Good fuel to the fire of my deep and abiding love for David Petraeus (not that it really needed the help). Also, as kind of a leftist/pacifist, this was useful for an alternate view of the military, which I tend to assume is made up mainly of kids with few-to-no ways out of the less-than-ideal circumstances in which they grew up. Nope, in this world of David Petraeus everyone (including the general himself) has advanced degrees. It was good for me to read this depiction of the military, but also disappointing that the issues around torture were never discussed. It was a good and engrossing read, but once I put the book down the gaps started showing through pretty quickly.
After an article by Ralph Peters appeared criticizing the draft [counter-insurgency manual] for taking too soft an approach to fighting insurgents, and Petraeus's four-star superior advocated qualifying the stark language of the paradoxes, Petraeus ordered modifications over Crane's strenuous objections. Thus, the final paradoxes read: "Sometimes, the more force is used, the less effective it is," and "Some of the best weapons for counterinsurgents do not shoot," which is a less elegant rendering than the unqualified originals. Petraeus's favorite aphorism, "Money is ammunition," which he had coined in Mosul, remained untouched. T.E. Lawrence's maxim, "Do not try to do too much with your own hands" was reformulated as "The host nation doing something tolerably is normally better than us doing it well."
(Another book I read before my move to Philly, and am just reviewing now.)
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