January 27 2014
photo by Capt. John Landry/U.S. Army
This commentary appeared on War on the Rocks on January 24, 2014.
The legacy and future of American counterinsurgency remains perhaps the most contentious issue in contemporary military affairs. Many punches have been thrown in this raucous debate in key online publications, most notably Small Wars Journal, the late Abu Muqawama, and here at War on the Rocks. WOTR's Mark Stout caused quite a stir with his article on “Why the Counterinsurgency Debate Must Go On.” Critics focused their fire and ire on his caution that the Army must not do what it did after the Philippine Insurrection and the Vietnam War, when it “consciously decided to forget. It locked the records away and pretended that nothing had ever happened.”
How did the Army deal with the Vietnam War? And how did this experience inform the controversial Field Manual 3-24: Counterinsurgency (FM 3-24)? These are questions with which I have some personal experience from my career as an Army officer. These questions have also framed my research as a historian in the Army and at RAND....
The remainder of this commentary is available at warontherocks.com.