The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One
War today is far different from what we expected it to be. Counter-insurgency and protracted guerrilla warfare, not shock and awe, are the order of ... Show synopsis War today is far different from what we expected it to be. Counter-insurgency and protracted guerrilla warfare, not shock and awe, are the order of the day. The Australian David Kilcullen is the world's foremost expert on this way of war, and in "The Accidental Guerrilla", the Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor to the Pentagon and architect of 'the Surge', surveys war as it is actually fought in the contemporary world. Colouring his account with gripping battlefield experiences that range from the highlands of Southeast Asia to the mountains of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to the dusty towns of the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, "The Accidental Guerrilla" will, quite simply, change the way we think about war. While conventional warfare has obvious limits, Kilcullen stresses that neither counterterrorism nor traditional counterinsurgency is the appropriate framework to fight the enemy we now face. Traditional counterinsurgency is more effective than counterterrorism when it comes to entities like AlQaeda, but, as Kilcullen contends, our current focus is far too narrow, for it tends to emphasize one geographical region and one state. The current war presents a much different situation: stateless insurgents and terrorists operating across large number of countries and only loosely affiliated with each other. Just as importantly, Western armies have done a poor job of applying different tactics to different situations, continually misidentifying insurgents with limited aims and legitimate grievances as part of a coordinated worldwide network. Given the incremental-yet remarkable-success of Kilcullen's strategy in Iraq, what Kilcullen has to say will be widely anticipated. His vision of war has changed Western policy in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and this eagerly awaited comprehensive account will help shape policy for years to come.