It was only a matter of time before the COINdinista vs. COINtra debate—which has become increasingly emotional and irrational as of late--would move on to the realm of science fiction.
And if there's anyone who understands the problems of using science fiction for the purposes of military futurism, it's yours truly.
Col. Gian Gentile's latest piece at ChicagoBoyz sounds as if it's ripe for parody by a certain milblogger. If only we could find one…
Update: For those of you who are arriving from The Atlantic and need a quick primer on the COIN/COINtra debate, check out Rethinking Security and Ink Spots.
The View from 2025: The Battle of Aqaba
Transformers 3: Revenge of the COINtras
The United States Army emerged like a phoenix from the ashes of failure in the mountains of Northern Iraq in 2016, defeating an insidious foe at the Battle of Aqaba in 2025. Once an Army steeped in the principles of counterinsurgency, promising minds dedicated themselves to re-learning the principles of fire and maneuver at the corps level, allowing America to vanquish its most difficult enemy to date:
President Andrew Exum, in a speech upon the hallowed battlegrounds, proclaimed:
"There was once a time when we sought to practice soft power, and taught our military leaders to negotiate over cups of chai. But that time is past. We can never negotiate with Decepticons!"
(From "The Aqaba Address", memorized by schoolchildren for years afterwards)
Former Secretary of Defense John Nagl, who served during the previous administration, similarly noted that "The enemy could not be persuaded, nor bought off, nor swayed to see our point of view. The Decepticons are just more god-damned one-dimensional and plain evil than even the Krasnovians at NTC".
Secretary of State Courtney Messerschmidt was one of the more colorful characters in the lead-up to the battle. A Pulitzer-prize winning author and former President of the Center for a New American Security, her term as Secretary of State was rocked with scandal after salacious pictures of a Spring Break trip to Magdeburg, Germany (the home of noted Prussian author Carl von Clausewitz) surfaced during her confirmation hearings. Even more shocking were the activities of her nubile twenty-something interns, nicknamed by the media, "Great Satan's Hoochies".
Said Secretary Messerschmidt of the Battle of Aqaba:
"Great Satan totally unleashed her panzerfaust at the Decepticons at the Battle of Aqaba, bitchslapping the enemy in a Jominian-style decisive battle." Added Messerschmidt, "Great Satan's Teufel Hunden ripped through the tender parts of the Decepticon defenses like the University of Georgia football team through the Chi Omega house".
Messerschmidt made further references to American military theorist John Boyd. Unfortunately, much of these comments were ignored, with attention directed towards two of her female interns, who relentlessly spanked one another for the duration of Messerschmidt's press conference.
Following that, "Great Satan's Hoochies" then conducted open-mouth kissing operations.
Said General Jack D. Ripper of the battle, "The Army had lost its ability to coordinate fire and maneuver at the corps level sometime during the early 2000s. I used to think this was because of an emphasis on counterinsurgency warfare, but really, it had more to do with Army Transformation—placing artillery units at the brigade level,and offering more autonomy to brigade combat teams."
"In an earlier era, we might have allowed brigade commanders to employ their own fires. But why do that when you can mass fires at the corps level? Sure, it's a pain in the ass to call through two layers of bureaucracy for artillery support, but hey, there's no management like micro-management!"
"We also purged much of the knowledge and ink wasted on nation-building efforts left over from twenty years ago. I mean, really, there's not a whole lot of nation-building or population control going on here, as Megatron's plasma cannon seems to have neutralized all life within a three hundred kilometer radius"
Secretary of Defense Adam Elkus, propelled into his position following a stint as the Undersecretary for Giant Fucking Robot Affairs, has a different view of the battle.
"There is a popular narrative which tells us that our victory over the Decepticons was a triumph of the conventional form of warfare over the counterinsurgency school. However, it would seem the new doctrine mattered little. The reduction in Decepticon capabilities was a result of a civil war which was tearing them apart from the inside"
As proof, Elkus offered the fact that Decepticon leader Megatron was thrown into the vacuum of space by his second-in-command, Starscream.
"We also benefitted from a faction of killer robots who were willing to side with us against the Decepticons"
Elkus gave us contact information for one member of the faction known as the "Autobots", who agreed to speak only under strict anonymity.
Said the anonymous "Autobot": "Me Grimlock no bozo, me king!"
Elkus believes that the political interplay among the Decepticons was the greatest contributor to their defeat. War, says Elkus, is primarily a political endeavor.
According to Elkus, missions such as stability and support will always play as large a role in America's military activities as major combat operations. As proof, Elkus points to an Army officer, Lieutenant (several times demoted) Crispin Burke, currently the de facto ruler of Libya following the death of dictator Moammar Qadaffi.
"I found that stability operations in Libya were quite simple once I finally understood the fundamental underpinnings of Libyan society", says Burke.
"Libyans demand two very important attributes in their leaders. First, they demand a leader who is completely balling out of control", said Burke, referring to the recently-deceased Libyan tyrant who was known to keep a harem of beautiful female bodyguards.
"Fortunately, I was able to rise to the challenge, due to a totally baller lifestyle. Yet, this is not a quality which is often cultivated in our Army's organizational culture."
"Therefore, I have recommended that Fort Leavenworth create a 'Balling Out Of Control Center of Excellence', or BOO-CCE".
Burke pronounced BOO-CCE as if it were "bukkake".
"Secondly, Libyans also demand a leader who wears outrageous outfits. That is why I have developed a timeline to transfer government authority to Lady Gaga within three years".
Still, others urged the need for balance.
Said General Jack D. Ripper, "We must not let our conventional warfighting skills atrophy. There are still plenty of conventional forces out there: China, Iran, Russia, and most importantly, Unicron".