SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Small Wars Participants & Stakeholders > Futurists & Theorists

Futurists & Theorists Future Competition & Conflict, Theory & Nature of Conflict, 4GW through 9?GW, Transformation, RMA, etc.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-01-2010   #501
tequila
Council Member
 
tequila's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 1,657
Default

I think Steve is thinking more along the lines of Charles Tilly's state-making rather than nation-making. Check out Coercion, Capital, and Europaen States AD 990-1992, which puts war-making capacity at the center of state formation in Western Europe during the early modern period. Examples like Japan and Germany don't fit in the post WWII era because they already had strong states which came about through consolidation in preparation for modern war.
tequila is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2010   #502
jmm99
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,021
Default I dunno what other people think,

except as they express themselves in words.

So, back to the title: External War as a Palliative Against Insurgency. Put quite simply, I'm the Power That Be in Xistan. I have a domestic insurgency. I decide to embark on an external war to "palliate"[*] the insurgency.

Has this happened (where the choice is explicit as I have stated) and was the palliation successful ? Simple answer: nation-state, time period, reference.

--------------------------
[*] Looking up the word "palliative", the medical definition is less than a "cure":

Quote:
Relieving or soothing the symptoms of a disease or disorder without effecting a cure
Regards

Mike
jmm99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2010   #503
mic
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 3
Default

Argentina, Falklands War 1982, http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...r/malvinas.htm, unsuccessful

Quote:
The actual motivation for Argentina's April 1982 invasion was a more immediate threat to General Leopoldo Galtieri’s ruling military junta: internal instability in Argentina threatened to topple his dictatorship. Galtieri needed a uniting diversion, an outside conflict to distract the public and maintain domestic control.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-01-2010 at 11:29 PM. Reason: Add quote marks
mic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-01-2010   #504
jmm99
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,021
Default Good one

that is what I was asking for.

Galtieri bet wrong on the result of the armed conflict (he lost it and was removed from power in the end anyway, but the armed conflict bought him time). Which doesn't detract from the theory which Steve Metz qualified as requiring a successful external war.

Any others ?

Regards

Mike
jmm99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013   #505
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 8,496
Default The evolution of modern COIN

Thanks to a "lurker" it is worth reading a hitherto unknown Lorenzo Zambernardi, an Italian academic and his paper 'Counterinsurgency’s Impossible Trilemma', which appeared in The Washington Quarterly in 2010:http://csis.org/files/publication/tw...ambernardi.pdf

So why refer in the title to 'The evolution of modern COIN'? Have we thought here on waging COIN after the exit from Iraq and the expected exit from Afghanistan? It must be a bad day I cannot immediately recall such a discussion!

I know large scale, external COIN interventions are not the only model and there are ample examples of external "small is beautiful" campaigns.

From the opening:
Quote:
Counterinsurgency involves three main goals, but in real practice a counter-insurgent needs to choose two out of three. This is the ‘‘impossible trilemma’’ of counterinsurgency. In economic literature, the impossible trilemma known also as the ‘‘unholy trinity’’ or the ‘‘open-economy trilemma’’ has been used to assert that an economy cannot simultaneously have an independent monetary policy, a fixed exchange rate, and free capital movement.

The impossible trilemma in counterinsurgency is that, in this type of conflict, it is impossible to simultaneously achieve: 1) force protection, 2) distinction between enemy combatants and non-combatants, and 3) the physical elimination of insurgents

In pursuing any two of these goals, a state must forgo some portion of the third objective. A state can protect its armed forces while destroying insurgents, but only by indiscriminately killing civilians as the Ottomans, Italians, and Nazis did in the Balkans, Libya, and Eastern Europe, respectively. It can choose to protect civilians along with its own armed forces instead, avoiding so-called collateral damage, but only by abandoning the objective of destroying the insurgents, as U.S. armed forces have started to do in Iraq after the success of the ‘‘surge.’’

Finally, a state can discriminate between combatants and non-combatants while killing insurgents, but only by increasing the risks for its own troops, as the United States and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) have recently begun to do in Afghanistan. As in international economics, where states actually make a trade-off among its economic goals, the argument here highlights that, in counterinsurgency, it is almost impossible to reach all three objectives within a feasible time frame. So a country must choose two out of three goals and develop a strategy that can successfully accomplish them, while putting the third objective on the back burner.
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2013   #506
Fuchs
Council Member
 
Fuchs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,189
Default

I don't see how one could avoid losses ("Force Protection") and eliminate the enemy in a conventional battle either. So COIN would be -judged by his article- an easier mode of warfare. A trilemma instead of a dilemma as 'usual'.
Fuchs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2013   #507
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 8,496
Default Strategic Realities in Irregular Conflict

CNA, a think tank within the Beltway, has published a 200 pg. report, so far too lengthy to absorb now and the summary says:
Quote:
This book seeks to answer two questions: Why is irregular conflict so hard? Can we do it better? The concept of “strategic realities” applies to both questions. Problems arise in the irregular conflict arena that generally do not arise in either conventional conflict or classic development, yet irregular conflict also requires understanding each of those domains—and something more besides. When we undertake responses to an irregular conflict, we do so with organizations that are designed, educated, and trained for other purposes. Jerry-rigged solutions can work and sometimes have, but success usually comes only because of stellar ad hoc efforts, and not because of a focused systemic approach.

There is no shortage of writing on irregular conflict—Afghanistan and Iraq have made certain of that—but the virtue of this book comes from the experience of those writing it and their willingness to tell it as it is, both problems and proposed solutions. The authors look both into problems faced in and by the host nation and at the United States’ approach to irregular conflict in the field and in the bureaucracy. Beyond description, the authors attempt to meld multiple perspectives and propose solutions that those with experience believe could generate more effective results.
Link:http://www.cna.org/sites/default/fil...r_Conflict.pdf
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2013   #508
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 8,496
Default Is COIN a Strategy?

Moderator's Note - for Bill M.

On request I'm copying some recent posts from the thread on "Porch shines a torch on COIN to expand the discussion beyond his promising book to discuss whether or not we have confused our COIN doctrine with strategy, and if so what are the risks to our national security if we don't fix this? (Ends).


Professor Douglas Porch, of NPS, has a new book due out at the end of July 'Counterinsurgency: Exposing the Myths of the New Way of War', which is likely to arouse interest, if not controversy.

From the summary:
Quote:
Douglas Porch's sweeping history of counterinsurgency campaigns carried out by the three 'providential nations' of France, Britain and the United States, ranging from nineteenth-century colonial conquests to General Petraeus's 'Surge' in Iraq, challenges the contemporary mythologising of counterinsurgency as a humane way of war. The reality, he reveals, is that 'hearts and minds' has never been a recipe for lasting stability and that past counterinsurgency campaigns have succeeded not through state-building but by shattering and dividing societies while unsettling civil-military relations.

(Elsewhere)The reality, he reveals, is that 'hearts and minds' has never been a recipe for lasting stability.
Link:http://www.amazon.com/Counterinsurge...=douglas+porch and http://www.amazon.co.uk/Counterinsur...=Douglas+Porch

A very partial review by a Guardian journalist, which includes this:
Quote:
The book came from listening to his students, many of whom are seasoned officers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan and who repeatedly told him that COIN hadn't a hope of changing the countries for the better. And when he lost two students to "green on blue attacks", he felt an obligation to expose the official doctrine and, in some way, to stop scholarship being militarised.
Link:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...oad?CMP=twt_gu

Professor Porch's NPS entry:http://www.nps.edu/Academics/Schools...lty/porch.html

I have read and enjoyed two of his books on French military history.
__________________
davidbfpo

Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-13-2013 at 10:48 PM. Reason: Add Mod's Note for new thread
davidbfpo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2013   #509
Madhu
Council Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 155
Default Porch and Gentile books ordered....

http://www.amazon.com/Wrong-Turn-Ame.../dp/1595588744

Both have books on COIN coming out and I've pre-ordered both (I think I've mentioned that in a previous thread around here. Maybe I won't be so lazy for a change and write up a review or something. I also plan to read what I suppose might be a bit of a rebuttal, the book by Peter Mansoor on the surge.)

Sorta kinda related to the point made on the 'benevolence' of "hearts and minds", a recent review:

Quote:
“The Imperial lion has roused itself, invoking the Spirit of Clive and of Hastings and Dyer, he roars again,” observed The Daily Tribune in August 1942. Tiring of Gandhi and the Indian National Congress agitating during the war, the British Raj unsheathed the sword. Mass arrests, censorship, and suppression of civil liberties coerced India’s cooperation against the Axis Powers. All pretense of enlightened benevolent rule vanished as Britain showed that its empire, like all others, rested on force.""
http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin...iberal-empire/

As I said in a note to a friend, the last sentence seems to be the point of the papers by Porch that I've read: that force mattered.
Madhu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2013   #510
Bill Moore
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,507
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
Professor Douglas Porch, of NPS, has a new book due out at the end of July 'Counterinsurgency: Exposing the Myths of the New Way of War', which is likely to arouse interest, if not controversy.

From the summary:

Link:http://www.amazon.com/Counterinsurge...=douglas+porch and http://www.amazon.co.uk/Counterinsur...=Douglas+Porch

A very partial review by a Guardian journalist, which includes this:

Link:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...oad?CMP=twt_gu

Professor Porch's NPS entry:http://www.nps.edu/Academics/Schools...lty/porch.html

I have read and enjoyed two of his books on French military history.
David, good catch and the book promises to be provocative. I read several pages on Amazon's website, and this quote is just an example of his diatribe against our current way of war:

Quote:
COIN as symbolized by FM 3-24 and the ephemeral tactical triumphs of the Petraeus guys in Anbar join a succession of failed organizational concepts that include the Army of Excellence, the Air Land Battle, through the RMA, and now the SOF-led petty war with conventional units in support-we’re all Chindits now! Not only does the special operations tail wag the conventional army dog in this model, it runs the risk of failing catastrophically in the face of a serious challenge, much as the French Army collapsed in 1870.
I'm glad to see a dissenting voice, because it seems everyone in the media, academia, and parts of our military have blindly embraced our COIN doctrine. One lone and vocal dissenter Gian was frequently attacked for just not getting it. Our doctrine is flawed and needs to be challenged, maybe with the COINdistas out of the ranks we can approach with a more critical eye now? My concern is we risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but it is a risk we need to take.

I especially liked the article you provided the link to, but you may want to remind the author that we no longer have five star generals .

I didn't see this in the pages provided as re-aheads on Amazon, but apparently Prof Porch makes a supportable argument that democracies that engage in COIN eventually direct those practices against their own populations, thus

Quote:
Think of mass surveillance, of drones, secret courts, the militarisation of the police, detention without trial.

Hannah Arendt identified "the boomerang effect of imperialism on the homeland" in The Origins of Totalitarianism, but the academic Douglas Porch has used the history of Britain, France and America to demonstrate that all the rhetoric about bringing, respectively, Britishness, liberté and freedom and democracy to the "little brown people who have no lights" is so much nonsense and that these brutal adventures almost never work and degrade the democracies that spawned them in the first place.
His key criticism of Porch's book was that it didn't offer an alternative, and that alone will undermine many of his arguments IMO.
Bill Moore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2013   #511
carl
Council Member
 
carl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Denver on occasion
Posts: 2,458
Default

I just got finished reading Into the Fire by Meyer and West and it provided a worms eye view of "COIN", or our idea of it in Afghanistan. Basically you drive into a village for an afternoon every couple of weeks and ask what they need, how is security and have you seen any dushmen. They need everything, security is fine and no we haven't seen any but that next village over is suspect. I have no idea what that is about but anybody in his right mind knows that kind of thing can't work. You can't win any war, large or small, being that stupid. Anybody who successfully prosecuted small wars in the past, and there are lots that were successfully prosecuted, would be completely mystified by that, along with force pro, big bases, short tours in theatre, contracting practices and all the other goofy things we do. If you use "COIN" as a synonym for 'stupid', I'll go along with that but not that small war practices don't often work or that these conflicts can't be won.

Where did people get the idea that small wars don't involve fighting? If you actually read what went on in those wars you can't get that idea. West's account of Binh Nghia was ambush patrol after ambush patrol and fight after fight. Galula's account of his time in Algeria stresses the number of ambushes laid and how they never slacked off on the number. The Philippines was fighting and figuring how to get at them, or cutting them off from the people by moving the people. Plenty of application of force. Anybody who didn't figure that wasn't paying attention. Again, if "COIN" means stupid, ok.

That bit about societies being innocent naifs until some small war unleashed the devil within is nonsense. Militarized police, surveillance and all that stuff was happening anyway, in my opinion. To think that mature bureaucracies won't try to grab power is naive. They didn't need some small war to set them along that path. If Ms. Arendt has a different opinion, that is all she has, an opinion. There ain't no way to prove it one way or another.

It always seemed to me that one of Gian's motivations was to rationalize failure of the establishment big military. The argument seemed to be that small wars couldn't be done therefore big military couldn't be blamed for being stupid when they didn't get it right. A support for that is the either/or approach, we can be good at big wars or small, but not both. That is organizational self serving nonsense. You can be good enough at both, if the leadership is good. Gian's argument is sort of a martial manifestation of a modern American cultural trait, it is never my fault.
__________________
"We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene
carl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013   #512
Dayuhan
Council Member
 
Dayuhan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Latitude 17° 5' 11N, Longitude 120° 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
Posts: 3,126
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by carl View Post
Where did people get the idea that small wars don't involve fighting? If you actually read what went on in those wars you can't get that idea. West's account of Binh Nghia was ambush patrol after ambush patrol and fight after fight. Galula's account of his time in Algeria stresses the number of ambushes laid and how they never slacked off on the number. The Philippines was fighting and figuring how to get at them, or cutting them off from the people by moving the people. Plenty of application of force.
The Americans still lost in Vietnam, and the French still lost in Algeria. The Philippine conflict was a war of colonial conquest; it belongs to another era and has little or no relevance to today's conflicts.

Would more application of force have "won" in Afghanistan? Maybe, in some places, for a little while. It wouldn't have made the GIRoA any more able to govern, and it wouldn't have made "nation-building" a viable construct.

First step to winning any war, small or large, is a clear, practical, achievable goal. Not sure we ever had one of those in Afghanistan.
__________________
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

H.L. Mencken
Dayuhan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013   #513
Fuchs
Council Member
 
Fuchs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,189
Default

Judging by Bill Moore's post, this professor is totally in synch with me.

I've been writing about the stupidity of small wars, the neglect of conventional military capability (attention-wise, not necessarily budget-wise) and the risk that population control methods devised to control some foreign people may be used at home.


The forces drawing attention to the current affairs - small wars, stupid anti-piracy patrolling et cetera - are overwhelming, though.
Fuchs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013   #514
Madhu
Council Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 155
Default SWJ interview

SWJ interviewed Dr Porch:

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...-douglas-porch

The interview also mentions a paper by Geoff Demarest that I found very interesting (these have all been discussed around here before, just a reminder).

To clarify, when I said "force mattered" above, I meant that the populations were often brutalized according to other sources than proponents of imperial small wars.

Link to Demarest paper:

http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/Military...8310001-MD.xml
Madhu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-10-2013   #515
Madhu
Council Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 155
Default "Metadata"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
....and the risk that population control methods devised to control some foreign people may be used at home.
Like snooping on home populations in large broad brush swoops? Creepy, all of it.
Madhu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2013   #516
Bill Moore
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,507
Default

A lot of the antibodies against COIN and our incredibly lame COIN doctrine is due to the illogic of those who promoted it, which was little more than a thin guise for promoting themselves. People are starting to realize that

"You can't shoot your way to victory, " "you have to win over the population," "we have to build their economy and build schools" are little more than empty rhetoric. Worse it is rhetoric not tied to any strategic end, and lieu of a strategy we confuse our COIN doctrine and its social engineering tactics as strategy. Thus the debate over pursuing a COIN or CT strategy is idiotic since neither are anymore than an assortment of tactics. Finally a paper that puts it all in strategic perspective by Colin Gray. It is only 16 pages, I highly recommend reading it.

http://www.ndu.edu/press/lib/pdf/pri...17-32_gray.pdf

Concept Failure?
COIN, Counterinsurgency, and Strategic Theory


Quote:
COIN is neither a concept nor can it be a strategy. Instead, it is simply an acronymic descriptor of a basket of diverse activities intended to counter an insurgency.
Quote:
COIN debate would benefit if the debaters took a refresher course in the basics of strategy. Many fallacies and inadequate arguments about COIN in Afghanistan, for instance, are avoidable if their proponents were willing to seek and were able to receive help from theory.
Quote:
There are no such historical phenomena as guerrilla wars. To define a war according to a tactical style is about as foolish as definition according to weaponry.
(he listed using tank warfare as an example)

Quote:
Counterinsurgency is not a subject that has integrity in and of itself. Because war is a political, and only instrumentally a military, phenomenon, we must be careful lest we ambush ourselves by a conceptual confusion
that inflates COIN to the status of an idea and activity that purportedly has standalone, context-free merit.
Quote:
To be blunt, the most effective strategy to counter an insurgency may be one that makes little use of COIN tactics. It will depend upon the circumstance (context).
Quote:
Such winning can be understood to mean that the victorious side largely dictates the terms that it prefers for an armistice and then a peace settlement, and is in a position to police and enforce a postwar order that in the main reflects its values and choices. History tells us that it can be as hard, if not harder, to make peace than it is to make war successfully.
Quote:
Population-centric COIN will not succeed if the politics are weak, but neither is it likely to succeed if the insurgents can retreat to repair, rally, and recover in a cross-border sanctuary.
Quote:
The principal and driving issues for the United States with respect to counterinsurgency are when to do it and when not, and how to attempt to do it strategically. Policy and strategy choices are literally critical and determinative.
IMO this turns the lame argument that COIN is the way of the future, insurgencies have always been present and likely will continue to be for the next few decades, but that hardly means it is in our interest to get engaged anymore than it is to conduct state on state warfare.

Quote:
Tactical errors or setbacks enforced by a clever enemy should be corrected or offset tactically and need not menace the integrity of policy and strategy. COIN may not be rocket science or quantum theory, but no one has ever argued that it is easy.
Quote:
If success in COIN requires prior, or at least temporally parallel, success in nationbuilding, it is foredoomed to failure. Nations cannot be built. Most especially they cannot be built by well-meaning but culturally arrogant
foreign social scientists, no matter how well intentioned and methodologically sophisticated. A nation (or community) is best defined
as a people who think of themselves as one. Nations build themselves by and through historical experience. Cultural understanding is always useful and its absence can be a lethal weakness, but some lack of comprehension is
usual in war.
Quote:
The issue is not whether Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else either needs to be, or should be “improved.” Instead, the issue is whether or not the job is feasible. Even if it would be well worth doing, if it is mission impossible or highly improbable at sustainable cost to us, then it ought not to be attempted. This is Strategy 101.
Bill Moore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2013   #517
Dayuhan
Council Member
 
Dayuhan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Latitude 17° 5' 11N, Longitude 120° 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
Posts: 3,126
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Finally a paper that puts it all in strategic perspective by Colin Gray. It is only 16 pages, I highly recommend reading it.
I second that recommendation.

That article really deserves a discussion thread of its own, and could serve as an example to many who write on these subjects. The argument and supporting reasoning are impressive, and it is truly refreshing to see someone match intellectual rigor with a presentation that is clear, precise, and completely devoid of the dense and convoluted jargon that has become so fashionable in so many quarters.

Well spotted.
__________________
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

H.L. Mencken
Dayuhan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2013   #518
carl
Council Member
 
carl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Denver on occasion
Posts: 2,458
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
The Americans still lost in Vietnam, and the French still lost in Algeria. The Philippine conflict was a war of colonial conquest; it belongs to another era and has little or no relevance to today's conflicts.

Would more application of force have "won" in Afghanistan? Maybe, in some places, for a little while. It wouldn't have made the GIRoA any more able to govern, and it wouldn't have made "nation-building" a viable construct.

First step to winning any war, small or large, is a clear, practical, achievable goal. Not sure we ever had one of those in Afghanistan.
All very interesting, but of course none of it has anything to do with the point made in my paragraph that generated it.

Perhaps you are right that our efforts in the Philippines so long ago are not relevant, but I disagree. I think military history most always has things that are relevant and there are things to be learned, especially small wars. I am probably wrong but this is because small wars seem to be more matters of people than weapons and tech. Steve Blair (I think) has a quote from Fahrenbach about the frontier Army knowing all there was to know about small war fighting. That surely was another era but things learned then are still relevant I think too.
__________________
"We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene
carl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-11-2013   #519
carl
Council Member
 
carl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Denver on occasion
Posts: 2,458
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Worse it is rhetoric not tied to any strategic end, and lieu of a strategy we confuse our COIN doctrine and its social engineering tactics as strategy.
I haven't read the paper yet but will. In the meantime, people always talk about strategy, but I don't know what they mean in the sense of doing. What, in your view, is a strategy that should be applied to South Asia? What should we do or have done and how? That is a big question but I am not looking for a big answer. But I am sincerely at a loss about actual actions when people talk about strategy.
__________________
"We fight, get beat, rise, and fight again." Gen. Nathanael Greene
carl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2013   #520
Dayuhan
Council Member
 
Dayuhan's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Latitude 17° 5' 11N, Longitude 120° 54' 24E, altitude 1499m. Right where I want to be.
Posts: 3,126
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by carl View Post
All very interesting, but of course none of it has anything to do with the point made in my paragraph that generated it.
Perhaps I failed to express the point clearly. Actually two points. First, in the absence of clear, consistent, and achievable goals, "getting it right" on the military level will at best earn transient and localized success. You may win some battles, but you won't win the war. Second, the tactical passivity you decry seems to me largely a consequence of the policy wreckage that I decry. In the absence of clear, consistent, achievable purpose, is it not natural to some extent for those charged with pursuing that purpose to resort to passivity and to focus on protecting their own?

Not that the US military is perfect, but I actually have considerable confidence in their ability to get a job done, provided that the goal is clearly defined and suitable for accomplishment by a military force. If those conditions are absent, we don't need to change the military, we need a better set of goals and we need to choose the right tool for accomplishing the goals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carl View Post
Perhaps you are right that our efforts in the Philippines so long ago are not relevant, but I disagree. I think military history most always has things that are relevant and there are things to be learned, especially small wars. I am probably wrong but this is because small wars seem to be more matters of people than weapons and tech. Steve Blair (I think) has a quote from Fahrenbach about the frontier Army knowing all there was to know about small war fighting. That surely was another era but things learned then are still relevant I think too.
In the unlikely and unwelcome event that we ever embark on a war of colonial conquest, the lessons of past wars of colonial conquest might be relevant... though I have doubts. Those lessons would point in directions that cannot be pursued today due to domestic and global political constraints, and they would be employed against a rather different class of antagonist. The world does change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carl View Post
I haven't read the paper yet but will. In the meantime, people always talk about strategy, but I don't know what they mean in the sense of doing. What, in your view, is a strategy that should be applied to South Asia? What should we do or have done and how? That is a big question but I am not looking for a big answer. But I am sincerely at a loss about actual actions when people talk about strategy.
Before you can have a strategy, you need a policy. Policy defines the goals. Strategy defines the broad plan for achieving those goals. Assuring that AQ and similar groups will not be able to find refuge in Afghanistan is a policy goal. The decision to achieve that goal by transforming Afghanistan into a western-style democracy is, IMO, where we went wrong: that goal was not and is not realistically achievable by any means available to us.
__________________
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”

H.L. Mencken
Dayuhan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
afghanistan, coin theory, counter insurgency, counter-insurgency, counterinsurgency, doctrine, general vincent desportes, iraq, practice, practitioner, the likely war, theory, thesis

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
French & US COIN and Galula (merged thread) Jedburgh Training & Education 49 3 Days Ago 04:14 PM
Capture, Detain and COIN: merged thread SWJED Military - Other 75 12-11-2014 10:39 AM
Teach Your Organization the Basics of Counterinsurgency: COIN OPD/NCOPD Instruction Cavguy Training & Education 0 04-21-2009 04:00 PM


All times are GMT. The time now is 02:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8. ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation