Steve Coll on Petraeus and the state of the Army:

The questions [asked of and answered by Petraeus] also touch upon a debate that is taking place within the Army over whether the counterinsurgency wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may have degraded the U.S. military’s ability to carry out traditional combator what the document calls “high intensity force-on-force conflict.” Underlying this debate is a belief among some American and Israeli analysts that during the summer of 2006, when Israel entered into a conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon, the vaunted Israeli Defense Forces performed relatively poorly because they had been sapped by their long counterinsurgency campaigns in Gaza and the West Bank. Those occupations may have distracted the Israeli military from training and innovating in precision tactics such as artillery firinga neglect that showed up in Lebanon, where the I.D.F. seemed surprised by Hezbollah’s defensive tactics, this line of analysis goes.

The current debate within the U.S. military concerns whether something similar may be happening to the U.S. Army.

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