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Granite_State
05-16-2007, 05:43 AM
Don't know how many posters here watch HBO's Baltimore drug-trafficking drama "The Wire," but the show depicts many of the basic principles of COIN in action on America's streets. The necessity of good human intelligence and community policing (boots on the ground) slowly becomes clear, as does the importance and difficulty of getting at the infrastructure behind the foot soldiers on the ground. The police equivalent of "cordon and sweep" is shown to be a dead-end, as even one officer quietly notes. What really sold me on the connection was a "power of the weak" moment an episode or two into the first season, when three policemen head into the slums to rough up dealers and scare up some information, and end up being bombarded with bottles and having their squad car burned down to its frame. I'm guessing this is all unintentional, and merely reflects the show's creator's experiences as a police reporter for the Baltimore Sun, giving further credence to the link between law enforcement and COIN/anti-terrorism. Any other fans of "The Wire" notice the show's relevance to small wars?

jonSlack
05-16-2007, 06:21 AM
I am a huge fan of the show and noticed many of the parallels.

I have been toying around with the idea of using clips from The Wire to create a presentation showing effective and ineffective techniques. However, one roadblock is finding a quick and effective way to introduce all the characters so that people unfamilar with the show will be able to understand the clips.

The creators, David Simon and Ed Burns, have been signed to create a miniseries based off of the book Generation Kill. It will run on HBO and is supposed to be similar in production values to Band of Brothers. If I am not mistaken, Generation Kill was written by the Rolling Stones writer who was embedded with Nathan Fick's platoon during the first part of OIF. Based on the quality of the The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Street, I know their new project will be excellent as well.

slapout9
05-16-2007, 11:30 AM
I saw one episode which I liked but it was in the middle of the season, so I had a hard time putting the characters in context. I have been saying that Police tactics are like COIN ops since I started posting here. Sounds like there is a lot to learn on this show.

tequila
05-16-2007, 12:00 PM
The seasons most relevant to COIN are Seasons 1 & 3. The creators have said at some point that Season 3 was supposed to be a direct analogue of the Iraq War. As a pretty devoted watcher, I really couldn't see it. The show does not hammer on politics at all, except as a wide-ranging, quiet denunciation of nearly all the institutions involved in the drug war and the immense difficulties (impossibility, really, according to the show) of reform.

As someone who grew up in the midst of a lot of this, I'll just say that the techniques used by the Barksdale crew (the main drug gang) in Season 1 were very outdated by the time the show aired. Season 3 is much more up-to-date but still a bit behind the times, though it may be accurate for the show's Baltimore setting (I'm originally from Brooklyn).

I'd highly recommend catching the series - it's not just interesting but highly entertaining. Easily downloadable over the net via Bittorrent, or you can just use Netflix.

Granite_State
05-19-2007, 03:58 AM
I am a huge fan of the show and noticed many of the parallels.

I have been toying around with the idea of using clips from The Wire to create a presentation showing effective and ineffective techniques. However, one roadblock is finding a quick and effective way to introduce all the characters so that people unfamilar with the show will be able to understand the clips.


That was my thinking too. With the quest to make the strategic corporal, combined with the fact that fewer and fewer Americans, and thus fewer and fewer soldiers and marines, are regular readers, wouldn't it make sense to harness pop culture to provide an introduction to the ethos and underlying philosophy of counter-insurgency?

At any rate, it's got to be better than BS like "24." The debate the other night was disgraceful.