Skip to main content.ca. Part of Kilcullen’s academic research involved living and working alongside villagers in West Java, trying to absorb the culture of Darul Islam, a guerrilla movement hatched in the late 1940s (and later identified by some as an Indonesian clone and ally of Al Qaeda). He is then able to articulate his analysis to others in a way that is understandable. No one listened. However, Kilcullen’s ability to intertwine analogies and place these principles in a different light will take these knowledgeable readers to the next step in their overall understanding of COIN. Posted on May 5, 2009 in Books and Movies. “You should talk to old Mrs. N, her husband was an imam who worked with the movement,” was the kind of lead Kilcullen would get after a time. There seems to be no shortage of self-proclaimed experts in the areas of counterinsurgency (COIN), guerrilla warfare (GW), Al Qa’ida, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kilcullen skillfully interprets the future of counterinsurgency, the proper use of military force and what we must learn from our losses and mistakes. His book is an attempt to understand the global phenomenon of radical takfiri extremism/terrorism, explain what has worked in Afghanistan and Iraq … David Kilcullen. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Second, readers who like to complete books in one or two sittings will find that nearly impossible with The Accidental Guerrilla. In the Accidental Guerilla he attempts to draw together lessons from his experiences ranging from studying in rural Indonesia (where he encounters likely Al-Qaeda affiliates who are definitely ethnic Arab and not local) to long tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq. In total, he has a truly impressive resume for the authorship of his first book, The Accidental Guerrilla. That is often times true. When you start a road, you send a message that this isn’t a monthlong partnership — it’s for the long haul.”. What is needed, he points out, is to develop strategies that deal both with global terrorism and conflicts at the local level. If T.E. 2 Reviews. Population-centric approaches, that center on protecting local people and gaining their support, succeed more often” (the accidental guerrilla theory). Sunday, July 5, 2009. David Kilcullen (Author), Peter Ganim (Narrator), Audible Studios (Publisher) & 0 more. But let us recall what happened to Vietnam. One who has garnered a tremendous reputation is David Kilcullen. His work in Iraq and Afghanistan involved much on-the-ground fact-­gathering — meeting with the people rather than locking himself in the Green Zone. Ignorance and Ideology Meet at the Capitol, Hungary’s Wartime Leader Struck a Faustian Deal With Hitler, Online Exclusive: Ram the Yankees, Full Speed Ahead. The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One Audible Audiobook – Unabridged. But instead we have been feeding corruption blindly as in Iraq. To see Kilcullen’s theory at work, you need only to look at the Swat region of northern Pakistan. First, one must consider the goals of the insurgent, then the insurgent’s strategy (which is not the same thing as his tactics, though his tactics are driven by his strategy). Be the first. ‘This book is essential…. . Oxford University Press, 2009, 384 pp. First, some may find Kilcullen’s writing in the early stages of the book a bit too academic for them and they may lose interest in the book. { THE ACCIDENTAL GUERRILLA: FIGHTING SMALL WARS IN THE MIDST OF A BIG ONE } By Kilcullen, David ( Author ) [ Apr - 2011 ] [ Paperback ] | David Kilcullen | ISBN: | Kostenloser Versand für alle Bücher mit Versand und Verkauf duch Amazon. The VC were doing fine because, as in Iraq/Afghan efforts, career officers depended on being action-Jackson but since it had to be with low casualties, thy prepaired the ops terrain by stralizing it with ordnance, destroying all protein on it.. The BAD GUYS (insurgents), might or might not require that support – it depends on their strategy. The Accidental Guerrilla Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One. He takes these ideas and is able to dissect them into the elements of politics, security, economic and information in a way that all readers can comprehend. Al Qaeda establishes its presence in a remote area of conflict, then penetrates the population the same way influenza infects a weakened immune system. Lawrence evoked the means of waging irregular warfare in his 1926 classic, 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom', Mr. Kilcullen describes the practitioner's art of combating insurgents."--. 5.0 • 1 valoración; $11.99; $11.99; Descripción de la editorial. Save this story for later. “The Accidental Guerrilla” is not an easy book. There are a select few people who truly speak with influence in the aforementioned subjects. That said, it IS certainly true that the COUNTERinsurgent requires widespread public support. Since his retirement from the Australian Army, Kilcullen’s reputation has escalated within the United States and the military community. By George Packe r. May 12, 2009 . Your email address will not be published. Kilcullen&Co will all have to get regular jobs selling door to door or something. . In “The Accidental Guerrilla,” Kilcullen draws on his vast experience not only as a dedicated field researcher, but also as a soldier — he commanded an infantry company in counterinsurgency operations in East Timor in 1999. However, assuming that popular support is zero-sum and thinking that because the insurgent lacks the support of the people that you, as the counterinsurgent, necessarily have gained it is deadly wrong. There is much in this book that I like and admire but having spent a little time looking at some of the more critical reviews of this book I cannot give it five stars or praise it without mentioning criticisms. The military must also protect. Accidental American Accidentally Rediscovers Old Knowledge. The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One. (The Economist) This led to massive massacre of civilians before our troops went in. “This book, like its wars, is a hybrid: part field study, part personnel recollection; perhaps too academic to be popular and too populist to be purely academic.”. These all have to be done at the same time, in the same place, and changes in one part of the problem significantly affect the others.”, In terms of the future of Afghanistan, Kilcullen is not overly optimistic. Oxford University Press, 2009, Hardback, 346 pages. Some insurgencies can achieve most of their goals by creating a situation that is so utterly intolerable to their opponents that anything would seem preferable to the conditions created by the insurgent. This may seem a fine distinction, but it is very important to understand if you want to “get it” at all (I’m not a fan of the “get it” term, but I hear a lot of people using it who generally only “get” about 80 or 90% of “it”). Each of these studies is superbly crafted and highlights the theory of the accidental guerrilla perfectly. Lawrence evoked the means of waging irregular warfare in his 1926 classic, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Mr Kilcullen describes the practitioner's art of combating insurgents. “The Accidental Guerrilla” is not an easy book. David Kilcullen. He is also an expert on counterinsurgency, or how to combat a rebellion, and one of the few brave souls who had the ear of people in the Bush White House and advised against the invasion of Iraq. Accidental Guerrilla, however, comes about as close as I can imagine to such status. 1 Review. Now in Afghanistan we get the benefit of Kilcullen’s once-quick-thru trips and the advice of one year tours from sililarly intel blind, language deaf, culture dumb officers. Such attacks create an intolerable environment in which the people look to their government and demand an end to the attacks. In my view, the conflict remains winnable, but the overall trend is extremely negative and a concerted long-term effort is needed—lasting 5-10 years at least—if we are to have any chance of building a resilient Afghan state and civil society that can defeat the threat from a resurgent Taliban and an increasingly active sanctuary in Pakistan.”. Your email address will not be published. Amazon Page . But not always. I believe most readers will find Kilcullen’s treatment of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars both extremely valuable and explored in a unique perspective. This is why many insurgent groups engage in acts of terrorism – killing innocent people in marketplaces, on buses, or on trains. His ideas were linked to the research he did 10 years earlier in the Javanese jungle: the theory that the war on terror has essentially two contrasting aspects. Email Print 0 Shares. The Economist. Based on field experiences and his extensive research, he believes this is the concept that essentially determines the outcome of any insurgency or counterinsurgency. After reading The Accidental Guerrilla, one is left to wonder why the Pentagon did not listen to his sage advice back in 2003." If T.E. The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One. The Accidental Guerrilla: 9781849047111: Books - Amazon.ca. Throughout the volume, Kilcullen displays a rare ability to take the complicated and place it in straightforward terms. Those who have read David Galula, T.E. What Kilcullen does not deal with is the Muslim unity in the face of his fellow Christian American “Crusades” there. The terrorists’ effort is meant to be long lasting, and it’s highly effective. The Accidental Guerrilla has an anthropologist's sense of social dynamics and a reporter's eye for telling detail. User-contributed reviews. It will greatly assist readers in understanding the past. He earned a doctorate in politics from New South Wales University; his thesis was entitled, “The Political Consequences of Military Operations in Indonesia 1945–99: A Fieldwork Analysis of the Power-Diffusion Effects of Guerrilla Conflict.” Militarily, he served for twenty-plus years (retiring in 2006) as an infantry officer in the Australian Army. Just as importantly, it will provide readers with the background they need to understand the events of the future and the role of the accidental guerrilla. Although the author covers several distinct areas in detail, they all revolve around his theory of what he calls the accidental guerrilla. So the work of the international community, or NATO (which Kilcullen also advises) or America comes down to basics: securing villages, valleys, roads and population centers. In fact, he is considered in several circles to be today’s foremost authority in COIN and GW. : David Kilcullen. But still, Kilcullen warns, it is essential to reassure the native peoples that you are not there to occupy them. As Bracevich points out in NATIONAL INTEREST, there is here the sound of an interested party whose career depends on the US trapped in endless COIN ops. These are small insurgencies seeking autonomy that align themselves intentionally (or sometimes not) with the larger movement. Other prominent COIN authorities addressed the principles he stresses years earlier. What Kilcullen wanted to do was to observe the movement the way the locals did — not from the “official version I could find in books.” So he lived in vil­lages and conversed with his curious neighbors about blue jeans and the Internet, until they trusted him enough to share ­information. It had ignored the separate, interlocking struggles. Rick Baillergeon co-authors with John Sutherland the continuing monthly series Tactics 101 for ArmchairGeneral.com. Responding to the review itself, rather than the book (which I have not read). David Kilcullen is a former officer in the Australian Army, a strategist and a scholar. If T.E. Required fields are marked *, Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. June 21, 2009. “This was the most exciting thing that had happened in their valley in years. Very, very interesting. Copyright © 2004-2018 Armchair General L.L.C., All rights reserved. Counterinsurgency, he says, “demands the continuous presence of security ­forces”; “local alliances and partnerships with community leaders; creation of self-­defending populations”; and “operation of small-unit ground forces in tandem with local security forces.”. Kilcullen believes that to succeed, the West needs to remain agile, and to protect the people who support the government, what he calls “population-centric security.” “Effective counterinsurgency,” he writes, “provides human security to the population, where they live, 24 hours a day. Lawrence, Frank Kitson, or Sir Robert Thompson will be quite familiar with these principles. There the peasant, according to VC documents, became “petits bourgeois,” with new lives in commerce. This would be a huge mistake, as the author’s style loosens up quickly. It is no coincidence Kilcullen served as the Special Advisor for COIN to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and as General David Petraeus’ COIN advisor. The most extensive sections of his book concentrate, naturally, on Iraq and Afghanistan (which he still sees as “winnable” with a long-term commitment), but his analysis leads him as well to smaller movements in such places as Chechnya, Thailand, Indonesia and the Horn of Africa. Reviewed by JANINE di GIOVANNI. Despite the pessimistic tone, Kilcullen provides readers with a concise, yet comprehensive strategy on what to do next in Afghanistan. I've been reading Kilcullen's book since last week, when he addressed a class I was attending at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center. Discussing the tribal areas of Pakistan, Kilcullen shows how Al Qaeda moved in by taking over communities — establishing bonds by marrying local women, operating businesses, eventually recruiting the villagers as fighters. He also has an incandescent wit, which he applies like a blowtorch to my book and to my personal character. Editorial Reviews "For a wider perspective on the lessons drawn over the past seven years of the 'war on terror', the reader can do no better than turn to Mr. Kilcullen's excellent book. However, an enemy-centric approach that neglects the population can very well result in the population being swayed by the insurgents, through propaganda and/or intimidation, and the end result of this is the creation of the accidental guerrilla. The failure to provide civil security will eventually destroy the perceived legitimacy of a government and breed additional opposition (“accidental guerrillas”?) Kilcullen skillfully interprets the future of counterinsurgency, the proper use of military force and what we must learn from our losses and mistakes. Add tags for "The accidental guerrilla : fighting small wars in the midst of a big one". The Accidental Guerrilla. As a result,the people perceive that government has failed to meet its primary obligation to the governed: Civil security. When outside forces intervene, disrupting the safe haven, the local population aligns with Al Qaeda. In reference to this strategy he states, “The ideas are not new; implementing them effectively would be.” I would suggest that Kilcullen’s ability to articulate this strategy in a succinct five pages is new. Just as carpenters insist we need more nails and boards banged together, the COIN guys insist we need more Cion warfare– for Afghan case alone they want another decade. They provide nothing of value to those exposed willingly or unwillingly to their views. These “accidental guerrillas” are the kind of individuals Kilcullen met in Java, like Mrs. N’s husband, the local imam. The Accidental Guerrilla has an anthropologist's sense of social dynamics and a reporter's eye for telling detail. It’s best when Kilcullen uses narrative to recount his personal experiences. Those who do not possess this level of understanding will also benefit tremendously from The Accidental Guerrilla. Free trial available! A militiaman in Najaf, Iraq, firing toward American positions, in 2004. Thursday, July 9, 2009. Even so, this book is essential. Such a strategy does not require widespread public support so much as it requires a lack of a unified, determined foe. While I … How does the initiation process of the accidental guerrilla happen? For starters, this is a good description of the difference between counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. And that's not all; the book has many more insights drawn from various battlefields." I found the most provocative portion of his discussion on Iraq was his assessment on why operations in the country are so challenging. Taliban did not do 9/11 and will not do the next. Nowhere is this displayed better than in the author’s use of two case studies: To highlight how the United States has effectively executed the concept of the accidental guerrilla, he details the Iraqi tribal uprising against Al Qa’ida during the 2007 Surge and the Kunar Afghanistan road construction project in 2008. This time people listened. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. It’s best when Kilcullen uses narrative to recount his personal experiences. The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One by David Kilcullen. Even if you’re not deeply interested in the ins and outs of counter-insurgency theory, it’s likely that you’ll enjoy Accidental Guerrilla. Contagion occurs when the safe haven is used to spread violence. Discover The Accidental Guerrilla as it's meant to be heard, narrated by Peter Ganim. Or the villagers in Uruzgan, Afghanistan, who joined the Taliban in a 2006 offensive against an American patrol simply for the joy of fighting. Perhaps, the best and most obvious place to begin a review of Guerrilla is with the title. Tags . After reading “The Accidental Guerrilla,” one is left to wonder why the Pentagon did not listen to his sage advice back in 2003, instead of that of all those cheery optimists who predicted the Iraqis would greet the American forces with flowers. What is distinctive is Kilcullen’s approach, which articulates the concept in an understandable way and breaks it down into the simplest of terms. He is also an expert on counterinsurgency, or how to combat a rebellion, and one of the few brave souls who had the ear of people in the Bush White House and advised against the invasion of Iraq. David Galula, a French writer on military affairs who was known for his theories on counterinsurgency, particularly during France’s Algerian war, must have influenced Kilcullen while he was doing his Ph.D. in political anthropology. Book Review: The Accidental Guerrilla The Accidental Guerrilla Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One Oxford University Press . The other, though largely ignored, is equally crucial: the uprisings of local networks and fighters. David Kilcullen opens his book with the following statement: “This book, like its wars, is a hybrid: part field study, part personnel recollection; perhaps too academic to be popular and too populist to be purely academic.” I believe Kilcullen has achieved the right blend of populist and academic. If instead our troops were to play a passive protective role, rather than massacre civilians blindly, USAID could, as did CORDS in South Vietnam, create an urban settings where youth and women could take refuge, slowly draining the rural “sea” (in which swim the Taliban) with industry and commerce. “When the battle was right there in front of them, how could they not join in?” Kilcullen writes. The Accidental Guerrilla has an anthropologist's sense of social dynamics and a reporter's eye for telling detail. Similar Items. The author is an accidental American given access to top secret information and inner circles much more appropriate to Ralph … While there is no question of my complete satisfaction with this book, I should provide some words of caution for prospective readers. But the Vietnam lesson is fogotten. Cart All. To this end, the counterinsurgent would do well to concentrate on providing civil security – the most basic responsibility of government and deeply linked to legitimacy. He quotes a colonel in Afghanistan: “You can drill a well in a day, and build a school in a month, . This is not revolutionary in COIN doctrine. He is adamant the Iraq War was a serious strategic error; however, he is just as resolute that forces must now stay until the mission is complete. Readers well-versed in COIN doctrine and principles may not obtain any significant nuggets to add to their understanding of the subject. There, our “Better War” towards the end almost won because, while in the begininig the VC were fish swimming in a sea of willing peasants, our ordnance mania made them all refugees to the cities, turning South vietnam from 85% rural to 75% urban. Just because you’ve taken from the other guy does NOT mean that you’ve gained it for yourself. but it takes a long, long time to build a road. His numerous COIN-related articles and papers have embraced, particularly by the United States military. to the government. David Kilcullen is one of the world's most influential experts on counterinsurgency and modern warfare, a ground-breaking theorist whose ideas "are revolutionizing military thinking throughout the west" (Washington Post). In “The Accidental Guerrilla,” Kilcullen draws on his vast experience not only as a dedicated field researcher, but also as a soldier — he commanded an infantry company in counterinsurgency operations in East Timor in 1999. In either case, know that popular support is NOT zero-sum. It would have shamed them to stand by and wait it out, they said.”. Share 0 Tweet 0 Share. One of the larger mistakes America has made in its handling of the Long War against Al Qaeda was ignoring the details of small conflicts that are so important to Kilcullen. Washington was focused on the big picture — Al Qaeda. After reading The Accidental Guerrilla, one is left to wonder why the pentagon did not listen to his sage advice back in 2003.' Kilcullen defines the accidental guerrilla as “the local fighter … fighting us because we are in his space, not because he wishes to invade ours.” Thus, he stresses a population-centric approach in a COIN operation will set the conditions for members of the population not becoming accidental guerrillas. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service. See all formats and editions. In Iraq, “shoxk&awe” reached the point of criminal, given our intel blind, language deaf and culture dumb invasion. Book Review: The Accidental Guerrilla After reading The Accidental Guerrilla, one is left to wonder why the pentagon did not listen to his sage advice back in 2003.’ — New York Times Book Review David Kilcullen. Then, he becomes a military adventurer, a modern Fitzroy MacLean: wandering through volcanic jungles; or flying in a Blackhawk over northwest Baghdad when an improvised explosive device detonates on the ground below, nearly plunging him to his death. YOU (the counterinsurgent), need the widespead support of the people. What separates Kilcullen from his contemporaries is the distinctive combination of his experiences—academically, militarily, and to some extent politically—that enable him to view events and circumstances from a unique perspective. Incandescent wit, which he applies like a blowtorch to my personal character covers several distinct areas detail! Necessarily requires widespread support of the people co-authors with John Sutherland the continuing monthly series 101... Readers who like to point out a weakness in current thought among those who claim to “ get it on! I found the most provocative portion of his fellow Christian American “ Crusades ”.. Assuming that killing insurgents is the key task, rarely succeed “ petits bourgeois, he. While I … Kilcullen 's compelling argument merits wide attention. massacre civilians... Work in Iraq, July 9, 2009, Hardback, 346 pages movement the! 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