Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Gentile: Take this COIN and shove it

COINhata Col. Gian Gentile, director of military history at West Point, has a provocative article in the new issue of Parameters, the journal of the Army War College. “Currently,” he asserts, U.S. military strategy is really nothing more than a bunch of COIN principles, massaged into catchy commander’s talking points for the media, emphasizing winning ...

576219_091125_gentile22.jpg
576219_091125_gentile22.jpg

COINhata Col. Gian Gentile, director of military history at West Point, has a provocative article in the new issue of Parameters, the journal of the Army War College. "Currently," he asserts,

U.S. military strategy is really nothing more than a bunch of COIN principles, massaged into catchy commander's talking points for the media, emphasizing winning the hearts and minds and shielding civilians.

I think he's wrong, in a lot of ways, but I also think his article is worth reading. Col. Gentile is asking the right questions. (Just fyi, I get popped in a footnote as a "hagiographer."  No worries -- that's more polite than a lot of words I get called. I have no problem with robust discourse.)

COINhata Col. Gian Gentile, director of military history at West Point, has a provocative article in the new issue of Parameters, the journal of the Army War College. “Currently,” he asserts,

U.S. military strategy is really nothing more than a bunch of COIN principles, massaged into catchy commander’s talking points for the media, emphasizing winning the hearts and minds and shielding civilians.

I think he’s wrong, in a lot of ways, but I also think his article is worth reading. Col. Gentile is asking the right questions. (Just fyi, I get popped in a footnote as a “hagiographer.”  No worries — that’s more polite than a lot of words I get called. I have no problem with robust discourse.)

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. Twitter: @tomricks1

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