Myth and the small war tradition: Reassessing the discourse of British counter-insurgency

Jones, David Martin and Smith, M. L. R. (2013) Myth and the small war tradition: Reassessing the discourse of British counter-insurgency. Small Wars and Insurgencies, 24 3: 436-464. doi:10.1080/09592318.2013.802604


Author Jones, David Martin
Smith, M. L. R.
Title Myth and the small war tradition: Reassessing the discourse of British counter-insurgency
Journal name Small Wars and Insurgencies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0959-2318
1743-9558
Publication date 2013
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/09592318.2013.802604
Open Access Status
Volume 24
Issue 3
Start page 436
End page 464
Total pages 29
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Subject 3320 Political Science and International Relations
Abstract In recent years a number of commentators have posited that the British reputation for conducting small wars has suffered in the wake of setbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. The argument here contests whether such a tradition can be truly said to have ever existed. A close examination of this supposed tradition reveals it to be a myth. In fact, rarely have the British armed forces claimed a facility for counter-insurgency or small war. Invariably, commentators outside the Army have ascribed the tradition to them. Most notably, commentators in the United States keen to discern practices of minimum force or rapid institutional learning generated the narrative of British COIN expertise. Ultimately, what this myth reveals is that, when deconstructed, it is political will, not an ingrained understanding of fighting insurgencies, that has determined Britain's success, or otherwise, in so-called small wars.
Keyword Basra
British Army Field Manual Volume V
British COIN
Helmand
Suez crisis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 28 Nov 2013, 18:39:46 EST by System User on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies