How Iraq Was Won...

The corps commander in Iraq during the surge, now the Army chief of staff, General Raymond Odierno, reportedly said that nothing he was doing before the Army published its new counterinsurgency doctrine changed once it was published. A new doctrine did not break the back of the counterinsurgency in Iraq. That was done by the addition of 50,000 more soldiers and Marines to the fight. Note:These were not aid workers or even forces imbued with a new doctrine (most of them had never read it). Rather, they were 50,000 mostly combat troops, prepared to take the fight to the enemy. And it was a hard and vicious fight — one that often required the full combined-arms panoply (armor, artillery, close air support) to win. Somehow, much of the true narrative of this fight is being lost in favor of one that emphasizes getting along with the locals, building schools, and helping farmers. All of these activities were, of course, important, but they pale in comparison to the benefits of increased security, which was only bought by hard fighting. One brigade commander captured it perfectly when he said, “I know all about counterinsurgency doctrine. It means shake hands in the light and kill at night.”
As they say, read the whole thing.

The underlying message is wars are hard.  And brutal.  And when we get in them there better be a good reason and we better be prepared for the worst.

H/T to David French at the Corner.

Update:  Maetenloch at AoSHQ recognizes the merits of the linked article too.

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