View Full Version : Strategies for a Global Counterinsurgency

03-28-2006, 01:00 PM
28 March Boston Globe commentary - Strategies for a Global Counterinsurgency (http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2006/03/28/strategies_for_a_global_counterinsurgency/) by Jonathan Morgenstein and Eric Vickland.

US Troops in Iraq face an insurgency similar to those confronted by great powers for centuries. Insurgents hide, wait, and strike on their own timetables. They wear no uniforms and they utilize tactics of deception, ambush, and terror. The insurgents strike weaknesses and dictate the terms of the fight.

Iraq is now a microcosm of the global struggle we face -- a comprehensive insurgency inadequately described as the global war on terrorism. In Iraq and around the world, we will never peacefully dissuade those dedicated to violence against us. They must be captured or killed. However, the enemy is not just Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups that share its messianic vision. It is also organized crime, black markets, and sympathetic local populations, all of which sustain the insurgency with cash, weapons, and intelligence...

US forces in Iraq are coming to terms with essential lessons in dealing with insurgency: overwhelming firepower is often counterproductive; comprehensive reconstruction and information efforts win hearts and minds; the best sources of actionable intelligence are local populations; and lastly, indigenous law enforcement facilitates smaller US footprints, multiplying the effectiveness of all other efforts. These same lessons must also guide how we fight our worldwide struggle against Islamist extremism.

Counterinsurgency concepts must form the core of our government's national security strategy. Counterinsurgency doctrine teaches that such an approach be based on five equally vital pillars: targeted military force, intelligence, law enforcement, information operations, and civil affairs...

04-05-2006, 05:34 PM
At a recent meeting I attended about counterinsurgency, a group of 20 US, UK, and Australian soldiers and Marines were asked about counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. All are veterans of one or both conflicts. Unanimously, they concluded that the main grievance of the population and insurgent force in Iraq and Afghanistan was the US military presence. How does one combat a counterinsurgency that is fueled by the very presence of the counterinsurgency force?

04-05-2006, 09:59 PM
That is a problem we often underestimate. Nationalism is a powerful force and many would be friends will become enemies if they see our actions as interference in their affairs. We need to find a new way to fight our global enemies, one that doesn’t involve invasion and occupation.