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Thread: The Patton of Counterinsurgency

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    Groundskeeping Dept. SWCAdmin's Avatar
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    Default The Patton of Counterinsurgency

    The Patton of Counterinsurgency
    With a sequence of brilliant offensives, Raymond Odierno adapted the Petraeus doctrine into a successful operational art.
    by Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan

    The Weekly Standard
    03/10/2008, Volume 013, Issue 25



    Do you think the Kagans have the Odierno / Petraeus weighting dialed correctly?

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    Abu Muqawama had some choice words about the article:

    http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com/2008...n-odierno.html

    Abu Muqawama was feeling pretty good about his new estimation of Odierno until Fred and Kimberley Kagan -- two allegedly serious military historians -- published the kind of sycophantic puff piece in the Weekly Standard that Fred Barnes usually writes about President Bush. Folks, there is absolutely ZERO critical analysis taking place here. One friend of this blog writes that the article perfectly encapsulates all that usually goes wrong with the stuff produced by second-generation neoconservatives:

    1) Intrafamilial byline? Check

    2) Hyperbole opening? Check.

    My favorite sentence, nay, my favorite word in the whole essay is the gratuitous "easily" in the following: "As a purely military operation, the series of MNC-I offensives easily bears comparison with Patton's race across France or the Soviet destruction of German forces in 1944 and 1945. "

    3) Civilian perfidy? Check.

    4) Military apotheosis? Check.

    Note that the thesis is not that Petraeus and Odierno corrected previous generals' errors. It is that P&O are just more awesome than the awesomeness that preceded them.

    5) Foregone conclusions? Check.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default "Folks, there is absolutely ZERO critical analysis taking place here."

    Great line. Widely appropriate, too...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Granite_State View Post
    Abu Muqawama had some choice words about the article:
    Well now I donít feel so bad that our good friend AM pummeled me pretty hard on a posting on his blog last week (shown on SWJ too). I thought he was part of the matrix but with his biting, and correct criticism of the Kagans's happy-speak he is clearly one to listen to carefully.

    Of course in my own writings I like to dabble in historical comparisons and analogies; but there needs to be at least a semblance of a line between the two poles. Nothing against General O (I served under him in 4ID in 03) but a fairer comparison would have at least tried to square the conditions; that is to say compare him to another senior general who fought a Coin campaign. Maybe he is close to Thompson in Malaya for example. But AM is right, this kind of ideological driven pop-history doesnít contribute to knowledge and understanding, only AEI's political interests.

    Well said, AM!!

    gg

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Big

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    Big Big Big

    Quote Originally Posted by Granite_State View Post
    Abu Muqawama had some choice words about the article:

    http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com/2008...n-odierno.html

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    I wish I had seen AM's piece earlier. It would have spared me a sedative and afforded a much needed laugh.

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    I can't believe this article. Zero analysis, zero history, zero common sense. Everything any Kagan writes is now to be considered suspect until proven differently.
    "Speak English! said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and what's more, I don't believe you do either!"

    The Eaglet from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Well, in Fred's defense (sort of), The Weekly Standard is what it is. Balanced and objective it ain't--and doesn't purport to be. (And I say that as a subscriber). I don't think anyone looking for objectivity and analysis would be duped by this essay. Those seeking ammunition for partisan skirmishes might find it useful.

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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    AQI's approach--and Odierno's new understanding of it--made traditional military concepts like lines-of-communication, support areas, and key terrain relevant to the counterinsurgency strategy. Insurgents moving from the belts to the capital required access to particular roads. Maintaining that access required holding neighborhoods bordering the roads. Car-bombers needed factories in which to make their weapons. IED-users needed ammunition stores and ways of moving their IEDs from depots to frontline fighters. Leaders needed safehouses to allow their free movement in the city and headquarters outside the capital from which they could direct operations. Thinking of the enemy as a network, as U.S. forces had previously been doing, underemphasized the importance of geography and of controlling key terrain to the enemy's operations. Odierno prepared to take that terrain away.
    If anyone ever thought anything different from the utterly banal statements of the obvious in this quote, then they need to resign from the Army and go and work in Starbucks.

    If someone really did not recognise these fundamental facts then someone really screwed up. Of course this is how Insurgents work. Always have, always will. Look at Rhodesia, look at Mao, look at the IRA, etc etc etc.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member Boot's Avatar
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    Default Can't say...

    I agree with the article. I have a much different perception, I'll leave it at that.

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granite_State View Post
    Abu Muqawama had some choice words about the article: ......

    ...
    1) Intrafamilial byline? Check....

    ....
    Hey what's up with slamming the married couple? I'm married to a scholar we met each other in graduate school. We're not allowed to write together because we're married? I can't wait to tell the Denning's or half a dozen married author teams I know...

    Commentary on topic? Check

    Inappropriate anti-marriage tripe? Whackem with a stick
    Sam Liles
    Selil Blog
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    All opinions are mine and may or may not reflect those of my employer depending on the chance it might affect funding, politics, or the setting of the sun. As such these are my opinions you can get your own.

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    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    If anyone ever thought anything different from the utterly banal statements of the obvious in this quote, then they need to resign from the Army and go and work in Starbucks.

    If someone really did not recognise these fundamental facts then someone really screwed up. Of course this is how Insurgents work. Always have, always will. Look at Rhodesia, look at Mao, look at the IRA, etc etc etc.
    Thank you for saying what I wanted to say. I lacked the courage to be so blunt/direct.

    Adam L

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