Category: Counterinsurgency

Captured FARC messages show success of divisive operations

Internal emails of the Colombian FARC leadership show the guerrilla organization to be plagued by divisions, poor discipline, weakened command, and distrust among commanders. Colombia’s increasingly sophisticated counterinsurgency strategy of the past few years, and strong US support, are cited with exacerbating divisions within the FARC. The news also shows the effectiveness of the Colombian military and police with exploiting...

New book probes sociological tools for military

Just published: An important new book that advances knowledge about socio-cultural knowledge in irregular warfare. It’s the most thorough and reliable study yet about the innovative human terrain teams (HTTs) used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Understanding the human terrain is crucial in the types of wars the US and its allies fought over the past decade, and the concept is...

From my former students: Active Measures 2013

Congratulations to my former students, who have put together the second issue of Active Measures journal. It’s available now on Amazon. The journal was, but is no longer, associated with a blog, ActiveMeasures.org. Active Measures is a scholarly journal founded and run by graduate students studying with my former employer, where I was Annenberg Professor of International Communication for 13...

New York Times runs my piece on neo-Marxist war propaganda

Decades after losing to Ronald Reagan’s line-in-the-sand in the 1980s, Latin American Marxist revolutionaries continue their fight in a different battlespace: the legal system. Prosecutions of former military officers and dictators, as I argue in the New York Times, aren’t about justice. They’re about winning a war by other means. In the May 19 “Room for Debate” feature of the New York Times,...

History shows us how to fight the Islamist offensive

Ideological warfare makes many Americans uncomfortable and offends others, so when faced with a totalitarian ideological threat, we choose to accommodate or kill. But do we over-kill? Absolutely. Do we unnecessarily accommodate, as with the Muslim Brotherhood? Certainly. Are we in a new kind of war? No. Not really. It’s the same type of war we fought against the Communists;...

Catch-and-release: US tactical game with Taliban won’t produce a strategic victory

From the initial reports, it looks like another case of mirror-imaging, in which we think the enemy sees and understands things the same way we do. The Washington Post reports today that the US has been releasing top Taliban leaders to the enemy for years, in exchange for an unenforceable promise to renounce violence. According to the Post, “As the...

Transvestite Taliban: Let’s hold them up for ridicule

At long last, the Afghan military is starting to do something that the US military public affairs wizards haven’t been able to do. It’s heaping public ridicule on the Taliban enemy. There are lots of reasons to make fun of the Taliban – their misogyny grotesquely parallels their pedophilia, bestiality, and physical attraction to the same gender in a phenomenon...

USA Today: “US ‘info ops’ programs dubious, costly”

USA Today runs a lengthy front-page story February 29 about information operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that report is damning. I won’t summarize it here, but will encourage my students to read it thoroughly and critique it. As a spoiler, I must say that, based on working on information operations with the US military since 9/11, I agree with...

Dr Waller to speak at 3rd annual Irregular Warfare Summit

(Institute of World Politics news release)  On Wednesday, May 30, 2012, IWP professor J. Michael Waller, PhD, will discuss “Foreign Propaganda, Perceptions and Policy: Countering Information Designed to Mislead or Persuade” at the 3rd Annual Irregular Warfare Summit in Washington, D.C.  The summit is organized by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement. Please click here for more information.

Not getting it in time for Kandahar

It began as a brilliantly executed operation near the Taliban’s main stronghold: the Marine-led campaign to take Marjah, Helmand province, Afghanistan, earlier this year. Now we’re finding that the operation is bogging down and that the Afghan people aren’t helping us as we had anticipated. Somewhere along the way, the Marines apparently diverged from the playbook. They engaged the population...