The Counterinsurgent

John Nagl was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University who wrote his PhD thesis about counter-insurgency. He read every classic book on the issue, his favorite being T.E. Lawrence’s “Seven Pillars of Wisdom,” which warns that fighting a guerrilla war is “messy and slow, like eating soup with a knife.” But Nagl is not just a scholar of counter-insurgency. He is a major in the U.S. Army and is currently third-in-command of a tank battalion in the Sunni Triangle in Iraq. My profile of him is in this week’s issue of The New York Times Magazine.

UPDATE. If you have too much time on your hands, you can listen to me talk about Iraq and counterinsurgency on the following programs:

Fresh Air.

Leonard Lopate. (Scroll to “Peter Maass.”)

NPR Weekend Edition. (Scroll to “U.S. Counterinsurgency Expert.”)

Author: Peter Maass

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. In 1983, after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, I went to Brussels as a copy editor for The Wall Street Journal/Europe. I left the Journal in 1985 to write for The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune, covering NATO and the European Union. In 1987 I moved to Seoul, South Korea, where I wrote primarily for The Washington Post. After three years in Asia I moved to Budapest to cover Eastern Europe and the Balkans. I spent most of 1992 and 1993 covering the war in Bosnia for the Post.