June 30, 2010

Reader Comment of the Day

This is from "Cicero" in the comments section of the below post

The problem with COIN is not that it can be done better or worse. Of course their are methods and strategies that are sometimes successful. The problem is that the very idea of COIN inclines policy makers to get involved in stretched versions of the national interest that require astronomical levels of resources to even have a CHANCE at succeeding.

I'm not sure I agree with all of that, but Cicero's comment strikes me as a really good departure point for a conversation for the readership. What does the readership think of that statement? Isn't counterinsurgency merely a response to the operational difficulties encountered in Afghanistan and Iraq? (After all, we did not initially deploy to either country to practice counterinsurgency -- we embraced counterinsurgency operations after screwing things up in the early years of both wars.) And could you not similarly argue that merely possessing such a fantastic all-volunteer military tempts policy-makers into military solutions for any number of foreign policy problems? (With less of a political cost than you would have if you had to actually raise an army through a draft?) If you think counterinsurgency is problematic, is that because counterinsurgency is itself problematic or do counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan highlight a larger problem within U.S. foreign and defense policy?

In the words of Linda Richman, discuss amongst yourselves.