View Poll Results: Evaluate Kilcullen's work on counterinsurgency

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  • Brilliant, useful

    26 45.61%
  • Interesting, perhaps useful

    26 45.61%
  • Of little utility, not practical

    1 1.75%
  • Delusional

    4 7.02%
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Thread: The David Kilcullen Collection (merged thread)

  1. #301
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Deconstructing Kilcullen's Counterinsurgency

    I picked up my copy of Davd Kilcullen's Counterinsurgency yesterday. In the preface, he states his purpose,

    This book is far from a definitive study on this ancient subject about which so much has already been written. It is merely an incomplete selection of tentative, still-developing thoughts, from a practisioner's perspective, on the guerrilla wars we are currently fighting. I hope that other practisioners and students will find in it much to agree and to disagree with, and that it will thereby form part of a continuing critical debate.
    (p. x).

    I wanted to create a thread where we can discuss the merits and imperfections of Kilcullen's arguments. As I make my way through the book, I'll post excerpts that I disagree with to foster debate.

    Mike

  2. #302
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Book Reviews

    Starbuck's offered his review of the book at Permissible Arms.

    Karaka Pend's review at Wings over Iraq.

  3. #303
    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Default Gah!

    Mike,

    Now you're gonna make me buy the book. And I had an out-of-print biography of James Carleton all picked out....
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
    T.R. Fehrenbach This Kind of War

  4. #304
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Kilcullen on other threads

    davidbfpo

  5. #305
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default

    Steve- it's only $15.

    David- thanks. I was about to link the past threads. For this thread, it is probably best to avoid the 28 Articles. Instead, focus more on his research methodology, comparisons and analogies (I want to tackle his Nazi COIN narrative), and analysis on Indonesia which is a place where some believe is the next major hot spot in the global insurgency.

  6. #306
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    Starbuck's offered his review of the book at Permissible Arms.

    Karaka Pend's review at Wings over Iraq.
    So now--on top of trying to understand the complex dynamics of insurgency and counter-insurgency--I need to wrap my head around Starbuck/Karaka Pend virtual body-swapping?

    It's too much I tell you!
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


  7. #307
    Council Member Starbuck's Avatar
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    Default

    This book is far from a definitive study on this ancient subject about which so much has already been written. It is merely an incomplete selection of tentative, still-developing thoughts, from a practisioner's perspective, on the guerrilla wars we are currently fighting. I hope that other practisioners and students will find in it much to agree and to disagree with, and that it will thereby form part of a continuing critical debate.
    I'm glad Kilcullen qualified his work as such. Its two major flaws are as follows:

    1.) Those of you who hang around the SWJ community and Tom Ricks' blog will have likely read much of the subject matter before.

    2.) It's too ambitious for a practitioner's guide to COIN, but not comprehensive enough for an all-encompassing work. I think he might have done best saving his last chapter for another book.

  8. #308
    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Default Proverbs 6:16-19

    Kilcullen suggests that the takfiris have made the world their theatre of operation, with the endstate being the renewal of the Islamic caliphate and expansion of Islam to the whole of the world. (from Karaka Pend's review)
    So is the military involvement in the Great Commission a response to this? How effective do you see it being in the long run?

    6. Change Continents for Christ. Working through indigenous military leaders, we help to train, equip and send military members in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America into their own nations in the name of Jesus.
    http://www.charitychoices.com/charit...in/default.asp

  9. #309
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    Default better mousetrap

    If you wanna make a million you should write a 50-100 page Counterinsugency and You pocket guide. Who will be the first to do it? No articles dont count.

  10. #310
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Backwards Observer View Post
    So is the military involvement in the Great Commission a response to this? How effective do you see it being in the long run?

    http://www.charitychoices.com/charit...in/default.asp
    Number 6 is interesting. That's probably a topic worthy of it own thread.

  11. #311
    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    Number 6 is interesting.
    One of my relatives was a Brigadier General in the Malaysian Army. As a Christian (does being Catholic count?), he may also find it interesting. Are there any metrics I might be able to share with him? He's also interested in the Golf Commission, are the two linked by any chance?

  12. #312
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Methodology and Research Questions

    One lesson that I learned through the hard lessons of platoon leader and company command in combat that was reinforced in the advanced studies of academia was the importance of asking the right questions when trying to understand difficult problem sets.

    Regardless of whether one is trying to conduct initial IPB (Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield) of a new AOR (Area of Responsibility) in a small war or embarking on a master's thesis, the questions asked drive the process.

    Dr. Kilcullen begins with these questions that drives his thoughts,

    1. What kind of state are we trying to build or assist?

    2. How compatible is the local government's character with our own?

    3. What kinds of states have proven viable in the past, in this country and with this population?

    4. What evidence is there that the kind of state we are trying to build will be viable here?
    Is he asking the right questions?

    I'm about 50/50 with him. I think that he missed two big questions.
    Last edited by MikeF; 07-02-2010 at 02:34 AM.

  13. #313
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwards Observer View Post
    One of my relatives was a Brigadier General in the Malaysian Army. As a Christian (does being Catholic count?), he may also find it interesting. Are there any metrics I might be able to share with him? He's also interested in the Golf Commission, are the two linked by any chance?
    I don't know. My brother is a pastor that does extensive mission work in Kenya and other parts of Africa with other pastors. I'll ask him. This seems odd to me that we'd work FID through the Great Commission or is it the Great Commission through FID? I've heard rumors of others doing that in Burma, but it seems like too much colllusion in my mind.

  14. #314
    Council Member Kevin23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    One lesson that I learned through the hard lessons of platoon leader and company command in combat that was reinforced in the advanced studies of academia was the importance of asking the right questions when trying to understand difficult problem sets.

    Regardless of whether one is trying to conduct initial IPB (Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield) of a new AOR (Area of Responsibility) in a small war or embarking on a master's thesis, the questions asked drive the process.

    Dr. Kilcullen begins with these questions that drives his thoughts,



    Is he asking the right questions?

    I'm about 50/50 with him. I think that he missed two big questions.
    What two questions do you think he missed? As I am also in the process of reading Kilcullen's 2nd book right now.

    Btw, I think this thread would be better placed in a another section since it is about a book and related discussion then recent news.

  15. #315
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
    So now--on top of trying to understand the complex dynamics of insurgency and counter-insurgency--I need to wrap my head around Starbuck/Karaka Pend virtual body-swapping?

    It's too much I tell you!
    Steady Rex, steady! Stay strong and focused. BTW, yesterday Glenn Beck compared us bloggers to the pamphleteers of the 1760/70s. Absorb that one as us Americans celebrate our Independence Day .

  16. #316
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default Four Missing Questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin23 View Post
    What two questions do you think he missed? As I am also in the process of reading Kilcullen's 2nd book right now.

    Btw, I think this thread would be better placed in a another section since it is about a book and related discussion then recent news.
    My bad if I placed it in the wrong section.

    Okay, IMO, other questions to consider,

    1. Do we intervene in third-country counterinsurgencies?

    2. If so, to what degree? Ranging from one advisor to a million man army.

    3. Whom do we send? Ranging from political advisors to occupation forces.

    4. What do they do? Ranging from advising in safe, rear areas to taking charge of clearing denied guerrilla safehavens.

    The discussion, debate, and answers to those questions define the crux of the current dillemma in A'stan.

  17. #317
    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    This seems odd to me that we'd work FID through the Great Commission or is it the Great Commission through FID?
    Mike, thanks for your reply. I don't mean to put you on the spot, I get the feeling that this is a topic without any easy answers. It seems odd to me as well, but it's not easy to judge what a superpower believes to be feasible. If Indonesia is seen as being the next hotspot, will converting the Kopassus to Christianity prevent a flare-up?

  18. #318
    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwards Observer View Post
    Mike, thanks for your reply. I don't mean to put you on the spot, I get the feeling that this is a topic without any easy answers. It seems odd to me as well, but it's not easy to judge what a superpower believes to be feasible. If Indonesia is seen as being the next hotspot, will converting the Kopassus to Christianity prevent a flare-up?
    No worries. This is a continual debate that I have with my brother. As you probably figured out, I'm a Christian. But, as a commander, I had Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Athiests, and Goth dudes under my command. At work, I was a-religious. The only time that I prayed with my boys was when we lost four of our troop. That's the way that I saw it. Moreover, while working with my Iraqi counterparts, we'd discuss religion as a process of discovery to learning from each other- not looking to convert. Instead, it was a means to better establish our personal relationships through understanding each other's backgrounds.

    My brother would tell me that I had a duty to preach. I disagreed. That's why I suggested that your point would be better discussed in a separate thread.

    Otherwise, we'll slide into discussion of Armagedon and the end of times.

    For this thread, I just want to discuss David Kilcullen, a man that I love to read and listen to and adamently disagree with at times.
    Last edited by MikeF; 07-02-2010 at 03:39 AM.

  19. #319
    Council Member Mark O'Neill's Avatar
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    Default It has been done

    Quote Originally Posted by OfTheTroops View Post
    If you wanna make a million you should write a 50-100 page Counterinsugency and You pocket guide. Who will be the first to do it? No articles dont count.
    WO2 Mick Craig of the Australian Army wrote a Junior Leader's Counterinsurgency Guide in 2008/9. It has been published as 'developing doctrine' by the Australian Army. Through the ABCA it is available on as either a pdf or html document on the Australian Army doctrine web page. You can access this via your AKO and the US Army doctrine portal.

  20. #320
    Council Member Backwards Observer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
    My brother would tell me that I had a duty to preach. I disagreed. That's why I suggested that your point would be better discussed in a separate thread.

    Otherwise, we'll slide into discussion of Armagedon and the end of times.

    For this thread, I just want to discuss David Kilcullen, a man that I love to read and listen to and adamently disagree with at times.
    Mike, thanks for your indulgence and sorry for the derailment. Your response is more than fair.

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