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Alright. So a lot of people in these groups seem to be highly against a hearts and minds mission. And all jokes aside about shooting people in the head and chest, the importance of this effort is beyond what any fighting capacity we all have. Historically, guerrilla groups have only won their wars when the majority of the population is in favor of them or at least neutral towards them. I hear a lot of 'when we win we'll make sure the right people are in power'. Well, in order to get there you have to win first and if the population is against you; you WILL lose. 


Let's take a look at how this affects us. In our scenario, we will take a relatively small group and assume that you are fighting a war against a foreign power. We will also be taking the political unrest present in the United States as well as a potential food shortage as was announced recently. 


So in this scenario, our small squad sticks it out in the city instead of running to the mountains to make themselves a huge target for bombardments and devastation because let's face it; a country in the modern era isn't going to chase you into the mountains when they can just obliterate the entire side of the mountain especially a tyrannical government. Ever wonder why North Korea has such a tight grip on the majority of its citizens? It's because their options are so limited and they have, through fear, won the hearts and minds of the population as well as educated them against thinking otherwise. 


Your group is patrolling a street to keep trouble down when suddenly you start taking fire from another group that wants to kill you. They want to take your things and leave you dead in a ditch. What do you do? Alright, you fight back but let's say you can't handle that fight. Let's say you're outnumbered four to one. Well, you start to run. Where? Where will you run to? Home? Would you lead your enemies back to your house? 


No. You'll run to whatever has the best cover and the best lanes of fire for your squad so that you can fight just long enough to force your enemy to retreat and then you'll make your exit. Thinking you can outrun rioters or soldiers who work out pretty often? You're an idiot. Those protestors are out there every day walking around, running, getting violent and the like while your guys are probably sitting around talking about the latest and greatest black helicopter that flew over your house one time from that air force base you live next to. You're out of shape; you aren't outrunning them. 


Now you have two choices; force your way into a house where the occupants want nothing to do with you and may even open fire on you for breaking into their home or you'll have to ask. But what if they don't like you? They aren't going to open the door for you if they have no clue who you are. Oh you're in a militia? You mean one of those groups that promotes hate and isolationism? One of those groups hiding and cowering in the woods someplace wearing camo and making sure that they're safe but no one else gets to be? 


Yeah it might be a shocker but if a militia guy knocked on my door in reality and this was the situation I'm telling him to fuck off if I don't know who he is and if he does break down the door, I'm going to start shooting to improve my odds of survival. After all; the second amendment allows you to defend your homes right? The fallacy that everyone who owns a gun is in a militia is downright dangerous. 


But let's take this a step further. Your opponents have shot and injured one of your squad who can't walk on his own to get out of there so he plays dead to avoid being shot. He'll die if he doesn't get medical treatment and you have to leave him behind in order to avoid more casualties. For whatever reason your enemies don't end up killing him and he's left there; bleeding out on the side of the road. Now if your neighbors know who you are they might be willing to pick him up and carry him back to you or even take him in and give him the best medical treatment they can or at least get him to a hospital. He gets to live! But if they have no idea who this guy is and he's just 'that guy that hides in the woods and sometimes comes out to shoot up the block and fight' then your buddy is probably going to be left there and die or at best be given a mercy killing. Hey, lookie there, you lost a man in your squad instead of getting him back. "I'll just carry him out!" No you won't. You're not going to carry him out while under fire and being chased or you're going to die. Sorry to burst your fantasy bubble but you're probably not going to be able to physically do that. 


Now let's say that an enemy force burns your food storage or ammo storage. Are you going to raid your neighbors to replace that sort of thing? Are you going to start taking stuff from your enemy? The latter is alright but it's probably not going to get you what you need... and it introduces more fighting you're probably not equipped for if you're fighting over supplies. Oh and you're going to eventually have another casualty if not more. So you're reducing your overall effectiveness. Hey lookie, we've made another important note because those stockpiled supplies, especially ammunition, aren't going to last you forever and you can't just farm ammo from your backyard in the mountains. 


But if you're well known and your public appreciates you they might just start giving you ammunition as well as a good pool of the population to recruit from and numbers in a firefight are extremely important even if you're a guerrilla force because it means you can lay down more fire than your opponent and out maneuver them. Additionally this means les people are inclined to turn you over to your enemies and instead will also protect you both politically as well as helping to enforce your OPSEC procedures. 


What's that? You're hiding in the woods? Well someone saw you. And believe me; someone WILL see you marching out of town into the highlands to go to wherever your rallying point is at. Will your enemies find you? Maybe not. But even if they don't you're now hunted... permanently. Can you deal with that psychological stress? Can you handle having hundreds of people looking for you and having to look over your shoulder all the time? 


I doubt it. This is why hearts and minds missions are so important. Without them we are alone. Get to it. Oh and to all the naysayers; I dare you to put up one point about why we SHOULDN'T do this and I'll rip it apart intellectually. 

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