Media "genius" for US counterinsurgency, John Nagl, is back on NPR...again (see Aug. 9, 2007 and Dec. 5, 2006). On Tuesday's ATC, Michelle Norris has a friendly chat with Nagl, not once raising the issues of how, in spite of Nagl's intellectual window dressing (and plagarism), US counterinsurgency has always been about crushing poor people with appalling violence.
Norris also does not question the contradiction that lies at the heart of Nagl's argument (see his brief summary here). Nagl tells Norris that counterinsurgency can not be won simply by killing insurgents; he states that "whatever underlying social concerns led to an insurgency developing will reemerge unless you find a way to solve those basic problems." Yeah, well what if the underlying social concern is the fact that an imperial power is occupying your country to control your country's resources (Iraq) or to prop up its oligarchy and protect poverty wages (Central America)? Maybe that's why historically, US counterinsurgency has relied on mass murder, torture, and other forms of state terror (Philippines, Vietnam, El Salvador, Nicaragua, etc.)
Norris never even hints at the sordid and murderous history of counterinsurgency, instead she says, "We're talking about wars that are long and protracted and drawn out and very very difficult." That's definitely how it looks from the point of view of the empire.
Nagl likes Norris' answer. He says, "That's exactly right Michele, the average counterinsurgency campaign takes about a decade so these are long hard slow wars..."