Galula in Algeria: Counterinsurgency Practice versus Theory

Galula in Algeria: Counterinsurgency Practice versus Theory

Galula in Algeria: Counterinsurgency Practice versus Theory

Galula in Algeria: Counterinsurgency Practice versus Theory

Synopsis

This groundbreaking investigation uncovers serious mismatches between David Galula's counterinsurgency practice in Algeria and his counterinsurgency theory- the foundation of current U.S. counterinsurgency doctrine in Iraq and Afghanistan.

• Maps

• A glossary

• A bibliography

Excerpt

Mark Twain apparently quipped that while the past does not repeat itself, it certainly rhymes. So, 30 years after it had left the jungles of Vietnam and forgot all about insurgency, the U.S. military again faced the same problem, though in Iraq this time, following its invasion of the country in 2003. Counterinsurgency had been under-researched if not deliberately neglected between these two wars, so it was only natural that when it came to studying and learning about this concept many officers and scholars would turn to the 1950s and 1960s for advice. For better and for worse, insights were drawn from Vietnam and made to apply to the war in Iraq, though notable attention was also given to other countries’ experiences with these types of campaigns: the British in Malaysia; the French in Algeria.

This intellectual rediscovery of counterinsurgency elevated an unlikely group of experts mostly forgotten since their heyday of the 1960s. Foremost among this group stood David Galula, a French military officer whose combat experience in Algeria and writings on counterinsurgency were viewed as particularly instructive to understanding the challenges of modern counterinsurgency. When doctrine writers from the U.S. Army and Marine Corps got together to write their new counterinsurgency doctrine in 2006, Galula’s influence was evident, not least because his Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice was one of three works cited in the field manual’s final preface.

To those in the U.S. military seeking to gain a better understanding of counterinsurgency, Galula offered an accessible guide to the difficulties and dilemmas typical of these campaigns. From his experience in Algeria . . .

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