Return of the COIN-istas (the zombies of military theory)

Summary: John Quiggin writes about zombie economics, theories false but too politically useful to die. COIN is an example of zombie military theory. In the 60 years since Mao brought 4GW to maturity, foreign armies of every type have employed it against local insurgents, with an almost uniform record of failure. America's COIN-istas -- brilliant, … Continue reading Return of the COIN-istas (the zombies of military theory)

Choose to follow those who were right about our wars, or those who were wrong

Summary: Each major decision point for a great nation is an intelligence test of its people. As is the decision to re-involve ourselves in Iraq. The architects of the failed war urge action, based on the usual threat inflation. Those who correctly forecast its futility urge caution. Have we learned anything from our long failed … Continue reading Choose to follow those who were right about our wars, or those who were wrong

I come not to praise COIN but to bury it. And to ask you why we adopted it, at such cost.

Summary: As our foreign wars slowly continue -- withdrawals in the main theaters plus expansion into other even more fruitless conflicts -- it's time to look back and learn. Today we ask why COIN was considered a reasonable option, despite long history of failure when used by foreign armies.  Please post your thoughts in the … Continue reading I come not to praise COIN but to bury it. And to ask you why we adopted it, at such cost.

“COIN of the Realm” – reviewing one of the books driving our strategy in the Long War

Summary:  Before amnesia clouds our memories of Iraq and Afghanistan, as it has erased the lessons of Vietnam, we should review the books that guided us to the long disaster of serial interventions after 9-11.  Today we have a cheery mid-war look at one such.  Historians will look at this book and see madness. Learning … Continue reading “COIN of the Realm” – reviewing one of the books driving our strategy in the Long War

The key to success in Afghanistan: independence

Summary:  The key ingredient for a foreign army's success fighting an insurgency is independence.  Building and supporting the local government's legitimacy, with their people confident that the foreigners will leave after winning.  It's the key theme of FM 3-24, the COIN guide -- but ignored in practice by our military.  It contributed to victory in Malaysia, and … Continue reading The key to success in Afghanistan: independence