A Question of Command (Hardcover)
Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq (Yale Library of Military History)
Yale University Press, 9780300152760, 368pp.
Publication Date: October 20, 2009
Other Editions of This Title:
An argument for a dramatically different approach to counterinsurgency, based on a reinterpretation of the nature of counterinsurgency warfare.
According to the prevailing view of counterinsurgency, the key to defeating insurgents is selecting methods that will win the people’s hearts and minds. The hearts-and-minds theory permeates not only most counterinsurgency books of the twenty-first century but the U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, the U.S. military’s foremost text on counterinsurgency. Mark Moyar assails this conventional wisdom, asserting that the key to counterinsurgency is selecting commanders who have superior leadership abilities. Whereas the hearts-and-minds school recommends allocating much labor and treasure to economic, social, and political reforms, Moyar advocates concentrating resources on security, civil administration, and leadership development.
Moyar presents a wide-ranging history of counterinsurgency, from the Civil War and Reconstruction to Afghanistan and Iraq, that draws on the historical record and interviews with hundreds of counterinsurgency veterans, including top leaders in today’s armed forces. Through a series of case studies, Moyar identifies the ten critical attributes of counterinsurgency leadership and reveals why these attributes have been much more prevalent in some organizations than others. He explains how the U.S. military and America’s allies in Afghanistan and Iraq should revamp their personnel systems in order to elevate more individuals with those attributes.
A Question of Command will reshape the study and practice of counterinsurgency warfare. With counterinsurgency now one of the most pressing issues facing the United States, this book is a must-read for policymakers, military officers, and citizens.
About the Author
Praise For A Question of Command: Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq (Yale Library of Military History)…
— Victor Davis Hanson
— Eliot A. Cohen
— Thomas E. Ricks
— Bing West
“A Question of Command stands out because it reaches back quite far, and to unexpected destinations.” —Wilson Quarterly
— Wilson Quarterly
— George Stephanopoulos
— John Tierney
“Terrorism, uniquely horrifying as it is, doesn’t belong to an entirely separate and containable realm of human experience, like the one occupied by serial killers. Instead, it’s a tactic whose aims bleed into the larger, endless struggle of people to control land, set up governments, and exercise power. History is about managing that struggle.”--Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker
— Nicholas Lemann