Caitlin's Reviews > Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice

Counterinsurgency Warfare by David Galula
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Sep 04, 10

Read in August, 2010

I have been doing some studying up on warfare and counterinsurgency warfare in particular, and this is one the most basic and essential texts on the subject. Reading it, so much of what Galula talks about seems so obvious now, but that only stands as evidence of how seminal a book it is in the field. There is plenty in it to make one wonder why the U.S. was so slow to put some of these principles into effect. There is also much in it to make me think how massive a political failure the Iraq war - and to a good extent, the war in Afghanistan as well - represents. Galula warns strongly multiple times of the dangers of having soldiers do any job that should belong to civilians for any extended length of time. And yet, in these wars, the civilians barely showed. The military, by all evidence, seems to have been more flexible and creative than our civilian agencies, with better leadership. I think this was not a failure so much in the abilities or qualifications of any civilians sent, but in the ill-informed, vague, and/or changing policies.
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Quotes Caitlin Liked

David Galula
“To confine soldiers to purely military functions while urgent and vital tasks have to be done, and nobody else is available to undertake them, would be senseless. The soldier must then be prepared to become a propagandist, a social worker, a civil engineer, a schoolteacher, a nurse, a boy scout. But only for as long as he cannot be replaced, for it is better to entrust civilian tasks to civilians.”
David Galula, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice

David Galula
“...to let the military direct the entire process...is so dangerous that it must be resisted at all costs.”
David Galula, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice

David Galula
“Relying on luck, however, does not constitute a policy.”
David Galula, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice

David Galula
“It may be useful to remember that a peacetime political machine is built essentially on patronage.”
David Galula, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice


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