Joint Publication Definition

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Joint Publication (JP) 3-24 and Field Manual (FM) 3-24.2 have slightly different definitions of insurgency. JP 3-34 defines it as the organized use of subversion and violence by a group or movement that seeks to overthrow or force change of a governing authority. FM 3-24.2 defines it as a protracted politico-military struggle designed to weaken government control and legitimacy while increasing insurgent control. I have problems with both definitions. However, I disagree more with the joint publication. This paper will explain why.
I actually agree with the dictionary definition. According to Webster's, an insurgency is an organized rebellion aimed at overthrowing a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict. The joint publication expands the definition by inserting the phrase "or force change of". To me there are distinctions between insurgency, terrorism, and separatism. On the surface they seem minor. However, upon further analysis, this seemingly innocuous addition actually blurs those distinctions.
The word overthrow is clear. It connotes that the goal is for the constituted government to cease to exist. The means for achieving this desired end state, depending on the
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Forcing change can mean anything from complete overthrow to power sharing to policy shifts. If it means overthrow, then the phrase is superfluous because that concept was already stated in the definition. Thus the additional wording adds no value. It only adds confusion. If forcing change means power sharing or policy concessions, but the constituted government is allowed to remain in existence, then you have terrorism. The means for achieving this desired end state tends to be limited wars of attrition. An example of terrorism includes Usama bin Laden and the 911 hijackers, whose desired end state was to drive the United States out of the Middle East, not to overthrow the United States
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