In 2008, U.S. and Iraqi forces defeated an uprising in Sadr City, a district of Baghdad with ~2.4 million residents. Coalition forces’ success in this battle helped consolidate the Government of Iraq’s authority, contributing significantly to the attainment of contemporary U.S. operational objectives in Iraq. U.S. forces’ conduct of the battle illustrates a new paradigm for urban combat and indicates capabilities the Army will need in the future.
Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency
Edited by John D. Kelly, Beatrice Jauregui, Sean T. Mitchell, and Jeremy Walton University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress GN560.U6A58 2010 | Dewey Decimal 306.270973
Global events of the early twenty-first century have placed new stress on the relationship among anthropology, governance, and war. Facing prolonged insurgency, segments of the U.S. military have taken a new interest in anthropology, prompting intense ethical and scholarly debate. Inspired by these issues, the essays in Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency consider how anthropologists can, should, and do respond to military overtures, and they articulate anthropological perspectives on global war and power relations.
This book investigates the shifting boundaries between military and civil state violence; perceptions and effects of American power around the globe; the history of counterinsurgency doctrine and practice; and debate over culture, knowledge, and conscience in counterinsurgency. These wide-ranging essays shed new light on the fraught world of Pax Americana and on the ethical and political dilemmas faced by anthropologists and military personnel alike when attempting to understand and intervene in our world.
In 1970 a coalition of student activists opposing the Vietnam War circulated documents revealing the involvement of several prominent social scientists in U.S. counterinsurgency activities in Thailand—activities that could cause harm to the people who were the subject of the scholars’ research. The disclosure of these materials, which detailed meetings with the Agency for International Development and the Defense Department, prompted two members of the Ethics Committee of the American Anthropological Association to issue an unauthorized rebuke of the accused. Over the next two years, the AAA agonized over the allegations and the appropriate response to them. Within an academic community already polarized by the war, political and professional acrimony reached unprecedented levels. Although the association ultimately passed a code of ethics, the key issues raised in the process were never fully resolved.
Now back in print, Eric Wakin's Anthropology Goes to War is the first comprehensive study of what became known as the Thailand Controversy—and a timely reminder of a debate whose echoes may be heard in our own time.
Ariel Armony focuses, in this study, on the role played by Argentina in the anti–Communist crusade in Central America. This systematic examination of Argentina’s involvement in the Central American drama of the late 1970s and early 1980s fine–tunes our knowledge of a major episode of the Cold War era.
Basing his study on exhaustive research in the United States, Argentina, and Nicaragua, Armony adroitly demolishes several key assumptions that have shaped the work of scholars in U.S. foreign policy, Argentine military politics, and Central American affairs.
In A Century of Violence in a Red City Lesley Gill provides insights into broad trends of global capitalist development, class disenfranchisement and dispossession, and the decline of progressive politics. Gill traces the rise and fall of the strong labor unions, neighborhood organizations, and working class of Barrancabermeja, Colombia, from their origins in the 1920s to their effective activism for agrarian reforms, labor rights, and social programs in the 1960s and 1970s. Like much of Colombia, Barrancabermeja came to be dominated by alliances of right-wing politicians, drug traffickers, foreign corporations, and paramilitary groups. These alliances reshaped the geography of power and gave rise to a pernicious form of armed neoliberalism. Their violent incursion into Barrancabermeja's civil society beginning in the 1980s decimated the city's social networks, destabilized life for its residents, and destroyed its working-class organizations. As a result, community leaders are now left clinging to the toothless discourse of human rights, which cannot effectively challenge the status quo. In this stark book, Gill captures the grim reality and precarious future of Barrancabermeja and other places ravaged by neoliberalism and violence.
Collusion by British state forces in killings perpetrated by loyalist paramilitaries was a dubious hallmark of the ‘dirty war’ in the north of Ireland. Now, more than twenty years since the Good Friday Agreement, the story of collusion remains one of the most enduring and contentious legacies of the conflict, a shadow that trails British counterinsurgency to this day.
Here Mark McGovern turns back the clock to the late 1980s and early ‘90s—the ‘endgame’ of the Troubles and a period defined by a rash of state-sanctioned paramilitary killings. Drawing on previously unpublished evidence, and original testimony of victims’ families and eyewitnesses, McGovern examines several dozen killings of republicans and their families and communities that took place in the Mid-Ulster area. Placing these accounts within a wider critical analysis of the nature of British counterinsurgency and the state use of agents and informers, McGovern paints a damning picture of covert, deniable, and unlawful violence.
This report analyzes the U.S. and allied campaign against the al Qa’ida–linked terrorist group al Shabaab in Somalia, examines what steps have been most successful against the group, and identifies potential recommendations. It concludes that, while al Shaba'ab was weakened between 2011 and 2016, the group could resurge if urgent steps are not taken to address the political, economic, and governance challenges at the heart of the conflict.
Following the invasion of Iraq in 2003 the U.S. military found itself in a battle with a lethal and adaptive insurgency, where the divisions between enemy and ally were ambiguous at best, and working with the local population was essential for day-to-day survival. From the lessons they learned during multiple tours of duty in Iraq, two American veterans have penned The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa, an instructional parable of counterinsurgency that addresses the myriad of difficulties associated with war in the postmodern era.
In this tactical primer based on the military classic The Defence of Duffer’s Drift, a young officer deployed for the first time in Iraq receives ground-level lessons about urban combat, communications technology, and high-powered weaponry in an environment where policy meets reality. Over the course of six dreams, the inexperienced soldier fights the same battle again and again, learning each time—the hard way—which false assumptions and misconceptions he needs to discard in order to help his men avoid being killed or captured. As the protagonist struggles with his missions and grapples with the consequences of his mistakes, he develops a keen understanding of counterinsurgency fundamentals and the potential pitfalls of working with the native population.
Accompanied here by the original novella that inspired it, The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa offers an invaluable resource for cadets and junior military leaders seeking to master counterinsurgency warfare—as well as general readers seeking a deeper understanding of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just as its predecessor has been a hallmark of military instruction, The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa will draw the road map for counterinsurgency in the postmodern world.
"A sophisticated and persuasive late-modernist political analysis that consistently draws the reader into the narratives of the author and those of the people of violence in Northern Ireland to whom he talked. . . . Simply put, this book is a feast for the intellect"—Thomas M. Wilson, American Anthropologist
"One of the best books to have been written on Northern Ireland. . . . A highly imagination and significant book. Formations of Violence is an important addition to the literature on political violence."—David E. Schmitt, American Political Science Review
Brand warfare is real. Guerrilla Marketing details the Colombian government’s efforts to transform Marxist guerrilla fighters in the FARC into consumer citizens. Alexander L. Fattal shows how the market has become one of the principal grounds on which counterinsurgency warfare is waged and postconflict futures are imagined in Colombia. This layered case study illuminates a larger phenomenon: the convergence of marketing and militarism in the twenty-first century. Taking a global view of information warfare, Guerrilla Marketing combines archival research and extensive fieldwork not just with the Colombian Ministry of Defense and former rebel communities, but also with political exiles in Sweden and peace negotiators in Havana. Throughout, Fattal deftly intertwines insights into the modern surveillance state, peace and conflict studies, and humanitarian interventions, on one hand, with critical engagements with marketing, consumer culture, and late capitalism on the other. The result is a powerful analysis of the intersection of conflict and consumerism in a world where governance is increasingly structured by brand ideology and wars sold as humanitarian interventions.
Full of rich, unforgettable ethnographic stories, Guerrilla Marketing is a stunning and troubling analysis of the mediation of global conflict.
Invariably, armies are accused of preparing to fight the previous war. In Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife, Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl—a veteran of both Operation Desert Storm and the current conflict in Iraq—considers the now-crucial question of how armies adapt to changing circumstances during the course of conflicts for which they are initially unprepared. Through the use of archival sources and interviews with participants in both engagements, Nagl compares the development of counterinsurgency doctrine and practice in the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960 with what developed in the Vietnam War from 1950 to 1975.
In examining these two events, Nagl—the subject of a recent New York Times Magazine cover story by Peter Maass—argues that organizational culture is key to the ability to learn from unanticipated conditions, a variable which explains why the British army successfully conducted counterinsurgency in Malaya but why the American army failed to do so in Vietnam, treating the war instead as a conventional conflict. Nagl concludes that the British army, because of its role as a colonial police force and the organizational characteristics created by its history and national culture, was better able to quickly learn and apply the lessons of counterinsurgency during the course of the Malayan Emergency.
With a new preface reflecting on the author's combat experience in Iraq, Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife is a timely examination of the lessons of previous counterinsurgency campaigns that will be hailed by both military leaders and interested civilians.
Lifting the Fog of Peace puts the U.S. military’s frustrating experiences in Iraq into context and reveals how the military was able to turn the tide during the so-called surge in 2007–8.“Lifting the Fog of Peace is a captivating study of an agile and adaptive military evolving through the chaos of the post-9/11 world. In what is certain to be regarded as the definitive analysis of the reshaping of American combat power in the face of a complex and uncertain future, Dr. Janine Davidson firmly establishes herself as a rising intellectual star in government and politics. A thoroughly captivating study of organizational learning and adaptation—a ‘must read’ for leaders in every field.”
—LTG William B. Caldwell IV, Commanding General, NATO Training Mission—Afghanistan “In Lifting the Fog of Peace, Dr. Janine Davidson explains how the American military has adapted itself to succeed in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that are the most likely future face of combat. The book is informed by her experience of these wars in the Department of Defense, where she now plays a critical role in continuing the process of learning that has so visibly marked the military’s performance in today’s wars. Highly recommended.”
—John A. Nagl, President, Center for a New American Security“. . . a ‘must read’ on the E-Ring of the Pentagon and in security studies programs across the nation.”
—Joseph J. Collins, Professor, National War College, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Stability Operations
Confronting insurgent violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military has recognized the need to “re-learn” counterinsurgency. But how has the Department of Defense with its mixed efforts responded to this new strategic environment? Has it learned anything from past failures?
In The New Counterinsurgency Era, David Ucko examines DoD’s institutional obstacles and initially slow response to a changing strategic reality. Ucko also suggests how the military can better prepare for the unique challenges of modern warfare, where it is charged with everything from providing security to supporting reconstruction to establishing basic governance—all while stabilizing conquered territory and engaging with local populations. After briefly surveying the history of American counterinsurgency operations, Ucko focuses on measures the military has taken since 2001 to relearn old lessons about counterinsurgency, to improve its ability to conduct stability operations, to change the institutional bias against counterinsurgency, and to account for successes gained from the learning process.
Given the effectiveness of insurgent tactics, the frequency of operations aimed at building local capacity, and the danger of ungoverned spaces acting as havens for hostile groups, the military must acquire new skills to confront irregular threats in future wars. Ucko clearly shows that the opportunity to come to grips with counterinsurgency is matched in magnitude only by the cost of failing to do so.
Pakistan, which since 9/11 has come to be seen as one of the world’s most dangerous places and has been referred to as “the epicenter of international terrorism,” faces an acute counterterrorism (CT) challenge. The book focuses on violence being perpetrated against the Pakistani state by Islamist groups and how Pakistan can address these challenges, concentrating not only on military aspects but on the often-ignored political, legal, law enforcement, financial, and technological facets of the challenge.
Edited by Moeed Yusuf of the US Institute of Peace, and featuring the contributions and insights of Pakistani policy practitioners and scholars as well as international specialists with deep expertise in the region, the volume explores the current debate surrounding Pakistan’s ability—and incentives—to crack down on Islamist terrorism and provides an in-depth examination of the multiple facets of this existential threat confronting the Pakistani state and people.
The book pays special attention to the non-traditional functions of force that are central to Pakistan’s ability to subdue militancy but which have not received the deserved attention from the Pakistani state nor from western experts. In particular, this path-breaking volume, the first to explore these various facets holistically, focuses on the weakness of political institutions, the role of policing, criminal justice systems, choking financing for militancy, and regulating the use of media and technology by militants. Military force alone, also examined in this volume, will not solve Pakistan’s Islamist challenge. With original insights and attention to detail, the authors provide a roadmap for Western and Pakistani policymakers alike to address the weaknesses in Pakistan’s CT strategy.
When the U.S. military invaded Iraq, it lacked a common understanding of the problems inherent in counterinsurgency campaigns. It had neither studied them, nor developed doctrine and tactics to deal with them. It is fair to say that in 2003, most Army officers knew more about the U.S. Civil War than they did about counterinsurgency.
The U.S. Army / Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual was written to fill that void. The result of unprecedented collaboration among top U.S. military experts, scholars, and practitioners in the field, the manual espouses an approach to combat that emphasizes constant adaptation and learning, the importance of decentralized decision-making, the need to understand local politics and customs, and the key role of intelligence in winning the support of the population. The manual also emphasizes the paradoxical and often counterintuitive nature of counterinsurgency operations: sometimes the more you protect your forces, the less secure you are; sometimes the more force you use, the less effective it is; sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction.
An new introduction by Sarah Sewall, director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, places the manual in critical and historical perspective, explaining the significance and potential impact of this revolutionary challenge to conventional U.S. military doctrine.
An attempt by our military to redefine itself in the aftermath of 9/11 and the new world of international terrorism, The U.S. Army / Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual will play a vital role in American military campaigns for years to come.
The University of Chicago Press will donate a portion of the proceeds from this book to the Fisher House Foundation, a private-public partnership that supports the families of America’s injured servicemen. To learn more about the Fisher House Foundation, visit www.fisherhouse.org.
This report examines the 14-year experience of U.S. special operations forces in the Philippines from 2001 through 2014 and the activities and effects of special operations capabilities employed to address terrorist threats in Operation Enduring Freedom—Philippines through training and equipping Philippine security forces, providing operational advice and assistance, and conducting civil–military and information operations.