Counterinsurgency -- COIN as it's known -- is the next big thing. In fact, it is being practiced globally by American and mercenary forces and no doubt by others in a kind of cat-and-mouse game constantly churning in the background of more and more people's everyday lives.
Adam Curtis explores the modern and historical versions of COIN in the following film-and-essay for the BBC. It's illuminating and yet strangely antiseptic.
For one thing, Curtis fails to mention the counter insurgency programs including notorious death squads conducted in Central America by various outfits connected with the United States Government during the 1980's. They are generally believed to have been under the direction of John Negroponte (who of course denies everything). Those operations, I would say, were the direct model for the counter insurgency actions undertaken in Iraq under Stanley McCrystal and General St. David Petraeus (who now heads the CIA).
However, Curtis's earlier history of counter insurgency theory and operations as developed by the French and expanded by the United States in Vietnam is fascinating and horrifying. Being aware of the Algerian counter insurgency and Operation Phoenix in Vietnam is one thing, seeing it all laid out the way Curtis does it is something else again.
Another point that Curtis doesn't touch on is that counter insurgency tactics are being employing domestically in the United States and elsewhere in the suppression of political dissent, what's said to be drug crime, and to some extent even in political campaigns.
In other words, doctrines of counter insurgency -- which ironically grow out of Maoist revolutionary concepts -- have become so commonplace as to be taken for granted.
There are lessons to be learned...
AMERICA'S DANGEROUS LOVE AFFAIR WITH COUNTERINSURGENCY
At the beginning of this year one of the weirdest characters ever to become involved in the present Afghan war died. He was called Jack Idema and he was a brilliant con-man. For a moment, during the early part of the war, Idema persuaded all the major TV networks and scores of journalists that he was some kind of special forces super-hero who was using all kinds of "black ops" to track down and arrest the terrorists.
In reality, before 2001, Idema had been running a hotel for pets in North Carolina called The Ultimate Pet Resort. He had been in prison for fraud, and had tried to con journalists before about being some kind of super-spy. But September 11th gave him his chance - and he turned up in Kabul dressed like this.
Continues at the link in the title. Well worth some time to explore.
And in conclusion, Curtis points out what many others suspect, that General St. David Petraeus has been groomed to be Our Next President But One. Though Curtis doesn't mention it, there are rumors circulating now that Petraeus will be Romney's #2, which would mean -- if previous patterns hold -- that if Romney gets to the White House, Petraeus would be in effective charge (much as Cheney was) and would be ruling through Romney.