View Full Version : What the Army’s New COIN Manual Is Missing

06-11-2014, 04:19


06-11-2014, 07:53
Anyone who's been in theater and witnessed how big Army (and some in our own community) prosecutes COIN will agree with some of the observations in this article. Sometimes the most obvious and expeditious routes are also the most counterproductive, and it takes knowledge and experience to understand that.

Trapper John
06-11-2014, 08:56
Interesting read indeed. The following seems to me to be one of the two most critical aspects to assess in any proposed COIN.

However, as Benjamin Schwarz sagely warned “it is one thing to have the key; it is entirely a different matter to force another to use it to unlock a door through which he does not wish to enter.”

The other essential point was not discussed, or at least I didn't see it. And that is alignment of values. IIRC, that is one of the 6 principles of UW. This FOG has lived long enough to see the US supporting either a government in power or an insurgency with misalignment of core values. This failing seems to lead to repeating the same mistake over and over and over again. It's sort of like marrying someone thinking that you can change something that is a fundamental misalignment with you. The outcome is predictable and always costly (I know cause I did it twice before I learned).

Two cases in point in international relations: the Diem regime in VN, and propping up of the Shah of Iran - Rheza Pahlavi.

IMO, until we resolve that problem we will continue to repeat the same mistakes and suffer the consequences of bad decision making. A better plan may be to stay home until we figure out what the f' we are doing, to or with whom we are doing it, and why!

Just a thought or two. :D

06-11-2014, 18:52
I read the article today while over in Dublin and am now looking forward to reading Professor Ladwig's forthcoming book.


Trapper John
06-12-2014, 04:36
That just makes to much sense.

To expand on your VN Uncle HO and Giap were trained by the OSS in WWII and came to the US first and asked to be indepandant from the French, but no we backed the French, an unpopular regime at best. Later we backed the war paying for 85% of it. Diem was not our first mistake there.


That was exactly my point wrt VN. We are very good at converting former allies to enemies. Good link. :D

06-12-2014, 06:13
And one of our great counterinsurgency successes in this arena - Thailand?


Trapper John
06-12-2014, 08:07
And one of our great counterinsurgency successes in this arena - Thailand?


True, there have been successes. But I think if we look at the successes we will see consistency with shared goals and alignment of values in each along with adherence to all of the other principles of UW.

Ironically, the successes are the ones that no one ever hears about as it should be. ;)