COINhata Col. Gian Gentile, director of military history at West Point, has a provocative article in the new issue of Parameters, the journal of the Army War College. "Currently," he asserts,
U.S. military strategy is really nothing more than a bunch of COIN principles, massaged into catchy commander's talking points for the media, emphasizing winning the hearts and minds and shielding civilians.
I think he's wrong, in a lot of ways, but I also think his article is worth reading. Col. Gentile is asking the right questions. (Just fyi, I get popped in a footnote as a "hagiographer." No worries -- that's more polite than a lot of words I get called. I have no problem with robust discourse.)
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.