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Abu Muqawama: Special Forces, or the Danger of Even a Lot of Knowledge

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A few weeks ago, when I started this series of columns on the perils of the special operationalization of U.S. national security policy, I briefly argued that U.S. special operations forces are often not as good as they or their commanders believe them to be. I worried about a young Special Forces officer with six months of Arabic convincing himself he was “Sir Richard Burton in a green beret.”

Some of my friends in the U.S. Army Special Forces demanded to know why I was picking on them, while others suggested my own service in the 75th Ranger Regiment explained my obvious bias against “indirect” special operations forces. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and in this column, I will expand on why both special operations forces and their commanders should be more humble about what these forces can and cannot do in complex operational environments. ...

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