Counterproductive counterinsurgency

Independent Institute
by Charles Pena

A recent NATO airstrike in the province of Uruzgan — against what was thought to be a convoy of Taliban insurgents on their way to attack Afghan and foreign military forces — killed at least 27 Afghan civilians, including four women and a child. In February, more than 50 Afghan civilians are believed to have been killed in more than half a dozen U.S. and NATO military operations. The good news is that ‘collateral’ civilian casualties have dropped since Gen. Stanley McChrystal took over as the commanding general in Afghanistan, and he has apologized publicly for the casualties on Afghan national television. The bad news, however, is that — although they are fewer than before — civilian casualties are counterproductive to counterinsurgency. Although there is a military component to successful counterinsurgency, it is largely about winning hearts and minds. Killing innocent civilians — even unintentionally — is a prescription for defeat...

Counterinsurgency isn’t “progressive”

Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson


That it should even be necessary to point out that counterinsurgency is not a kindler and gentler form of warfare utterly astounds me. The U.S. operation in South Vietnam — Operation Phoenix, strategic hamlets, free fire zones, and all the rest of it — was a counterinsurgency. Ditto the Soviet operation in Afghanistan, the Brits in the Boer republics, the Spanish in Cuba, the American suppression of the Moros in the Philippines, the Japanese counterinsurgency in Manchuria, the Belgians in the Congo, and all the rest of it. All these operations aimed at the same general objective: preventing an occupied population from supporting an insurgency it sympathized with. And they all followed the same rulebook: herd the civilian population into glorified prison camps where they could be controlled, shooting everything that moved outside, and if necessary resorting to terror when support for the insurgency continued...

Informant: Thomas L. Knapp


McChrystal's Support for Raids Belies New Image


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