Friday, December 14, 2007

Counterinsurgency 102

Successful counterinsurgencies do not have multiple brigades with theatre level fire support engaging in fixed piece battles against well formed, large scale indigenous insurgent units that have the ability and discipline to break contact under fire and retreat in good order to better defensive/dispersal positions. Successful counterinsurgencies will have prevented the formation of these large units by disrupting the insurgent social and support networks and making the transition stages of unit formation fraught with danger. Small units face a danger period as complexity scales faster between 10 to 25 participants than any resultant gain in efficiency, and then efficiency gains outweigh complexity/management costs until units broach 100 to 150 participants. At that point highly complex formal systems are needed to run cohesive units.

So when Ace of Spades is haranguing against the perfidious media for not trumpeting the success of a division sized combined arms operation against the Taliban, the need for that operation is a failure of the Afghanistani counter-insurgency/counter-Taliban campaign.

Now you may wonder why a major victory in the, ahem, "Forgotten War" (the first forgotten war Afghanistan, and not Forgotten War II, Iraq) isn't being reported by the media.

It's because they're Patriots, buddy! They don't want to leak out the sensitive intelligence to the Taliban that they just got their asses kicked unholy. They might not know yet, so keep it on the QT, all right?

Much like the division sized combined arms assault on Fallujah in November, 2004 was a strategic failure as it was further confirmation of the Sunni Arab insurgency's resiliency and complexity, the division sized assault on Musa Quala is a tactical success in taking the small city, but an indicator of strategic problems.

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