Best Defense

Dimed out: COIN as a minority view in the military

For those who worry that the whole U.S. Army has gone overboard about counterinsurgency, here’s an image to keep in mind, offered by Ganesh Sitaraman in the New Republic after a visit to the Army’s counterinsurgency school in Kabul (oddly enough, just down the boulevard from where I went to high school for two years): ...

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For those who worry that the whole U.S. Army has gone overboard about counterinsurgency, here’s an image to keep in mind, offered by Ganesh Sitaraman in the New Republic after a visit to the Army’s counterinsurgency school in Kabul (oddly enough, just down the boulevard from where I went to high school for two years):

“How many of you have read David Galula’s Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice?” Lt. Colonel Matt Galton, the deputy director of the center, asked in his Australian accent. Two hands slowly went up. It was not surprising. Though Galula’s book is a–possibly the–classic starting point for counterinsurgency, it was written over 40 years ago and isn’t required reading. More troubling, when Galton asked how many had read the Counterinsurgency Field Manual, only about five hands went up

Sitaraman’s conclusion: “for all the publicity, too few in the field have truly internalized counterinsurgency.” It might be time for the Army to get off the dime.

(HT to Abu Mook)

Photo: Flickr user cudmore

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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