More COIN Collection

The indispensable blog, Small Wars Journal, that posted the David Kilkullen entry that I pointed to yesterday, now has a post by LTC John Nagle titled "The Evolution and Importance of Army/Marine Corps Field Manual 3-24, Counterinsurgency"

This entry offers a valuable history on how the U.S. Army found itself unprepared to fight an insurgency following the conventional land battles of 2003.

"...the sad fact is that when an insurgency began in Iraq in the late summer of 2003, the Army was unprepared to fight it. The American Army of 2003 was organized, designed, trained, and equipped to defeat another conventional army; indeed, it had no peer in that arena. It was, however, unprepared for an enemy who understood that it could not hope to defeat the U.S. Army on a conventional battlefield, and who therefore chose to wage war against America from the shadows.

The story of how the Army found itself less than ready to fight an insurgency goes back to the Army’s unwillingness to internalize and build upon the lessons of Vietnam."

Nagl, like Kilkullen knows his stuff and offers opinions on the current war that should be listened to, by both the Army, DoD, and politicians. Fortunately the military has listened, and given views like his credence, by placing Gen Petraeus in charge of Iraq, and allowing subject matter experts like Nagl to help write the new Counterinsurgency manual.

If you would like to see a more multimedia approach to Nagl's idea, check out the video of his 2006 presentation "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Vietnam and Iraq". A strange title until you understand that it came from a T.E. Lawrence quote "Making 'war upon rebellion was messy and slow, like eating soup with a knife.'" How apropos. This presentation also seems to be an update of his book Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam.

Nagl is also providing a forward for the Aug re-release by the Army of Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq during World War II. It is not clear if this document is the same one that Danger Room showed us two weeks ago.

All of it is worth reading....now if I could only find the time.

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