The Counterinsurgency Debate
Eleven years ago this coming month, a coalition of armed forces led by the United States moved decisively against Saddam Hussein’s forces, declaring victory just over one month after they had invaded the country. The insurgency that emerged shortly afterward left coalition forces embattled for nearly a decade.
With U.S. forces now out of Iraq and readying themselves to withdraw from Afghanistan in as little as ten months, most Americans desire to move on from these deadly, divisive, and costly conflicts. Yet, important questions about the effectiveness of counterinsurgency programs carried out during both conflicts remain unanswered, which we ignore at our own peril.