With large-scale U.S. military involvement in Iraq receding in the rearview mirror, and Afghanistan soon to follow, debate is raging over the lessons Americans should draw from a decade of counterinsurgency. This debate is unfolding in a wide range of contexts and from many perspectives. Of these, one of the most important is a re-examination of American civil-military relations, especially the involvement of senior military leaders in building and sustaining public support for counterinsurgency campaigns like those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In the traditional model of American civil-military relations, civilian officials develop broad national policy, then build and sustain public support for it. Uniformed military leaders offer private advice to civilian policymakers, but they do not actually formulate national policy, publicly advocate for a particular policy option or play a major role in selling policy to the public or Congress. Historically, military leaders who openly advocated policies other than the official one found themselves relieved or at least reined in. Their job was to provide quiet counsel and then to execute decisions made by the president and his top civilian advisers. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $11.99 monthly or $94.99/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Islamic State Threat Puts Independence on Hold for Iraq’s Kurds
- In Fight Against Islamic State, Iraqi Kurds Are Problematic Partners
- Diplomatic Fallout: Having Tried Hope, Obama Turns to Fear to Reaffirm U.S. Power
- Strategic Horizons: Assessing Obama’s Legacy in National Security Policy
- The Realist Prism: Though Politically Attractive, U.S. ‘Train and Equip’ Missions Often Disappoint