The Best Defense

Tom’s busy week: Facing the nation, NPRing, FPRIng, B&N, and Marshall

Yesterday I was on Face the Nation yakking about foreign policy and such.

Today (Monday, for those of you still waking up) I'm on a Baltimore NPR station, WYPR, at noon.

Tuesday evening I'm speaking about my book at Palantir Corp. in northern Virginia -- if you work there I bet you can get in.

Thursday afternoon at 2:00 I am participating in an FPRI symposium on the Vietnam War, held on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. It will also be cast all over the web.

Saturday will find me at 2 pm at the Barnes & Noble at Seven Corners in northern Virginia.

And on Sunday at 3 pm I will be speaking and signing at the George Marshall House in Leesburg, Va.

The Best Defense

More questions about COIN (VI): Do we really understand the nature of the fight?

By Major Tom Mcilwaine, Queen's Royal Hussars

Best Defense guest columnist

Question Set Six -- Do the historical case studies that we do use stand up to scrutiny? Again, one question leads us onto a series of further questions. Those case studies (assuming that they are relevant, and that we should not in fact be looking to Omdurman instead) -- are they based on the accepted narrative or on the historical record? Did the British really rely on the principles of minimum force, winning popular support, and an adherence to the law? Or did they in fact use torture, exemplary force, and laws which in essence placed themselves above the law? The emerging archival evidence on the British approach, particularly in Kenya, is beginning to show that this might in fact be the case. This is an area which requires more work because the answer to it may well hold the key to answering Clausewitz's question -- what is the nature of the struggle in which we are involved?