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Shooting Up: Counterinsurgency and the War on Drugs Hardcover – November 24, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


Shooting Up is a clearly written, deeply researched account of the symbiotic relationship between insurgents and the drug trade from the coca fields of Colombia to the poppy fields of Afghanistan. It makes important points about how governments' counternarcotics efforts can actually help the insurgents.--Peter Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc. and The Osama bin Laden I know

Vanda Felbab-Brown's intelligent survey of the steamy relationship between drugs and insurgency is a must-read. In debunking the theory that crop eradication undercuts the influence of narcoguerrillas, Shooting Up points American policymakers and generals toward a more effective strategy in Afghanistan and elsewhere.--Wendy Chamberlin, president of the Middle East Institute and former U.S. ambassador to Pakistan

Shooting Up is an important and timely book that challenges the conventional wisdom about counternarcotics and counterinsurgency. Rather than complementing one another, Felbab-Brown persuasively demonstrates, these two policies are in fact at odds.--Bruce Hoffman, professor of security studies at Georgetown University and former adviser on counterterrorism to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq

The connection between drug trafficking and terrorism has emerged as one of the central problems of our time. Shooting Up offers the best set of case studies on the complex relationship between the two phenomena and presents unorthodox and insightful conclusions about how the U.S. government should deal with them.--Peter Reuter, professor of public policy and criminology at the University of Maryland

Felbab-Brown deftly describes how our current antidrug policies are frequently at odds with our counterinsurgency efforts. Her chilling conclusion—that the U.S. strategy for fighting drugs internationally is actually emboldening the enemies of freedom—offers one of the most compelling arguments yet for rethinking the current war on drugs. --John Carnevale, former chief of the Office of Planning, Budget, and Evaluation, Office of National Drug Control Policy

About the Author

Vanda Felbab-Brown is a fellow in the Foreign Policy Program and a member of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution. She also teaches in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. An expert on international and internal conflict issues, including counterinsurgency, she has published widely on the interaction between illicit economies and military conflict and has testified before Congress about her work. The research on which this book is based received the American Political Science Association's Harold D. Lasswell Award for the Best Dissertation in the Field of Public Policy.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Brookings Institution Press (November 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0815703287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0815703280
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,416,106 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David K. on January 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Here Vanda Felbab-Brown offers a very convincing analysis of the problems that arise when dealing with illicit economies and insurgents in the third world.

Initially, I was fairly skeptical. The first two chapters deal with analytic conclusions and the terms by which her research was conducted. Though these claims seem to "float" initially (she takes, I think, too long to define one of her key terms, "Political Capital"), the histories she provides of Peru, Columbia, and Afghanistan thoroughly dissolved my doubt in the book's analytic capacity. Nuance comes through solidly in the historical section of the book. Thankfully, the author does not get bogged down by trying to involve the efficacy of international law; she makes it clear that policymakers cannot have their cake and eat it too, at leas insofar as the traditional (pro-eradication) understanding of narcoterror would have it. Rather, the difficulties of the subject matter arise naturally out of the book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bert Ventura on April 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Professor Felbab-Brown is a brilliant lady but this book pretty much repeats what any practitioner of irregular warfare already knows; given a tight situation, insurgents will use anything including the drug trade to fund their fighting. If you haven't been to Afghanistan, Colombia or Peru, go ahead and read it. If you've been to those places in a military capacity, then don't waste your time.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Vanda Felbab-Brown's work is solid. The scholarly approach, utilized throught this publication, goes beyond the usual magazine article approach of similar works. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in the deeply rooted global narcotics trade.
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