I was pleasantly surprised to hear further commentary coming from a leading architect of the new Iraq strategy – a man who seems like a character from one of my novels; a former Australian officer and current counterinsurgency expert know for rough words and deeds, David Kilcullen.
Kilcullen is a clever savage, and was instrumental to constructing Petraeus’ critical counterinsurgency strategy. He has since been hired by the State Department as a top advisor, and his advice is well needed. He gets Iraq; understands its people and understands the obligations of those aiming to occupy their land. This is evidenced in his statement about the idea to invade:
Kilcullen, who helped Petraeus design his 2007 counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq, called the decision to invade Iraq “stupid” — in fact, he said “fucking stupid”
That kind of forthright insight is much needed in a muddle like Middle East nation building. It may just sound vulgar, but that’s not the point – dissembling and distracting has only compounded the problems we face. After nearly a decade of strategic geniuses like Scowcroft, Powell and Baker talking into their sleeve while Rove and his ilk get the masses howling, we find ourselves sunk 100,000 corpses and a trillion dollars down.
Blunt talk is now a matter of survival.
For more of Kilcullen, check out his appearance on Charlie Rose.