Before me is a recent report that a student at Pace University in New York City has been arrested for a hate crime in consequence of an alleged dumping of the Quran. Nothing repels me more than the burning or desecration of books, and if, for example, this was a volume from a public or university library, I would hope that its mistreatment would constitute a misdemeanor at the very least. But if I choose to spit on a copy of the writings of Ayn Rand or Karl Marx or James Joyce, that is entirely my business. When I check into a hotel room and send my free and unsolicited copy of the Gideon Bible or the Book of Mormon spinning out of the window, I infringe no law, except perhaps the one concerning litter. Why do we not make this distinction in the case of the Quran? We do so simply out of fear, and because the fanatical believers in that particular holy book have proved time and again that they mean business when it comes to intimidation. Surely that should be to their discredit rather than their credit. Should not the “moderate” imams of On Faith have been asked in direct terms whether they are, or are not, negotiating with a gun on the table?
The Pace University incident becomes even more ludicrous and sinister when it is recalled that Islamists are the current leaders in the global book-burning competition. After the rumor of a Quran down the toilet in Guantanamo was irresponsibly spread, a mob in Afghanistan burned down an ancient library that (as President Hamid Karzai pointed out dryly) contained several ancient copies of the same book. Not content with igniting copies of The Satanic Verses, Islamist lynch parties demanded the burning of its author as well. Many distinguished authors, Muslim and non-Muslim, are dead or in hiding because of the words they have put on pages concerning the unbelievable claims of Islam. And it is to appease such a spirit of persecution and intolerance that a student in New York City has been arrested for an expression, however vulgar, of an opinion.
This has to stop, and it has to stop right now. There can be no concession to sharia in the United States. When will we see someone detained, or even cautioned, for advocating the burning of books in the name of God? If the police are honestly interested in this sort of “hate crime,” I can help them identify those who spent much of last year uttering physical threats against the republication in this country of some Danish cartoons. In default of impartial prosecution, we have to insist that Muslims take their chance of being upset, just as we who do not subscribe to their arrogant certainties are revolted every day by the hideous behavior of the parties of God.
It is often said that resistance to jihadism only increases the recruitment to it. For all I know, this commonplace observation could be true. But, if so, it must cut both ways. How about reminding the Islamists that, by their mad policy in Kashmir and elsewhere, they have made deadly enemies of a billion Indian Hindus? Is there no danger that the massacre of Iraqi and Lebanese Christians, or the threatened murder of all Jews, will cause an equal and opposite response? Most important of all, what will be said and done by those of us who take no side in filthy religious wars? The enemies of intolerance cannot be tolerant, or neutral, without inviting their own suicide. And the advocates and apologists of bigotry and censorship and suicide-assassination cannot be permitted to take shelter any longer under the umbrella of a pluralism that they openly seek to destroy.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Why The Strategic Cpl. Has To Learn to Fight and Win in 4GW Time: It's All About Our Weak Cousins Back Home
There is no nation on earth that can stand up in a toe-to-toe, in a state vs. state, fight and expect to win against the Armed Forces of the United States Of America. We have no equal. We are the 1000 lb. gorilla in the world's living room. So what do you do if you still want to take on the U.S. of A? You aim for the weak points. We have two. Gutless Conservatives and Traitorous Lefties. Robert Tracinski will explain further:
Fighting this kind of counter-insurgency war is unavoidable because an insurgency is the strategy our enemies have chosen--and they chose it because it hits us directly at two of our crucial weak spots.
America's two crucial weak spots in war are the pragmatism and moral timidity of the right--and the active Western self-loathing of the left.
The first weak spot, for example, causes such strategic errors as the belief that we could fight a war narrowly within Iraq, without fighting a larger regional conflict against Iran and Syria. That decision allowed those two dictatorships to create and support the insurgency with impunity.
The second weak spot furnishes the left with a moral fifth column, a wide cultural movement within the West that will seek to exploit any errors and setbacks in the war as proof that we are morally unfit to fight it and must surrender. (And when the left can't find evidence of our moral unfitness, they will fake it.)
A terrorist insurgency is perfectly aimed at these two weak spots. The right's timidity will prevent it from taking decisive action against the sponsors and supporters of the insurgency, causing the war to drag on longer than it needs to--and the longer the war lasts, the more the culturally influential left will chip away at public support for it.
Our enemies know that these are our weaknesses, because we have proved them again and again, in Somalia, in Beirut--and particularly in Vietnam. These are the examples they look to in pursuing this strategy.
Insurgency war is not only aimed at our weak spots; it is also well suited to our enemies' capabilities. It is an inexpensive war to maintain in terms of manpower, weapons, and technology. It requires, not massive armies and fearsome warships, but a few thousands car bombs and a few hundred suicide bombers. This is a war our enemies know they can sustain. They are short on military and economic power--but long on ideological indoctrination and religious fanaticism, precisely the resources called for by an insurgency.
But there is one final, broader reason why an insurgency war is a strategy peculiarly suited to the advocates of modern Islamic totalitarianism. I used to grumble about the use of the term "War on Terrorism," citing the objection that terror is a tactic, not an enemy. But I eventually accepted the term, in part because terrorism is a tactic that is distinctive to our enemy and describes his particular methods and goals. The same applies to an insurgency, which is a terror bombing campaign writ large.
Consider how the threat of radical Islam differs from the old Middle Eastern threat of Arab nationalism. Arab nationalism was a blend of Communist and Fascist ideology that envisioned a united Arab dictatorship led by a military strongman--the role coveted by a succession of dictators, from Nasser to Saddam Hussein. Nasser's ambitions were thwarted forty years ago in the 1967 Six Day War against Israel, and Arab nationalism further withered with the defeat of Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Gulf War. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 killed Arab nationalism definitively. But note that this old dictatorial vision was one of large armies, masses of bureaucrats, and the conventional conquest of Middle Eastern lands to be controlled by an organized, all-powerful state.
For all their talk of an Islamic "caliphate," today's Islamists do not really have such an organized vision. Their ideology is not taken from Lenin but from Mohammed--a cruder, more primitive source. It is a charter, not for a modern state, but for tribal gang warfare, and the rule of the Islamists has been dominated by the capricious whim of holy warriors, usually without much pretense of scientific organization or the rule of law.
This can be seen in many of the societies where Islamists have risen to power: their model of the ideal society has been on display in Somalia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Gaza, and Waziristan. It is best described as anarcho-totalitarianism: total control over the individual, not by an organized state, but by roving criminal gangs of religious zealots.
This can also be seen in a far more organized society which still holds the principles of Islamism in its black heart: Saudi Arabia. I recently came across an eye-opening article about the Saudi religious police, who enforce its strict Islamic law. I had assumed that these religious police were endowed with some kind of formal legal authority under the direct charter of the Saudi rulers. It turns out this isn't true. The Saudi government's only constitution is the Koran--literally--and the religious police are simply vigilantes who cite the Koran as their authority to use force against Saudi citizens. (The article, incidentally, is about attempts to subject these religious police to legal scrutiny and some rudiments of the rule of law.)
You can see how a terrorist insurgency is suited to this nihilistic vision. The insurgency in Iraq primarily seeks to sow chaos--which is all that its kidnappings, revenge killings, and car bombings can actually achieve.
So these are all of the reasons why we have to learn to fight and win a counter-insurgency war: it is the kind of war that is best suited to the goals and capabilities of the enemy--and best calculated to hit us at our weaknesses. Conservatives are correct that withdrawal from such a conflict will convey weakness to our enemies, but it is not just a generalized weakness. It is a specific weakness: the unwillingness to fight and win a counter-insurgency war. In ratifying this weakness, we will be telling our enemies: here is where and how to strike us, if you want to defeat us every time.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
"Perhaps the best way to search out and identify potential disharmonies among levels is to think of two intersecting games of three-dimensional chess."
"A single game of three-dimensional chess is challenging enough, in terms of the possible moves it offers. Now, imagine a single three-level game,
representing the three classical levels of war, with another three-level game slashing through it at an angle."
"The second game represents Boyd’s levels of war, the physical, the mental and the moral."
"The complexity and the demands it makes on decision-makers are daunting. But it is in just such a complex
atmosphere that practitioners of Fourth Generation war must try to identify and avoid disharmonies among levels."
"Another way to think of intersection among levels is to picture Fourth Generation war not as a matrix
but as a shifting “blob.”"
"The blob may shift, so slowly as to be imperceptible or with stunning speed, into
as many different shapes as can be imagined. Each shift represents changes on both the
strategic/operational/tactical and moral/mental/physical axes. Again, the variety of shapes illustrates the
complexities of relationships among levels, along with potential disharmonies that can be exploited.
However you choose to picture intersections among the classical and new levels of war in your own mind,
the basic point remains the same:
all actions, even the smallest, must be considered with great
care and from a variety of perspectives lest they have unintended consequences on other (and possibly higher) levels."
"Fourth Generation war demands not only the strategic corporal, but the moral corporal as
well, enlisted Marines who think about every action they take in terms of its moral effects."
"One short story from the war in Iraq makes the point about intersections. In the town of Haditha, U.S.
Marine Captain Matt Danner had established a strong, positive working relationship with the local
population. According to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle,
A man comes in to say a Marine threw a water bottle from a humvee in a convoy.
It hit his windshield and destroyed it."
“This is exactly the kind of thing we’re trying to avoid,” Danner fumes. “I just can’t
understand this. And it takes so long to get resolution for this guy. What am I
going to do, send him to Mosul without a windshield?
“I gave him 200 bucks. I ought to strap that Marine onto the car and let him be a
Friday, July 27, 2007
Three New Levels of War
While the classical three levels of war carry over into the Fourth Generation,
they are joined there by three new levels which may be more important.
Colonel Boyd identified these three new levels as the
physical, the mental and the moral.
Further, he argued that the physical level -- killing people and breaking things -- is the least powerful,
the moral level is the most powerful
and the mental level lies between the other two.
Colonel Boyd argued that this is especially true in guerilla warfare,
which is more closely related to Fourth Generation war than is formal warfare
between state militaries.
The history of guerilla warfare, from the Spanish guerilla war against Napoleon
through Israel's experience in southern Lebanon, supports Colonel Boyd's observation.
This leads to the central dilemma of Fourth Generation war:
what works for you on the physical (and sometimes mental) level often works against you at the moral level.
It is therefore very easy in a Fourth Generation conflict to win all the tactical engagements
yet lose the war.
To the degree you win at the physical level by pouring on firepower that causes casualties and property damage to the local population, every physical victory may move you closer to
And the moral level is decisive.
Some examples from the American experience in Iraq help illustrate the contradiction between the
physical and moral levels:
• The U.S. Army conducted many raids on civilian homes in areas it occupied. In these raids, the
troops physically dominated the civilians. Mentally, they terrified them. But at the moral level,
breaking into private homes in the middle of the night, terrifying women and children and
sometimes treating detainees in ways that publicly humiliated them (like stepping on their heads)
worked powerfully against the Americans. An enraged population responded by providing the
Iraqi resistance with more support at every level of war, physical, mental and moral.
• At Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, MPs and interrogators dominated prisoners physically and
mentally -- as too many photographs attest. But when that domination was publicly exposed, the
United States suffered an enormous defeat at the moral level. Some American commanders
recognized the power of the moral level when they referred to the soldiers responsible for the
abuse as, "the jerks who lost us the war."
• In Iraq and elsewhere, American troops (other than Special Forces) quickly establish base camps
that mirror American conditions: air conditioning, good medical care, plenty of food and pure
The local people are not allowed into the bases except in service roles.
Physically, the American superiority over the lives the locals lead is overwhelming. Mentally, it projects the power and success of American society.
But morally, the constant message of "we're better than you"
works against the Americans. (read Michael Yon "It's not about money-it's the mindset:We live far better on base here in Baqubah than many people who are living downtown (though there are some very nice homes), and it’s not all about money. Not at all and not in the least. When Americans move into Iraqi buildings, the buildings start improving from the first day. And then, the buildings near the buildings start to improve. It’s not about the money, but the mindset. The Greatest Generation called it “the can-do mentality.” It’s a wealth measured not only in dollars, but also in knowledge. The burning curiosity that launched the Hubble, flows from that mentality, and so does the revenue stream of taxpayer dollars that funded it. Iraq is very rich in resources, but philosophically it is impoverished. The truest separation between cultures is in the collective dreams of their people.)
Traditional cultures tend to put high values on pride and honor, and
when foreigners seem to sneer at local ways, the locals may respond by defending their honor in
a traditional manner -- by fighting.
In response to the American presence, Fourth Generation war
spreads rather than contracts.
The practice of a successful Fourth Generation entity, al Qaeda,
offers an interesting contrast.
Osama bin Laden, who comes from a wealthy family, lives in a cave.
In part, it is for security. But it also reflects a keen understanding of the power of the moral level of war.
By sharing the hardships and dangers of his followers, Osama bin Laden draws a sharp contrast at the
moral level with the leaders of local states, and also with senior officers in most state armies.
The contradiction between the physical and moral levels of war in Fourth Generation conflicts is
similar to the contradiction between the tactical and strategic levels, but the two are not identical. The
physical, mental and moral levels all play at each of the other levels -- tactical, operational and strategic.
Any disharmony among levels creates openings which Fourth Generation opponents will be quick to
Of course, we can also exploit our opponents' disharmonies.
[AKA The Mixed Message]
For example, let us say that one of our opponents is a religious grouping. In a town where we have a presence, a local feud results in the killing of a clergyman by members of the same grouping.
In itself, this is a minor tactical event. But if we use our own information warfare to focus the public's attention on it, pointing out how the tenets of the religion are not being observed by those who claim to speak for it, we might create a “moral bomb.”
[Top Islamic leader condemns jihad killings]
[ see the UK GuardianIn a prison cell south of Cairo a repentant Egyptian terrorist leaderSayid Imam al-Sharif, 57 is putting the finishing touches to a remarkable recantation that undermines the Muslim theological basis for violent jihad and is set to generate furious controversy among former comrades still fighting with al-Qaida. Sayid Imam al-Sharif, 57, was the founder and first emir (commander) of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organisation, whose supporters assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and later teamed up with Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan in the war against the Soviet occupation. Sharif, a surgeon who is still known by his underground name of "Dr Fadl", is famous as the author of the Salafi jihadists' "bible" - Foundations of Preparation for Holy War. He worked with Ayman al-Zawahiri, another Egyptian doctor and now Bin Laden's deputy, before being kidnapped in Yemen after 9/11, interrogated by the CIA and extradited to Egypt where has been serving a life sentence since 2004. Sharif recently gave an electrifying foretaste of his conversion by condemning killings on the basis of nationality and colour of skin and the targeting of women and children, citing the Qur'anic injunction: "Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress the limits; for God loveth not transgressors." Armed operations were wrong, counterproductive and must cease, he declared sternly. "If you want to rob these people of their cover you have to take away their legitimacy," says Ashraf Mohsin, an Egyptian diplomat dealing with counter-terrorism.
"The way to deprive them of their ability to recruit is to attack the message. If you take Islam out of the message all that is left is criminality."]
A physical action would play on the moral level, just as a tactical action would play on a strategic level.
Here we see how the classical and new levels of war intersect.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
“The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish . . . the kind of war on which they are embarking; neither mistaking it for, nor trying to turn it into something that is alien to its nature.”
Carl von Clausewitz, On War
Before you can fight Fourth Generation war
you have to understand it.
Because it is something new
(at least in our time), no one understands
It is still evolving,
which means our understanding must continue
This chapter lays out our best current understanding of the
Fourth Generation of Modern War.
Three Levels of War
The three classical levels of war -
- strategic, operational and tactical
-- still exist in
Fourth Generation war.
But all three are affected
and to some extent changed by the
One important change
is that while in the first three generations,
was the province of generals,
the Fourth Generation gives us the
Especially when video cameras are rolling,
a single enlisted Marine
an action that has
An example comes from the first phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
U.S. Marines had occupied a
Shiite town in southern Iraq.
A Marine corporal was leading a patrol through the town
when it encountered
a funeral procession coming the other way.
The corporal ordered his men to stand aside and take their helmets off as a sign of respect.
Word of that action quickly spread around town,
and it helped the Marines' effort to be welcomed as liberators.
That in turn had a
because American strategy required keeping Shiite southern Iraq,
through which American supply lines had to pass,
Another change is that all three levels may be local.
A Marine unit may have a "beat," much as police do --
an area where they are responsible for maintaining order
and perhaps delivering other vital services as well.
The unit must harmonize its local, tactical actions
with higher strategic and operational goals,
both of which must be pursued consistently
on the local level.
(When a unit is assigned a "beat," (read link Michael J. Totten's: In wake of the Surge -walking the beat in Baghdad)
it is important that the beat's boundaries reflect real local boundaries,
such as those between tribes and clans,
and not be arbitrary lines drawn on a map at some higher headquarters.)
These changes point to another of the dilemmas
that typify Fourth Generation war:
on the tactical level
can easily be counter-productive at the operational
and, especially, strategic levels.
by using their overwhelming firepower at the tactical level,
Marines may in some cases
intimidate the local population into fearing them and leaving them alone.
But fear and hate
are closely related,
and if the local population ends up hating us,
that works toward our strategic defeat. (read Michael Yon-"It’s hard to build civic relationships out of body parts.")
That is why in Northern Ireland,
British troops are not allowed
to return fire unless they are actually
The Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld
argues that one reason the British have not lost in
Northern Ireland is that they have taken more casualties than they have inflicted.
Fourth Generation war poses an especially difficult problem to operational art:
put simply, it is difficult to operationalize.
Often, Fourth Generation opponents' strategic centers of gravity are intangible.
They may be things like proving their manhood
to their comrades and local women,
obeying the commandments of their religion
or demonstrating their tribe’s bravery to other tribes.
Because operational art is the art of focusing tactical actions
on enemy strategic centers of gravity, operational art becomes
difficult or even impossible in such situations.
This was the essence of the Soviet failure
The Soviet Army,
which focused on operational art,
could not operationalize a conflict
where the enemy's strategic center of gravity was
The Soviets were reduced
to fighting at the tactical level only,
where their army was not very capable,
despite its vast technological superiority over the Afghan Mujaheddin.
Fourth Generation war sometimes cuts across all three classical levels of war.
comes from Colonel John Boyd' s definition of grand strategy,
the highest level of war.
He defined grand strategy
as the art of connecting yourself
to as many other independent power centers as possible
while isolating your enemies from as many other power centers as possible.
A Fourth Generation conflict will usually
have many different independent power centers
not only at the grand strategic level but down
all the way to the tactical level.
The game of connection and isolation
will be central to tactics and operational art
as well as to strategy and grand strategy.
It will be important to ensure that what you are doing
at the tactical level does not alienate
independent power centers you need to connect with
at the operational or strategic levels.
Similarly, you will need to be careful not to isolate yourself today from independent power centers
you will need to connect to tomorrow.
Again, while the classical three levels of war carry over into the Fourth Generation, they change.
We do not yet know all the ways in which they will change when Marines face Fourth Generation opponents.
As Marines' experience in Fourth Generation conflicts grows, so must our understanding.
It is vital that we remain open to new lessons and not attempt to fit new ways of war into outdated notions.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
The conceptof Fourth Generation Warcomes from a description of war’s evolutionsince the Peace of Westphalia.The First Generation is war between states,where battles were fought in orderly lines and columns.Most of the things that define the difference between“military” and “civilian”;such as saluting,uniforms, careful gradations of ranks, etc.,are products of theFirst Generationand exist to reinforcea military culture of order.The technical development of muskets,machineguns and barbed wire madeline and column tactics suicidal.Second Generation warfarewas developed by the French Armyduring World War I to reestablish order on a disorderly battlefieldThis firepower/attrition warfarerelied on centrally-controlledindirect artillery fire, carefully synchronizedwith infantry, cavalry and aviation,to destroy the enemyby killing his soldiers and blowing up his equipment.The French summarizedSecond Generation warwith the phrase,"The artillery conquers, the infantry occupies.”Third Generation War,also called Maneuver Warfare,has its roots in the German Army in the First World War.Instead of trying to restore order throughendless staff work and centralization,the German Army used chaosby relying on speed and tempo.Decentralization and focusing on the enemyrather than terrain and valuinginitiative higher than obedienceare central characteristics ofmaneuver warfare.Mistakes are tolerated and self discipline,rather than imposed discipline,is encouraged.A well trained officer corps,educated in the spirit of the commanderis another central requirement for maneuver warfare.Fourth Generation War
is not,like its predecessors,a new method of war.Rather the state monopoly on violence is being lost.This is a larger and more far-reaching changein war than those which created theSecond and Third Generations.The Israeli military historian Martin van Creveldcalls this kind of war “non-Trinitarian warfare,”because it does not fit within Clausewitz’s trinityof government, army and peoplewhere each of those elements is related but distinct.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Marine Corps Manual on Fighting the Fourth Generation War AKA the "Something Else"
War is Changing
War always changes.
Our enemies learn and adapt,
and we must do the same
war is changing faster
and on a larger scale than
at any time in the last 350 years.
Not only are we, as Marines,
facing rapid change in how war is fought,
we are facing radical changes in who fights and what
they are fighting for.
All over the world, state militaries,
including our own,
find themselves fighting
This kind of war, which we call
Fourth Generation war,
is a very difficult challenge.
Almost always, state militaries
have vast superiority
over their non-state opponents in
most of what we call
technology, weapons, techniques, training, etc.
Despite these superiorities,
more often than not,
America's greatest military theorist,
Air Force Colonel John Boyd, used to say,
“When I was a young officer, I was taught that if you have
and sea superiority,
Well, in Vietnam we had
and sea superiority, but
So I realized
there is something more to it.”
This FMFM is about that
In order to fight Fourth Generation war and win,
need to understand what
that "something more" is.
That in turn requires an
intellectual framework --
that helps us make
sense of facts and events,
both current and historical.
The intellectual framework
put forward in this FMFM is called
"The Four Generations of Modern War."
It was first laid out in an article in the Marine Corps Gazette in October, 1989.1 In this framework,
began with the
Peace of Westphalia
the Thirty Years War.
Because with that treaty,
the state --
which was itself relatively new --
established a monopoly
first in Europe and then world-wide,
war became something waged
by states against other states,
using state armies and navies
(and later air forces).
the assumption that war
is something waged by states
is so automatic
that we have difficulty thinking of war in any other way.
(misleadingly) call war against
"Operations Other Than War" (OOTW) or
“Stability and Support Operations” (SASO).
In fact, before the Peace of Westphalia,
many different entities waged wars.
Families waged wars,
as did clans
Ethnic groups and races waged war.
Religions and cultures waged war.
These wars were often many-sided,
not two-sided, and alliances shifted
Not only did many different entities wage war, they used many different means. Few possessed
anything we would recognize
as a formal army, navy or Marine Corps
(Marines were often present, as the fighting men on galleys).
Often, when war came,
whoever was fighting would hire mercenaries,
land and at sea.
In other cases, such as tribal war, the "army" was any male old enough, but not too old,
to carry a weapon.
In addition to campaigns and battles,
war was waged by bribery,
even dynastic marriage.
The lines between “civilian” and “military”, and between
crime and war, were hazy or non-existent.
Many societies knew little internal order or peace;
bands of men with weapons,
when not hired out for wars,
simply took whatever they wanted from anyone
to resist them.
the past is prologue.
Much of what Marines now face in Fourth Generation wars
as it was fought
before the rise of the state
and the Peace of Westphalia.
clans, tribes, ethnic groups,
cultures, religions and gangs
in more and more parts of the world.
using many different means,
not just engagements and battles.
Once again, conflicts are often
not just two-sided.
Marines who find themselves caught up
in such conflicts quickly discover
they are difficult to understand
still to prevail in.
Monday, July 23, 2007
A insight into the evolution of war and 4GW ideas is available by a comparison of the 2006 summer "blockbuster "300" about the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. and recent combat experience in Iraq. On his way to the pass of Thermopylae, the Spartan King Leonidas encounters Daxos, the leader of the Arcadians, who at once expresses dismay at the sight of so few Spartans. 'I would have thought you'd at least match our forces.' says Daxos. In reply to Daxos anxiety, Leonidas inquires of the Arcadians soldiers: 'What is your profession?' The first is a potter, another a scupture and the last is a potter. Leonidas turns to his men and inquires 'Spartans! What is your profession!" In unison, the Spartans raise their spears and cheer. Leonidas replies to Daxsos: 'You see old friend I've brought more soldiers than you did....'
Then, as now, the question remains: Who brings more soldiers to the fight? In Vietnam, Westmoreland called for an increase after increase of combat troops, as the source of guaranteed future victory. In the meantime no one saw the value of civilian assistance programs. There was no increase in spending for CORES, Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support, an American program using civilian and military advisors (the men handy with construction materials) to assist the civilian population inside the isolated rural areas. After Tet, the value of including these advisors was realized but by then the jig was up for victory.
Today, as we fight in 4GW time frame, the tables are literally reversed! Reservists are actually better suited to fight in 4GW time than regulars; "Reservists and National Guardsmen may be better suited to Fourth Generation situations than many regulars. They are, on average, older and better educated than the Active Component Marine. Most are skilled in trades other than warfighting." source
"When an Army National Guard infantry captain returned from Iraq in late 2004, he said:
“what we needed weren’t grunts. There were plenty of them around. We looked for plumbers, carpenters, electricians, masons and anyone who was handy with construction material. When we fixed the plumbing in someone’s house in Iraq or rebuilt a wall for them, we knew that we would be safe in their neighborhood, as the Iraqis did not have the knowledge and capabilities themselves and were looking for any help they could get.” link
"The skills needed are not limited to simple tasks. Many Reservists are engineers, doctors, city planners, lawyers or professionals. The skills of each Marine and Army Reservist and National Guardsman should be identified at the battalion level.
"As a Fourth Generation situation develops, the battalion commander can then assign his Reservists and Guardsmen to tasks that take advantage of their civilian skills." Fourth Generation Warfare FMFM1A
Thursday, July 19, 2007
By CARLIN ROMANO
After the terrorist near misses in London and Glasgow, British officials did the expected. They raised their nation's threat-assessment level. They weighed the balance between civil liberties and new, tougher security measures. They pondered the latest fold in the elaborate tapestry before them, the possibility of a privileged jihadist cell tucked into the country's National Health Service.
Finally, they produced the usual morally namby-pamby, logistics-heavy rhetoric about getting to the bottom of each case. They sounded deadly serious about investigating the attempts, deadly uninterested in morally judging what happened.
"We are on the trail," a senior Whitehall official immediately told The Sunday Times of London, and so, as subsequent arrests indicated, they were. London Mayor Ken Livingstone urged city residents to remain vigilant. Lord Carlile of Berriew, a top British terrorism official, upped the ante by admonishing Londoners to be "forever vigilant." New Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared, "We will not yield, we will not be intimidated, and we will not allow anyone to undermine our British way of life."
Brown obviously hadn't tried as mere citizen to connect internationally through Heathrow lately, a feat that requires the very un-British task of squeezing all carry-on items allowed elsewhere into one bag (really, one bag) or losing them to Heathrow security officers, who must be scoring quite a take on duty-free purchases.
A similar rhetorical fiasco took place after the conclusion of the 114-day kidnapping of BBC correspondent Alan Johnston. No government ministers denounced the successful Gaza kidnappers, who reportedly won release of some gunmen in the deal, as bastards, lowlife, cowards, scum. Official rhetoric after terrorist acts has become ethically neutral, merely strategic in tone and content.
You might think shrewd politicians would notice something wrong with this picture. After all, the last major national politician to insult those who violate civilized norms in expressing political anger — former French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who denounced Muslim rioters in France as "scum" for their car burnings and mayhem — won election as president of France despite predictions that he'd committed political suicide.
Yet the vast majority of statesmen believe in purely operational talk after terrorist acts. On July 4, Franco Frattini, the EU's top justice official, announced a wide array of new antiterrorist measures, including an EU-wide passenger-data-recording system, and criminalization of bomb-making instructions on the Internet. "We will find a better way to discourage and detect terrorists," Frattini said.
W hy does such a better way not include a call for sterner moral judgment, forcefully expressed?
Should Ayman al-Zawahri, deputy head of Al Qaeda, be the only "leader" quoted making moral judgments — that Arab regimes are "corrupt" — in a week of terrorist incidents? Why do media parrot this moral irresponsibility, as in The Boston Globe's post-Glasgow editorial that the terrorist threat can "be countered by means of sound intelligence, conventional police work, legal adaptations that do not create a law-free zone, and leadership that distinguishes law-abiding communities from the crazed Islamist ideologues that prey upon them"?
The reasons fall into five categories.
The first rationale amounts to political correctness, however odd that may ring in regard to terrorism, the most political of all matters on the government's plate. It's the reflexive unwillingness of officials to express moral and political beliefs for fear they'll insult and offend others. Remember Fowler's classic definition of euphemism: "mild or vague or periphrastic expression as a substitute for blunt precision or disagreeable truth."
These days officials win praise for such evasion. In London, Shami Chakrabarti, director of the civil-rights group Liberty, observed of Gordon Brown that he "has passed the first test of his administration. He has not played politics with the terror threat and has treated this weekend's events as an operational rather than a political matter."
But if the admirable part of political correctness is that one shouldn't utter unsupportable, reactionary ethnic, gender, or other generalizations, that principle is misapplied in the case of terrorists, who are picked out for condemnation by their acts alone. Aren't "bastards," "scum," and so on precisely the right terms for people who seek to maim and kill presumably innocent others to make a political point?
A second reason for muted language is the notion that not using emotional, judgmental words means one is acting more rationally and efficiently. Here, too, current clichés of proper official behavior encourage word-mincing. New Home Secretary Jacqui Smith won applause for the "calmness and dignity" of her remarks to Parliament after the failed car bombings.
That backslap makes little sense in regard to commentary on terrorists. Are all morally judgmental words "emotive"? Few would think that calling terrorists "wrong" or "immoral" counts as emotive, though branding them "evil" might slip into that category nowadays, on the ground that President Bush gave "evil" a bad name. The step to "cowardly" or "barbarian" strikes far more people as worrisome verbal escalation. What, though, is the logical inference between emotionally strong language by responsible people and irrational action? We don't expect President Bush to make weepy, emotionally upset decisions because he emerges teary-eyed from meetings with American families who've lost loved ones in Iraq. We don't expect religious figures or ordinary people who deliver strong, moving remarks at funerals to make irrational decisions immediately afterward. Why infer such things with politicians?
A third reason, construable as a corollary of the second, is that citizens don't want to see their leaders act emotionally. Hitler's histrionics and Khrushchev's shoe-pounding remain quintessential Bigfoot examples of the political equation that emotional language signals demagoguery. On a different scale, famous moments in American political history, such as Sen. Edward Muskie's alleged crying over attacks on his wife, reinforced a perceived equation between emotion and weakness.
Here one would like to see a poll. Politicians might be surprised by the result.
A fourth reason for morally neutral language about terrorism is fear that emotional, insulting language might make terrorists angrier and more dangerous. An old anecdote about former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir figures on the other side. Once, at an Israeli cabinet meeting, someone reportedly warned that the action contemplated would anger the Palestinians. Shamir supposedly replied, "Are they going to hate us more?" — implying that enemies of Israel had already hit their max in that department, freeing Israel from such consequentialist calculations. A similar logic appears more applicable to terrorists than fear of inciting them to greater ferocity. That aside, fear that insulting or strongly judging terrorists will cause greater terrorism appears to contradict the logic behind emotionless security talk itself — that violence is prevented by tough tactical measures rather than rhetoric. So long as rigorous tactics remain in place during rhetorical upgradings, things should not get worse.
Finally, there is the reason, intuited even by nonexperts on rhetoric, that repeating such language weakens its power. Listening to President Bush denounce terrorists every day as cowards would grow old fast, this thinking goes, as did hearing the mantra that "terrorists hate our freedom." Here, one might nonetheless ask, for what would we be trying to hold language's power in reserve? For another 9/11? A dirty bomb exploded in an American city? Is anything short of slaughtering thousands at a time insufficient for moral outrage? Nonuse of morally strong language arguably saps it of power more than repeated use, making it seem quaint and archaic.
All key reasons for avoiding stern moral judgments and insults toward terrorists, then, prove less than compelling. What might we argue in favor of calling terrorists names?
Let's mention just one key goal: the education of the world's Muslim youth. Instead of hearing moral praise and encouragement for terrorism from jihadists, which then gets mixed in their minds with the nonjudgmental, tactical talk of Western officials and media, they'd have to absorb a steady stream of insults of terrorists' intelligence, morality, decency, and reasoning. Young Muslims would have to get used to hearing jihadist heroes described as savages, scum, and uncivilized losers, along with the reasons why. It would intellectually force them, far more than they are forced today, to choose between two visions of the world.
We should not minimize the thirst for respect among terrorists and their potential sympathizers. When we treat terrorists only as tactical foes, as though we're too jaded for moral talk, we raise the self-respect of terrorists and their appeal to young people. Christopher Hitchens's surprise best seller, God Is Not Great, employs wry understatement in its title, then sarcastically drills home why "not being great" is the least of God's problems and sins. Perhaps officials around the free world, under a portfolio titled "Terrorism Is Not Great," could start stockpiling verbal weapons that penetrate the enemy more sharply than, "They're dangerous and we must fight them."
Carlin Romano, critic at large for The Chronicle and literary critic for The Philadelphia Inquirer, teaches philosophy and media theory at the University of Pennsylvania.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The resistance four star General James Cartwright experienced with the simple introduction of a "blog" into the infrastructure of a military bureaucracy to encourage faster communication between the ranks started my thinking about other events where the influence of bureaucracy might have played an even more crucial roles such as the Vietnam War. You know, if you keep beating the search engines with the same nut in slightly different ways you eventually will hit the jackpot and pop open a surprise that exceeds all expectations.
My surprise was the discovery of Robert W. Komer, President Johnson's point man in Vietnam, who in 1972 wrote "Bureaucracy Does Its Thing: Institutional Constraints on U.S.-GVN Performance in Vietnam"
Kromer's book is a sad but wiser look at the impact of institutional factors on the U.S./GVN response in Vietnam. An atypical conflict being handled by institutions designed for other purposes but reluctant to get involved as well. Komer highlights such constraints as "institutional inertia — the inherent reluctance of organizations to change operational methods except slowly and incrementally — influenced not only the decisions made but what was actually done in the field. These constraints lead to
- an overly militarized response;
- diffusion of authority and fragmentation of command;
- hesitation to change the traditional relationship of civilian to military leadership
- agency reluctance to violate the conventional lines dividing responsibilities.
FM 3.24 makes a lot more sense to me now that the context for clear and hold is placed in historical view. All the ideas that are now being bandied about like so much confetti were known and realized then---even before Tet. However, it was only after Tet that Pacification, clear and hold was taken seriously enough to implement and funded. But by that that time the clock was ticking off the final fourth quarter and we will never know if the program had been installed and supported in the first years would have worked. Kromers analysis is a must read as context for FM 3.24. You'll get a much better understanding of the ideas if you read Kromer first. To me the read was an astonishing been there, done that, here's why it worked, here's why it failed.
A heartbreaking work in view of all our losses and a deeper appreciation of how much work and energy it takes to reverse course on an Iceberg or a bureaucracy.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
As it turns out, the insurgents whose communications were intercepted, revealing the planned ambush, were the same two men who were the sources of the fallacious and dishonest March 27, 2006, Time magazine story that prompted the charges against the Haditha Marines.
Time magazine reporter Tim McGirk has written about how a "budding journalism student" had given him a video taken after the Marines' alleged rampage. Except the student was 43-year-old Taher Thabet al-Hadithi, head of a human rights organization whose only other member was Ali Omar Abrahem el-Mashhadani.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Couldn't have said it better myself....The Strata-Sphere wades into Congress and the Media as they whine for retreat, surrender and reelect us but not Bush.
The Congress and the media will have a lot of blood on their hands as al-Qaeda does what they trained them to do - kill for attention. And it will be hundreds and thousands of Iraqis who will be doing the dying for attention. Iraqis WE voted to liberate - and to protect as we did so. It is no shock a half-assed Congress has done half-assed job in Iraq and are ready for the half-assed retreat. This is the worst Congress this country has ever had to endure.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
You Can Lead the Main Stream Media To a Massacre But You Can't Make Them Cover It --Even With Coordinates MC 679 381.
To date mainstream media coverage of this atrocity has been---- nada, zip, nothing.
Robin Boyd--NewsBusters: There has been a massacre of innocent civilians in Iraq. An entire village of Iraqis were murdered and buried in a mass grave. The dead included women and children. The murderers even slaughtered the animals in the village. From the state of the surroundings it was obvious that this was a deliberate act - maybe brought on by rage of the death of a comrade or just the overwhelming pressure of fighting in a war zone.
Amazingly the media in the US has not picked up on the story. Tim McGirk has not headed to Iraq to do an expose on this latest My Lai incident. Murtha hasn't called a press conference to call out the perpetrators for committing "cold blooded murder". The liberal bloggers have failed to equate the massacre to the "torture" at Abu Ghraib.
Even with Michael Yon doing everything he can to get the story out there are no takers Google that I can find other than fast and first--National Review Online, Pajamas Media, and Fox News. Yon has a standing offer of permission granted NO COST "to media outlets to republish excerpts of the dispatch or the dispatch in its entirety, including my photographs from the story (if used as they are in the dispatch) at no cost during the month of July 2007. I only ask that the site receive proper attribution and that any publication taking me up on the offer email the website with the details."
So WHY!? Is the Main Stream Media running away from this story?
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Michael Yon: Pictures of the Orc Killing Fields--the future brought to you by the Congressional Gutless Wonders
Just a reminder of what Iraqi will suffer should our overpaid surrendercrats cut and run.