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Thread: The Lessons of Counterinsurgency

  1. #1
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    Sep 2005
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    Default The Lessons of Counterinsurgency

    16 Feb. Washington Post - The Lessons of Counterinsurgency by Tom Ricks.

    The last time the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment served in Iraq, in 2003-04, its performance was judged mediocre, with a series of abuse cases growing out of its tour of duty in Anbar province.

    But its second tour in Iraq has been very different, according to specialists in the difficult art of conducting a counterinsurgency campaign -- fighting a guerrilla war but also trying to win over the population and elements of the enemy. Such campaigns are distinct from the kind of war most U.S. commanders have spent decades preparing to fight

    In the last nine months, the regiment has focused on breaking the insurgents' hold on Tall Afar, a town of 290,000. Their operations here "will serve as a case study in classic counterinsurgency, the way it is supposed to be done," said Terry Daly, a retired intelligence officer specializing in the subject.

    U.S. military experts conducting an internal review of the three dozen major U.S. brigades, battalions and similar units operating in Iraq in 2005 privately concluded that of all those units, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment performed the best at counterinsurgency, according to a source familiar with the review's findings.

    The regiment's campaign began in Colorado in June 2004, when Col. H. R. McMaster took command and began to train the unit to return to Iraq. As he described it, his approach was like that of a football coach who knows he has a group of able and dedicated athletes, but needs to retrain them to play soccer.

    Understanding that the key to counterinsurgency is focusing on the people, not the enemy, he said...

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    Oct 2005

    Thumbs up

    McMaster, who holds a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina and is an expert on the Vietnam War, distributed a lengthy reading list to his officers that included studies of Arab and Iraqi history and most of the classic texts on counterinsurgency. He also quietly relieved one battalion commander who didn't seem to understand that such changes were necessary
    We could use more of that.....
    Last edited by GorTex6; 02-21-2006 at 06:10 PM.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2005
    Stafford, VA


    As a student of history, I am confident that Col McMaster was quick to point out to his troops the significance of Tal Afar in the 1920 Iraqi revolt. We are simply repeating, and in some cases rectifying situations that we may have, but history has not forgotten.


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