Friday September 21 2007

David Galula

  • French army officer
  • fought in WWII, Vietnam and Algeria
  • wrote Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory & Practice
  • Galula and colleagues were some of the worlds most prepared generals.
  • he dealt with urban insurgents in Algeria
  • he dealt with communist insurgents in Vietnam

what is the role of civilians in COIN?

Two Models of COIN

1. French

2. Anglo Americans

1. french

  • Vietnam and Algeria
  • often associated with defeat b/c the country lost almost every war it fought

2. Anglo American

  • Malaya and Kenya
  • associated with victory b/c it almost one every victory
  • victory was achieved through hearts and minds
  • civil liberties, casualties, and due process are not abandoned in war
  • idealistic: British actions in Kenya were better characterized by the french model
  • Throughout 1950s and 60s the argument b/w two models of how you deal with insurgent operations reverberated in these operations
  • ‧ French model was
  • o Created divide b/w mainland and insurgent fighters; the army was split – two French armies: elite and mass army
  • ‧ As war dragged on, intra-military fissures grew and ultimately resulted in a coup against the government of France
  • ‧ 1961 of old Sherman tanks being towed on the champs-elysees to protect capital
  • ‧ French army tried to overthrow the state only 45 years ago!

How far will we go to win a war:

  • concentration camp
  • death squad
  • assasination
  • torture

European fear of Muslim is bone-deep
rooted in the historical conflict b/w Europe and Islam;
Islam had been "predatorial" to Europe

Galula' Prerequisites:

  • Cause
  • Geography
  • Outside Support

Insurgent Doctrine: Orthodox
1. Party
2. United front
3. Guerrilla
Conventional War

1. Terrorism (mass)
2. Terrorism (selective)
3. Terrorism

people are most likely to be ambushed in the morning
this is b/c it is when people are the most cognitively slack and likely to form habits
attackers can best reach you at the first intersection where you'll arrive in the morning>
removing the intersection removes your options for escape plans

  • one of the greatest restrictions facing combatants is that they have to think with no time
  • it is a live or die situation which provides minimal time for prospective thinking.


  • however, isn't a definitive trait of a soldier not to think and only to react.
  • be it a reaction to an order or a rehersed instinctive action

Demonstration effect

  • after a few deaths the army is much more suspicious and much less inclined to risk life on giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  • for example:


  • contracters are despised by army whereas military soldiers are feared
  • Reliance on contractors is new (presence of contractors is not new);
  • contractors are subject to the universal military code of justice
  • Congress passed legislation requiring the Pentagon to extend the code of justice to contractors
  • Blackwater's primary client is the Department of State;
  • it regulates what blackwater can do in service to a particular mission (ie – they can not carry explosives);
  • this is a significant restriction b/c they do not have the air support of the US military at their disposal
  • If you need a service provided quickly,
  • often the only way you will be able to do it is to go via the private sector;
  • you will not always have the option of going with a civil service
  • Esp if you are in a hurry you might not have time to set up oversight, negotiate best contract, etc.
  • One of the realities in war is that you almost never have any time.

isn't this ideological though (neoliberal perhaps)
on the other hand I guess the private sector can be less bureaucratic
but bureaucracy serves a function - oversight
why can't governments through bureaucracy to the (war measures act anyone?)

quote of the week
"Iraq is like Toronto with guns."

covering your ass

  • That is why professional bureaucrats are so careful w/sticking to the rules
  • b/c they are so easy to be fired; they are gambling w/their careers
  • Having a mortgage or kid changes your risk calculus in life;
  • shows why bureaucrats are so reluctant to veer away from established procedures

Peace Dividend theory

  • the military was demobilized after the cold war
  • budgets were slashed
  • this left us unprepared for Iraq
  • hindsight is 20/20 you can't look back and say we shouldn't have cut the budget
  • the peace dividend did some wonderful things
  • the price of not being prepared for the current war was worth the benefits of the dividend
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