“At West Point, Asking if a War Doctrine Was Worth It”

from the NY Times, about a faculty debate at the United States Community College.

Now at another critical moment in American military history, the faculty here on the commanding bend in the Hudson River is deep in its own existential debate. Narrowly, the argument is whether the counterinsurgency strategy used in Iraq and Afghanistan — the troop-heavy, time-intensive, expensive doctrine of trying to win over the locals by building roads, schools and government — is dead.

Everybody referenced is a pretty smart guy, it’s too bad the article’s not any deeper.

If the names aren’t familiar to some of you:

BG McMaster wrote what’s probably the definitive book on how US military and political leaders screwed up Vietnam. Also just took over MCOE.

COL Gentile is kind of the resident naysayer at USMA, sort of a still-in-uniform Andrew Bacevich. He most recently had a piece about how GEN McChrystal and Yale have something screwy going, was a contributor to a book that GEN Dempsey asked USMA and AWC to put together about how “America Ends Its Wars“. (He also posts all over Small Wars Journal, if his name sounds familiar and you can’t place it.)

COL Meese keeps a pretty low profile in the civilian press. I can’t remember reading anything by him recently, but there’s a little more on him in this piece by Tom Ricks when he was at the Post.

And saying John Nagl “wrote a book about counterinsurgency” is kind of an understatement–he wrote that book about soup, he co-authored FM 3-24 (link is to the foreword he wrote), and he ran CNAS for a while.

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2 responses to ““At West Point, Asking if a War Doctrine Was Worth It”

  1. I remember the article annoying me when I first read it, largely because of “too bad the article’s not any deeper.” It’s not a discussion that can be had in talking points – the subject is so complex, you can’t just gloss over it. Tomes have been written on whether or not war is worth, much rather a specific subset of war. Hell.

    I remember someone commenting on Doctrine Man that the timing of the article coinciding with a new book coming out was rather convenient.

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