The Demise of COIN?

John Robb in a brilliant piece:

This situation puts the US military in a difficult position, one that goes deeper than being caught on the horns of dilemma (as in: caught between supporting “former” insurgents or government forces). The improvised theory that led the US military to fund the insurgency (the “Awakening”) has transformed the US Counter-Insurgency doctrine (COIN) — a document was so carefully prepared and announced with such fanfare — into a mere pile of paper. Why? Because we have abandoned the doctrine’s binding assumption: that everything we do in counter-insurgency should increase the legitimacy of the host government. Essentially, the abandonment of our doctrine means that the US military is now completely adrift in Iraq without a counter-insurgency roadmap.

The this situation refers to the fact that the US controls (at least formally) both the Iraqi Army/Police and the Sunni Insurgency.   We are quite literally funding both sides in the war.  That is unless you think “the war” is only al-Qaeda in Iraq in which case we are not. But the facts would not support such an assertion.

Already it was clear that the surge ran crosswise to the stated goal and strategy of the War–i.e. a democratic Iraq ally in the War on Terror (goal) which was principally to be constructed through a multi-ethnic unified country, strong central government through elections.

Now Robb tells us the surge is not only working against the strategy of the policy but against its own Counter-insurgency manual which reflected the stated goal/policy of the Iraq War.

Robb argues that this lack of a systemic approach will hurt in interpreting and integrating new information from the battlefield.  The title of his brief is “Adrift.”

All of which to bring it to a purely political humdrum level makes very ambivalent the right-wing litmus test question of “Is the surge working?”

Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 6:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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