Lots of feedback. Going though it now. Jason Van Steenwyk has a post here. He’s underwhelmed too. He also posts something from High Clearing (which, for some reason, I can’t link to at the moment) that puts a finger on something that bothered me about the article but that I couldn’t quite articulate:
Of Krepinevich summarily, reading it made me think of two things. Really, three. The first is the old role-playing game cliché of “quickly and quietly.” As in, “We move quickly and quietly down the corridor,” a classic example of play groups trying to have it both ways at once, bluffing the gamemaster into accepting that they can achieve both sides of what is really a tradeoff between values at the same time. The clearest example of “quickly and quietly” in Krepinevich is when he says that, oil-spot strategy notwithstanding, US and Iraqi armed forces should also continue with sweeps beyond secured territory to keep insurgents from enjoying the leisure to organize themselves. Since his thesis statement is that “Winning will require a new approach to counterinsurgency, one that focuses on providing security to Iraqis rather than hunting down insurgents,” and he argues that hunting down insurgents has been distracting the US from providing loyalty-winning development to secured areas, this seems like a cheat.
The other bit is something that I remember from an old Sandbaggers episode, but that surely predates it: “If we had ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had eggs.” This pops up throughout the article, where Krepinevich argues that if we had this, and that, we could have this and that.