What's that saying? Those who don't study history are doomed to make the same mistakes. Okay, that's not it... Let's move on...
Read Shankar Vedantam's essay from today's Washington Post, Don't Send a Lion to Catch a Mouse. He writes:
Two centuries ago, Napoleon Bonaparte sent his armies into Spain to overthrow a monarch who had once been a French ally. Napoleon, who believed he was touched by the hand of destiny, predicted his troops would be welcomed as liberators by ordinary Spaniards. He was wrong. The resulting Peninsular War from 1808 to 1814 seriously undermined French prestige, handed Napoleon a stinging defeat and produced a raft of unanticipated consequences that included the outbreak of deadly civil wars.Great stuff; read the whole thing here.
Historians would have a field day exploring parallels between Napoleon's Peninsular War and President Bush's war in Iraq, but that is not where we are going today. The Peninsular War interests us because it is one of the earliest examples of an asymmetrical war -- Spanish insurgents faced down the powerful French army by using stealth, deception and the support of civilians. It is the war that gave us the term "guerrilla."