When Faith in COIN Becomes Certainty

For some reason, this sentence from the CNAS report (.pdf) on Afghanistan and Pakistan that I wrote up yesterday kept rattling around the cranium: But because populations in civil wars tend to side with whichever group exercises control, protecting the population must take precedence over all other considerations. That sums up in a nutshell the central premise of COIN doctrine, from which all of its operational priorities are derived. Now, to be very clear, unlike Michael Cohen, I think that the COIN doctrine represents an enormous advance in the U.S. approach to warfare, both strategically and politically. Strategically, it represents […]

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