What a great book by Army Colonel Gian Gentile. Here in The Myth of the Better War, Cato Institute’s Christopher Preble gives perspective on Colonel Gentile’s new and controversial book, Wrong Turn, on the failure of counterinsurgency (COIN) warfare. Next month, I’ll have a chance to speak with Chris in person regarding Gian Gentile’s breakthrough book. Chris writes that the book’s object is clear: “To drive a stake through the heart of the notion that counterinsurgency has worked in the past and will therefore work in the future.” As Chris explains, “The United States’ nation-building failures, in short, cannot be reduced to military personnel employing the wrong tactics or weak-kneed American politicians unwilling to pursue victory at all costs. … The surge narrative was employed to rescue the war in Iraq by rallying the American people to the cause of open-ended, armed nation-building. … That effort failed. … Even if the addition of tens of thousands more U.S. troops in early 2007 (i.e., the surge) coincided with a decline in violence among Iraqis, that does not mean it CAUSED the decline.”
In the July issue of Young’s Intelligence Report, I wrote, “Correlation is not causation. We all have read studies that draw conclusions from correlation analysis. With the exception of using relative percentage comparisons instead of absolute numbers, I cannot think of any more potentially misleading analysis. Gentile points out trends were improving well before the first surge troops arrived in Iraq.” Col. Gentile was a U.S. army officer during the 2003-2006 counterinsurgency. I own Wrong Turn and strongly advise Col. Gentile’s book to you.