I enter the COIN argument to say that the debate is misplaced in an article at Foreign Policy's Af-Pak Channel.
Before arguing about counterinsurgency as a tactic or a strategy, we must first acknowledge a key point: America did not enter any of these wars (going back to Vietnam) as a counterinsurgent or a nation-builder. America entered these wars with ill-defined strategic goals, the result of lowest common denominator bureaucratic negotiations. These goals were not sufficiently thought out, clearly stated, or properly subscribed to by the government writ large, resulting in nearly immediate drift. This fact should point us toward the true roots of the problem.