Wednesday, Apr. 10, 2013 12:00 am

On Monday, April 22, Grinnell College's Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights will host "Debating Counterinsurgency and the Future of Afghanistan," a debate between Col. Gian Gentile and John Nagl on whether counterinsurgency strategy is dead. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Room 101 of the Rosenfield Center at Grinnell College.
Col. Gian Gentile, professor of history at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and John Nagl, non-resident fellow at the Center for New Security and professor of history at the U.S. Naval Academy, are both major players in military policy circles. Gentile will argue that yes, counterinsurgency is dead, while Nagl, one of the architects of current counterinsurgency strategy, will argue that it is alive and kicking.
Gentile graduated from UC-Berkeley, where he joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). He later completed his Ph.D. in history at Stanford University. Gentile is a prominent critic of the U.S. military's use of counterinsurgency. When asked by The New York Times in a May 2012 interview what the United States gained after a decade of war with Afghanistan and Iraq, Gentile replied frankly, "Not much. Certainly not worth the effort. In my view."
Nagl graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, then attended St. John's College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar, and earned an M.Phil. degree in 1990. Nagl served as an armor officer in the U.S. Army for 20 years. He led a tank platoon in Operation Desert Storm and served as the operations officer of a tank battalion task force in Operation Iraqi Freedom, earning the Combat Action Badge and the Bronze Star medal. He then went on to teach at the United States Military Academy at West Point and Georgetown University before returning to Oxford to receive his doctorate. Nagl's book "Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam" influenced the counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
For more information about the counterinsurgency debate, contact Sarah Purcell,, 641-269-3091. Grinnell welcomes and encourages the participation of people with disabilities. Information on parking and accessibility is available on the college website. Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or