We had an Army photographer with us on this mission. I had my helmet off b/c I was the guy who spoke with locals. Maybe I kept it off b/c it was so hot. I decided to stand against the wall for cover while the guys finished searching the compound. Everyone was tense b/c we had made our first contact of the deployment several days earlier. Nothing serious, an ineffective hit-and-run ambush from across a canal. But everyone was tense. I forget the what the purpose of this mission was. Maybe we were searching houses near that ambush site, though I’m not certain. I remember that I wasn’t my usual pleasant, enthusiastic self when it came to interacting w/ locals — something I usual enjoyed and was good at.
The lesson for occupied Ukraine is that when occupiers feel scared, when they’re unable to distinguish friend from foe, they become more hostile to the locals and possibly losing sympathy as a consequence.
The decisive terrain in counter-insurgency (or for that matter, insurgency) is not any object or building or the destruction of your enemy, though all these things can help. The decisive terrain is the opinion of the populace.