Permissible Arms

Rather Late Monday Errata. (Still catching up.)

Posted in afghanistan, counterinsurgency, europe, isaf, islam, united states, us defense, us military by Karaka on 12 July 2010

A handful of links:

  • Paul McCleary has a good article on the Afghan NCOP and police forces: “And generally speaking,” [Ward] added, “when they’re partnered, we see the right kinds of behavior.” But the question is: what happens when they’re not partnered? Good question.
  • The NYT At War blog reviews reports on Afghan opinion polls. According to the findings, corruption remains the third-biggest concern to Afghans, following security and unemployment. One in seven adults experienced direct bribery in the past two years. The total of bribes paid by Afghans in 2009 added to roughly $1 billion, almost double the amount in 2007. The average bribe paid was $156. There are some nice charts, as well. How on earth does an average Afghan have $156 to burn on a bribe?
  • The Big Picture covers Afghanistan, June 2010. Quite frankly the best photojournalism column around. This gets my pick, though there are some truly awe-striking photos in this collection. There are at least three or four of Afghan girls and women, as well.

This June 4, 2010 picture shows the starry desert night over Camp Hansen at Marjah, in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Hyunsoo Leo Kim)

  • MikeF (hi Mike!) started a robust discussion of David Kilcullen’s Counterinsurgency at Small Wars Council worth your time; he very kindly posted links to Starbuck’s review and my own. Now that I’m a bit removed from my initial reactions to the book, I do think it has merit, certainly as an introduction to counterinsurgency as a practical concept and as a handy portable version of the doctrine, such as it is. I’m doing a re-read of “The Accidental Guerilla” at the moment, and I do think it’s interesting to see how Kilcullen’s ideas have shifted over time, as he’s gained more insight and experience. Still, as a whole book I do think it has some structural flaws. Well worth the $15 (₤10).
  • And also, h/t Starbuck for Bing West’s review of Counterinsurgency at the National Interest. I particularly liked this line: Stack plays Thomas Hobbes to Kilcullen’s John Locke. Very well put.
  • If you were as baffled by this whole Dave Weigel-getting-fired business as I was, check out this Diavlog with the man in question. (H/t Ackerman.)
  • CHUP on the burqa ban and fear. Such policies and practices, regardless if it means banning the burqa or banning criticism of it, are ultimately unproductive because it further polarizes the debate rather than resolving any of its underlying issues. Good discussion in the comments.
  • As you all surely know, Mattis is for CENTCOM which is an excellent power shuffle around the board. One might think his pass over for Commandant was orchestrated to get him into CENTCOM, if one was a particularly twitchy conspiracy theorist. Which I am not. For more on Mattis, AFJ has excerpts from Tom Ricks’ “Fiasco” available for ungated reading.
  • Paul Staniland recently did a guest post series at the Monkey Cage on how counterinsurgencies end. I wish they were all linked together, but if you have the time its worth poking around for them all.
  • Embedistan, also on the At War blog.
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5 Responses

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  1. Mike Few said, on 14 July 2010 at 10:12

    Hi Karaka. You need to get on Facebook so that you can read my COIN blog :). I’ve been promoting your blog. Waiting on your review of Restrepo. I should get to watch it next week.

    Best,

    Mike

    • Karaka said, on 14 July 2010 at 13:20

      Hi Mike! Facebook is the one social networking device I’m not at all interested in signing up for–not the least because it’s such a time suck!–but if your page is public, I’d love to go check it out if you’ll leave me a link.

      Restrepo comes out here on July 23rd, and I will be seeing it that evening. Review to shortly follow. I really can’t wait–it’s been a bit maddening to see so many others get to go more early than me!

  2. Mike Few said, on 14 July 2010 at 16:02

    I hear ya on the distraction of FB. It’s actually a welcome one for me while I’m either writing or editing papers. My page is private. I’m considering starting my own blog at some point. We’ll see. If I do, it’ll probably be more ecletic and encompass security issues, wicked problems, the utility of social justice, and random acts of good music and art. Take care, and I look forward to the review.

    After I watch the movie and read the book, I may start a thread on SWJ and incorporate your reviews.

  3. Karaka said, on 14 July 2010 at 18:22

    You know you’re more than welcome to guest post here, Mike, if you’d like. I’d be more than pleased if you wanted to use PA as a forum.

    I’d very much like to know what you thought of “War” once you’ve finished it.

  4. Mike Few said, on 15 July 2010 at 06:54

    Thanks Karaka. I’m working on a short essay on breaking out of a wicked problem using a current issue of educational reform in my hometown that may be worthy of Permissive Arms. I’ll let you know.


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