Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The rewrite of the Counterinsurgency Manual needs to be trashed for a NEW rewrite!

Eikenberry also took on what has come to be known as the “COIN Bible” – the Counterinsurgency Field Manual, or FM 3-24, co-authored by then-Lt. Gen. David Petraeus and then-Lt. Gen. James Amos, now commandant of the Marine Corps.

The “clear, hold and build” strategy outlined in FM 3-24 called for individual soldiers and Marines with the qualities of a modern-day “Lawrence of Arabia,” versed in languages and attuned to the culture and politics of the host nation, Eikenberry said.

“The typical 21-year-old Marine is hard-pressed to win the heart and mind of his mother-in-law,” Eikenberry said. “Can he really be expected to do the same with an ethnocentric Pashtun tribal elder? Moreover, T. E. Lawrence specialized in inciting revolts, not in state building.”

Without mentioning Eikenberry, Petraeus recently launched a defense of COIN in a lengthy article for “Foreign Policy.” As he has previously, Petraeus argued that the COIN doctrine plus the troop surge in 2007 in Iraq averted civil war and gave the Baghdad government breathing room to build a new democratic state.
This isn't my usual "bash Amos" blog post.

We're so far down the road on that bubba that history will be his judge, not me. 

This is about our wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, the Philippines and other places I don't know about.

It ain't working.

We're wasting lives and money.  Don't get it twisted.  Anyone that dons the uniform to carry out the policy of the United States IS NOT wasting his life. But leadership pursuing a failed policy CAN!!!

It should be beyond obvious to anyone watching this thing that Afghanistan is spiraling out of control.  We're looking at a Saigon #2 if that can't be stabilized. Syria is a dog's breakfast.  Africa is a confusing morass of ethnic, religious and tribal violence that is so deep rooted I can't even begin to get my arms around it.

What I find curious and almost funny (people are dying so that's not the write phrasing but I can't think of anything better) is that we keep reusing the same playbook.

The war is being lost?

Surge.  Bribe.  And when that doesn't work then we do a modern day "Rolling Thunder" and try and bomb them back to the negotiating table.

The strategy doesn't work. 

Want to know what's particularly infuriating?  Ya know all those penny packets of embedded Marines and Soldiers?  Ya know that new Security Forces Assistance Brigade? The partnerships with the Afghans? The recent idea of unleashing airpower to deal with the sudden gains that the Taliban are making on the battlefield?

All of the above is from the Vietnam War  playbook.  Amos and Petraeus struggled mightily to rewrite a manual that in essence reworded the document but left things in tact.

We're losing Afghanistan because we're fighting it like Vietnam.  The results will be the same.


Throw out the playbook.  Give it to the Army/Navy War Colleges and let a few Colonels and Majors (I guess Captains promotable too) give it a turn with the only caveat being that preconceived notions are off limits and that everything they've learned up to that point can be considered irrelevant.

What to do in Afghanistan now?

This applies across the board.  We're out of money so it's time to get smart.  We need to modernize for the coming fights.  Afghanistan and other spots we're fighting in are just money pits.  This issue needs to be raised to a national level decision.  Maybe even put it before Congress.  If war is what the American people want then a special "war tax" needs to be applied with the caveat that it expires every two years and need to be reauthorized (that way it doesn't become enduring and another source of revenue for govt graft), and it MUST ONLY go to the Dept of Defense.

If the American people approve then we continue the fight.  If they don't then we simply pull out.

Is that brutal?  Will our allies hate us?  Maybe but we will put our country on the right we'll get a national consensus one way or another.

But back on task.  If it ain't working then stop digging the whole.  Rewrite the manual with lessons learned from this idiocy and vow once again (they did after Vietnam) to never do this again.

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