Decoding a new Army manual.

Decoding a new Army manual.

Decoding a new Army manual.

Military analysis.
July 8 2006 7:09 AM

Counterinsurgency by the Book

The lessons of a new Army Field Manual.

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A debate has been raging in some circles over whether the war's disasters were avoidable or inevitable. Would a smarter U.S. strategy have produced a more stable Iraq? Or were the long-suppressed sectarian feuds destined to gush forth like a geyser, no matter how we tried to control them, once Saddam was blown from his throne?

A better question provoked by this new Army Field Manual: Should we follow the authors' advice in the hope of waging a better counterinsurgency the next time around? Or should we give up these sorts of wars as futile and—do what instead?


A version of this piece appears in the Sunday Outlook section of the Washington Post.