Books for the News, History, Politics and Current Events

The Petraeus plan

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According to the New York Times, in his testimony before Congress yesterday General Petraeus was clear in his assertion that the military must continue to play a vital role in the counterinsurgency operations in Iraq—and unfortunately for a much longer period of time than many might have hoped. But until the situation affords an opportunity for peace without military intervention the army must be able to find a way to adapt to one of the most entrenched and unconventional conflicts in U.S. military history. With a foreword written by Petraeus himself, the recently published U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual suggests a new set of tools and techniques to deal with modern counterinsurgency operations and represents a relevant, if not revolutionary, challenge to conventional U.S. military doctrine. A review of the book was published in the Chicago Tribune recently, testifying to the importance of its ideas in relation to the current conflict. Robert Bateman writes for the Tribune:

Doctrine is the written foundation upon which we as a nation organize, train and equip our forces to fight our wars. We are, it is rumored, currently at war, and the man who oversaw the creation of this manual is the same one now charged with running that war, Gen. David Petraeus, who is set to offer his assessment of the progress of that war next week. But because the military does not distribute doctrinal manuals to the general public, such material rarely reaches the average reader. By publishing the new Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Manual, the U. of C. is correcting that situation with this, probably the most important piece of doctrine written in the past 20 years.

The Manual also recently figured in to a critical but interesting piece by Tom Hayden for The Nation.
Read the first chapter of the book, “Paradoxes of Counterinsurgency Operations” and a foreword by Lt. Col. John A. Nagle.