Bear Went Over The Mountain is also worth checking out. The guy I borrowed it from said it was best read while drinking vodka in a smoky bar. It was very interesting to me when I read it prior to deployment to Afghanistan. Maybe less interesting to most folks who read this site than the second book but reading one probably helps to gain understanding of the other.

Anyway that is some of what I have been up to in terms of reading. If you are interested in insurgencies or have been thinking G thoughts then checking some of these out (all PDF and thus FREE!) would be a good idea.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thoughts on Insurgencies- What Made the Mujahedeen Successful

Thoughts on Insurgencies- What Made The Mujahedeen Successful?
I am going to try to discuss some of the reasons the Mujahedeen were so successful in Afghanistan against the Soviet’s. Some might draw parallels to the US experience here and I would say they have a case in some areas, though not in others. In no particular order here we go.
•    Rural Afghan’s are, particularly in the South and East of the country, strongly tribal in nature and very militaristic. When not fighting outsiders the tribes seem to, almost without exception, fight each other. It is about the closest thing to a cultural pastime as this country has.
•    They started out reasonably trained in small unit and individual tactics. Why, well I think consistent tribal warfare is the answer. This was probably the most helpful in the beginning because if you take anybody and toss them into a guerilla war after a year, should they be alive, they have some skills and knowledge.
•    They fought to their strengths and as such avoided their enemy’s strengths. Knowledge of local terrain coupled with hitting weak targets and vanishing worked pretty well. It helps when you can use the same hill Grandpa used to fight the British coming along the same road. This leads back to my last comment about training and knowledge.
•    Physical fitness. Between their rough lifestyle, reliance on foot transportation, moderate calorie intake and lack of medical care (that meant the sick and crippled were either useless in the village or dead) Afghan’s of military age were physically fit. They could haul butt up the side of a mountain carrying a medium machine gun after an ambush and leave the soviet’s panting at the bottom.

 [In my opinion physical fitness is the most lacking trait of American militia/ guerilla wanna be’s (I don’t mean “wanna be” in a derogatory way, just that since we don’t have a guerilla war going on it is kind of just a self imposed label instead of a title). Seriously if these guys spent half as much time exercising as they do arguing about what pouches to have on load out gear or which rifle to use in internet forum’s they would be much better off. I get particular amusement when somebody who is a disgusting fat body and probably hasn’t ran a whole mine this year talks about being a “light fighter” and using “hit and run tactics”. Many of these individuals are good, well meaning people and I probably poke too much fun. I hope that if any of them read this instead of taking it personal they look inward. If this side rant is hitting too close to home I recommend that you get onto a reasonable but ambitious physical fitness program and exercise some self control at meal time to get into fighting shape. ]

•    A proliferation of small arms, particularly rifles. Every military aged male did not have a rifle but a heck of a lot of them did. Eventually they started capturing weapons and getting them shipped in by foreign backers but for awhile it was just rural Afghan’s and their rifles.
•    A cohesive and resolute group vision. Rural Afghan life is very traditional and tribal, especially in the Pastun areas to the South and East, and its values stood in stark contrast to what the Afghan communists and their Soviet backers sought to impose. They were, and the Soviets never quite got this, absolutely unwilling to compromise and would rather just fight.
•    There are probably more but a couple of these are already more generic of all guerillas than is my intent. Now let us not forget the two factors which had a massive impact on events and were largely outside of the Muj’s control.
•    Safe haven’s. In particular the ability to seek medical treatment, shelter their families, train, plan and recover in Pakistan had a direct and immeasurable effect on the war. The Soviet’s launched a few rockets and probably a few raids but in the big picture the Muj were safe to recover and plan in Pakistan and parts of Iran.
•    Outside Aid. Despite some fantasy ideas to the contrary it is difficult to keep a force fielded without feeding and equipping them. While guerilla logistics are pretty simple and light they still need weapons, bullets to shoot, explosives and food to eat. Being able to keep at least part (this improved as the war progressed) of their force through the whole fighting season was essential to building up cohesive organizations and conducting significant operations. Even if you want them really bad guns, food and bullets don’t just appear. Also as these wars go on for years stocking enough of anything except maybe shoe laces to get you through one is wishful thinking.
•    A long term vision. In a sound bite and paragraph quote world they thought in terms of seasons and years. The Muj were never going to win in a sense where they militarily forced the Russians out. They could however continually make it uncomfortable for the Russians to be here (I am in Afghanistan as I write this, oh irony) until their government decided it was time to throw in the towel.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Random Thoughts on Insurgencies


1) Don't underestimate the need to sustain yourself. As we discussed before going to the woods to play Red Dawn is almost a sure way to a bad ending. We have groups of very well trained and experienced men who will find you, run you down and kill you. If attack aviation or dones don't get you first. Also in the real world there isn't a magical civil war/ guerilla action pause on mortgages/ rent, taxes, etc let alone food and fuel costs. The bottom line is that somehow you are going to need to keep some kind of shelter (or be well connected enough to be sheltered) and feed yourself. Also ammunition, explosives and bribes do not come cheap.
 
If you look at the kind of wars that some may think are applicable they are measured in years not months or weeks. A few dozen buckets of food are great but you can't rely on them for this long of a timeline. You will need a continual source of income. This also works well with appearing to be a normal person and blending in.
 
2) Along those same lines patience is a virtue for insurgents. Knowing when to lay low is probably more important then being able to pick targets effectively. Unless it is some sort of Dirty Dozen scenario the outcome of one single battle will not make or break anything. However much it may hurt the enemy if you are dead you can not continue to be an effective insurgent. Also if you are dead it is bad for your family. Insurgents can lose battles all the time as long as they do not get wiped out. While everything has risks smart insurgents pass over all kinds of targets because they can't get out, or they recruit some poor dumb jerk or guy with a terminal illness to blow theirself up but that is another discussion.
 
3) Insurgents need significant redundancy in lots of areas. The idea of you having one super fancy battle rifle and pistol with which you will fight until you are dead is noble but stopped being relevant around the Alamo. There are lots of situations, particularly in urban or suburban areas where having a weapon at the wrong time will be the difference between being detained (which given the tendency to bend rules and not respect 'human rights' in insurgencies is typically bad) and walking away. This also blends into the second point about picking target's but I would submit to you that having a few $500-700 rifles and pistols is smarter than a third as many 2k shooting iron's.
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