Best Practices in Counterinsurgency
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA DEPT OF NATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS
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We can discern best practices common to successful counterinsurgencies by studying the past centurys insurgent wars. Historical analysis helps us understand the nature and continuities of insurgencies over time and in various cultural, political, and geographic settings. While this does not produce a template solution to civil wars and insurrections, the sum of these experiences, judiciously and appropriately applied, might help Iraq defeat its insurgency. Nations on every continent have experienced or intervened in insurgencies. Not counting military coups and territorially defined civil wars, there are 17 insurgencies we can study closely and 36 others that include aspects we can consider. Assessment reveals which counterinsurgency practices were successful and which failed. A strategic victory does not validate all the victors operational and tactical methods or make them universally applicable, as Americas defeat in Vietnam and its success in El Salvador demonstrate. In both cases, learning more from ones mistakes than ones achievements is a valid axiom. If we were to combine all the successful operational practices from a century of counterinsurgent warfare, the summary would suggest a campaign outline to combat the insurgency in present-day Iraq.
- Unconventional Warfare