The dangerous myths and dubious promise of COIN
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Counterinsurgency (COIN) is a topic of both contemporary and historical interest in the age of what has been called a global counterinsurgency. It is totally appropriate that historians should devote attention to COIN doctrine that is being rediscovered by military organisations and that has spawned its own ‘latter-day priesthood.’ This priesthood argues that population-centric, ‘hearts and minds’ doctrines offers a formula for success in winning over people and places in the grip of terrorist organisations.
Douglas Porch is a Professor at the Naval Postgraduate School (USA). This text is a concise transcription of his keynote address at the CIHM Congress (organised by the Netherlands Institute for Military History) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, August 2010.