COLONEL LANG IS AMUSED
And so am I. The good Colonel is rather pithy.
“As we have been discussing here, the subject of “Counterinsurgency” is the flavor of the month in the Army and Marine Corps. People who could not spell “Counterinsurgency” three years ago are now busy reading TE Lawrence, Mao Tse-Tung and even more obscure texts from the corpus of “Counterinsurgency” literature. A political appointee in the DoD recently asked me with great and serious solicitude if I had ever seen “The Battle of Algiers.” The implication was that seeing this movie would make all clear.
It often happens that desperation leads to a willingness to listen to people who would, in other circumstances, never get an official hearing. As General (Retired) Keane said on the Newshour a while back, the army that he ran went into Iraq without a clue on “Counterinsurgency.” It is now playing “catch-up” in its own ponderous, committee-bound, acronym, and general officer burdened way. The US Marines seem better at such problems of intellectual introspection, somehow.”
I can see an original edition copy of Lawrence on the shelf from my desk ( but it is Revolt in the Desert, not “pillars” so I’m out of step)
April 27th, 2006 at 6:07 pm
With all due respect to Lang, he is nearly half a century out of date. Sure, there are similarities, but the dynamic is different.
April 27th, 2006 at 11:50 pm
“Sure, there are similarities, but the dynamic is different.”
anon, you have just reduced the substance of 95% of the arguments between historians over the use of any historical analogy to a phrase.