by DAVID AXE
Ben Schott, a New York Times columnist and author of several books of miscellany — one of which adorned my bathroom for most of 2002 — links to my recent The Washington Times piece on the “ink-spot” strategy for Afghanistan. As a reminder:
The modified strategy represents a shift in degree from a more ambitious “population-centric” effort that would require large numbers of occupying troops to simultaneously protect most of a country’s civilians from attack and infiltration, thus isolating and “starving” the insurgents, military officials say. The ink-spot approach, by contrast, initially concentrates on just a handful of population centers and slowly expands outward.
Also known as the ink-blot strategy. The French version of oil-spot strategy, “tache d’huile,” was used in Indochina prior to 1895 by Joseph-Simon Gallieni, according to The French Overseas Empire (2000, Praeger Publishers) by Frederick Quinn. The French term was also used in English at least as far back as 1864 in a more general political context as a metaphor for something that spreads.
(Photo: David Axe)