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L. Comber (Melbourne, Australia)
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Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam
Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam
by John A. Nagl
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.00

12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), 24 Dec. 2007
Colonel Nagl's book is an excellent study though inevitably is bears traces of its original existence as a Oxford University doctoral study.
I have no problem with the Vietnam section but in regard to what Colonel Nagl has written about the Malayan Emergency, the argument is advanced that the army was running the intelligence behind the counterinsurgency
operations. However, the supreme intelligence agency was the Malayan Police Special Branch which was responsibile for political, security and
operational intelligence. The army did not run its own agents and General Templer, the British High Commissioner and Director of Operations, made it quite clear on several occasions that the Special Branch was the supreme intelligence organisation. Although indeed some 30 or so military intelligence officers were eventually (around 1952) attached to the Special Branch, they were not in charge of intelligence, and they acted under the direction of the senior Special Branch officer to whom they were attached. Their role was limited to passing on operational intelligence obtained by the Special Branch to the army in a form that the army could readily understand. The reader should therefore bear this important qualification in mind in reading Colonel Nagl's otherwise commendable contribution to counterinsurgency warfare.


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