Collateral Damage and Counterinsurgency Doctrine
by Major General Charles J. Dunlap, Jr.
When America's landpower services issued their new counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine in December of 2006, the Pentagon rightly hailed it as "a real team effort of Army and Marine writers." Although officially cast as simply doctrine for the two services, it was not long before Field Manual (FM) 3-24, (designated by the Marine Corps as Warfighting Publication 3-33.5) was being broadly touted in the media as "The Book" on Iraq.
Following the designation of one of FM 3-34's principal architects, General David H. Petraeus, as the Commanding General of the Multinational Force, it actually became, in effect, the strategy not just for the ground component, but the whole joint force in Iraq. Reflecting the views of many, Senator John McCain calls it the "blueprint of U.S. efforts" to secure that troubled country for its citizens.