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June 16, 2008


nur al-cubicle

So how does this manual,, U.S. Army/Marine Counterinsurgency Field Manual (FM 3-24). compare to that for El Salvador, for example? Any lessons learned? What about the insurgency field manual written for Nicaragua or Angola?


Well, I've read it, and have to say Col. Ollivant puts a spotlight on a potential danger. The COIN Field Manual is a guide, not a cookbook, something I think Gen. Petraeus for one understands very well. Will his successors, the senior officers of 2015 and later understand this also?


"What if a host government beholden to a land-owning plutocracy sees U.S.-favored COIN reforms as the end of a system of privilege that they value more than peace or stability? To assign U.S. mentors to government ministries or military commands will hardly persuade lifelong plutocrats to embrace equal opportunity for all. For such regimes, persuasion is insufficient, and ostensibly apolitical capacity building can actually make things worse. If host-government legitimacy in U.S. terms is the only route to success in such wars, then far more forceful coercive leverage will be needed. "

This describes the current administration of the US government, let alone Iraq.

Abu Muqawama

I read Doug Ollivant's piece a few days ago. As the only theorist-practitioner asked to review the manual, his review was spot-on, high-lighting both the importance of the manual as well as its weaknesses. Thanks, Mark, for linking to this.

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