Ce livre est le manuel lu par tous les officiers de l'armée américaine pour ce qui devient leur principale mission : le contrôle des populations et la marginalisation des insurgés dans les guerres coloniales modernes. Il fait évidement référence dans toutes les autres armées des pays de régime démocratique-bourgeois.
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Counterinsurgency Field Manual23 août 2007
Joseph P. Martino
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This book has become famous or notorious (take you pick) because it was written under the direction of Gen. David H. Petraeus, as of this review the commanding general of American forces in Iraq. I want to prescind from the Iraq question and address the book on its own merits.
First, my qualifications. I am a retired Air Force Colonel (non-flying). During the Vietnam war I was heavily involved in Operations Research on counterinsurgency. For five years I was Chairman of the Special Warfare Working Group of the Military Operations Research Society. I spent 20 months in Thailand and Vietnam, running tests on electronic equipment for use by US and allied forces battling insurgents, and gathering and analyzing data on insurgency in Vietnam and Laos.
What's in this book?
Chapter One is a historical survey of insurgency and the problems of countering it. It draws heavily from the Vietnam experience, but goes as far back as the ethnic struggles in England (Welsh, Scots, Irish) against the Crown. While the historical coverage is broad, it does not, and is not intended to, give coverage in depth.
Chapter Two discusses the need for integration of the civilian and military activities in counterinsurgency. What's new about this? Nothing. I wrote the same things (though perhaps not as well) while in Southeast Asia over forty years ago. The fact that it's not new doesn't mean it's not important. It's critical. The fact that it's now in a Field Manual is highly significant.
Chapter Three deals with intelligence gathering in counterinsurgency. While the military commander is always in need of intelligence about the enemy (who, where, what, when), the problems of gathering this intelligence for counterinsurgency are very different from those of conventional war. This chapter is heavy on the "what" of intelligence, but a bit weak on the "how." This is probably inevitable, since intelligence about insurgents depends on human sources, and the avalabiliity of these is very dependent on the nature of the society under attack by insurgents. One problem briefly mentioned in the chapter is the fact that Americans won't speak the language of the locals. The problems of linguistic support for the counterinsurgency operation are covered in an appendix. My own experience, though, is that it's difficult to work through an interpreter, and you never know if the interpreter really is working for the insurgents.
Chapter Four covers designing a counterinsurgency campaign. Again, it's strong on the "what" but weak on the "how," because this is strongly dependent on the situation.
Chapter Five covers executing counterinsurgency operations. Its main point is that "Counterinsurgency operations require synchronized application of military, paramilitary, political, economic, pshychological, and civic actions." Nothing new here. We knew that in Vietnam. The British knew it in Malaya. What's encouraging is that it's finally in a Field Manual.
Chapter Six covers developing host nation security forces (army and police). That's not easy. The British achieved it in Malaya; we didn't achieve it in Vietnam. One of the problems the Manual really slides over is that the recruits to the host nation army know the individual Americans will go home after a year, while they are in it "for the duration." This makes a big difference in the degree of aggressiveness of the host soldiers as compared with the American counterinsurgency forces.
Chapter Seven covers leadership and ethics for counterinsurgency. This is the first Field Manual I've seen that gives any attention to the Just War criteria of Discrimination and Proportion. Although these are addressed in only two pages, that's still an improvement. (Full disclosure: I teach Just War Doctrine at Yorktown University.)
Chapter Eight covers logistics for counterinsurgency. This becomes a critical issue. Ever since World War Two, the US has preferred to fight "dumb rich" wars as opposed to "smart frugal" wars. We overwhelm the opponent with materiel. Unfortunately, the host nation usually can't do this. Leaving a stable society behind when we "declare victory and go home" means the host nation has to be capable of defending itself on a much lower level of resources than we used. If we don't train them to do this, they won't last long.
One specific criticism I have of the Manual is that it tends to focus on "boots on the ground" and shortchange the role of air power. This is probably inevitable, since it's an Army manual. Nevertheless, it's a shortcoming. Despite that, I think the Manual is a big step forward in doctrine for counterinsurgency. It lays out the lessons we should have learned forty years ago.
The University of Chicago edition has an Introduction by Sarah Sewall. She makes the observation that the book was written by the wrong people. It was written by the military, not by the political branch of government. As Clausewitz wrote, "War is the continuation of policy by other means." Counterinsurgency, of all types of war, must especially be governed by political objectives and considerations. Sewall's observation is correct. In the absence of any national counterinsurgency doctrine that covers the political and economic aspects as well as the military, the Army has tried to fill the gap. For the most part, the Army did a good job. It will be unfortunate if the effect of this book is one more case of "we won the war but lost the peace."
69 internautes sur 75 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
More Then a Reprint!!!25 juillet 2007
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This is a reprint of the Army/Marine Counter-Insurgency (COIN) manual. But this book is more then a reprint and is worth the money just for the multiple forewords and the Introduction to this edition. All were written by subject matter experts in their field. One foreword in particular is written by John Nagal author of the COIN cult "Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam: Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife" re-released as "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam," what makes this so interesting is that Nagal had a hand in developing and writing the manual with a group of renowned COIN experts. I am not sure if the others helped develop this manual for the military, but their forewords are just as interesting. For the content of the manual it will soon become the bible of COIN warfare/operations, it is by far the most detailed manual on the subject. It covers theories, tactics, techniques and procedures as used by various countries from various conflicts and lays these methods out within the current U.S. military context. This book is not meant to be specific to the Iraq or Afghanistan insurgency but is meant to be a "tool bag" of methods and ideas to be adapted to various conflicts. Finally the manual was reformatted in to an oversized handbook with a laminate type card cover with rounded corners that make it perfect to slip into a kit bag or rucksack. This is a must own for all soldiers (E1 and up!), politicians and concerned citizens.
21 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Very suprised10 mars 2008
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I actually bought this book some months back but I kept putting off picking it up because I assumed this would be a dense work filled with military jargon and more acronyms than one could shake a stick at. I assumed that it would be a tedious and difficult read so I found reasons to put it off, but when I finally forced myself to begin this book I was quite shocked. The book is very easy to read and very well written. The book has just a few acronyms that I had memorized within a couple of pages after their introduction, and the book is very well laid out with impeccable organization (as should be expected I guess). I dare say I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book on all levels. Of course the information and the knowledge to be gleaned from this work is extremely important.
I think if this book were to become required reading for students then I think we could prevent some costly misadventures in future because this book really details what an occupation requires. Everyone would understand that military action will require a deep level of commitment for the military and on all levels of civil society as well.
I also think it is the least we can do as citizens to educate ourselves on what our military men and women are doing and attempting to implement in situations where they face this type of conflict. One gets a sense of what a soldier goes through and the huge load that is put on the ordinary soldier. It is an extremely difficult task they are asked to perform in these situations, and they are asked to perform this task with honor and discretion in the face of terrible situations.
There are some good reviews here that speak more to the content of the work by people obviously more versed in the topic than myself, so I will just say that this book is very well done and an easy read. If you are like me and are putting off reading or buying this book, then let me just say go ahead. It is worth the money and the effort. I highly recommend this book.
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Why pay for it? You can get the main text at no charge!24 décembre 2009
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The only reason I'm writing this review is because you don't have to pay for this! It was written by employees of the government (i.e. paid for by U.S. tax dollars) and is available for free.
Yes, you can get a few more words in the form of an introduction, but the field manual is an unclassified government document. It's unlimited distribution is approved and the average citizen can find a copy just by searching the internet for "FM 3-24" - FM is an acronym for Field Manual.
One source is: [...]
As far as the text, I've had the opportunity to hear both GEN Petraeus and LTC (Ret.) John Nagl, major contributors to the manual, speak on the subject of counterinsurgency. If you want to read about the ideas behind the manual, it's largely based of David Galula's work titled "Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice". Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice (PSI Classics of the Counterinsurgency Era) is a major reprint. If you really want to pay for a text, I'd suggest purchasing that work.
Other reviewers have already made appropriate comments on the content of the manual. I'll just add that the manual itself is meant for military practical application at the operational and strategic levels; the audience is Soldiers and Marines. As such, some of the application may be foreign to "Average Joe".
If you're interested in this manual, I'd also suggest reading FM 3-24.2, "Tactics in Counterinsurgency", which was written for practical application at the tactical level.
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Excellent One Source Overview That Needs to Lighten Up on Doctrine30 décembre 2007
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I've been studying insurgent warfare for a long time before it became a hot topic... again. I still recommend Galula's Counterinsurgency Warfare and Hamilton's The Art of Insurgency which is a great book but is little referenced. There are of course books by Kitson and others. (Nagl's book which I've reviewed is a good dissertation but is limited in it scope and perception. He writes the forward to this edition.) The two volume War in the Shadows is okay background but not worth a two volume read. Which brings us to the Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which if you are serving and only have time to access one source, this is a dependable one.
Although the CFM is oriented more toward the current unpleasantness the principles of counterinsurgency have been carefully gleaned from the best sources and multiple situations as well as updating insurgent response for the 21st century. Keeping food deliveries out of active insurgent areas might have worked for the British in Malaya, but you could imagine the field day CNN would have with it today. Probably the best things the writers do in this manual is freely admit that the devil is in the details and that these will have to be worked out locally and supported nationally.
For those who still aren't buying into "the insurgent stuff" which unfortunately over the last 30+ years has gone under state department approved phrases like "nation building" and executive office of the President terms like "counter terrorism" you don't have to worry that the Army or Marines are going to lose their conventional edge with these approaches. The CFM makes it clear that this is only one form or warfare and that modern war can slip across the entire spectrum. What is not needed is more doctrine...what is needed is a tool box and the CFM attempts to be one of those tools.
The CFM makes many good points and I'm not going to list them all here, but the most important one I felt has to do with the assumption of more risk. Insurgent warfare requires soldiers to go out and get in the streets with people to provide the basic security for everyday activities that will lead to a legitimate government. Legitimacy cannot come from the national level down no matter what form of government people actually settle for (A basic concept found in any undergraduate PolySci 101 class which no one in the State Deptment or Congress must have taken.) The average Joe doesn't care about the grand schemes. He wants to go to work, get married, raise a family and have a shot at some level of comfort without getting killed. The key to winning against insurgents is that the most committed to providing these basic parameters for the average Joe, wins. You show your true colors and level of commitment when you have to go out and get shot at. But the alternative, which never works, and we still seem to be doing is to concentrate forces on large FOB's and separate them from the population. This has got to be one of the toughest of balancing acts to provide force protection, logistics as well as force projection and maintenance that supports an ongoing relationship with the civilian population. Fighting an insurgency is not for the faint hearted, the draftee, or those who needed to be reelected every 2 years. It takes soldiers in neighborhoods who know the people and have the power to affect their lives...albeit indirectly if possible.
I disagree with the CFM on two points. I disagree with using the idea of "counterinsurgency" for philosophical reasons. The term by its very nature places you at a disadvantage to the insurgents. I believe you fight an insurgent war and win it by being better insurgents, not by being better "counterinsurgents." But this is probably more a matter of semantics. My second area of disagreement is really the book itself. This "new" book on insurgent warfare is really a great gazette of all the current knowledge that has been around for years plus the all necessary Army doctrine, without which the lowliest private cannot have a bowel movement. The Army's "can't do it without doctrine" attitude is what made this book come out so far behind the power curve to begin with. All this information is and has been known and available but the Army couldn't "discover" it. The US has a long insurgent history that is little studied or learned from. Our nation was founded by an insurgency. We've fought insurgents throughout our history: Native Americans, especially in the West, the border struggles during the Civil War, Phillipines, Cuba, Nicuagua, Vietnam, and Afghanistan. As organizations that need to be highly adaptable, the Army and the Marines need to stop paying tuition for the same lessons over and over again. I realize that not all of this lack of organizational awareness is theirs. A great deal of the responsibility for lack of responsiveness lies at the feet of elected officials who do not do their part and provide the clarity of purpose upon which coherent military strategies are based. The mist in Congress becomes a dense fog for those who are tasked with the nation's defense.