Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The warrior stands at the edge of the crowd:
John Nagl, one of the Army's brightest counterinsurgency lights, is retiring to join the Center for a New American Security, Tom Ricks reports. On one level, it's a shame that the Army can't retain an officer as promising as Nagl to institutionalize the lessons of Iraq. But CNAS is a conveyor belt for staffing a Democratic Pentagon, especially if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination. The country won't have a General Nagl, but it may very well have an Assistant Secretary Nagl in the near future.

Update: Also worth mentioning, since I missed it when it happened, is that Col. Pete Mansoor, another COIN luminary and close Petraeus advisor, will be heading to "the" Ohio State University's military-history program in September. Thanks to THFTNR friend PC for pointing this out.

Late Update: For a colloquy on every conceivable issue Nagl's retirement raises, you have to read Abu Muqawama. Then read Charlie's follow-up. If you didn't already have an inferiority complex, note that Nagl reviewed a book of war poetry by writing a poem, and a moving one at that. Rumor has it that for breakfast Nagl whips up omelets that cure AIDS.

--Spencer Ackerman