Oh please, commented Army Col. Gian Gentile in last week's robust discussion of the institutional Army and counterinsurgency. Don't go on, he chided, about how counterinsurgency is harder than high-intensity conflict. He begins with the Somme: "But coin, Ramadi, now that is the graduate level of war. You sound like Bob Cassidy in his outlandish claim that Counterinsurgency is more 'difficult' than conventional warfare. come on, get real."
Yet a few months ago, this very blog cited a British officer who fought in World War I at Gallipoli and the Western front, and then a few years later in Waziristan. Guess which he found harder? "I soon came to the conclusion that commanding a Company in Waziristan was far more difficult than commanding a Battalion in France."
Yes, it is just one example. But that's better than none. Does anyone know of other such explicit HIC-LIC comparisons? There must be some from World War II and Korean vets who fought in Vietnam, as well as French soldiers who did World War II and then Vietnam and Algeria in '50s.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.