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Recommended Reading

A large and varied haul:

Top billing! Pundita – “The William Ayers plan to turn America’s schoolchildren into Maoists and how Barack Obama helped him” and ““The great unanswered questions” about Barack Obama’s relationship with William Ayers.

Most of America has forgotten unrepentant Weatherman terrorist and America-hating wingnut, Bill Ayers ( even many ’68er leftists still find Ayers too much to take, forty years later). Unfortunately for Senator Barack Obama, as the campaign rolls on there will be a reintroduction to his close friends and longtime political supporters, William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn.

SWJ Blog – “Memorial Day 2008” and “America’s Greatest Weapon

The first post has a primary source historical document, a multitude of links and several videos to commemorate Memorial day.

Lexington Green “No Sign until the Burst of Fire”

Great commentary by Lex on a fantastic article on the tribal and religious nuances of  Pushtunistan on both sides of the border.

Younghusband – “Principles of War: Introduction“, “Principles of War 1.: Selection ana Maintenance of Aim“, “The Principles of War 2.:Maintenance of Morale

Younghusband has begun a new series looking at the fundamentals of waging war. Very Sun-Tzuish format in terms of brevity.

Dr. Chet Richards -“Resilient Structures

A Boydian approach to resilience.  Keeping organizations open and efficient at the dissipation of entropy.

Ambassador Robert Gribben – “Implementing AFRICOM: Tread Carefully

Represents the Foreign Service’s wary but hopeful view of view of AFRICOM.

Dr. Thomas BarnettAFRICOM: forward and back

Zeros in on the lack of “interagency jointness” even at AFRICOM.


CSIS overview report by Cordesman.

Dan of Tdaxp -“Presentation on Cognitive Approaches to Learning

Agree with Dan – a very valuable summative presentation on education by D.M. Hallowell

Fabius Maximus -“Keeping score: how well did 4GW theory predict events in Iraq?

FM scores the predictions of leading figures in the 4GW school.

AFJ – “Lies, damned lies and counterinsurgency

Contesting COIN conventional wisdom.

That’s it!

5 Responses to “Recommended Reading”

  1. Fabius Maximus Says:

    Captain Chamberlain’s article in Armed Forces Journal is another cut at replacing the "do insurgencies usually win or lose" debate with something more useful.  He sorts insurgencies by placing them in a larger context:  colonial wars and superporwer proxy wars are "big fires."  Local insurgents fighting local governments are "little fires."

    This is evidence that a consensus is developing that the insurgent’s opponents are the key factor.  In general, a government so weak that it relies on foreign military forces is likely to lose (I doubt anything more precise can be said, given the number of other relevant factors).
    Not only does this clarify the math, but it is an operationally useful formula for us — often the "foreign military forces".
    This formula also illuminates two oft-cited examples of successful COIN:  Northern Ireland and Malaysia.  Both are grey cases, with a blurred foreign-local distinction.  Esp. the last, which the Brits often declare "their" victory by slighting the role of the local — soon to be sovereign — government. 
    This formula was controversial when first discussed in 2006 and early 2007.  Chet Richards discusses it at length in his new book, "If we can keep it."  Now it has become mainstream thinking.  This is another example of our ability to quickly evolve, as described in “America’s Greatest Weapon“, Major General Charles J. Dunlap, Jr. (USAF) and Lt Colonel John Nagl (USA), posted at the Small Wars Journal  (23 May 2008).

  2. Adrian Says:

    I agree with Chamberlain’s article.  I found the same thing in my thesis research – while looking at long bloody insurgency in the 1990s, I found that it had been preceded and partially caused by a failed "kitchen fire" conflict in 1963 that I had never heard of, that wasn’t in any database, and had never been written on except by a single unpublished thesis.  I think the COW database encourages the bias towards big bloody clashes while ignoring the kitchen fires.  I wrote a post on it here.  I also agree with Chamberlain’s assertion that "COIN takes 10 years" has been used as an excuse for lack of progress or political strategy.

  3. Fabius Maximus Says:

    Adrian’s post is excellent, imo — an excellent brief summary of the debate!

  4. Smitten Eagle Says:

    Tom Hammes also cites similar numbers (I think he said the average length was 9 years.)

    I wonder if he got his numbers from the DePuy Institute.  Anyone know?

  5. How often do insurgents win? How much time does successful COIN require? « Fabius Maximus Says:

    […] tip to Zenpundit for finding […]

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