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06 September 2012


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The Twisted Genius

So, the bloody wogs can't read the king's english, eh wot! For someone who is supposedly so well versed in "pop centric COIN," Nagl doesn't have a clue about dealing with people. I found a far more insightful take on the problem from major Fernando Lujan, a Special forces officer with experience working with Afghan locals.

"During previous tours in Afghanistan, Lujan’s teams patrolled with Afghans in small groups. “They took care of us,” he said. “They really value the notion of sanctuary and hospitality. If you’re there as a guest to work with them, that is a completely different dynamic than when they see a slave and master [relationship], or an occupation,” he said. “If you start to appear as an occupier, throw your weight around and bully them, they’ll react completely differently. That is the unseen danger.”


This lesson was pounded into our heads in SFOC in 1981, long before the revelations of Patraus' version of the COIN manual. I believe Colonel Lang had a phrase related to this that went something like, "First you sell yourselves, then you are all sold."


I saw that thing last night, I was wondering when you'd comment on this. . The Afghan's can't read? How many of our founding fathers couldn't read, either? They still beat the best army of the day.

"It sounds better in French." Nagl would probably sound better in Frencn, too. But it would still be so much 'marde'. Too bad the Afghans are shooting privates. One LTC a couple of years ago and they might have saved allot of trouble for all involved.


"Culural connection problems?" WTF???


Was he being facetious when he said disbanding the Iraqi Army was a good idea or does he really believe it.



I think he was trying to apologize for the stupidity of the thing. pl



don't like the French? C'est triste ca. pl


Col: Why is the new army so much harder to build than the old one?



i presume that you are speaking of Iraq. An army is an "organic" human social institution. The Iraqi Army before 2003 had been grown in place as an institution for a century, growing out of Ottoman times into the Hashemite eraand beyond. whether the opposition and the neocons liked it or not the army was the central institution of Iraqi nationhood. To build something like that takes a long time. Nagl is a sad example of historical inadequacy. pl

Medicine Man

I read it as coy criticism of a bad idea. I certainly hope it was intended as such and not genuine.



Not so. I do like the French and had great experiences in both my visits, even if Uncle Sam did make my compatriots and I leave Toulon the day after Christmas on my first visit so long ago (meanwhile the entire French Mediterranean fleet was still in port enjoying the holiday - apparently they new the Warsaw Pact wasn't going to pour through the Fulda Gap that weekend). I just didn't think Nagl was making a damned bit of sense, especially that stupidity about reading ability. Does he really have that much contempt for Afghan soldiers?

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