Over at the Washington Independent, Spencer Ackerman continues his enlightening "Rise of the Counterinsurgents" series with "A Counterinsurgency Guide for Politicos." The Indy has obtained a copy of a forthcoming manual on counterinsurgency strategy written by David Kilcullen, a "former Australian Army officer who is now an adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."
The handbook seeks to provide a framework for considering whether Washington should intervene in foreign countries' counterinsurgency operations, raising difficult questions about whether such nations deserve U.S. support; under what conditions that support should occur, and whether success is possible at acceptable cost. No systematic approach to strategic-level questions in counterinsurgency currently exists for senior U.S. government officials.
And how difficult are the questions being raised? Well, in what's sure to be the pull-quote of the piece for those media outlets who still consider anything other than Surge Logic (TM) important, Kilcullen provides a little color:
More bluntly, Kilcullen, who helped Petraeus design his 2007 counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, called the decision to invade Iraq "stupid" -- in fact, he said "fucking stupid" -- and suggested that if policy-makers apply the manual's lessons, similar wars can be avoided in the future.
"The biggest stupid idea," Kilcullen said, "was to invade Iraq in the first place."
Wow. What an appeaser!