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Reinventing the wheel

A few of us were around the last time this nation jumped on the counterinsurgency bandwagon. If you were in the Army or Marines in the 1965-1975 time frame, you know that every school and every extension training source had twenty or thirty courses on counterinsurgency and internal defense development. It's easy to gauge how successful our counterinsurgency was in Vietnam. In fact, with the exception of the British operations in Malaysia in the early Fifties, history is rather empty when it comes to successful, third-nation supported counterinsurgencies. (And one can argue that the Malayan Federation, still officially under British protection prior to full independence, wasn't a true third-party operation. The Malaysians were quite used to them being there.) Whether you love Rush Limbaugh or hate him, it's hard to argue with one of his most brilliant (and blatant) observations: "The military is here to kill people and break things." The military is not here to serve as target duty in some half-hearted effort that often requires retreat when the killing starts. We've been involved in the Afghan insurgency for over eight years, and the Iraqi insurgency for over six. Our results to date are a Taliban that is nearly as strong as it was eight years ago when the Rangers first landed. We've had hundreds of Iraqis killed by insurgents just this week. Considering all that, the lieutenant would be far better off concentrating on "kicking butt"....if he was allowed to. After all, it's not his fault that he has to take orders passed down from civilian politicians who have no idea what they're doing when it comes to warfighting.


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