In This Review

The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual

The U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual
By The U.S. Army and the Marine Corps
472 pp, University of Chicago Press, 2007
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Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, and Guerrilla War, From the American Revolution to Iraq

Violent Politics: A History of Insurgency, Terrorism, and Guerrilla War, From the American Revolution to Iraq
By William R. Polk
304 pp, Harper Collins, 2007
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The invasion of Iraq began on March 19, 2003, and it took only three weeks for the U.S. military to defeat Saddam Hussein's army. But even during those heady days, there were ominous signs of things to come. "The enemy we're fighting is a bit different from the one we war-gamed against," Lieutenant General William Wallace, the army's V Corps commander, told The New York Times a week into the conflict. The first U.S. combat fatality was a marine shot at point-blank range by men driving a civilian pickup truck. The first suicide car bombing of a U.S. checkpoint occurred ten days into the war.

Soon after Saddam's regime fell, the occupation began to falter, and a virulent Sunni insurgency took hold. The U.S. military was caught flatfooted. The army and the Marine Corps had not substantially updated their counterinsurgency doctrine since the 1980s, choosing, in the wake

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  • COLIN H. KAHL is an Assistant Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and a Fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
  • More By Colin H. Kahl