Counterinsurgency: What the United States Learned in Vietnam, Chose to Forget and Needs to Know Today

Counterinsurgency: What the United States Learned in Vietnam, Chose to Forget and Needs to Know Today

by David Donovan


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It has long been predicted that counterinsurgency will be the predominant style of American warfare in the 21st century: Thus far, the prediction has proven true.
Written for those who study counterinsurgency from a policy perspective as well as for those who do counterinsurgency in the field, this book demonstrates that the U.S. has had difficulty meeting the challenges of this special form of warfare because it has not properly processed important lessons from the past. Based on the author's wartime experiences, a broad range of topics are covered--from factors to be considered in accepting a counterinsurgency partner to "rules" for advisors in the field--with points illustrated by real-life examples.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786497690
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 01/13/2015
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David Donovan is the pen name of Terry T. Turner, a former advisor in a counterinsurgency program in Vietnam. For the last 35 years he has been a scientist and university professor and is currently professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. He lives in Coolidge, Georgia.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments iv

Preface 1

1 The Test: Five Questions 3

2 The Program: Five Requirements 29

3 The Campaign: Five Challenges 44

4 Those Who Do Counterinsurgency: The Advisors 65

5 Donovan's Dozens: Rules for Counterinsurgency 85

6 Counterinsurgency Failure: A Dozen Ways to Do It 134

7 Counterinsurgency Program Organization: It Can Work in Its Specifics but Still Be Overwhelmed 157

8 Counterinsurgency and the Potemkin Village 179

9 The Soldiers They Send 197

Bibliography 207

Index 211

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Counterinsurgency: What the United States Learned in Vietnam, Chose to Forget and Needs to Know Today 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
hahcutt More than 1 year ago
This book is an easier read than the subject matter would imply. It is clearly the product of an organized mind. For the general reader, an understanding can be gained for why we are so often mired in ugly international interventions with outcomes very uncertain. For the professional who has direct interest in counterinsurgency, this book would seem to me to be an excellent platform for organizing ones thoughts when planning, or evaluating ongoing and future counterinsurgency programs. What we need to plan for, what can go wrong and what to do about it are laid out in clear steps. “Counterinsurgency” draws heavily on the author’s Viet Nam experience and extrapolates that into the present and the future. His war experience, coupled with his academic credentials, lends a great deal of credibility to the detailed methodology he lays out for evaluating and planning counterinsurgency programs. The book has the style of a handbook rather than an academic textbook, and contains the careful reflections of someone who has “been there and done that”. Our government gives us cause to despair that it will never learn when and how to use military intervention wisely. This book gives us hope that, yes, there is a way to play our part but our motives must be honest and our plan realistic.