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COIN 101
April 30, 2013 12:58 PM   Subscribe

A short photo essay documenting a marine's experience of counterinsurgency (COIN) operations in Iraq. via.
posted by exogenous (20 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
here's an accessible Slate article on the COIN vs CT (counterterror) strategy debate
posted by Bwithh at 1:00 PM on April 30, 2013


COIN-OP?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:09 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


That was eye-opening. Particularly this, when he points out that these lessons from Iraq will not apply in our other war: "Afghanistan is in many ways the absence of a country, defined by borders of other countries."
posted by daveliepmann at 1:10 PM on April 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


Thanks, this was great.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:12 PM on April 30, 2013


This is awesome. Thank you.
posted by phaedon at 1:12 PM on April 30, 2013


Nice, though I get the urge to ask, "Why are you there, again?"
posted by 2N2222 at 1:20 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Damn good advice for everyone, really. Respect the people, participate in their traditions if invited, make friends but be honest about why you're there, help out, don't be an idiot about your safety, and never, ever think that you're going to be one tenth as good as being a local as the real locals are. I've read worse manifestos for sure.
posted by WidgetAlley at 1:22 PM on April 30, 2013


Afghanistan is in many ways the absence of a country, defined by borders of other countries.

Wow. I think he's really hit on something there.
posted by dhartung at 1:37 PM on April 30, 2013


Seems like a pretty smart guy. Very interesting take on our presence there. thanks for the post.
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:41 PM on April 30, 2013


Afghanistan is in many ways the absence of a country, defined by borders of other countries.

After a few invasions and a few decades of people shelling the shit out of your country I expect there's a certain societal breakdown.
posted by GuyZero at 1:49 PM on April 30, 2013


be honest about why you're there,

How do ya do this if the reasons one is there are, in part, based on various lies?
posted by rough ashlar at 2:22 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


How do ya do this if the reasons one is there...

"The guy who signs my paycheck won't let me go home yet."
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 2:25 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Most counter insurgency literature that tackles Iraq and Afghanistan pretty much say the same things. Only thing is, these campaigns take many years to implement and essentially require you to rebuild everything from everyday utilities to social institutions. Is the US prepered to spend the resources required? Don't think so.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:03 PM on April 30, 2013


Whenever the government and/or the military make acronyms I always find myself feeling disturbed for some reason. It's just unsettling, not sure why.
posted by Fizz at 3:11 PM on April 30, 2013


a few decades of people shelling the shit out of your country

I have the Russians on Line 1 and the British on Line 2.
posted by yerfatma at 3:27 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Image 4 is so sad and fake, they're pretending to be at ease but the description makes it all bullshit.
posted by Tom-B at 3:51 PM on April 30, 2013


Interesting perspective on COIN in this Danger Room piece:

U.S. Military Neglects Huge Data Trove of Iraq War: The Iraqis Themselves
And the story of the Anbar Awakening isn’t the typical “surge” narrative of the Americans suddenly revamping their tactics and protecting the population. It’s a story of al-Qaida vastly overplaying its hand and attacking the tribes — and the Americans finally being savvy enough to take yes for an answer from a Sunni power structure it had long antagonized. “Had al-Qaida not overreached,” Jensen says, “then the Sunni community would not have joined with the U.S. It doesn’t matter what COIN [counterinsurgency] you use.”
posted by homunculus at 4:31 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sobering revelations from someone who was there.

It's always a good idea to avoid confusing the tactical acuity of the boot on the ground with the fuzzy politics that define the "mission objective".
posted by mule98J at 4:46 PM on April 30, 2013


Afghanistan is in many ways the absence of a country, defined by borders of other countries.

Or perhaps it's a place with too many natural borders, which makes it hard to develop a national culture or enforce central control. Nations don't do well without borders, but having too many can be just as much of a problem.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:33 PM on April 30, 2013


ALMOST NONE OF THIS IS APPLICABLE TO AFGHANISTAN

Each problem is a new problem vs. Let's apply the lessons we know work. It is incredibly important to understand what the differences are and why they are different - and what the problems are and why they are problems.
One of the other big differences is the quality, disposition and motivations of the neighbors...
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:07 AM on May 25, 2013


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