« The Unintended Consequences of Posting About Extremist Violence | Main | Admiral Olson and the Terrorists »

27 July 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

William R. Cumming

WOW! Seems like an analytically sound post to me.

Leo Scanlon

Where would Ed Lansdale and the campaign against the Huk insurgency fit in this analysis?



As far as I know, it was not Lansdale who defeated the Huk insurgency. It was Philippino counter insurgency forces inspired and lent political credibility by President Maysaysay. So it was an indigenous success.


I do not disagree with a word that was written.

I would add that foreign troops have to stay in country forever to protect the puppet colonial government; otherwise, they would have been withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan long ago.

The Philippines, Malaysia and Kenya are no longer Colonies whose governments are protected by foreign troops. The promise of Independence and a Malay government and the freedom for the Chinese to make money was what won the Emergency for the British.

stanley henning

Michael Brenner hit it right between the eyes. Wake up people. Trying to right the wrongs from outside the target society is a
real loser. Our misguided attempt is part of the reason why we are in the hole ourselves now. By the way, are we going to ask for compensation for continued assistance to oil producing Iraq?


"Is America prepared to accept an Afghan civilian casualty toll of about 1 million - killed volitionally ot collaterally as we did in Iraq."

If these deaths, or at least the facts of them happening, show up nightly on Fox (and thus finally get picked up by the rest of the MSM) then COIN$ days in Afghanistan are over. If not, no, unless Congress finally stops funding.


One connection that I forget to make: between our accumulated experience of insurgency and terrorism and New COIN. It is that the record of past episodes is grist for the mill of the think tanks and consultants who claim that a systematic examination of the past will yield insights that point to novel methods. Thus, the Rand Corporation's project director - one of the most prolific purveyors of COIN nostrums - boasted to me that they have coded every experience beginning with the two Jewish insurrections against the Romans.

I guess we all have ways of amusing ourselves. Few of us, though, enjoy the good fortune of the US Treasury paying for our hobbies.


"Only after its defeat did splinter groups take to the hills and jungles. Its suppression entailed roughly 400,000 native deaths. There comparable number in Afghanistan is close to I million. Is America prepared to accept an Afghan civilian casualty toll of about 1 million - killed volitionally ot collaterally as we did in Iraq.?"

Alas the answer to that is probably "yes":


Excellent thought provoking post - thank you.


William R. Cumming

Always remember that RAND foundation was strategic nuclear attack planning which led to the past, present, and future doctrine of MAD!

Still RAND makes some contributions from time to time just not when it comes to COIN!


"Few of us, though, enjoy the good fortune of the US Treasury paying for our hobbies." - Well put.

Consideration of the lives at stake (both ours and theirs) in implementing these theories is - at best - seen as just another group interest to be balanced against other competing interests, like ambition or profit.

Also, Underlying post-modern COIN is the assumption, usually implicit but sometimes openly stated, of permanent, victor-less war.

Charles I

RE: Coin branding as good for business.

Very recently I saw a chart - possibly here - that showed what a think tank/interest group was chartered for, say MAD, and another column of "collateral activity.

The most common collateral activity was "regulatory affairs".

These are lobbyists, foreign agents and hucksters, plain and simple, who, as I just wrote elsewhere here, replaced your government's experts, and now the government itself.

Winning a war is beside the point, though the odd one, a la the monkey typing Shakespeare, may by chance if not design have a coherent point or public good on offer. Befuddled once again by means not ends, for somebody else's ends on your tax deducted dime.

Why ARE we fighting? Who are we fighting?

Jon Czarnecki

It would help support the author's credibility if he would get the little things straight - like calling the Powell-Weinberger Doctrine by its accurate name; I have no idea who Weingarten is, but I suspect the author was not particularly interested in getting the details correct in this polemic.

Patrick Lang

jon czarnecki

Dr. Brenner is the head of the undergraduate program in international relations at UT Austin. What is it that you do at the PG school? pl

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2020

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
Blog powered by Typepad