An Evening of Counterinsurgency at the Pritzker Military Library
Hearts and minds? Overrated. If you want to run a successful counterinsurgency, it all starts with the person at the top.
On Thursday, December 3rd, Mark Moyar will appear at the Pritzker Military Library to discuss his new book, A Question of Command: Counterinsurgency from the Civil War to Iraq. This event is free and open to the public. The presentation will begin at 6 p.m., preceded by a reception for Library members at 5 p.m. It will be webcast live on pritzkermilitarylibrary.org and recorded for later broadcast on WYCC-TV/Channel 20.
Moyar takes issue with much of the current U.S. Army / Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual, which guided the "surge" in Iraq. Though its creation was overseen by Gen. David Petraeus, whose leadership he considers a near-perfect model for counterinsurgency, Moyar finds the general's most important qualities de-valued in the manual, which suffers from what he calls a "population-centric" emphasis toward defeating an insurgency by depriving it of public support. Using case studies from the Philippines, Vietnam, and other conflicts over the last 150 years, Moyar argues instead that counterinsurgencies succeed or fail based on the leaders involved: their ability to inspire subordinates, adapt to complex situations, unify civilian and military efforts, and identify capable sub-commanders, both from their own ranks and the target population.
Though A Question of Command describes historical insurgencies around the world, Moyar posits that the American South, after the Civil War, may have been the best model for the situation in Iraq. Whereas Grant and Sherman had led major victories on the battlefield, it was lesser-known leaders like Brig. Gen. Robert F. Catterson and Maj. Lewis Merrill who had the most success against insurgent forces such as the Ku Klux Klan. A Question of Command attempts to capture the qualities and decisions that set those leaders apart, making their successors easier to find.
Mark Moyar is Professor of National Security Affairs at the Marine Corps University. He is also the author of Triumph Forsaken: the Vietnam War, 1954-1965 and Phoenix and the Birds of Prey: Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism in Vietnam. Moyar's writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. He received a B.A. summa cum laude from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Cambridge.
Seating for this event is limited, so reservations are recommended. Call 312.587.0234 or email email@example.com.
Education professionals in Illinois may earn 1.5 Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDUs) for attending this event.
About the Pritzker Military Library
The Pritzker Military Library is a non-partisan, non-profit research institution located at 610 North Fairbanks Court in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago, near the Magnificent Mile. Admission is free and open to the public, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and also for scheduled evening events.
Since opening in October 2003, the Pritzker Military Library has produced over 250 programs including events with award-winning authors, interviews with Medal of Honor recipients, and Emmy-nominated panel discussions on military issues. All programs are presented free of charge in front of a live audience, webcast live on the Internet, and recorded for later broadcast on WYCC-TV/Channel 20, a PBS affiliate. Programs are also available for download as audio podcasts.
The mission of the Pritzker Military Library is to acquire and maintain an accessible collection of materials and develop appropriate programs focusing on the Citizen Soldier in the preservation of democracy. The 5,000 sq. ft. facility features a collection of books and films on subjects covering the full spectrum of American military history, along with vintage posters, photographs, medals, uniforms, and other artifacts from private donors and the collection of the Library's founder, COL (IL) James N. Pritzker, ARNG (Ret.).
To learn more, visit pritzkermilitarylibrary.org.