Learning Lackluster Lessons: Counterinsurgency in the Algerian Revolution and the Iraq Surge




Ormsby, Patrick

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The Algerian Revolution provided two distinct avenues for approaching irregular, population centric conflicts typical of the post-World War II world. Captain David Galula’s counterinsurgency campaign (1956-58) provided the blueprint for a hearts-and-minds counterinsurgency, while the Battle of Algiers (1956-57) displayed a more brutal approach that garnered short-term results at great strategic costs. Writers of modern American counterinsurgency doctrine purposefully drew from the former and inadvertently from the latter but removing the tactics making it “effective.” False historical narratives unfortunately clouded Galula’s campaign which had fundamental shortcomings undiscussed in his memoirs. Additionally, several noteworthy hearts-and-minds counterinsurgencies proved to bear more similarity with the brutal approach. The Iraq Surge (2007), the first practical application of modern American counterinsurgency doctrine and an example of progression in that it did not feature torture, owned fundamental flaws not only unique to it but also others eerily similar to those within French counterinsurgency campaigns in Algeria.



Algeria., Algerian Revolution., Counterinsurgency., Galula., Aussaresses., Iraq Surge., Iraq.