Wrong Turn: America’s Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency

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New Press, The, Jul 30, 2013 - History - 208 pages
4 Reviews
Colonel Gian Gentile’s 2008 article “Misreading the Surge” in World Politics Review first exposed a growing rift among military intellectuals that has since been playing out in strategy sessions at the Pentagon, in classrooms at military academies, and on the pages of the New York Times. While the past years of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan have been dominated by the doctrine of counterinsurgency (COIN), Gentile and a small group of dissident officers and defense analysts have questioned the necessity and efficacy of COIN—essentially armed nation-building—in achieving the United States’ limited core policy objective in Afghanistan: the destruction of Al Qaeda.

Drawing both on the author’s experiences as a combat battalion commander in the Iraq War and his research into the application of counterinsurgency in a variety of historical contexts, Wrong Turn is a brilliant summation of Gentile’s views of the failures of COIN, as well as a searing reevaluation of the current state of affairs in Afghanistan.

As the issue of America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan inevitably rises to the top of the national agenda, Wrong Turn will be a major new touchstone for what went wrong and a vital new guide to the way forward.

Note: the ideas in this book are the author’s alone, not the Department of Defense’s.
 

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Review: Wrong Turn: America's Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency

User Review  - Rachel Brune - Goodreads

This book is a valuable contribution to the conversation regarding counterinsurgency and its place in the military's toolbag of tricks. However, reading this, I often felt like the author was ... Read full review

Review: Wrong Turn: America's Deadly Embrace of Counterinsurgency

User Review  - Frederick Dotolo - Goodreads

Good critique of COIN. Read full review

Contents

The Conceit of American Counterinsurgency
1
The Construction of the Counterinsurgency Narrative
11
Malaya The Foundation of the Counterinsurgency Narrative
35
Vietnam The First Better War That Wasnt
59
Iraq A Better War Version 2
85
Afghanistan Another Better War That Wasnt
113
Truth as a Casualty of COIN
137
A Note on Sources
142
Notes
145
Index
181
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Colonel Gian Gentile is an army colonel, a former Iraq War commander, and a professor of history at West Point; he was also a 2010 Visiting Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Gentile is a contributor to the Washington Post, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Small Wars Journal, and the World Politics Review. He lives in West Point, New York.

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