The U.S. Is Again at Risk of Abandoning the Lessons of Counterinsurgency

A member of the 53rd Infantry Group undergoes mission readiness training in Ireland in preparation for the unit’s deployment to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, April 19, 2016 (Sipa USA photo by Artur Widak via AP Images).
A member of the 53rd Infantry Group undergoes mission readiness training in Ireland in preparation for the unit’s deployment to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, April 19, 2016 (Sipa USA photo by Artur Widak via AP Images).

After 9/11, the United States was thrown into a type of conflict that the U.S. military, intelligence community and Department of State all did not expect: large-scale counterinsurgency. The United States, particularly the military, had always been reluctant to take this on. Counterinsurgency is a politically and psychologically complex struggle that doesn’t play to America’s strength: morally unambiguous warfare where victory comes from creating the biggest and most powerful military, then winning battles until the enemy is crushed. Counterinsurgency often takes place in cultures and locations—remote villages, dense city streets—that Americans have a difficult time understanding. Despite the desire to […]

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