'The challenge now ...'
Harvard's Samantha Power reviews four books
on war and terrorism -- but it's really a long and convincing essay on how we need to change strategy in our fight against terrorists. Surprisingly (and refreshingly), the first book she reviews is the new U.S. ARMY/MARINE CORPS COUNTERINSURGENCY FIELD MANUAL -- and that brings up a pet peeve of mine: No matter how many troops we might have sent into Iraq in 2003, they probably wouldn't have done any good because, incredibly, the Pentagon virtually had no counterinsurgency strategy in place to effectively smother an insurgency in its early stages. The reason why Power is rightly impressed with the manual, published last year, is that it shows the military, belatedly, has come to realize that 'counterintuitive' methods are needed to defeat terrorists and insurgents -- while not antagonizing civilians with heavy-handed military strikes. Power is both tough-minded about fighting terrorists -- and worried that the Bush administration's blunders have sapped the will of the American people. Power on Bush's refusal to change fundamental strategy and ask for sacrifices from the American people:
The effect of such an attitude is not simply that the American military will continue to bear the lion’s share of the national security burden — a burden, the Counterinsurgency Field Manual practically screams out, the military cannot meet alone. It is that the American public, with little faith in the credibility of the government’s claims, may deny even cleareyed leaders the resources they need to meet the complex demands of neutralizing modern threats.
On related matters: According to Strategy Page
, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is highly unpopular in Iran -- and may be looking for a way to provoke the U.S. into military action to build national support. Will the U.S. take the bait? We effectively did in Iraq. We shouldn't in Iran. But I fear the administration isn't very good at learning from mistakes, let alone acknowledging mistakes. ... HT to Glenn
on Strategy Page.Update
-- According to her Harvard bio
, Power used to work in the office of Sen. Barack Obama. Which makes me rethink a bit my skepticism of Obama.