WHAM: Winning Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan and Elsewhere   [open pdf - 4MB]

"Dr. Henriksen argues that America needs to get back to the basics of counterinsurgency lest it bankrupts itself in nation-building and reconstruction projects that are driven from the top, not the bottom. Citing tremendously expensive 'winning hearts and minds' (WHAM) efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, he hypothesizes that 'WHAM operations must be waged with much less expenditure of U.S. dollars in the years ahead.' He offers Britain's frugal victory in Malaya as one example of a low-budget counterinsurgency success that started with protecting the people, over time formed a representative government, and linked the people and their support to that government. Economic development was part of the strategy, but it was a supporting and complementary effort, not a major effort in and of itself. He argues that success in Iraq was not because of a massive infusion of dollars, but because the people, represented and organized by the tribal leaders, were fed up with al-Qaeda's murder and intimidation campaign and imposition of a strict form of Sharia law. The tribes in Al Anbar realized they could not defeat al-Qaeda on their own, so they partnered with their lesser enemies, the Coalition and the Government of Iraq, to rid their homeland of al-Qaeda. […] Dr. Henriksen's research concludes with advocating a return to counterinsurgency fundamentals and encourages taking historical counterinsurgency lessons along with the recent experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan into consideration. SOF readers will be challenged to scrutinize strategic approaches and resourcing of counterinsurgency operations in the future."

Report Number:
JSOU Report 12-1
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Joint Special Operations University: https://jsou.socom.mil/
Media Type:
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