Magazine March 23, 2009, Issue

Why Do They Fight?

U.S. Army soldiers assigned to Troop B, Fifth Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment, Third Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad run toward a UH-60 Blackhawk during an air assault training event in Baghdad, Iraq, February 25, 2009. (Staff Sergeant James Selesnick/US Army)
The Accidental Guerrilla: Fighting Small Wars in the Midst of a Big One, by David Kilcullen (Oxford, 384 pp., $27.95)

A thoughtful former infantry officer, David Kilcullen is respected in military circles: He knows his way around a battlefield, and wrote his Ph.D. thesis on insurgency in Indonesia. This is, in short, a man the Obama administration would be well advised to appoint to a national-security post.

In The Accidental Guerrilla, he adopts an academic tone in addressing both practical military matters and abstract geopolitical theories — two subjects it’s very difficult to combine in one book. He begins by advancing four “models” that explain the causes of modern-day insurgencies. He then synthesizes them into what he calls the “Accidental Guerrilla …

To Read the Full Story
A former assistant secretary of defense and combat Marine, Bing West embedded with dozens of platoons in Afghanistan and wrote three books about the course of that mismanaged war.

In This Issue




Rocky Ride

The Republicans’ fall from power in Colorado — and how the Democrats hope to replicate it.

Books, Arts & Manners


The Week

The Week

President Obama announced his plan to withdraw from Iraq. It’s noticeably more reasonable than his rhetoric from the campaign.


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