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Changes To The Gwot - Kilcullen And Petraeus

Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:50 pm

David Kilcullen argues in his book "The accidental guerilla" that most of the guerillas the west has been fighting are not guerillas by conviction but by accident of circumstance. The so-called war is best fought by the communities where the terrorists are located, and that interventions tend to be counterproductive.
The Accidental Guerrilla iFighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One David Kilcullen
David Kilcullen is one of the world's most influential experts on counterinsurgency and modern warfare. A Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor to General David Petraeus in Iraq, his vision of war dramatically influenced America's decision to rethink its military strategy in Iraq and implement "the surge."
Now, in The Accidental Guerrilla , Kilcullen provides a remarkably fresh perspective on the War on Terror. Kilcullen takes us "on the ground" to uncover the face of modern warfare,
Has a short synopsis of his main point.

Kilcullen: It was field observation over ten years or so, but the name came to me one afternoon near the Khyber Pass... My local escort commander pointed out to me that he and his guys were the real foreigners on the Frontier, whereas the al-Qaeda guys had been embedded there for a generation. He said no outsider could tell the locals apart from the terrorists except by accident. And when outsiders intervene to deal with the global terrorists hiding out in areas like the FATA, it turns out people get upset, and the local community coalesces around rejecting outside interference, and closes ranks to support the terrorists....

This has happened in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Horn of Africa, Thailand, Indonesia, Europe - basically everywhere I've worked since 9/11, I have observed some variation on this pattern. I call the local fighters "accidental guerrillas," because they end up fighting on behalf of extremists, not because they hate the west but because we just turned up in their valley with a Brigade, looking for AQ. And I calculate 90 to 95 percent of the people we've been fighting since 9/11 are accidentals, not radicals."

Yes he has been involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, but his experience of guerilla and terrorist activities is much broader.
The review adds the west has wasted a great deal of time, effort, lives and public money fighting people who mostly were not its enemies, at least not to begin with.

It would be interesting to see if Kilcullen's "accidental guerrilla" concept also applies to the "War on Drugs". If American planes and agents spray or burn coca crops in remote Latin American valleys, does that simply drive local farmers into the arms of the drug lords?

Who is he?

From the ABC synopsis of a one hour interview with him.
David Kilcullen
Former Australian army officer who served as special adviser for counterinsurgency to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; senior adviser to General David Petraeus in Iraq; and chief counterterrorism strategist for the US State Department.

Download the interivew at:

I have not been able to get the book - yet - but I have listened to the interview twice and just downloaded the 25 meg MP3 file. At least he is optimistic that a change of tactics, or really this is more strategy would work. He has some interesting thing to say about what to call the followers of OBL (the correct technical term, not abuse!!!) and how to separate them from the Umma.

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