In-Stride Book Review: Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War

I’m knee-deep in this book and am having a hard time putting it down. It is precisely what I thought it would be– an objective look at who Collins was (but not a biography), what he did and how he did it. And it is fascinating. The book is (attention VMI Warrior) mercifully free of any attachment to or bias against the central figure; I have yet to get the sense that he author cares one way or the other about Ireland’s struggle against the British. The author– a long serving intelligence officer– does however, have a clear professional regard […]


  What, indeed? F the green beer and the BS parades, let’s talk real Irish matters. Anyone read these books, or related ones? Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure The Squad: and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins Good topic to discuss. *** UPDATE *** By way of WRSA, this: In this celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day, we should reflect on the liberation of Ireland at the beginning of the twentieth century as a demonstration project of how it is done. Michael Collins would play a larger than life role in bringing this divorce in the court […]

Food For Thought: Reflections on Counter-Insurgency

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 […]

ISAF Clarifies Statement (?)

“ISAF clarifies information on partnering with ANSF:” KABUL, Afghanistan (Sept. 18, 2012) — Recent media coverage regarding a change in ISAF’s model of Security Force Assistance (SFA) to the Afghan National Security Forces is not accurate. ISAF remains absolutely committed to partnering with, training, advising and assisting our ANSF counterparts. The ISAF SFA model is focused at the battalion level and above, with exceptions approved by senior commanders. Partnering occurs at all levels, from Platoon to Corps. This has not changed. In response to elevated threat levels resulting from the “Innocence of Muslims” video, ISAF has taken some prudent, but temporary […]

We All Should Be Humble

First let me say this, I am glad that Bin Laden is dead.  I also glad, that our nation has men, like the SEALS, Delta, SF, Rangers, and Nightstalkers who do those thing that would make the average citizen recoil in horror.  We need men like this, for there are those whose agenda is to destroy our nation, there is no changing their minds, they are evil, and there is only one recourse—death. What I do find disturbing is the celebration of OBL death.  Most who were chanting and celebrating would never in their wildest dreams volunteer to join the […]

Afghanistan: Winning or Losing? One Marine Speaks

A few days ago I asked my good friend and fellow Marine, commenter “Cracker Iota,” if we were winning or losing in Afghanistan. He gave a quick, “Winning, but…” and promised more. This is his full response: “First the good news: We – the US, the coalition, NATO (i.e. ISAF and IJC) are winning. Period. The COIN fight is going well (if continually hard fought); the ANSF are starting to step up; the coalition is kicking ass (especially the Anglosphere). [GEN Petraeus] seems preternaturally able to go from theater-level strategic issues to instantly able to track and address concerns on […]

Turning a Corner in Sangin?

Scroll down for an update… Could be. “KABUL, Afghanistan — The leaders of the largest tribe in a Taliban stronghold in southern Helmand province have pledged to halt insurgent attacks and expel foreign fighters from one of the most violent spots in the country, the senior U.S. Marine general in Afghanistan said Monday. “Marine Maj. Gen. Richard Mills, who commands coalition forces in the southwest, said the deal was struck between local elders in the Sangin district and Helmand Governor Gulabuddin Mangal with the consultation of coalition forces. The area has witnessed some of the heaviest fighting of the war.” […]


Who knew?? :-)

A Few More Steps Forward…

With the mission of training the Afghan police: “KABUL – The program to train the Afghan security forces has been transformed over the past year, but a shortfall of nearly 1,000 NATO trainers, as well as high dropout rates among some police units, continue to hinder their development, U.S. and Afghan officials said Monday. “At a ceremony in Kabul marking the one-year anniversary of NATO’s training command, senior commanders outlined the progress they’ve made while asking for patience in the process to build up the Afghan army and police forces. “Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, the commander of the training effort, […]

"Strike and Destroy"

Back in September we began discussion of the allegations that soldiers from the 5th Stryker BCT killed Afghan civilians for shits and grins. I suggested that the Army command structure and that brigade’s chain of command might have a lot to answer for. Two commenters tended to agree. Now, details about the brigade’s chain of command are emerging, in a WaPo article published today: – “When the 5th Stryker Combat Brigade arrived in Afghanistan, its leader, Col. Harry D. Tunnell IV, openly sneered at the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency strategy. The old-school commander barred his officers from even mentioning the term […]