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Thread: "Petraeus/Nagl/Kilucullen approach to counter-insurgency is antiquated/misguided"

  1. #1
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    Default "Petraeus/Nagl/Kilucullen approach to counter-insurgency is antiquated/misguided"

    So says former Air Force counterterrorist coordinator John Robb, http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/...cond_fron.html . Curious what people here think of his theories of open source warfare.
    Last edited by Granite_State; 04-25-2007 at 11:52 PM. Reason: Repetitive typo

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    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default interesting but...

    My favorite part of this article was the end:

    "BTW, if you want to understand where all of this is going longer term, please buy my book, "Brave New War." -Posted by John Robb on Wednesday, 18 April 2007 at 11:44 AM "

    Also just a comment. IF the General and his staff are wrong then what is right? Guess I'll have to buy the book to find out.

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default A Comment on that blog...

    "MaYHeM" comments on that blog entry:

    I see by your many comments that you don't think the current leadership, nor the current methods can succeed in stamping out the insurgency in Iraq.

    What I don't see, is a suggestion of how you might approach this problem successfully.

    I'd love to see an article on your approach to counter-insurgency in Iraq.

    Thanks

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    Default Any idiot can write anything...

    Mr Robb's article is full of assertions unsupported by any facts. It is also focused very much on the tactical.

    One real problem is that it neglects (forgets - if he ever knew) over 110 years of research and lessons learned the hard way on insurgency.

    In the end, Troufion says it all

    Cheers

    John

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    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    My first post was a little jaded and improper.....


    I guess life is pretty easy to figure out at 25,000 feet.
    Last edited by RTK; 04-25-2007 at 11:54 PM.
    Example is better than precept.

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    Rant Mode On:

    This is why 4GW is so dangerous as a framework, it can be all things to all people. Robb, using his interpretation of Lind and Hammes, has come up with taregting options based on assumptions which some others have pointed out are false. He has a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the sunni violence, and the nature of the Shi'ite violence. the only part he got right was they both try to kill one another with targeted violence at times.

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    Default

    - and to think I was betting on General P. Where have I gone wrong?

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    You didn't drink enough cool-aid.

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    Default Kool Aid

    And Robb drank too much...

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    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    And Robb drank too much...
    Clearly, he still hasn't drunk enough...
    John Wolfsberger, Jr.

    An unruffled person with some useful skills.

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    Moderator Steve Blair's Avatar
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    Typical AF approach, I'm sorry to say. They don't understand that not every problem can be solved with a suitably large bombload or with some stealth system or another.
    "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

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    Default

    John Robb wrote,
    Since the American military's objective is to gain a monopoly on violence in Iraq, these developments indicate that it has sustained the commercial equivalent of a rapid loss in market share
    OFF TOPIC:
    The interchangeability of commercial thought and military thought scares me. You can't even read an article on the conflict without the terminology pervading it. War is not business.

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    Council Member sullygoarmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Blair View Post
    Typical AF approach, I'm sorry to say. They don't understand that not every problem can be solved with a suitably large bombload or with some stealth system or another.
    You forgot wearing a flight suit and neck scarf...that always helps the focus on COIN!

    While I'm open to hearing new theories, discussions and approaches, there is nothing worse than criticisms without an alternate solution. We all know COIN is hard and there are no cheap or easy solutions. But if he want's to complain about the current theories/practices, offer up some new ones we haven't tried before. Or in the immortal words of Jerry McGuire..."SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!"

    Back to my kool aid and coffee....
    "But the bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet withstanding, go out to meet it."

    -Thucydides

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dusty View Post
    John Robb wrote,

    OFF TOPIC:
    The interchangeability of commercial thought and military thought scares me. You can't even read an article on the conflict without the terminology pervading it. War is not business.

    Hardly off topic, mate! One is directly related to the other and we as a nation have struggled with this phenomenon forever. Sometimes itv has been a force for good: Elihu Root's reforms were a case in point. Then again we have the "Shock and Awe" (Translated "I'm shocked my model din't work and Aw, Sh%# they don't love us) crowd.

    Best

    Tom

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    Default War and business

    Historically, it has been business thinkers who have appropriated military terminology while rarely internalizing or even comprehending the concepts. This is often seen in what business calls "strategy" which they seem to think has something to do with planning for quarterly profits.

    I am reminded of the discussion among the wives of the test pilots in the film version of The Right Stuff where one says that her college friends married to businessmen talk about the vicious warfare on Wall Street but have no idea what it is like wondering if their husbands will come home from work that day alive, in a body bag, or at all.

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi John,

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    Historically, it has been business thinkers who have appropriated military terminology while rarely internalizing or even comprehending the concepts. This is often seen in what business calls "strategy" which they seem to think has something to do with planning for quarterly profits.
    I'll beg to differ on this - the original relationship, at least in the modern world, was the other way; business to the military. It really starts with the Dutch in the 16th century and the application of manufacturing processes,particularly interchangeability and standardization, to producing civil militias that could fight the Spanish. It really goes into high speed in the late 18th century / early 19th century with the centralization of military logistical production (especially cannon balls) and with Napoleon's integration of civilian and military production.

    I think, although I could easily be wrong, that what you are referring to is the application of the General Staff model to business organization with the development of FW Tyler's Scientific Management and the rapid spread of Fordist production techniques. That's certainly when we start to see large amounts of military rhetoric and terminology appearing in the business literature. I've also found it fascinating that most business authors and practitioners know so little about their original impacts on the military.

    As far as your point about business "getting the concepts", you are totally right and I couldn't agree more. Even worse, over the past 25 years or so, the model of "military" that appears to have been adopted by business is closer to that of the "military" after the fall of the Minoan Empire. Look at the terms used: "raiders", "acquisitions", "pirates", etc. On the whole, few of them seem to have the same time horizon as the military (BTW, this is also seen in the use of the term "consumer" rather than "customer" in terms of relationship).

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
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    Council Member MountainRunner's Avatar
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    Default War is business

    Quote Originally Posted by dusty View Post
    War is not business.
    War is absolutely business. I'm surprised Marc didn't raise the linguistic connections "made famous" in dialogues about privatization, such as the origin of words like freelancer, company, filibuster, soldier, and ideas about contracts. Also in the course of discussing privatization, especially historical models such as the Dutch Marc mentions, you see war, or simply war powers, are fully integrated into the business of making money.

    Socrates wisely said all wars are fought for money.

    Wars of national passions aren't. They're about treasure and the business of treasure acquisition, protection, distribution, etc.

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    Smile Chicken or egg

    Hi Marc--

    I defer to you on the early history. But the main point there is that an interaction and interchange has taken place. It probably started before the Greeks came up with the word 'Strategos' and has been bouncing back and forth incorporating other 'disciplines' ever since.

    Since I am positively ancient, my personal historical frame of reference is from WWII to the present. Frederick Taylor and the Scientific Management school certainly had an influence and was influenced in turn.

    Agree completely regarding the analogous business version of the military as being 'post-Minoan' or perhaps, just Caribbean pirates, or the Sumatra ones who took on a US nuclear attack sub in the early 90s in the Straist of Malacca...

    Cheers

    John

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Talking Obviously dinosaurs!!!!!

    Hi John,

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    I defer to you on the early history. But the main point there is that an interaction and interchange has taken place. It probably started before the Greeks came up with the word 'Strategos' and has been bouncing back and forth incorporating other 'disciplines' ever since.
    Oh, totally true. Sorry if I sounded a bit touchy about the early modern stuff, but it's been a bit of a button for me with many of my colleagues (in Sociology especially) disregarding it. Actually, I think we could certainly make a good case for the linkages going back to at least the Minoan period - those Linear B texts from Pylos and Knossos are really pretty boring, but they do show a strong linkage on the logistics side.

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    Since I am positively ancient, my personal historical frame of reference is from WWII to the present. Frederick Taylor and the Scientific Management school certainly had an influence and was influenced in turn.
    One influence (B2M) that I always thought was very useful was the "trouble shooters" in WWII. In some ways, I'm rather surprised that we haven't used them in this war.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    One influence (B2M) that I always thought was very useful was the "trouble shooters" in WWII. In some ways, I'm rather surprised that we haven't used them in this war.
    We do, Marc. JIEDDO is just that on a mega scale.

    Tom

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