The notion of unconditional surrender for either Germany or Japan is a popular notion and it in fact extended the length of the conflict. Like all of its historical antecedents, it stiffens the spine of resistance and more so in cultures attuned to a warrior ethos. Peace entreaties from the Japanese government emerged as early as January 1945 and they were apparently ignored. It looked like this:

Specifically, the terms of the Japanese peace offers of late January 1945 were as follows:

  1. Full surrender of the Japanese forces, air, land, and sea, at home and in all occupied countries.
  2. Surrender of all arms and ammunition. 
  3. Agreement of the Japanese to occupation of their homeland and island possessions. 
  4. Relinquishment of Manchuria, Korea and Formosa.
  5. Regulation of Japanese industry.
  6. Surrender of designated war criminals for trial.
  7. Release of all prisoners. [1]

I suspect Truman’s intended audience for the nuclear bombs was a cautionary tale for Russia since even he realized a bipolar world was emerging and he knew who the contestants were. The revisionists and mainstream historians both argued over the casualty figures proffered by the Truman administration after the war.

If you look at the annihilation of huge Japanese forces on the mainland in Russian East Asia in the Soviet-Japanese campaign in August 1945 you see the scale of conventional force dissolution the Japanese were suffering.

There are a number of revisionist challenges to the conventional interpretation and I find them compelling.

“The revisionist challenge to the traditional interpretation became a source of fierce debate after the publication of Gar Alperovitz’s book, Atomic Diplomacy, in 1965. He contended that the United States used the atomic bomb primarily for diplomatic purposes rather than for military requirements, particularly to impress and intimidate the Soviet Union in the emerging Cold War. The argument that Truman ordered the atomic bombings of Japan primarily as an anti-Soviet weapon for fighting the Cold War became a prominent, though not unanimous, feature of atomic bomb revisionism.” [2]
We have to be careful to suggest casualty figures as high as one million when even MacArthur scoffed at their accuracy.  I am not even proposing an invasion would have been strategically sound but at our level of inquiry it is incumbent upon us to always remain skeptical.

I recommend a careful reading of Walker, very instructive.
[1]  McLaughlin, John. “The Bomb Was Not Necessary.” The Cutting Edge. https://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=12499&pageid=16&pagename=Opinion (accessed September 21, 2012).

[2] Walker, J. Samuel. “Historiographical Essay Recent Literature on Truman’s Atomic Bomb Decision: A Search for Middle Ground.” Diplomatic History Winter 1990 (1990),

Here are some numbers to celebrate:

Total war dead acknowledged since 9/11/2001:  5.225

Total battle wounded: 50,159

Total amputees: 1,572 (486 with multiple amputations)

Total PTSD (Army): 73,674

Traumatic brain injury:  Overall, 253,330 servicemen and women have suffered traumatic brain injury on the battlefield or elsewhere, including 3,949 with penetrating head wounds and 44,610 with severe or moderate brain injury.

The data released Wednesday indicates that 2,542 servicemen and women have suffered traumatic burns; 142 have lost at least one eye, and five lost both eyes in combat.

A hearty thanks to all the politicians and bureaucrats who made this government program possible.

Source:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/iraq-afghanistan-amputees_n_2089911.html

“Happy Veterans Day and thank you for your service” or “thanks for protecting our freedom.”

What!  I hear this familiar refrain again and again every November.  I am appalled whenever this unthinking salutation is proffered.

I am a retired career Army officer and like USMC General Smedley Butler before me, I find these sentiments to be hogwash.

The only service rendered was to the American political power structure in the dishonorable hands of the Democrats or Republicans; the former, despite their protestations to peace, have gotten America involved in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Starting with the shameful expropriation of the Mexican territory from 1846-48 to the War of Northern Aggression from 1860-65; the United States went into hyper-colonial overdrive in 1893 in the Hawaiian Islands and has not stopped since. The entire history of American arms on Earth has been a shameful and expansionist enterprise culminating in the first ever post-WWII (the Japanese attack on American territories in the Aleutians during the War to Save Josef Stalin and the minor coastal skirmishes in Oregon) attack on American state soil in 2001 .  I am frankly astonished at the length of time it took for a substantive attack of any kind to be initiated on American soil with the breadth, ferocity and long sordid history of American mischief and mayhem abroad.

The sheer number of military expeditions the US has embarked on over time is breathtaking.  One worthy notes there have been 234 military expeditions from 1798-1993.  Another posits 159 instances of the use of United States armed forces abroad from October 1945 through December 2006. “This list does not include covert actions and numerous instances of US forces stationed abroad since World War II, in occupation forces, or for participation in mutual security organizations, base agreements, and routine military assistance or training operations.”

Good God, if I were a Martian who landed on Earth ten years ago and found myself attending government schools, to include college, and watching television for any additional cultural education,  I would not be aware of any of this.  The constant drumbeat emanating from the State is the Orwellian chorus about America making the world safe for freedom and liberty and never using force abroad except in self-defense.  The history proves otherwise.

America, next to Rome in the Western world, ranks as one of the world’s most aggressive nation states when one examines the evidence.  A country sheltered from the tempestuous and constant warring on the European continent by one ocean and the turbulence in Asia by another ocean yet it simply cannot mind its own business nor resist the temptation to maim and murder abroad for expansion of political power and control whether for mercantilist or colonial aspirations.

One can even see that the brutality practiced by American soldiers abroad is not recent but a long-standing tradition.

Afghanistan, now:

All told, five soldiers were charged with killing civilians in three separate episodes early last year. Soldiers repeatedly described Sergeant Gibbs as devising “scenarios” in which the unit would fake combat situations by detonating grenades or planting weapons near their victims. They said he even supplied “drop weapons” and grenades to make the victims appear armed. Some soldiers took pictures posing with the dead and took body parts as trophies. Sergeant Gibbs is accused of snipping fingers from victims and later using them to intimidate another soldier.

He also pulled a tooth from one man, saying in court that he had “disassociated” the bodies from being human, that taking the fingers and tooth was like removing antlers from a deer.

Sergeant Gibbs said he that was ashamed of taking the body parts, that he was “trying to be hard, a hard individual.” But he insisted that the people he took them from had posed genuine threats to him and his unit.”

Philippines, then:

“Like many of their officers, American troops also showed incredible callousness toward the Philippine civilian population.  A man named Clarence Clowe described the situation as follows in a letter he wrote to Senator Hoar.  The methods employed by American troops against civilians in an effort to find insurgent “arms and ammunition” include torture, beating, and outright killing.

At any time I am liable to be called upon to go out and bind and gag helpless prisoners, to strike them in the face, to knock them down when so bound, to bear them away from wife and children, at their very door, who are shrieking pitifully the while, or kneeling and kissing the hands of our officers, imploring mercy from those who seem not to know what it is, and then, with a crowd of soldiers, hold our helpless victim head downward in a tub of water in his own yard, or bind him hand and foot, attaching ropes to head and feet, and then lowering him into the depths of a well of water till life is well-nigh choked out, and the bitterness of a death is tasted, and our poor, gasping victims ask us for the poor boon of being finished off, in mercy to themselves.

All these things have been done at one time or another by our men, generally in cases of trying to obtain information as to the location of arms and ammunition.

Nor can it be said that there is any general repulsion on the part of the enlisted men to taking part in these doings. I regret to have to say that, on the contrary, the majority of soldiers take a keen delight in them, and rush with joy to the making of this latest development of a Roman holiday.[16]

Another soldier, L. F. Adams, with the Washington regiment, described what he saw after the Battle of Manila on February 4-5, 1899:

In the path of the Washington Regiment and Battery D of the Sixth Artillery there were 1,008 dead niggers, and a great many wounded. We burned all their houses. I don’t know how many men, women, and children the Tennessee boys did kill. They would not take any prisoners.[17]

Similarly, Sergeant Howard McFarland of the 43rd Infantry, wrote to the Fairfield Journal of Maine:

I am now stationed in a small town in charge of twenty-five men, and have a territory of twenty miles to patrol…. At the best, this is a very rich country; and we want it. My way of getting it would be to put a regiment into a skirmish line, and blow every nigger into a nigger heaven. On Thursday, March 29, eighteen of my company killed seventy-five nigger bolo men and ten of the nigger gunners. When we find one that is not dead, we have bayonets.[18]

These methods were condoned by some back at home in the U.S., as exemplified by the statement of a Republican Congressman in 1909:

You never hear of any disturbances in Northern Luzon; and the secret of its pacification is, in my opinion, the secret of pacification of the archipelago.  They never rebel in northern Luzon because there isn’t anybody there to rebel.  The country was marched over and cleaned in a most resolute manner.  The good Lord in heaven only knows the number of Filipinos that were put under ground.  Our soldiers took no prisoners, they kept no records; they simply swept the country, and wherever or whenever they could get hold of a Filipino they killed him.  The women and children were spared, and may now be noticed in disproportionate numbers in that part of the island.[19]”

And countless incidents small and large in between from the only nation state in the Western world that not only endorses the use of torture but makes it an official means of projecting power abroad.

I have often remarked that cops are the only reason freedom and liberty is and has been in the hazard in America, and unfortunately, the same standard applies for military power abroad.

The only just war is one fought to defend one’s own soil from invasion.  There is no other.  Every other conflict reeks of statist opportunism and yen to expand tax jurisdictions and the power to rob others of their wealth and resources.  Some may mistake this for a pretense of the Left.  Not only do the progressives and the collectivists in America have a rich history of cheer-leading wars such as WWI and WWII but they also wish to employ military-style violence domestically to achieve their government supremacist dreams.

The notion that foreign wars and entanglements are wrong still emanates from a sparsely populated philosophical quarter that has no majority presence in the academy or the government–media complex.  It is a true voice in the wilderness.  That voice has one signature message:  you cannot thank a veteran for your freedom because they have actively done nothing more than endanger its very existence.  In fact, American military power abroad (and increasingly, at home) has made civilians more unsafe than they have ever been.  The threat not only emerges from aggrieved victims of American brutality abroad but a government desperate in bad times to ensure that not one dollar of military expenditures is reduced.  America is now a national security garrison state.  Think about that the next time you take a flight.

Veterans don’t need gratitude but a self-realization on their part that the machine they worked for was never an engine for liberty but a device whose single purpose was aggrandizement of American political power at home and abroad.  And that political hammer always extinguishes liberty and never expands it.

And that hammer is coming home.

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?”

– Gandhi

 

That is all you need to know.

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.” 

– Alexander Fraser Tytler

Thanks to PNAR for the delightful images above:  https://www.pnar.org/

Skyler Collins of Everything-Voluntary wrote a great column on non-voting:

Late tomorrow night will mark the end of the latest show of the political circus here in the United States (pending another hanging-chad-like controversy). Millions will go to the polls to vote on Federal, State, and local politicians and issues. The “changing of the guard” will commence, and unpopular rulers will be replaced by new ones. If the media is any indication, most Americans participate, thereby consenting to the entire political process no matter the outcome. It is true, that “most” Americans do participate, but in actuality “most” hovers around 55%. Of all elections, roughly half vote for Democrats and the other half Republicans. That means that of everyone of voting age in the United States, 25%~ give their consent to Democrats, 25%~ give their consent to Republicans, 5%~ give their consent to a third party, and a whopping 45% keep their consent for themselves. An interesting statistic, and the primary reason that so many engage in “Get out the vote” campaigns. Our rulers know they are illegitimate. Voluntaryists know they are illegitimate for a myriad of other reasons, but what I wanted to examine here is the voluntaryist’s position to abstain from electoral politics. The following arguments are the fundamentals of the nonvoting position.

See the rest: https://www.everything-voluntary.com/2012/11/the-fundamentals-of-nonvoting.html

Some great quotes:

“I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way: I don’t vote. On Election Day, I stay home. I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. Now, some people like to twist that around. They say, ‘If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain,’ but where’s the logic in that? If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they get into office and screw everything up, you are responsible for what they have done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain. I, on the other hand, who did not vote — who did not even leave the house on Election Day — am in no way responsible for that these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess that you created.”

– George Carlin

“Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right.”

~H.L. Mencken, 1956

“In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant.”

~Charles de Gaulle

“If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”

~Emma Goldman

“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”

~Karl Marx

“Voting is not an act of political freedom. It is an act of political conformity. Those who refuse to vote are not expressing silence. They are screaming in the politician’s ear: “You do not represent me. This is not a process in which my voice matters. I do not believe you.”

– Wendy McElroy

Why You Shouldn’t Vote:  https://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/non-vote-arch.html

Not only has the Haqqani Network (HQN) contributed to the instability of the AfPak region against the occupation forces but appears to employ a global reach through a sophisticated network that facilitates and orchestrates both the auxiliary and military functions to contribute to a global jihad.  The decades long existence of the HQN creates a rather impermeable cellular organizational structure that reaches deeply into both non-state functionalities and investment in government relationships in Pakistan and beyond.

HQN appears to be masterful at “bridging” factional gaps to apply fighting power where it is needed most and takes a rare hands-on interest in suicide bombing and other harassment in Kabul.  Like so many emerging entities around the world, it is giving nationalist aspirations a back seat to non-state independence; this may be a harbinger of things to come. These tribal entities that straddle the Durand line are nation-state agnostic and will use whatever Machiavellian intrigue or means necessary to secure their goals and satisfy their strategic aims.  I would suggest that HQN even employs a grand strategic framework to paln for future operations. The tribal and blood-centric subsidiary structures that comprise the disparate resistance organizations in Afghanistan/Pakistan and the global outreach programs for jihad are extremely resilient and resist Western penetration at every turn.

The singular focus on the Quetta Shura Taliban by the Coalition forces in Afghanistan have left the HQN networks relatively intact and increased its strength and influence by actively degrading the Taliban.  Some observers nonetheless see the HQN having a tremendous regenerative power no matter how badly mauled by Western forces. Power loves a vacuum and the Coalition has behaved in the normal fashion of caring not for second and third order effects of pressures applied in certain regions of the Afghan theater.

“The Haqqani Network represents the most severe threat to U.S. national security interests and objectives in Afghanistan. The network’s practical and ideological partnerships with international terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and their affiliates will undoubtedly continue and likely even increase as U.S. and coalition forces begin to withdrawal from Afghanistan. The Haqqani Network’s growing geographical footprint in concerning because it will allow for the facilitation and sheltering of al- Qaeda and its affiliates on a much larger scale. The Haqqani Network’s cross-border linkages with the Pakistani tribal areas will allow for the maintenance and expansion of a robust facilitation pipeline between the two countries in order to allow for regional and international terrorists to reconstitute and re-energize after years of punishing attacks from U.S. and coalition forces on both sides of the border.” [1]

Rassler and Brown are even more emphatic about the threat it poses to future Coalition activities in Afghanistan:

“Since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan the Haqqani network has been essential to the rise — and geographic spread — of the Taliban insurgency inside Afghanistan. The value of Haqqani network contributions to the Taliban has been acknowledged by senior Taliban leaders, such as Mullah Dadullah, who — before his death in 2007 — confirmed the Haqqanis important role: “There is no doubt that Shaykh Haqqani and his son lead the battles and draw up military plans.”131 The Haqqani network’s leadership of the Miranshah Shura, and its representation on the Rahbari Shura — the Taliban’s central coordinating body, highlights the organization’s value to the Taliban as a trusted partner with primacy in Southeastern Afghanistan.” [2]

All of this assumes a continued US/Coalition presence in Afghanistan and the region which leads to observer effects and influences on the behavior of regional players to include the HQN.

HQN continues to yield a disproportionate influence in the region and by extension the world.  In the end, HQN may grow to be a more potent threat to American and Western interests than al-Qaeda especially if the US continues to think that meddling in the internal affairs of Middle Eastern nations is the only way to secure its safety or wield its influence.

The HQN provides an instructive model to resistance organizations around the globe.

[1] Dressler, Jeffrey. “The Haqqani Network: A Strategic Threat.” Understanding War. https://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Haqqani_StrategicThreatweb_29MAR_0.pdf.

[2] Brown and Rassler. 2011. The Haqqani Nexus and the Evolution of Al-Qaeda. Harmony Program. The Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point.
https://edge.apus.edu/access/content/attachment/191745/Announcements/6ddb329a-20be-46e6-965b-7d067fe69c48/CTC-Haqqani-Report_Rassler-Brown-Final_Web.pdf .

 

City folk pride themselves on their lack of self-sufficiency. The urban hipster comfortably lives in a cocoon where everything he wishes to partake in is readily available.  The relatively tight confines of large urban enclaves are wedded to a higher standard of living and cost associated that allows a disposable income larger than most such as Los Angeles and New York City.  Since most humans tend to be lazy when other provisioning is available they will not bother to put back emergency supplies or increase the size of their food larder.  In some cases, the outrageous sums demanded for properties in the cities also restrict the storage potential of apartments’ or townhouses.

Restaurants replace refrigerators and cabs replace private transportation or worse yet, the government transit systems that were recently shut down en masse when Hurricane Sandy threatened the large urban megalopolis in New York-New Jersey axis.  Since time immemorial, the urban landscape has been the primary intellectual incubator for large and expansive government and the birthplace of millions of humans for whom dependence is not only reality but creates a sophisticated rationalization of entitlement living at the expense of others as a natural order of society.

The fragility of this arrangement has just been tested by nature and found severely wanting. The government response has been the bureaucratic bungling, over-reaction, and heavy-handedness one has come to expect of the faux Soviet aspirants that pepper the city halls on the Atlantic seaboard. Fuel rationing, clownish ineptitude in emergency preparedness at the highest and lowest levels of officialdom and the automatic fallback to police brutality that always seems to be the final word on government reaction to crisis.

It’s amusing to see the inevitable reports of privatized looting when unaccredited criminals or gangs start to take people’s property and the usual suspects in the journalistic world never make the connection that these looters are simply using a cruder means than the tax policies orchestrated a little more thoroughly by the rulers in the city halls and state houses.

You will also see official resentment toward folks who may have either prepared for the emergency or be correspondingly accused of hoarding. You will certainly see the apparatchiks in New York start to impose short-term prohibitions that will create long-term disincentives to prepare for future emergencies. Why would that be? A readiness mindset that examines future contingencies and pre-emptively prepares for these events is one of them most direct threats to government authority. If you discover that your plans and preparations are superior to the provisioning of the government, you may just start examining every aspect and discover that not only is the government counter-productive but also you simply don’t need them anymore.

It will be amusing to watch all the collectivist pundits trot out their tired shibboleths about global warming, decaying infrastructure, anti-hoarding laws and calls for increased funding of government emergency bureaucracies to further manacle and stymie efforts to better prepare for these natural and man-made events in the future.  The government supremacists will use fair and foul weather to constantly mewl and chatter about their nefarious policies to further enslave mankind as they erect new and improved Rube Goldberg contractions to snuff human liberty and advance the cause of serfdom

Hurricane Sandy was not the sole creation of hot air in this instance.

My wife penned this gem as an homage to the hapless and dependent masses mewling for help in New York and New Jersey.  Remember that city folk pride themselves on their lack of self-sufficiency. -BB

Listen my people, and you shall hear,

The cries of New Yorkers yelling, “Hey! Where’s my beer?”

New Jersey is flooded. New York has no lights.

The police are out on the streets controlling the fights.

Everyone’s short on power and gas,

The mini apocalypse has come at last.

The elevators powered down,

People stuck in their buildings.

Guess they’ll just have to walk,

But they’re sadly unwilling.

If help doesn’t come they might die of thirst.

I’ve just one thing to say,

”Should’ve prepared first!”

Even New Yorkers can fill up a tub.

Or waddle to the corner and fill up on grub.

To all of my people, this here’s your lesson.

The apocalypse just came .

Better get preppin’.

Max was kind enough to answer some questions about his new books and his perspectives on living on both sides of the pond.  Buy his books, I cannot recommend them highly enough. -BB

 What threats do you see in the future for citizens in the European Union (EU) and the United States from their governments?

That’s a big topic but in summary I see increasing erosion of civil rights and the encroachment of ‘Big Brother’ and the surveillance state. In general real practical freedom is being eroded at a rapid rate.

  Is there a difference in the nature of the threats between the EU and the US?

Very much so: Although there appear to be similar movements towards police surveillance states in both the EU and the US, along with the erosion of democracy, such as it was, there is a very different tradition in the US. To a very real extent there is more to be lost in the US. The US has its written Constitution and has since its inception been a beacon of hope and liberty, whereas for example the UK has an unwritten constitution that did evolve over time to give ‘subjects’ of the Crown very good civil rights. The British system evolved rather than being rapidly put in place as in the US. However, in the UK you see those rights being taken away, if not already lost. An example is that there is no equivalent of the second amendment, which has meant that citizens in the UK have already had their right to bear arms removed.

Therefore the threat in the US is of the loss of the natural rights of citizens as enshrined in the Constitution. However, the flip side of that is that in the US the population is armed and therefore if citizens do stand up for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and decide to overthrow any tyrannical government, as the Founding fathers intended them to do, they will have more chance of accomplishing it without being crushed by the military-industry complex. In the UK and Europe it is much easier to crush dissent because the state really does hold the monopoly of violence, unless a point is reached where large elements of the military and law enforcement either defect or refuse to act.

  Most of our audience is in the US and bring a certain perspective to guns, what is the perspective of the English?  Have they become so wedded to the state that anything can happen to them?

There is a vast untapped resource in ‘Middle England’ of decent ‘right thinking’ folk, but they have no power base or ability to do anything about the loss of the country to the socialist welfare state and the increasing lunacy of political correctness and multiculturalism.  The British have also lost their guns. It makes for an interesting perspective where policing always seemed to me to be more reasonable in the UK, with the ‘bobby on the beat’ being someone accessible who you may have stopped to ask directions from. Most of the police were not armed. But that is probably now a romanticized view and outdated as the police have to combat increasing violence in society and gangsters. In the US, due to the prevalence of guns and the threat of their use by criminal elements, the US police officer is a different animal, someone I would not stop to ask directions from for fear that he would ‘run me’ in an attempt to find fault and make an arrest. The cops in the US appear to be an increasingly paramilitary force who do not ‘serve and protect’ but look to harm and arrest. Some of this is due to the violence they face, but it also speaks to a lack of respect for citizens’ rights and also the use of ‘department procedures’ to excuse bullying and incompetence. There is also a role model culture from the movies of ‘tough guy’ cops that does not help.

   What do you think of the gun culture in the US?

I support second amendment rights and thankfully when facing the possibility of a collapse we have the ability to protect ourselves. How would I protect my family in a similar situation in the UK, faced with rampaging looters? There is also the fact that due to the availability of firearms in the US, you need to possess and be trained in their use in order to be able to protect yourself and your family from those who would use them against you. Gun control aimed at law abiding citizens is madness, so long as there are guns out there possessed by criminal elements. So I am thankful for gun laws in the US, because I know that I can protect my family and also that the people can protect themselves against tyranny. The fact that we can have practical firearms in the US allows me to write a book such as ‘Contact’, in the knowledge that good folks out there have the ability to equip and train to defend against lawless situations, following any kind of societal collapse and absence of the rule of law.

   Your books are not only well written but mercifully lacking in the “tacticool” virus that haunts so many of the tactical gun books here. What sets yours apart?

 I have devoted most of my professional career to training and deployments and becoming good at ‘tactics’. It has always been a passion of mine. I don’t have any time for ‘tacticool’ stuff and the kind of mantras that you hear people repeat ad nauseam but perhaps they don’t really understand e.g. ‘shoot, move and communicate. I write about effective tactics based on some excellent training and operational experience ‘downrange’ that I have had over the years. I didn’t invent or make it all up, but I have thought deeply about it and evolved it based on my personal experiences. If it doesn’t work, fix it, if it works, don’t fix it. I have benefited from the experience of being trained, training with, and operating alongside some excellent soldiers and operators who I learned my trade from. I also really enjoy instructing and passing on knowledge, which was the genesis behind writing the books.

   As you are aware, I am a retired Army officer, so I was wondering if you could share some of your experiences with the Paras that have proven valuable in your current vocation or approach to the coming bad times.

The ‘Paras’ is a unit that you have to be selected for and which has extremely high professional standards. It is not good enough to simply pass selection and get into the unit; you have to be able to maintain a professional standard and focus. It was the Paras that gave me my professional grounding in tactics and SOF operations. Once I had that base, I was able to get contracts as a security contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, for five years, based on my pedigree and which continued to enhance my knowledge and combat experience. In the Paras I served in multiple theaters such as Northern Ireland, the Balkans and Afghanistan. This gave me grounding across the spectrum of operations and an insight into how things may potentially pan out in the US following a collapse. It also gave me perspective on security force operations and how these forces would or could be used to crack down on anyone viewed as an insurgent by the regime.

By the time I got to Iraq as a security contractor and found myself out on the roads there, it felt that I had spent my whole career gaining experience in countering terrorism, insurgency, IEDs and the like. Afghanistan was particularly interesting. I was deployed there after 9/11 and returned for two years to Helmand Province as a security contractor in 2007. That is a country that could be viewed as a model for conditions of extreme collapse. By contrast, places such as the Balkans can be viewed as an example of a place that faced partial collapse and civil war.

   Besides your books, any other books you may recommend that would be of value?

On the tactical side, I would recommend any number of modern books that cover fighting and combat, simply because they are useful to give your mind an idea, and begin the conditioning process, as you visualize the conditions that the people went through. I also recommend books on prepping and survival to give you the skills for the rest of the prepping spectrum; Contact does not attempt to do that but skips largely over those basics, assuming that you already have your ‘bullets, beans and band-aids’ in order.

 I suspect you cut your professional teeth on the SLR and I am the former owner of a whole passel of FALs that have since found new owners to fund the .223 and .308 ARs we currently field. The AR platform is ubiquitous here in America, what are your thoughts on it as a weapons system.  How about pistols?

I initially came into the British Army in 1991 after the SLR had gone out of service. I had the opportunity to shoot it on the ranges a few times with my father while growing up. I had the pleasure of carrying a deactivated SLR around the Welsh mountains on selection. The British Army has the 5.56mm (.223) SA80, now the A2 version and I always thought it was a good weapon, although people claimed it was heavy. The SUSAT x4 magnification sight was excellent. I used the AR15/M4 while in the British Army also, as well as for a time in Iraq. I think the M4 platform is excellent; I have one of my own! I never had a problem with 5.56. But here we get to an interesting point, showing the difference between firearms ownership in the US and the UK. In the UK we only had weapons in the Army, so they were the tools we were issued and we got on with it. In the US there is so much choice and soldiers have their issued weapons and then they can have whatever they want at home. No wonder there are so many diverse opinions. My approach is to use what you have to the best effect. 5.56/.223 or 7.62/.308, hit well with it and the enemy is not going to walk it off!

Pistols: I favor the Glock. I like .40 Cal, after many years of using issued 9mm pistols. That is a personal preference and again, I think that you should go with what is comfortable for you. If you are concealed carrying you need to figure out a carry system and a handgun that works for you.

  It appears that Scotland and Wales may secede in the future from Great Britain and I see a probability of that very thing happening here in the states, what is your read on the situation?

I honestly have not been keeping track on the progress or not of any secession in the UK. I think that in the UK the situation is such that it would probably be allowed to happen, at least to a degree: they already have assemblies in Wales and Scotland. In the US, I don’t see that. Look at the Civil War. I think FedGov would stamp down very hard on the idea of secession of any part of the United States, simply because it would weaken the Federal powerbase, just like in the 1860s. If I read my history right, the American Civil War was not about slavery, at least not at first (revisionist history of the victors aside); it was about power. It always is.

  Tell us about your project writing a novel.

The idea of the novel is to write a storyline that I hope will be interesting and captivating to the reader in itself, but which will incorporate and illustrate the tactics that I have written about in Contact and Rapid Fire. It won’t be an instructional, that would kill the storyline, but the characters will bring to life the tactics. I intend the novel to be set in a post collapse civil war environment, where a resistance movement is fighting a tyrannical government. Sound familiar or probable? Yep.

Max Velocity Bio: I have been a lifelong soldier with extensive military experience. I served in both the British and US Armies. I served with British Special Operations Forces, mainly with the Parachute Regiment which is Britain’s elite quick reaction force and which also provides support to the UK Tier 1 Special Forces, the Special Air Service. I served on six operational deployments, including to Afghanistan immediately post-9/11, and also a tour training and selecting recruits for the Regiment. I retired from the British Army in 2003 and then spent five years serving as a security contractor in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This included working on contract for the US Government in Iraq, a year of which was based out of Fallujah, the rest variously based out of Baghdad and country-wide, and also two years working for the British Government in Helmand Province and Kabul, Afghanistan. These roles were operational security roles that included exposure to multiple different training methods and operational schools of thought, as well as both high profile and low profile mobile operations across Iraq and Afghanistan. I then joined the U.S. Army and trained as a Combat Medic and Civil Affairs Specialist. I am a U.S. Citizen and live in Northern Virginia. I am a family man with a strong interest in prepping. This comes from a desire to prepare for the worst while living to the best in our current society. Contact springs from my ruminations on the need to keep my own family safe and survive any coming apocalyptic event, and a desire to share this knowledge with other law abiding folk.

Website: https://maxvelocitytactical.com/

Blog: https://maxvelocitytactical.blogspot.com/

Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival: https://www.amazon.com/Contact-Tactical-Manual-Collapse-Survival/dp/1478106697

Rapid Fire: Tactics for High Threat, Protection and Combat Operations: https://www.amazon.com/Rapid-Fire-Tactics-Protection-Operations/dp/1478280514

 

 

 

 

“Realists appealed to Collins. There would be no more glorious protests in arms, he decided. He built a cadre of realists around him, first in the IRB, then at Volunteer headquarters, where he took over Pearse’s old post as Director of Organization before becoming Director of Intelligence, finally in Dáil Eireann, as the underground government’s very effective Minister for Finance. Collins was a doer. Essentially a well-informed opportunist with very few scruples, his entire ideology could be stated in five words: ‘The Irish should govern themselves.’” 

–         Sean Cronin, “Irish Nationalism: A History of its Roots and Ideology”

“The characteristics which mark Collins out as a remarkably successful Director of Intelligence during the War of Independence include his evident appreciation of the importance of the collection and assessment of information as primary elements of intelligence operations which should precede action; his partial penetration of his adversary’s own intelligence system; the efficiency and ruthlessness with which action based on good intelligence was taken; and his success in preserving the security and efficiency of his own organization both in Dublin and in Britain despite the pressures it operated under because of the constant threat of raids, arrests and the capture of documents.”

 –         Eunan O’Halpin, “Collins and Intelligence: 1919-1923 From Brotherhood to Bureaucracy” (in the anthology Michael Collins and the Making of the Irish State)

 Introduction

Michael Collins was a tough young Irish operative during the seminal years of Eire’s final divorce from the United Kingdom at the beginning of the twentieth century.  This paper will attempt to discover if Collins was the culminating point that brought Number Ten Downing Street to the negotiation table, stared down Winston Churchill and came home with the solution for Irish independence from the British Crown.

Ireland was invaded and occupied the British crown in 1169 and suffered a brutal occupation punctuated by indigenous risings, rebellions and pockets of resistance. Sinn Féin emerged in 1905 to formalize a political vehicle to liberate the Irish from the British occupation.  These sophisticated rebel organizations started to emerge in the in the 19th and 20th century, culminating in the 1916 Easter Rising which led to the mismatch and overreach that would be the undoing of English rule over the Irish.

Michael Collins would emerge as the premier guerrilla leader during the crucial struggle between 1916 and 1922.  He embodied the early germination of the non-state soldier as a twentieth century variation on the age-old warrior in history and fought in Ireland under a variety of covers and positions within the political hierarchy of the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB).  Collins would fight for the next four years culminating on Bloody Sunday on 21 November 1920.

 The Rising in 1916

During the Easter week of 24-30 April 1916, the IRB fielded the Irish Volunteers and smaller elements of Irish nationalists rose in armed rebellion in Dublin against the British crown.  The violence was a tremendous shock to the authorities in London and they reacted with enormous disproportionate use of military and constabulary forces to quell the rebellion.   “The British Army reported casualties of 116 dead, 368 wounded and nine missing. Sixteen policemen died, and 29 were wounded. Rebel and civilian casualties were 318 dead and 2,217 wounded. The Volunteers and ICA recorded 64 killed in action, but otherwise Irish casualties were not divided into rebels and civilians.” [1] Executions and reprisals followed and Collins started to rise in the ranks to prominence in the aftermath of the Fort Sumter of the twentieth century Irish revolution against the Crown and eventually a bloody civil war that would pit Irishman against Irishman.

An increased colonial imperial presence started to expand its reach on the southern island that was the heart of the rebellion.  England was on a war footing in her third year of fighting in the First World War and troop movements and weapons availability were quite abundant for the forces deployed.  The British had to invest in a counterinsurgency campaign and still had upper tier members of the military high command with bitter memories of the COIN difficulties in the two Boer conflicts fought less than a generation before.

The Rebellion in Earnest

The IRB and the other militant organizations started to realize that the war would have to be one of the classic insurgent and conducted in “suit and tie” as it were, assuming aliases and slipping through the mass base undetected.  Collins would for three years hide in plain sight in Dublin and its environs posing as a businessman named “John Grace”.  Great Britain would respond with one of the most slipshod and misinformed counterinsurgency (COIN) campaigns in recent history with a number of missteps that would eventually cost them the conflict and the island of Eire would eventually float out of the Dominion orbit. Some suppose that if that had not occurred during wartime, that the COIN may have had an even chance of success but the “modus operandi and outlook…had been shaped during wartime for the intelligence apparatus which required intelligence officers to cut corners, dispense with vetting procedures and cold pitch informers.” [2] The British also severely underestimated the IRB/IRA counterintelligence operations being conducted against them.

Once the British introduced the Blacks and Tans, a paramilitary police unit in concert with the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC), the atrocities started to even gain attention in England and some Members of Parliament warned that the harsh treatment would lead to a deepening resistance and compel the populace to close ranks with the rebellion.  Contrary to the popular media, the massacre at Croke Park in 1920 where 13 civilians died was at the hands of the RIC and some auxiliaries. Nonetheless, a critical mass of English brutality was having a measured effect on the Irish mood that the IRA took full advantage of and Collins hatched a plan to assassinate members of the intelligence organization known as the Cairo Gang headquartered in the Castle.

 Bloody Sunday

The propaganda war on both sides was quite effective although one can say the Irish rebellion had an advantage between a sympathetic USA and British public becoming exhausted with the expense and the apparent atrocities starting to percolate for the unintended conflict that Great Britain had been escalating since 1919.  Even Churchill grew weary in 1920: “What was the alternative? It was to plunge one small corner of the empire into an iron repression, which could not be carried out without an admixture of murder and counter-murder…. Only national self-preservation could have excused such a policy, and no reasonable man could allege that self-preservation was involved.”  One can bookend this speech with one of the greatest speeches Churchill even made on 8 July 1920 concerning the British military massacres of Indians at Amristar on 13 April 1919 (also known as the Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre) and his condemnation of British military excesses in the Raj, one cannot help but think he was conflating some of that brutality with what was transpiring in Ireland during the war.[3] Churchill’s reputation as one of the finest speakers in the English-speaking world gave him a platform which enthralled millions in the British public whether broadcast or read transcripted in the daily newspapers.  The daily mauling of Irish civilians by British occupation forces may have started to gain more traction.

On 19 June, 1920 the commanding officer of the RIC in Listowel informed his ranks:

“Now, men, Sinn Fein have had all the sport up to the present, and we are going to have the sport now. The police are not in sufficient strength to do anything to hold their barracks. This is not enough for as long as we remain on the defensive, so long will Sinn Fein have the whip hand. We must take the offensive and beat Sinn Fein at its own tactics…If a police barracks is burned or if the barracks already occupied is not suitable, then the best house in the locality is to be commandeered, the occupants thrown into the gutter. Let them die there—the more the merrier. Should the order (“Hands Up”) not be immediately obeyed, shoot and shoot with effect. If the persons approaching (a patrol) carry their hands in their pockets, or are in any way suspicious-looking, shoot them down. You may make mistakes occasionally and innocent persons may be shot, but that cannot be helped, and you are bound to get the right parties some time. The more you shoot, the better I will like you, and I assure you no policeman will get into trouble for shooting any man.” [4]

The perfect storm was emerging that would lead to the operation that would change the course of the conflict and eventually draw the British to the negotiating table to parley for a conditional settlement and peace that may free the Irish from English dominion.

Collins would strike the match that would put the British in the hazard.  His “Squad” was comprised of volunteer gunmen and supporting elements that would target the Cairo Gang at Dublin Castle who were a key component of the intelligence complex the English had deployed into Ireland to quell the rebellion.  The popular media has greatly exaggerated the importance of the Cairo Gang in the vast network of intelligence assets the Crown had deployed but the propaganda impact coupled with what would happen within hours of the assassination would force the British government to find a solution the IRB and indigenous Irishmen would agree to.

“Shortly after eight in the morning, [Collins’ men] converged on eight different addresses in Dublin.  Nineteen soldiers, one or two of them probably not agents, were roused from their sleep and shot.” [5]

Of these, thirteen were killed and six wounded according to official reports. When Collins would hear the news, he would say: “Good God. We’re finished now. It’s all up.” [6] This was not the blow the popular media makes it out it to be ands tends to be exaggerated.  This was a propaganda blow but had a relatively minor operational impact from an intelligence perspective.

“In hindsight, Collins’ operation, although executed with imprecision was a shock to British intelligence but quite limited in scope.  The IRA succeeded in eliminating only a small fraction of the legion of British intelligence operatives, although there is no question that a few of those assassinated were among the more experienced and aggressive operators. At the end of the day IRA gunmen killed seven confirmed intelligence officers, two legal officers, one informer, and two Auxiliary temporary cadets, while wounding four more suspected spies.” [7] Collins blow would nonetheless have far-reaching effects that would happen just that afternoon.

The day was not over as the bloody-minded British Blacks and Tans and some associated constabulary possibly seeking revenge opened fire at the football pitch in Croke Park that afternoon by killing 12 civilians and maiming hundreds of other players and spectators in what would become the Croke Park massacre that would even upset the British government at the ferocity and brutality of the attack after the stinging rebuke Churchill had spoke against mere months before in the Parliament during General Dyer’s trial for the Indian massacre.

Conclusion

A mere two years later in December 1921, the Irish would get their independence after almost eight hundred years as a mostly unwilling vassal of the United Kingdom.  This would spark a vicious civil war between two competing factions that would be long and bloody.  Collins would be assassinated himself in his personage as the military commander of free Ireland by a rival Republican faction in August 1922.

Collins was an able commander and essentially one of the first successful non-state soldiers of the twentieth century although T.E. Lawrence may tangentially take the laurel for being a state soldier commanding an entire army of non-state soldiers in WWI during the British fight against Turkey in the Middle East.  One must entertain the counterfactual that had Collins not struck such a blow and reaped the unintended windfall of English brutality and callous disregard for human life at Croke Park that same afternoon if the Commonwealth may have remained intact.

“… [G]iven time, strength and public support, the British forces could have reduced rebel operations to negligible proportions. Nevertheless, these quintessential conditions were missing. While the IRA survived, political pressure on the British government increased and though the balance was tantalizingly fine, the IRAS held out longer than the government’s nerve.  That was what mattered.” [8]

Collins survived and went toe to toe.

Collins was at the right time and right place to take full advantage of English missteps and capitalize on the unintended profit from Churchill damning the military brutality by Raj forces in India resulting in thousands of civilian deaths and maiming.  Many forces were starting to coalesce to include the post-WWI exhaustion of Britain, British financial woes and the consolidation of Irish guerrilla forces under a capable and effective leadership. The combination of ruthless efficiency, political stellar alignments and the sheer exhaustion of the British public with the conflict most likely tipped the balance for Collins and his confreres.

A single day in which both the protagonists swung at each other may very well have set the conditions for Irish freedom.

Bibliography

[1] Foy, Michael, and Brian Barton. The Easter Rising. Chicago: The History Press, 2011.

[2] Hittle, J.B.E. Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure. Washington DC: Potomac, 2011.

[3] Herman, Arthur. Gandhi & Churchill: The Epic Rivalry that Destroyed an Empire and Forged Our Age. New York: Bantam, 2009.

[4] Wilson, A.N. After the Victorians: The Decline of Britain in the World. New York: Farar, 2005.

[5] Coogan, Tim Pat. Michael Collins: The Man Who Made Ireland. Boulder: Roberts Rhinehart, 1992.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Hittle, J.B.E. Michael Collins and the Anglo-Irish War: Britain’s Counterinsurgency Failure. Washington DC: Potomac, 2011.

[8] Doherty, Gabriel, ed. Michael Collins and the Making of the Irish State. Dublin: Mercier, 1998.

 Works Consulted

Barry, Tom. Guerilla Days in Ireland. Cork, Ireland: Mercier, 1995.

Cronin, Sean. Irish Nationalism: A History of Its Roots and Ideology. New York: Continuum, 1982.

Dwyer, T. The Squad: and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins. Cork, Ireland: Mercier, 2005.

Foy, Michael. Michael Collins’s Intelligence War: The Struggle Between the British and the IRA 1919-1921. Charleston: The History Press, 2006.

Gleeson, James. Bloody Sunday: How Michael Collins’s Agents Assassinated Britain’s Secret Service in Dublin on November 21, 1920. Guilford: Lyons Press, 2004.

Hart, Peter. The I.R.A. at War 1916-1923. New York: Oxford USA, 2005.

Schneider, James. Guerrilla Leader: T. E. Lawrence and the Arab Revolt. New York: Bantam, 2011.