How Can You Tell You’re About to Have a Civil War?
The Iraqi Kurd’s vote for independence in September 2017 sent shockwaves through the region. The day after the vote, the Iraqi military conducted a military exercise with Turkey. The government in Baghdad grounded international flights in and out of Kurdish Regional Government territory. And the Turkish government threatened to... Read more
Did the Chicago Police Department Betray One of Its Own?
Internal Chicago Police Department emails revealed to War Is Boring show the department failed to pursue evidence that could exonerate the CPD sergeant who shot and killed a 19-year-old man in November 2016. On Nov. 23, 2016, Sgt. John Poulos shot Kajuan Raye in the back during a foot... Read more
Not Every Civil War Is a Guerilla War
Civil wars have been given fairly blunt analysis for years. Security analysts have painted all civil wars as “guerrilla wars.” It’s also common for civil wars to be depicted as featuring near-constant fighting until one side either gives up or is defeated. Very few analysts account for the fluctuating... Read more
Do Civilian Casualties Cause Counterinsurgents to Fail?
The Netflix movie War Machine paints counterinsurgency wars as impossible. All of them. “The thing about counterinsurgency is that it doesn’t really work,” the film’s narrator says. “We tried it in Vietnam. That went well. The British and the French gave it a shot, trying to hang on to... Read more
In 1992, a Gang Truce Held in Chicago. But in 2013, Truce Was Impossible
On a sunny day in October, 33-year-old Anthony Garrett walked to the 10th floor of the 1157 N. Cleveland building in Chicago’s Cabrini Green housing complex. He knew that his fellow Cobras gang members hid an AR-15 assault rifle there. Just before 9:00 A.M., Garrett opened the bathroom window... Read more
Stopping Gangs Means Talking to Gang Members
Chicago’s gang problem is different in many ways from a full-scale counterinsurgency campaign, such as the one the United States fought against Iraqi insurgents from 2003 to 2011. Although Chicago’s 786 homicides in 2016 would make the city the 13th deadliest global armed conflict, Chicago’s gang members rarely directly... Read more
Just How Many Civilians Are We Comfortable Killing in War?
On March 17, 2017, soldiers from Iraq’s special forces fighting in the Mosul Jidideh neighborhood called in U.S. air strikes on three buildings being used by Islamic State snipers. One of the buildings collapsed, and between 61 and 150 civilians died in the strikes. U.S. officials now admit that... Read more
Chicago’s Gang Wars Have Become Battles of Attrition
The video began with three members of the Two Feet faction of the Four Corner Hustlers gang standing in a gas station lobby alongside a security guard. They are trapped. Unarmed and locked out of the gas station, they are being hunted by members of a Mafia Insane Vice... Read more
Why Can’t Aung San Suu Kyi End Burma’s Brutal Counterinsurgency?
“They shot and killed my husband and injured other villagers. The soldiers burned down our houses and killed and ate our animals. They also burned our rice barn, destroying 190 tins of rice.” “I saw the military burning the houses and shooting people who were fleeing. When someone came... Read more
A Gang Broke Apart, Then Baltimore Homicides Spiked
As you walk through Sandtown-Winchester, Baltimore City’s most violent neighborhood, the years of socio-economic degradation are readily apparent. In violent areas of Chicago, such as the Austin neighborhood, the main thoroughfares are littered with liquor stores and boarded up buildings, but the residential areas are generally well-kept and the... Read more