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Capitalizing Urbanism: On David Kilcullen’s "Out of the Mountains"

In his book, Out of the Mountains: The Coming Age of the Urban Guerilla, author David Kilcullen, describes how in 2007, just after “the worst months of the Iraq War” (19), he was drinking expensive cocktails at a fashionable Manhattan hotel with an old Australian army buddy. Kilcullen, an Australian citizen, a leading figure in the field of urban counterinsurgency, an advisor to David Petraeus and Condoleeza Rice, and a star of the liberal interventionist academic-think tank complex, is shocked when his friend, a specialist in public safety, says, “You killed the city, mate (19)." Kilcullen’s friend is referring to the Baghdad of walls, checkpoints and barbed wire, prior to the US military’s counterinsurgency (COIN) program.