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Thread: War is War

  1. #101
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Nov 2008


    Not sure if this helps, but another excerpt from a piece I am working on on "Perspectives on Insurgency":

    Traditional Perspective: “Insurgency and counterinsurgency (COIN) are complex subsets of warfare.”

    Updated: Insurgency is an illegal political challenge to a governing body that may be either violent or non-violent in terms of tactics employed and campaign design. COIN is the action of that governing body working to prevent or resolve the civil emergency.

    Explained: Insurgency may at times rise to the point of warfare against a state, but is typically best seen as a civil emergency by the government, thereby retaining civilian control over COIN. Insurgency is best thought of as a condition that comes to exist in a society based on perceptions of key aspects of governance by distinct segments of the populace. The presence of the conditions of insurgency makes a populace ripe for exploitation by actors either internal or external to the state for their own purposes. Success in COIN is in understanding and addressing these conditions, which often requires significant changes of governance.

    Direct Application to Afghanistan: General McChrystal struggled to get Coalition forces to fully embrace the tactical directives his headquarters published. The problem with the directives was not their lack of war-like nature that so many complained of. The problem was that the forces receiving them were trained for war, sent to war, and directed to win the war. The horse was out of the barn. This problem is resolved by declaring an end to the war in Afghanistan, and then training and tasking the coalition forces sent to Afghanistan to conduct less war-like operations, such as Military Support to Civil Authorities. By then placing operations under some civilian leadership structure tasked to support the Government of Afghanistan, one would set a proper context for General McChrystal’s directives. Not all violence is war, and while Afghanistan will remain a dangerous place for some time to come, properly framing the mission is the first step to getting responders to act properly.

    (The paper lays out a family of definitions refined to support my theory and nested so as to address the gaps and overlaps in current COIN definitions created over time and jumbled together. I then drill into a variety of standard COIN soundbites such as this one. This is the Sentence one, Paragraph one, Chapter one of our current COIN manual. For me, this is like starting a landnav course with your start point plotted a gridsqaure off, armed with a compass that is 10 degrees off true. You may get where you're going if you're smart enough and work hard enough; but its going to be a lot harder and take a lot longer than it really needed to.)

    There is a BCT from the 101st having a very tough summer in Zari, just west of Kandahar on the road to Helmand. They are waging war there. Like hamburger hill in Vietnam, where also we waged war. The question one must ask, is "to what effect?" Insurgency in Afghanistan radiates out from the Karzai government in Kabul. The constitution of Afghanistan virtually ensures there will be insurgency as it codifes the very aspects of poor governance that lend the most to creating conditions of insurgency among the people. Who is waging COIN to fix GIROA? Instead of senior diplomats and officials getting very rough with the government, we send our young soldiers and marines out to get very rough with the populace.

    I don't think we should have bailed out GM; and I sure as hell don't think we should be bailing out the government Karzai formed. Both are failed models and need to either reform or be replaced. But just as we propped up failed structures and put the burden on the populace at home, we do the same with our war-approach to COIN. We prop up failed structures and place the burden on the poplace.

    COIN as War is the worst kind of COIN; as it protects the problem rather than addressing it.
    Last edited by Bob's World; 10-09-2010 at 01:28 PM.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  2. #102
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default I'll pass on adding to the confusion ...

    about Astan even though I have my thoughts.




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