In the first few years of the post-9/11 era, the established models for fighting ‘small wars’ proved distressingly ineffective against resilient insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the insurgents fought Western armies to a stalemate, it was clear that a new approach was necessary. David Kilcullen, a former Australian army officer, and one of the world’s most influential experts on guerrilla warfare, became a key architect of the West’s revamped military strategy. As the senior advisor to General David Petraeus in Iraq, Kilcullen’s revolutionary approach to counterinsurgency was an intellectual foundation for ‘the Surge’ of 2007.
In The Accidental Guerrilla, Kilcullen takes us on the ground to uncover the face of modern warfare, illuminating both the global challenge (the ‘War on Terrorism’) and small wars across the world in Afghanistan, Iraq, Indonesia, Thailand, East Timor, and Pakistan. He explains that today’s conflicts are a complex hybrid of contrasting trends that America has tended to conflate, blurring the distinction between local and global struggles, and thereby enormously complicating our challenges. The West has continually misidentified insurgents with limited aims and legitimate grievances—‘accidental guerrillas’—as members of a unified worldwide terror network. We must learn how to disentangle these strands, develop strategies that deal with global threats, avoid local conflicts where possible, and win them where necessary.
Coloured with gripping battlefield experiences that range from the jungles and highlands of South-East Asia and the mountains of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to the dusty towns of the Middle East, The Accidental Guerrilla will, quite simply, change the way we think about war.
- Publication Date:
- 30 / 03 / 2009