Hearts and Minds: A People's History of Counterinsurgency (New Press People's History)

Hearts and Minds: A People's History of Counterinsurgency (New Press People's History)

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 1595588256

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The first book of its kind, Hearts and Minds is a scathing response to the grand narrative of U.S. counterinsurgency, in which warfare is defined not by military might alone but by winning the "hearts and minds" of civilians. Dormant as a tactic since the days of the Vietnam War, in 2006 the U.S. Army drafted a new field manual heralding the resurrection of counterinsurgency as a primary military engagement strategy; counterinsurgency campaigns followed in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the fact that counterinsurgency had utterly failed to account for the actual lived experiences of the people whose hearts and minds America had sought to win.

Drawing on leading thinkers in the field and using key examples from Malaya, the Philippines, Vietnam, El Salvador, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Hearts and Minds brings a long-overdue focus on the many civilians caught up in these conflicts. Both urgent and timely, this important book challenges the idea of a neat divide between insurgents and the populations from which they emerge—and should be required reading for anyone engaged in the most important contemporary debates over U.S. military policy.

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apex in May 2010, when I attended a conference in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on counterinsurgency in Afghanistan sponsored by the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center.2 Counterinsurgency, or COIN, had been making a comeback over the course of the last several years. In 2007, faced with mounting chaos in Iraq, a desperate George W. Bush grasped for a new strategy in the war. General David Petraeus was prepared for such a moment. For decades, he had been angling to bring

removed. Indian organizations remained separate, with R.G. Balan’s unions cooperating with the MCP’s Rubber Workers Union. Finally, in Perak, a headquarters section had been established on the jungle’s edge and started calling up fighters.52 The Emergency itself intensified pressure on workers. Some were recruited as Home Guards. The PMFTU was banned on June 13, 1948. Many Indian unionists went into the jungle, and union membership slumped. Despite the temporary increase in wages in 1950–52 as a

although in the past, women were viewed principally as the targets rather than the agents of COIN policies. Significantly, in the joint U.S. and Philippine counterinsurgency campaign against the Huks in the 1950s, women were completely absent from defense circles. While they had enlisted in the U.S. Women’s Army Corps since 1943, it took another twenty years for women to enter the Women’s Auxiliary Corps in the Philippines.10 Women were marginalized in formal military circles through much of the

GVN represented the same segment of the population that controlled land and wealth during French rule.33 Meanwhile, struggles among competing factions of the governing elite came to a head on November 2, 1963, when Diem and his brother were assassinated in a U.S.-supported military coup, followed by Kennedy’s assassination just three weeks later, effectively ending the Strategic Hamlet Program. Despite the Kennedy administration’s investment in counterinsurgency, 1961–63 proved to be a

Province, was found with more than nine tons of opium in his office by the DEA in 2005 (he subsequently took up a seat in the Senate). Izzatullah Wasifi, whom Karzai appointed anticorruption chief in 2007, spent almost four years in a Nevada prison for selling heroin to an undercover cop. Meanwhile, Vice President Ahmed Zia Massood was caught by the DEA entering Dubai with $52 million in cash. A CIA officer commented that during the period of the U.S.-NATO occupation, “Virtually every significant

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