Trump Doesn't Need Cabinet COIN-dinistas Petraeus, Mattis

A 2010 hagiography of General Mattis describes the key features of the COIN manual, and how Mattis conceived and acted upon its directives:

The manual articulates a new concept of risk: Troops use less force and accept more short-term vulnerability to build ties with locals that will bring longer-term security.

Mattis called in experts in Arab culture to lead cultural sensitivity classes …

Marines were taught to remove their sunglasses when talking to Iraqis, and when searching a home, to respect the head of the household by seeking his permission to enter …

For Mattis, the teaching didn't stop once the Marines got to the fight. He constantly toured the battlefield to tell stories of Marines who were able to show discretion and cultural sensitivity in moments of high pressure …

Mattis called on his troops to accept more immediate risks -- to not shoot, to remove helmets -- in order to plant seeds for future peace. [E]ven at the end of the heaviest fighting [in Fallujah], Mattis met with sheiks to continue the effort to win over the locals. He left Iraq in August of 2004, but the Marines continued to repeat his mantra: "First, do no harm."

While he commanded U.S. troops in Iraq, Petraeus (re-)stated during a 2007 interview with National Public Radio the standard mantra of COIN enthusiasts: that this mode of warfare featured “protecting the Iraqi population,” ostensibly to avoid actions which “create more enemies than you take off the streets.”

Some 125 years before the 2006 Petraeus/Mattis COIN “guidelines” were published, the U.S. Department of State (in 1880) produced a specific learning tool for diplomats stationed in Muslim nations, which opened with this clear, and remarkably concise explanation of jihad, and its Sharia, Islamic law jurisprudence (“fiqh”) basis:

In all the many works on Mohammedan law no teaching is met with that even hints at those principles of political intercourse between nations, that have been so long known to the peoples of Europe, and which are so universally recognized by them.

“Fiqh,” as the science of Moslem jurisprudence is called, knows only one category of relation between those who recognize the apostleship of Mohammed and all others who do not, namely Djehad [jihad]; that is to say, strife, or holy war.

Inasmuch as the propagation of Islam was to be the aim of all Moslems, perpetual warfare against the unbelievers, in order to convert them, or subject them to the payment of tribute, came to be held by Moslem doctors [legists] as the most sacred duty of the believer.

This right to wage war is the only principle of international law which is taught by Mohammedan jurists; … with the Arabs the term harby [harbi] (warrior) expresses not only an unbeliever but also an enemy; and jehady [jihadi] (striver, warrior) means the believer-militant. From the Moslem point of view, the whole world is divided into two parts -- “the House of Islam,” and the House of War;” out of this division has arisen the other popular dictum of the Mohammedans that “all kinds of unbelievers from but one people.”

The 2006 COIN manual, in stark contrast, makes only a solitary vacuous and misleading reference to jihad as allegedly “defined” in some unique, exclusive manner by the [Osama] Bin Laden/ Al Qaeda “narrative.”

Moreover, the COIN manual contained no references to the Sharia, or its “legal” embodiment, Islamic fiqh/jurisprudence.

Retired colonel Douglas MacGregor, a respected military strategist, and heroic tank commander during the 1991 Iraq war, remonstrated against COIN in 2010:

The entire COIN strategy is a fraud perpetuated on the American people. The idea that we are going to spend a trillion dollars to reshape the culture of the Islamic world is utter nonsense.

MacGregor’s plaintive statement reiterated the essence of Marine Corps Sergeant Major (Ret.) James Sauer’s criticisms elaborated with meticulous detail -- doctrinal, historical, and hands-on experiential -- in an October 2009 essay. Diana West, in her singular clarity, further identified the Gordian knot intertwining Petraeus/Mattis COIN doctrine and our troops’ hideously self-destructive rules of engagement [ROEs] -- which she aptly termed “a post-modern form of human sacrifice” -- in Afghanistan:

It is this COIN theory that is directly responsible for the unconscionably restrictive ROEs that have been attracting media attention, a postmodern form of human sacrifice staged to appease the endlessly demanding require­ments of political correctness regarding Islam. There is no separating the two. If we have COIN, we have these same heinous ROEs.

This self-righteous moral repugnance of Petraeus/Mattis COIN doctrine was compounded by its abject failure as a military strategy, including the Iraq “surge” of 2007.