As I was checking my email, I looked at my linkedIn discussions, a title hooked me in from the US Army Armor and Cavalry group. The discussion is about the “Myth of the Savior Generals” and the adoption of counter-insurgency tactics and how General Petraeus became that savior. As you dig deeper into the review of COL Gian Gentile’s book on his use of Counter-Insurgency doctrine:
Then-Lt. Col. Gentile referred to FM 3-24 as a “superb piece of doctrinal writing”, and felt that its middle chapters were particularly useful for commanders in Iraq. However, he heaped scorn upon a section of the book involving “paradoxes” of counterinsurgency, a concern he reiterates in his 2013 book. Chief among his complaints was—and still is—that FM 3-24 downplays the use of force. He scoffs at FM 3-24’s maxims that “tactical success guarantees nothing” and that “some of the best weapons don’t shoot.”
The review can be read here.. What I don’t understand in FM 3-24, like COL Gentile, is why it downplays the use of force when fighting insurgents. I understand we have to win the people, however, I can point to numerous instances where we used much harder tactics and had greater results, Philippine Insurrection, the Indian Wars, the British in Malaya. It just takes me back to conference I attended back in 2009 during my exchange at ESM-St Cyr when Dr. Daniel Marston took the podium. Dr. Marston spoke about how in the ‘profession of arms’ we always tend to forget how to fight insurgents when we’ve fought insurgencies multiple times in our separate histories.