Iraq and the Challenge of Counterinsurgency
Thomas R. Mockaitis. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2008. Illus. Notes. Bib. Index. $39.95.
In Iraq the author sees the U.S. military facing the most complex counterinsurgency (COIN) campaign in its history. He judges the post-invasion phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) as badly planned, "horribly mismanaged," and initially a prime example of "how not to conduct" a COIN campaign.
Mockaitis, a professor of History at DePaul University who also teaches at the Center for Civil Military Relations, argues that the demands of World War II overwhelmed previous experience in the Philippines and Latin America and fostered large conventional forces. Thereafter, the long Vietnam War led ultimately to a reconsideration of the conventional approach and rejection of counterinsurgency.
From the planning phase through initial occupation, he analyzes the invasion of Iraq, judging that we deployed enough troops to defeat Saddam's forces, "but not nearly enough to pacify Iraq." Once U.S. leaders recognized a growing insurgency, they failed to develop an effective COIN strategy.