These are 4 grad school discussion responses that are due in increments, with the first question being due on the 17th. The professor will mark down responses if they are not concise and do not address the root of the question with sources. Responses must include AT LEAST 6 references after each question to be copy and pasted later (Chicago style, bibliography not required) and all references must include page number. Responses must be 600-700 words long not including references. The professor will mark down responses if they are not concise and do not address the root of the question with sources for justification. Sources are attached. Question 1 is due tomorrow evening (the 21st) and Question 2 is due the 23rd of Oct. This is a scholarly discussion and must avoid over opinionated sentences. Everything must be backed by factual information or references. I will attach a previous weeks questions as an example.
Question 1: What are Ucko’s major concerns with the dialog on COIN as it emerged in the wake of OEF and OIF?
Question 2: What was required for the US Army to “learn” counterinsurgency under General Petraeus? Using Ricks, Discuss the major issues before, during, and after Petraeus’ took command .
Week 12: Required Sources:
(Attached) Gian Gentile, The Wrong Turn: America’s Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency (New York: The New Press, 2013), 85-112.
Gentile is most pressing in the assigned chapter, claiming that, first, as we’ve read, the mono narrative on how COIN is employed is deeply flawed and dangerous, and, second, has created a false mythology around what in fact Petraeus did in Iraq compared to his predecessors. Follow his logic and evidence when reading Ricks and ask yourself how The Gamble holds up against Gentile’s scrutiny. Also, consider if Gentile himself is under the influence of undue bias, given his vehemence.
(Online) Thomas Ricks, The Gamble: General Petraeus and the American Military Adventure (New York: Penguin, 2010).
This is the second-part of Ricks’ bestselling investigative journalism into the Iraq War. Keep in mind our dialogues about the value of wartime adaptation when reading Ricks’ dialog on how a cadre of different influence eventually withstood the resistance of Bush’s chief advisors Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, and won presidential approval. Ricks covers various sectors of influence, as well as the usual realms of tactics and operations, and not without critique of US soldiers, politicians, and contractors, though without the same ire that infused Fiasco.
(Online) David Ucko, “COIN Gone Wild: Counterinsurgency as the Root of All Evil,” Small Wars and Insurgencies 25 1 (2014), 161-179.
Ucko offers something of a palate cleanser for what became an often bitter dialog on the role, value, and effectiveness of COIN. Ucko takes on both the “COINdanistas”, or die-hard champions of this approach to war, and the “conventional” critics who still view COIN as a cost-intensive waste of US resources in manpower that has always promised far more than it delivered, championed by intellectual zealots. To Ucko, both sides have become too polemic to be useful, and the relative value of COIN as idea and strategy has died in the crossfire. Which is a shame, since insurgencies and guerrilla campaigns have been perennial and have no clear end in sight. How the US must deal with those who threaten its citizens or national interest can’t be dismissed as an intellectual exercise, especially after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. After reading Gentile and Ricks, consider Ucko’s critique and of the steadfast approaches and if it seems valid.
QUESTION 1 For this question, select two readings of those listed that are not Gray- If one challenge in strategy is to gauge the capabilities and intent of the enemy, who, in fact, was the “enemy” in Afghanistan? What were their capabilities and limitations?
QUESTION 2 Within one remaining reading and Gray’s essay, how is the “enemy” portrayed as a concept? You can include limitations and capabilities, of course, but the focus here is on perception of them as people, a movement, a service, a group, and individuals? Consider Gray’s critique of US failures in cultural awareness.
Week 13 Sources
Sean Maloney, “Afghanistan: Not the War it Was” Policy Options (November 2010), 42-47.
Maloney, the first Canadian historian to follow the army into war since Korea, offers how the Taliban went from ousted power players in Afghanistan and became a resurgent enemy. Maloney’s tone may be combative, but he provides an important counterpoint to much of the American writing on Afghanistan, all seen through the lens of Iraq as the most “important” war. Pay attention to the shifting importance due to US involvement compared to our readings on Iraq.
James A. Russell, “Counterinsurgency American Style: Considering David Petraeus and Twenty-First Century Irregular War,” Small Wars and Insurgencies 25 1 (May 2014), 69-90.
Russell attempts to explain the “rise and fall” of General David Petraeus, and explain his influence. For our purposes, however, Russell’s greatest asset is in discussing the role of Petraeus as a “maverick” within irregular conflicts in foreign lands, where working with the populace carried with it the threat of imperialist tendencies and reverberations for the host nations. Keep in mind Russell’s goals and choice of language to frame this dynamic, including “bending the will” of domestic populations as a modern variant of “winning hearts and minds,” and ask how this reflects his arguments on Petraeus working within an older imperial traditions that Americans often resist.
Colin Gray, ”Irregular Enemies and the Essence of Strategy: Can the American Way of War Adapt?” SSI Publication (2006), 1-71.
Gray offers a very detailed view of the uniquely American problems in developing strategy against irregular foes. Grey, himself part of the RMA dialogues of the 1990s, makes a cogent, if a tad strident, argument for the generally held consensus on American use of technology and firepower at the expense of detailed knowledge of culture and general fear of casualties. While reading his work, ask if this deficiency is echoed in the work of others and if, indeed, these issues are uniquely American (consider the “Cult of the Offensive”).
Sarah Chayes, “Vertically Integrated Criminal Syndicates: Kabul, Garmisch, 2009-2010” (New York: W. W. Norton, 2015). 58-66.
Chayes had a unique career in Afghanistan as a civic rights activist, business woman, and eventually advisor to three NATO generals and special advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This chapter involves uncovering the systemic nature of corruption between Afghan warlords and the government in Kabul, and how fighting corruption took a backseat to counter terrorist operations. Thus, here we have a case study on US military forces resisting their own data, and a larger question of the tools of influence required with a client state or junior alley whose internal politics are a direct contribution to the enemy.
Gian Gentile, “Afghanistan: Another Better War that Wasn’t,” Wrong Turn: America’s Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency (New York: The New Press, 2013)113-136.
Gentile’s final dialog employs the same critique to the COIN monomyth, and follows the critique with a final note on Afghanistan. By now, you will have formed your own opinion on Gentile’s arguments, but consider: part of his critique is the unique nature of each insurgency, so how different is his understanding or critique of each insurgency as opposed to the commonalities he’s been tracing. Indeed, how well are the goals, structure, and function of the enemy spelled out?
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