Publisher’s Note: I spent most of my adult life in and around the military as a uniformed officer or contractor. The most well-funded and technologically advanced armed forces on Earth in its recorded history is fortunately for liberty and freedom overseas, an unmitigated disaster of Biblical proportions. For liberty at home in the USSA in concert with the Department of Fatherland Security, the US military makes you no safer and far more prone to increasing the size and scope of the statist apparatus to extinguish individual liberty and freedom wherever it may be found.
Are the conditions being set in America for an insurgency? No, the behavior of the central government is setting the conditions for multiple insurgencies on US soil as we speak.
I discussed the frailties and foibles of conventional warfare here.
In other notes in the margin, I am not paying any attention to the political races at all. I don’t have a dog in the fight. As a non-voter, the only attraction to go to the polls would be to cast a “none of the above” vote that has the teeth of a majority vacating the office for the prescribed term. In other words, if the Offal Office could be vacant for four years, maybe the country could recover but that is impossible because limited government has always been an illusion.
You are better off mowing your lawn with your teeth than voting. Any voting other than lobbying is simply an irrational act. Voting makes the assumption that your neighbor is your property and your children are collateral for government mischief.
In other news, I have just completed all six parts of a series I am doing with ProfCJ at the Dangerous History Podcast on Irregular Warfare. Indeed, we started with one part anticipated and ended with six and potentially more.
I wrote the Foreword for my friend Jim Rawles’ latest book, Land of Promise, which is now available for pre-order on Amazon. He is really stepping up his game.
My books are available on Amazon and I would love some honest reviews if you have the time. -BB
Counterinsurgency (COIN) is an incredibly sexy topic that makes rock stars of former soldiers like Petraeus, Kilkullen and Nagl as they wax ahistorically on the latest advance in besting incipient and advanced insurgencies planet-wide.
The insurgencies tend to two goals: either the carving out of a portion of an existing nation state or the wholesale replacement of the besieged government with yet another variant of the same virus, yet another state. The history of the 20th century is littered with the postcolonial wreckage of embryonic states throwing off the extra-territorial seizures by European and Asian hegemons alike.
Insurgencies are, in essence, armed and unarmed bids for self-determination. If you have any doubts insurgencies can be peaceful, I would urge you to examine Gandhi’s sataygraha campaigns and the non-violent resistance movements planet-wide. I would posit that black and gray markets are forms of insurgency.
When one examines the literature for COIN since the end of the War to Save Josef Stalin, one is treated to a veritable scholarly tidal wave of nonsense that rivals the scientific illiteracy of climate change, the voodoo of Keynesian economics and the undocumented conspiratorial legerdemain that haunts so many minds on so many political assassinations. With few exceptions like the magisterial work of Douglas Porch, the bandwagon is loaded with academic frauds and grasping political idolaters who wish to find the next best thing to neutralize insurgent threats to existing governments.
One sees the alleged innovations of the “new” COIN manual sponsored by Petraeus in 2009 and the raft of new theories inundating the public arena through the good offices of the defense intellectuals and contractor hangers-on that assist in making the “defense” enterprise overseas the most sophisticated money laundering operation for the military-industrial complex that ever existed.
Using Occam’s Razor, let’s try to distill the object of COIN: to neutralize and/or destroy any armed resistance to an existing government, usually a state that has been installed by a Western or Asian hegemonic power. External involvement of other countries meddling in the COIN efforts of a domestic government usually reveals the “client-state” relationship at its most basic level. One is hard-pressed to find any historical involvement in these efforts since 1893 (Hawaii) on the part of the US wherein the aggrieved state wasn’t created and vetted by the West by design.
Porch does a splendid job destroying one of the primary memes that animates much of the COIN glad-handing and self-congratulatory Goebbels-gargling that passes for rational discourse in the West; the observation that the Brits wrote the book on effective COIN in modern applications usually citing the “success” in Malaya or lesser efforts like Aden or Oman. It’s all rubbish. The British pioneered concentration camps during the Boer Wars (the Germans would do the same in Namibia in 1904-07) which may have provided them the idea to float a police state over a country ravaged by insurgency and call it good. The very notion of a concentration camp demands a fairly sophisticated bureaucratic apparatus to build them, maintain them and most tragically of all, fill them. All of which require police state methodologies that would put a smile on any Western bureaucrat’s face.
As evidenced by the UK today, whatever an empire does abroad, all of it comes home in one fashion or another. I remember reading a historical overview that descried Great Britain in WWII as only marginally more free than the USSR at the time due to “wartime exigency” but I suspect the statist genetics of post-Victorian England under the thrall of Fabian collectivism simply put the infrastructure in place much like the worlds wars in the 20th century helped to create the leviathan states that stand astride the tax plantations throughout the West.
In the latest American variant on COIN which is simply a technological improvement on the perennial bloodbath that America calls warfare, all the droning, surveillance, human rights violations, renditions, black sites, midnight house calls, political fixing and other unpleasant components of the enterprise add up to a lethal notion. No matter what happy face is put on the hundreds of neo-imperialist incursions by America globally since the end of 1945, the formula is rather simple: either install a kleptocratic dictator equipped with all the latest police state capabilities or float a police state over the aggrieved nation like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the list goes on.
I’ve described the nature and predatory capabilities of the police state in numerous previous essays if one needs to revisit the taxonomy of these violent regime devices.
British General Templer in Malaya was fond of saying that the military is the junior partner to the whole of government apparatus in all of these COIN undertakings and that the state must employ the full gamut of political, economic and sociological tools at its disposal to fix the problems and eliminate the insurgency.
This vaunted British mythology is most effectively destroyed with the Irish problem and the eventual success of Irish liberation (Eire) in 1922 and the end of the 20th century in Northern Ireland to show the futility of these brutal police state tactics by the UK.
In a future essay, I will discuss the utter failure of Western special operations forces to employ their alleged Unconventional Warfare methodologies in any of these conflicts. It never happened. The US and coalition SOF elements rely on Direct Action which is simply kicking in doors and shooting military age males in the face at the slightest show of resistance of having their home violently burgled. A recipe for disaster in any country but especially in Muslim countries where the Arabic genetics obligate men to avenge the dishonor visited upon blood relatives. Countries where four generations live under one roof and hundreds of houses are quite literally intermarried and committed to mutual defense. This may be one of the cardinal flaws in all US policy in the Middle East but the government is always an engine for perverse incentives and a mind blindness that ripples unintended consequences like a perpetual motion machine.
Insurgencies need three primary pillars to emerge and gain momentum: grievances, real and perceived, legitimacy and narrative. I would suggest that every time the traditional COIN strategy is employed by the West with the imposition of a police state mechanism to combat the insurgency, the strength of resistance increases.
Here’s a thought experiment: name one Muslim insurgency that has been defeated since the end of WWII.
Here’s a further riff on this: name a single insurgency that has been defeated since the beginning of the 20th century without the use of the police state mechanism I am suggesting.
And for those not paying attention, those three pillars are in emergent phases throughout the hinterlands of the USA with the current realization of just how nasty and brutish the domestic American police state really is as I have recently speculated on here on this blog in the two fictional narratives in October of this year. One may even suppose that the country is Exhibit A in how empires bring their violent policies to the home front and the extent to which they will use it until checked by an emerging reaction in domestic insurgency.
I would go so far as to suggest that any insurgency that seeks to carve out a slice of an existing state tax plantation that doesn’t use terrorism to complete its desires should be left alone. The War on Terror isn’t a war on terrorists, it is a jeremiad on non-state terrorists because no government on earth could last a day unless it codified and institutionalized the politically motivated initiation or actual use of violence against innocents and non-combatants.
So, to tie a bow on the hypothesis, governments create vicious police state mechanisms to prosecute all COIN campaigns, they action the campaigns with no limit on human suffering unless vilified or exposed to international embarrassment and they all come home.
All of it.
Every new tactic, technique or procedure to put a mass base of a population under atomistic control for bureaucratic purposes will come home.
You’re even seeing domestic police agencies joyously trumpeting the uses of COIN domestically.
The black site in Chicago is merely exposed to the light of day. The increasing militarization of police is not created in a vacuum. The sadistic and escalating nature of all police encounters across the fruited plain is simply the government absorbing mass base control mechanisms abroad and bring them home.
One doesn’t have to do lap swims in a conspiratorial fever swamp to see that all of this does not end well for anyone who cherishes individual liberty and freedom.