Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A Non Report Card On The War

Interesting article at Defense and the National interest discusses a presentation by LTC Kilcullen, the Ozzie wunderkind of counterinsurgency. The article author, Fabius Maximus (for any neocons reading, that's a pseudonym)thinks the light colonel is explaining to his audience why we are losing even though that is not his stated purpose.

Anyway, Fab gives us the goods:

A well-intended but colonial attitude might be unavoidable in these wars. In Vietnam we spoke highly of our loyal South Vietnamese allies, our “little brown brothers.” Forty years later we treat the Iraq government with a similar friendly contempt, which its own people see and imitate. Their rebellion to foreign occupiers (like us) is a natural, if counter-productive result.

He describes a “Kiss of Death” syndrome” on slide 22. This powerful label also applies to our relationship with local governments under current COIN doctrine when we get too helpful. We take control, which diminishes the government’s legitimacy, which strengthens the insurgency, which incites us to try harder, which starts another cycle.

The government becomes seen by many of its own people as lackeys or even quislings, only regaining legitimacy by opposing us – as they do today over symbolic issues like the role of Blackwater, or passive aggressive behavior (e.g., failure to pass the oil exploitation legislation we require).

I think that "Only gaining legitimacy by opposing us" says a mouthful.

Fab wonders if Kilcullen is having his audience on. I hope he is as the alternative is that a very smart man is intentionally stupid.


Fabius Maximus said...

Thanks for the post. Kilcullen is a perfect figure to watch in this war, both by training and position.

Also interesting will be his war memoirs, where we will learn what he really thought while on Gernal P's staff.

Joseph Moroco said...

Hey Fab,

Thanks for reading.