Whether COIN is the path to enlightenment or the road to hell is kind or irrelevant for the next year or so. Regardless of what people think of it, it’s not going anywhere…
Speaking to NATO alliance officials in Brussels, Petraeus said there would be no change in the counterinsurgency strategy implemented by his predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who was relieved of his command last week by President Barack Obama.
I still think this bit is a fig leaf for domestic consumption:
But he said the rules of engagement, designed to limit civilian casualties and improve support for U.S. and NATO forces fighting the Taliban-led insurgency, would be examined to improve their efficiency.
Followed quickly by:
He added there was no intention of changing the rules of engagement but the alliance would look “very hard at how the rules are implemented and ensure that there is even implementation across all units.”
I suspect the more outlandish reports of soldiers having ‘their hands tied behind their backs’ are more a result of over cautious commanders who don’t understand COIN fully. Hence, the narrative you hear will be less ‘Kill ’em all let god sort ’em out’ and more ‘We’re going back to make sure people understand the intent of population centric ops and how it should (and shouldn’t) be applied.’