Petraeus ’87: Afghanistan a warning on difficulties of COIN by mattsteinglass
March 13, 2009, 4:39 pm
Filed under: Afghanistan

David Petraeus sums up the general attitude in the US military towards intervention in Afghanistan — in 1987:

And while observing the Soviet difficulty in Afghanistan with a certain sense of vindication, the US military are at the same time reminded of the difficulties of defeating a determined guerrilla who enjoys sanctuaries and is fighting in rugged terrain. After all, if a country with relatively few public opinion concerns or moral compunctions about its tactics cannot beat a bunch of ill-equipped Afghan tribesmen, what does that say about the ability of the United States — with its domestic constraints, statutory limitations, moral inhibitions, and zealous investigative reporters — to carry out a successful action against a guerrilla force?

— “The American Military and the Lessons of Vietnam,” P.115
D.H. Petraeus, Ph.D. thesis (Princeton, 1987)


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