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Petraeus: Best COIN-Ready Army Ever

And, after a C-Span-engendered bit of confusion, we’re back. What’d I miss?

Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D-Tex.) is talking about costs in terms of readiness. Petraeus replied that there’s another component of readiness: “How much more that our troopers get it about what it is we’re doing.” In other words, the troops are better equipped to understand and execute a counterinsurgency strategy.

“Paradoxically, our troops have incredible resilience,” he said. And he’s right: soldiering is a complex phenomenon, and the current crop of Iraq/Afghanistan veterans represent the greatest base of experience for counterinsurgency in the Army’s history. (The Marine Corps’ historical experience with counterinsurgency is deeper.) But how many counterinsurgencies will we actually be fighting? And at what point does an officer or enlisted (wo)man decide three, four tours is enough? Petraeus acknowledged a worry about “young captains” not reenlisting.

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