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The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One [Format Kindle]

David Kilcullen

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

David Kilcullen is one of the world's most influential experts on counterinsurgency and modern warfare, a ground-breaking theorist whose ideas "are revolutionizing military thinking throughout the west" (Washington Post). Indeed, his vision of modern warfare powerfully influenced America's decision to rethink its military strategy in Iraq and implement "the Surge," now recognized as a dramatic success.
In The Accidental Guerrilla, Kilcullen provides a remarkably fresh perspective on the War on Terror. Kilcullen takes us "on the ground" to uncover the face of modern warfare, illuminating both the big global war (the "War on Terrorism") and its relation to the associated "small wars" across the globe: Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Pakistani tribal zones, East Timor and the horn of Africa. Kilcullen sees today's conflicts as a complex interweaving of contrasting trends--local insurgencies seeking autonomy caught up in a broader pan-Islamic campaign--small wars in the midst of a big one. He warns that America's actions in the war on terrorism have tended to conflate these trends, blurring the distinction between local and global struggles and thus enormously complicating our challenges. Indeed, the US had done a poor job of applying different tactics to these very different situations, continually misidentifying insurgents with limited aims and legitimate grievances--whom he calls "accidental guerrillas"--as part of a coordinated worldwide terror network. We must learn how to disentangle these strands, develop strategies that deal with global threats, avoid local conflicts where possible, and win them where necessary.
Colored with gripping battlefield experiences that range from the jungles and highlands of Southeast Asia to the mountains of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to the dusty towns of the Middle East, The Accidental Guerrilla will, quite simply, change the way we think about war. This book is a must read for everyone concerned about the war on terror.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 1479 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 369 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0195368347
  • Editeur : Oxford University Press; Édition : 1 (16 février 2009)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B001NLKY38
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70 internautes sur 71 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Remarkable insight into the dangers and challenges for the world ahead 28 janvier 2009
Par Russ Emrick - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
David Kilcullen's book "The Accidental Guerrilla" is a dense read and requires you to have an intense interest in the subject. It is not for the faint of heart but is well worth the investment of reading in order to understand the subject - our safety. For those of us not involved in the military this book opens the curtain on a world we never see. I have far more respect (and disrespect in some cases) for the people who work so diligently to keep us safe and think about how to protect us from evolving threats and enemies.

David points out that while many US Military leaders where congratulating themselves on the supremacy of US strength and overwhelming dominance new hybrid threats emerged, ones we at first denied and now struggle to adapt to. While the US maintained that no major land war would ever occur again because of our massive armaments, the Chinese, for example, were developing the idea of unrestricted warfare. Colonel Qiao, said, "the first rule of unrestricted warfare is that there are no rules, with nothing forbidden."

Turns out that there are more wars and violence, not less, despite US dominance. The author offers four possible models for understanding why this situation exists and what responses can be taken. These localized wars could be 1) a backlash against Globalization 2) Insurgency has been globalized, i.e. funded and used by large interests that exceed national boundaries such as religious forces 3) a civil war within Islam, and 4) asymmetric warfare, that security should be understand from a functional and capability standpoint leaving the politics out of the evaluation and response.

Great book if you want to understand the dangerous world in which we live and why simplistic answers no longer work. Made me understand the challenges leaders face, and often having to select from 2 bad choices. Very dangerous world that is not getting any better. Read this book if you want to vote meaningfully and make informed decisions with opinions based on facts instead of rhetoric or simply from partisan politics.
108 internautes sur 114 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Why counter-insurgency is graduate level warfare 27 janvier 2009
Par E. M. Van Court - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
One warning up front: if someone quotes this book, *check them*. This is a brilliant and comprehensive discussion of the current global environment, but has a lot of provocative comments that could be taken out of context.

Starting with two major case studies (Afghanistan and Iraq) and a few smaller ones (East Timor, Thailand, Pakistan, and the European Union), David Kilcullen builds several arguments. The most salient point to me were the need to identify both overarching patterns (like the movement of Al Qaida money and people) and to develop a refined understanding of each insurgency or movement in isolation. Also important are the concepts of the relative nature of "foreigner", "outsider", "invader" etc. and the absence of absolutes in counterinsurgency.

The case studies are well constructed and rapidly convey the complexity of the cultures and the implications of those complexities, as well as clearly identifying tactics and strategies for gaining the upperhand in the strategic sense. The central point, that many "insurgents" are locals who feel threatened operating with 'outsiders' (who threaten the locals) against other 'outsiders' (who also threaten the locals), is an old lesson of World War II Balkans, the British intervension in Malaysia, the French in Indochina and later the U.S. in Viet Nam. As far as I can tell, the reason it is forgotten is that Western militaries want to focus on big budget, big contract, high tech, maneuver warfare, and diplomats don't want to discuss conflict at all. Guerrilla warfare fits neither world view. Part of the strategic solution to these conflicts is address the issues that are exploited by "foreign fighters" (a.k.a. Al Qaida, but Communists in the past, and who knows what movements in the future). Each regional or country issue is both a part of the larger whole, and a microcosm, and has to be dealt with on both levels. When we try to 'simplify' the problem by lumping things together and ignoring the finer points of local conflicts, we complicate the solution of the local conflicts, and undermine the strategic efforts.

His final recommendations are far reaching, apparently simple, organizationally challenging, but, I believe, would significantly improve the U.S. efforts against the threats that face America.
->Develop (and implicitly, propagate and enforce the use of) a new lexicon to discuss insurgency, counter-insurgency, etc.
->Develop a good 'Grand Strategy'; don't focus on near term solutions, focus on national interest and the sensible allocation of resource towards those ends, and prioritize the geographical regions.
->Rebalance the instruments of national power; the Department of Defense is only one element, the diplomats hold the keys to infomational, diplomatic, and economic instruments, but they aren't manned proportionately.
->Develop a discrete 'Strategic Services' capability, mostly focused on infomation gathering and analysis, and providing humanitarian and other support in target areas.
->Develop a dedicated, central information warfare activity focused on getting our message out to people in 'at risk' regions.

This book is a 'must read' for anyone in diplomatic or military circles.

E. M. Van Court
62 internautes sur 65 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Serious discussion of a very complex topic 1 février 2009
Par Andy in Washington - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
First, the bad points.

Kilcullen writes in a very complex style, uses big words and long paragraphs. In short, it is not an easy-read, listen-to-the-radio, relax by the fire type of book. Reading it requires concentration-I couldn't really read more than 40 pages or so at a single sitting without taking some time to digest the info.

My only other criticism is it is not clear what the target audience is for this book. It is certainly not a mass-market paperback-I would guess the casual reader stops at page 20. But it seems a little light for the diplomatic/intelligence crowd. Rather it is more like an executive summary (albeit a large one) of a 10,000 page CIA analysis.

Now the good points.

First, subject to the above caveats, Kilcullen writes very well. His writing is logically constructed, concise, and has excellent grammar.

This is a man who knows what he is talking about. Kilcullen has advised General Petraeus in the "surge", has first hand knowledge of various insurgencies around the world, and is capable of well-reasoned analysis. I am by no means an expert in the subject, but after reading this book I feel that I know more about low-intensity warfare than most of the world's population, and half its politicians.

Kilcullen approaches the subject from the bottom up. Why are people fighting, who are they fighting, what do they believe in, what resources do they have, what are they willing to risk. Only when those questions are answered, does it make any sense to talk about strategy and tactics. The large powers of the world always seem to get this wrong, both today and in the historical cases cited in the book.

It was also refreshing to read a book on a complex subject where the author presents his own opinions on what might work, why it is a good idea, how it differs from what else has been tried, and what pitfalls might await. I don't have anywhere near the expertise to judge the merit of his opinions, but they are certainly presented in such a way that the seem logical.

A large portion of the book is dedicated to Iraq/Pakistan/Afghanistan and the struggle of the US with Islamic cultures. This book certainly gave me some new thoughts on our efforts to "bring democracy" to this part of the world. Kilcullen's analysis of Iraq is as comprehensive of any I have ever read, and puts some current events into a new perspective.

While the book brings out great detail on the "soft" side of low intensity warfare- namely culture and people issues, that is not to say that military weapons, strategies and tactics are outside Kilcullen's expertise. There are many details and discussions of these areas, but to be honest, they were not as interesting to me as the root causes and human side. Perhaps that is because this is a rare treatment of those issues.

In summary:

This is a great book if you are a serious student of modern events relating to warfare. Be warned, it is not an easy- or even fun- book to read. I found it more like reading a technical paper for something related to my profession- it requires careful reading and adequate processing time.

I also found myself reaching for a dictionary on occasion. Kilcullen uses words very precisely, and it is worth making sure you understand the exact nuances of the words he uses. Similarly, I found myself looking at maps to make sure I understood the geographical context of the work.

This book is a definite read for anyone seriously interested in this topic. It should be required reading for any "talking head" that shows up on the news channels spouting their opinions on modern warfare. I would also hope that it is on the West Point required reading well as the Oval Office and Capitol Hill.
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Relevant & Important Strategic Report of the Low Intensity Conflicts Being Waged Ancillary To The War On Terror 22 janvier 2009
Par Guerrilla Reader - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Review of David Kilcullen's "The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One."

In "The Accidental Guerrilla" professional soldier and author David Kilcullen of Australia, reputed to be "one of the world's most influential experts on counterinsurgency and modern warfare," provides his professional experience and insight into the war-torn & war-prone third world post colonialist nations, waging "small wars," and the West's influence upon them in the midst of "The Big War." The most important aspect Kilcullen brings to light is the fact that "the majority of adversaries we have been fighting since 9/11 are in fact 'accidental guerrillas'--people who fight us, not because they hate the West and seek our overthrow, but because we have invaded their space to deal with an extremist element that has manipulated and exploited local grievances to gain power in their societies."

The main thrust of the book is the distinguishing of the USA's "War on Terrorism" and its relation to the associated "conflicts" across the globe located in the countries of Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Chechnya, Pakistan and North Africa.

"The author sees today's conflicts as a complex pairing of contrasting trends: local social networks and worldwide movements; traditional and postmodern culture; local insurgencies seeking autonomy and a broader pan-Islamic campaign. He warns that America's actions in the war on terrorism have tended to conflate these trends, blurring the distinction between local and global struggles and thus enormously complicating our challenges. Indeed, the US had done a poor job of applying different tactics to these very different situations, continually misidentifying insurgents with limited aims and legitimate grievances . . . as part of a coordinated worldwide terror network."

Kilcullen's suggestion to the West is that "we must learn how to disentangle these strands, develop strategies that deal with global threats, avoid local conflicts where possible, and win them where necessary." I agree.

This is not "dry" political/military science. Written in first person style and replete with the experiences and observations of the author this book is understandable to the layman & yet carries an unmistakable air of authority. In short, the author seems to know what he is talking about. Of course it doesn't hurt that the author can write well. From the Prologue to the Conclusion I was hooked. Well done.

Five stars.

9 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 As in depth as it gets... 28 février 2009
Par Ozark Trail Outrider - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Many years ago as a college student, I actually had a class which dealt with terrorism. Now in 1984, terrorism was something isolated to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The texts we had in those days were academic in their presentation, but really very superficial when it came to an in-depth analysis of the factors which contribute to terrorism, etc.

Not so with Kilcullen's outstanding text. For a book of less than 300 pages, I am still struck by both the quantity and quality of the analysis. Kilcullen covers a wide range of small wars from West Java to Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and Europe. He does not skimp on the detail and gives exhaustive voice to the factions, the issues and the basic human conditions that contribute to violent conflict.

I found the title very appropriate. As lay people we often take for granted that those who initiate insurgencies and terrorist activities actually planned to do so far in advance. This text shows how certain factors become catalysts that quite literally impel a population into the very sorts of violent actions that have played across our TV and computer screens since 9/11.

Kilcullen doesn't just give us the backdrop and story, but takes his analysis further to show how nations such as the US can achieve success in these types of conflicts, which we can only expect to be more the norm as our modern world evolves.

This is not reading for the faint of heart. This book compels your attention and your focus. But the reader who applies himself will be rewarded with a far greater understanding of these conflicts and how nations such as the US can find workable solutions to combating and preventing them in the future.
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