Today’s post examines advice to us from historian Steven Pressfield:
“The real enemy in Afghanistan isn’t Islamism or jihadism. It’s tribalism. … Can we Westerners impose ‘citizen values’ on a tribal society?” (from his website)
Some people say our real enemy in Afghanistan is their religion. Pressfield says our enemy is their form of society. Both sides agree that they cannot be left alone, since they are “the enemy”. This debate goes to the heart of our Long War, as both sides usually ignore the question of why we fight — and exactly how these people threaten us.
This post examines Pressman’s work, as an educated and articulate advocate in this important debate. Pressfield is the best-selling author of Gates of Fire, The Virtues of War, and The Afghan Campaign.
- Pressfield’s essay about our tribal enemies
- Another perspective, the big picture about our war with tribes
- Today’s featured viewing selection: Pressfield’s videos about our tribal enemies
- Reviews and rebuttals on other sites, plus background info
- A brief profile of Pressfield
- Reviews of his books
- Afterword and for more information
(1) Pressfield’s essay about our tribal enemies
“It’s the Tribes, Stupid“, Steven Pressfield, posted at Defense and the National Interest, October 2006 — Excerpt:
Forget the Koran. Forget the ayatollahs and the imams. If we want to understand the enemy we’re fighting in Iraq, the magic word is “tribe.”
Islam is not our opponent in Baghdad or Fallouja. We delude ourselves if we believe the foe is a religion. The enemy is tribalism articulated in terms of religion.