Pat Lang on COIN

In case you missed it, COIN’s Siren Song:

In its fullest form the doctrine can be reduced to three basic elements: 1-Political warfare designed to eliminate the symbolic causes of revolt. This would include such efforts as a reduction of public corruption, adequate representation in government for all parts of the population, etc. …

IMO, the whole counterinsurgency thing, if applied successfully in Afghanistan will require a commitment of a century of effort by dedicated civilian and military personnel and many, many billions of dollars.

You might compare to Boyd’s counterguerrilla (not counterinsurgency) chart, Patterns 108.  Here are the first two bullets:

Undermine guerrilla cause and destroy their cohesion by demonstrating integrity and competence of government to represent and serve needs of people-rather than exploit and impoverish them for the benefit of a greedy elite.*

Take political initiative to root out and visibly punish corruption. Select new leaders with recognized competence as well as popular appeal. Ensure that they deliver justice, eliminate grievances and connect government with grass roots.*

Pat also hints at a fundamental point, that governments can do these things while invaders cannot, or at least have not since the end of WW II:

“Counterinsurgency” made some sense for the European colonial empires. They “owned” the places where they tried this method.

Pat notes that the COIN concept, in its modern form was created by the French, based on their experiences in Algeria and Indochina, and by the British.  As a method for preserving foreign or colonial rule, it was unsuccessful in every place but Northern Ireland (which the British own).

I have no idea whether COL Lang has ever heard of Boyd.  The parallels probably represent agreement on basic principles that they uncovered independently through deep study and in Pat’s case, personal experience.

The asterisks are not typos.

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