Posts Tagged ‘COIN’

Chimera of Victory

Gian P. Gentile. New York Times, 31 October 2009.


History shows that occupation by foreign armies with the intent of changing occupied societies does not work and ends up costing considerable blood and treasure.

The notion that if only an army gets a few more troops, with different and better generals, then within a few years it can defeat a multi-faceted insurgency set in the middle of civil war, is not supported by an honest reading of history.

Algeria, Vietnam and Iraq show this to be the case.

False Dichotomy: We have more options in Afghanistan than Biddle lets on

Michael A. Cohen. The New Republic, 29 October 2009.

for Biddle article see:


In poker terms, Biddle’s argument is the equivalent of betting all your chips on an inside straight draw. And then doing it again on the next hand.

U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

Karen DeYoung. Washington Post, 27 October 2009.

For the fulltext and a key excerpt from Matthew P. Hoh’s resignation letter see

Is There a Middle Way?

Stephen Biddle. The New Republic, 20 October 2009.

Afghanistan Is Obama’s War Now

James Kitfield. National Journal, 17 October 2009.

Don’t put all the security eggs in the al Qaeda basket

Caroline Wadhams and Colin Cookman. Foreign Policy, 15 October 2009.

Kilcullen’s Long War

Tom Hayden. The Nation, 14 October 2009.

Stanley McChrystal’s Long War

Dexter Filkens. New York Times Magazine, 14 October 2009.


…our military leadership in Afghanistan acts, to judge by Filkins piece, as if winning were a hard but typical thing to do, if only things were done right this time. (By the way, if Filkins had written a piece similar in tone about LeBron James, it would be considered embarrassingly fawning. Why is it that our objective reporters for major newspapers regularly fall in love with their military subjects and cast them as stars? And why is such work never considered embarrassing?)
~ Tom Dispatch