Wizards of Oz

"Life is fraughtless ... when you're thoughtless."


A fresh perspective on Iraq

David Kilcullen's recent post at Small Wars Journal, "Understanding Current Operations in Iraq," provides a ground-eye perspective on "the surge" -- and a frank appraisal of GEN Petraeus's strategy. David, the Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor for Multinational Force-Iraq, underscores the shift in focus from an attritionist, "2nd generation warfare" approach (i.e., kill insurgents) to a population-based approach that seeks to deny insurgents sanctuary.

Some may view his comments on "positioning" as an attempt to justify lack of perceived progress to date, while others may profess skepticism at the willingness of the Iraqis to accept increased U.S. presence in their neighborhoods.

But David's article also raises substantive ideas that will enrich our popular understanding of counterinsurgency. In particular, his grasp of our own limitations in contending with a "fluid" adversary -- and that opponent's dependence on the fixed elements of Iraqi society -- are important for an honest appraisal of GEN Petraeus's success come September.

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