29 May 2009

Limits of counterinsurgency

It's a long post, but really well worth reading; however:
In direct opposition to the ideas that drove American intervention policy two decades ago, Kilcullen suggests ‘the anti-Powell doctrine’ for counter-insurgency campaigns.

* First, planners should select the lightest, most indirect and least intrusive form of intervention that will achieve the necessary effect.
* Second, policy-makers should work by, with, and through partnerships with local government administrators, civil society leaders, and local security forces whenever possible.
* Third, whenever possible, civilian agencies are preferable to military intervention forces, local nationals to international forces, and long-term, low-profile engagement to short-term, high-profile intervention.

An editorial comment on the third point. That will be impractical until someone gets the interagency operations going effectively. The reason the military is preferred is because asking for civilian help that involves planning is an invitation to a bureaucratic catfight.