Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam

Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam

John A. Nagl


Invariably, armies are accused of getting ready to struggle the former warfare. In studying to devour Soup with a Knife, Lieutenant Colonel John A. Nagl—a veteran of either Operation barren region typhoon and the present clash in Iraq—considers the now-crucial query of ways armies adapt to altering conditions in the course of the process conflicts for which they're at first unprepared. by utilizing archival resources and interviews with members in either engagements, Nagl compares the advance of counterinsurgency doctrine and perform within the Malayan Emergency from 1948 to 1960 with what constructed within the Vietnam battle from 1950 to 1975.

In reading those occasions, Nagl—the topic of a up to date New York occasions Magazine conceal tale via Peter Maass—argues that organizational tradition is essential to the facility to profit from unanticipated stipulations, a variable and is the reason why the British military effectively carried out counterinsurgency in Malaya yet why the yankee military did not achieve this in Vietnam, treating the warfare as a substitute as a standard clash. Nagl concludes that the British military, as a result of its function as a colonial police strength and the organizational features created by way of its historical past and nationwide tradition, used to be greater capable of speedy study and follow the teachings of counterinsurgency throughout the process the Malayan Emergency.

With a brand new preface reflecting at the author's wrestle adventure in Iraq, Learning to devour Soup with a Knife is a well timed exam of the teachings of past counterinsurgency campaigns that might be hailed by way of either army leaders and civilians.

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