"…the problem with the critics' argument is that, while the strategy they oppose has yet to be tried, the alternatives they suggest already have been — and they led to failure in both Afghanistan and Iraq. For years, U.S. commanders in both countries focused on killing insurgents and minimizing the numbers and exposure of U.S. troops rather than pacifying the country. The result was that violence in both countries steadily grew, until a counterinsurgency strategy was applied to Iraq in 2007." Washpost editorial.
The interests of the reigning generals, the neocons and the Brothers of the Order of Counterinsurgency at CNAS are coming together now. The mechanisms for propagation of the faith in COIN as a vehicle for the program of the AEI crowd are widespread. Among them are internal blockage of access to blogs like this one by the armed forces, exclusion from the main stream media of dissenting voices and the editorial page of the Washington Post.
In its lead editorial today, the Washington Post distorts the history of what happened in Iraq. It claims that the security situation in Iraq was improved by the adoption of "a counterinsurgency strategy." This implies that "pacifying the country" did the trick in Iraq. Where did that happen? What was the mechanism? 20,000 more US troops and a lot of walls dividing up neighborhoods in Baghdad, was that what did the trick? Was it a marked improvement in governance by the Baghdad government?
What did the trick was that the US adopted the strategy of "renting" enough Sunni Arab insurgents to isolate the international Sunni terrorists associated with al-qa'ida These same "rented" former insurgents were then used to destroy the terrorists. This effort was a supplement to the work that McChrystal's former counter-terrorist comando command was already doing. This was a modern application of very old and traditional "divide and conquer" methods that have been in use since time immemorial in that part of the world. It had nothing to do with application of the mystical magic of COIN style "pacification."
The Post's editorial is evidence of a continuing establishment inability to deal with the nasty realities of war in the backwoods and deserts of the Islamic World. pl