Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fighting the Borg

Richard Landes at the Augean Stables describes the psychological death spiral of those who have been convinced that Resistance is Futile. It works like this. Since fighting only makes things worse one submits. And the more one submits the more Resistance is Futile.

"We don't dare start a war with the media," said one MFA official, "we can only lose." "Don't expect the Israelis to fight back," warned a prominent diaspora lawyer, "They won't. They just won't." Nor is this merely a problem of Israeli official hasbarah. The Jewish leaders in the diaspora, playing by the positive-sum rules of the late 20th century, responded painfully slowly to the sudden zero-sum turn of direction at the end of 2000. Indeed, like the Israeli government, they discouraged those – leaders or rank and file – who started to fight back.

I understand the arguments, the concerns, the kinds of damage that can come if the media turns on us. But that's beginning to sound more and more like the joke about the two Jews in line for the showers at Auschwitz. One sneezes and the other whispers sharply, "Hush, Yankl, you'll make it worse for us."

It's possible to sympathize with this attitude even outside of Israel. Bill Roggio describes how the same deadly logic seems to have worked on America's policies in Iraq. The more one submits to MSM the worse things become. The worse things become the more on submits to the MSM. Resistance is Futile.

"We are fighting a Politically Correct war,"said Major Owens. "Specifically, Abu Ghraib has taken exponential importance " in how we approach fighting the insurgency, and has led to an excess in caution in dealing with arrest and detainee issues. The interrogation process has been neutered due to past errors. "PC has filled us with false fear," said Major West. "We treat detainees better than I treated my college roommates."

"We tiptoe around cultural issues so greatly that the Iraqi Army laughs at us," said Major West. He explained the difficulties in arresting women involved with the insurgency. In one case, it was well known a woman that was sheltering and aiding foreign fighters, and the evidence of her guilt was solid. In order to arrest her, the MTT needed permission from a general's staff. The Iraqi troops stood in wonderment at this absurd decision making process.

Detainees and Cognitive Dissonance Major West believes the U.S. is suffering from what he refers to as "COIN [counterinsurgency] false hope" in Anbar province, and this is impacting our effectiveness in fighting the insurgency. "In Anbar, the average male is our enemy, and you won't win his heart. But you can win his mind, and make him make rational decisions" to not attack US forces and Iraqi institutions and security forces. "We should detain large amounts of [military age] males, not re-releasing them." The catch and release program, where known insurgents are released only to fight another day, only serves to encourage and reinforce insurgent activity.

Major West went on to explain how the Americans need to enforce strict punishment for small crimes, using the "broken windows" theory of law enforcement to deter insurgent activities. Laws must be put on the books to make activities such as running weapons, providing shelter for terrorists, and digging holes to plant bombs major crimes. "The way the Iraqis see it, Americans suffer from cognitive dissonance on the legal and detention issues."

The lever is there, for anyone who dares to pull it. So what is the way out? Fearless leadership; the steady compass of one who is not afraid to lose seats in Congress and reviled on every occasion; the rock-firm hand of a man who is not afraid to lose an election to do the right thing. But if it requires that kind of sacrifice then ... Resistance is Futile.


Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Once in U.S. history an episode of Islamic terrorism was very quickly stopped. It happened in the Philippines about 1911, when Gen. John J. Pershing was in command of the garrison. There had been numerous Islamic terrorist attacks, so "Black Jack" told his boys to catch the perps and teach them a lesson.

Forced to dig their own graves, the terrorists were all tied to posts, execution style. The U.S. soldiers then brought in pigs and slaughtered them, rubbing their bullets in the blood and fat. Thus, the terrorists were terrorized; they saw that they would be contaminated with hogs' blood. This would mean that they could not enter Heaven, even if they died as terrorist martyrs.

All but one was shot, their bodies dumped into the grave, and the hog guts dumped atop the bodies. The lone survivor was allowed to escape back to the terrorist camp and tell his brethren what happened to the others. This brought a stop to terrorism in the Philippines for the next 50 years.

This is probably not a true story, but the truth doesn't matter AS LONG AS THE TERRORISTS BELIEVED.

Maybe we can use the fifth-columnists in the mainstream media to spread the idea that US soldiers are dipping their bullets in pigs blood. They will dutifully report it (as they did Abu Ghraib), and we can offcially deny it. But the insurgents will believe...

1/25/2007 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger weswinger said...

Islam means submission (to Allah). The western version seems to mean the hive-mind. Gotta get with the program, one way or the other, or else. . .

1/25/2007 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmo said...

Broken windows theory. Getting rid of gangrenous toes before they become gangrenous legs. Spare the rod, spoil the child.

Common sense, actually -- and more humane in the long run. But it involves making hard choices and doing difficult things.

We 'post-moderns' always think we know better. Whatever worked in the past is outmoded by today's fashionable notion.

The timeless brutality and horrors of war can be, somehow, avoided. Or we won't fight at all.

What arrogance. What daydreaming.

Now we're told not to provoke (resist) those who vow to kill us because they will only kill more of us -- a 'survival' strategy only for those who don't mind living on their knees.

1/25/2007 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> The lone survivor was allowed to escape back to the terrorist camp and tell his brethren what happened to the others. This brought a stop to terrorism in the Philippines for the next 50 years.

No way. Most people aren't that weak. If the Russians invaded the US, would we be broken that easily?

Saddam killed tens of thousands of Kurds with poison gas and they still kept coming. Sunnis and Shiites are torturing hundreds of each other to death a week but neither side has given up yet.

The old intimidation theory is just a fantasy. No matter how much we scared that "lone survivor" yesterday, if Al Qaeda is holding a gun to his head today, he's going to be Al Qaeda's boy. Counterinsurgency means that we have people in every village with guns to people's heads instead of Al Qaeda.

1/25/2007 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Richard Landes said...

thanks for posting, and picking up on one of the more distressing aspects of the problem -- the resignation of those who need to be fighting back. but it would have been good to mention that i was arguing against that very strongly. and after the talk i was asked by a member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to give the talk at a conference they're holding... so even in unlikely places there may be a stirring of resistance.

1/26/2007 12:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 01/26/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention.

1/26/2007 08:19:00 AM  
Blogger maryatexitzero said...

No way. Most people aren't that weak. If the Russians invaded the US, would we be broken that easily?

Sorry to say that yes, most people are that weak. Terrorists have few weapons to speak of, intimidation is their only real weapon and most of the world is scared to death of them. The world press was completely cowed by the Danish Cartoon/Pope controversy.

Al Qaeda's sponsors in Saudi Arabia control 80% of America's mosques, the majority of Middle East studies programs in American universitites, and a fair number of our politicians. Saudi Arabia has invaded the US (and other nations around the world) and yes, we are giving up that easily.

The non-terrorist world is tying itself up in knots trying to figure out how to defeat an enemy whose sponsors are militarily vulnerable, whose weaponry is negligible and whose strategy is regularly broadcast for everyone to see and hear.

Terrorists and their supremacist philosophies are like an opportunistic infection - they've always existed in one form or another, but they can only gain this much strength when the world is this weak.

1/26/2007 08:33:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Grey said...

Sorry Richard, the way out is clear but you don't mention.

Give the responsibility for law enforcement to the Iraqis.

Let the Iraqis hang Saddam, arrest the women, detain and keep detained the militants.

The US Army is there to support the chosen local Iraqi leader, or not support him. The way to win is to have US friendly local Iraqi leaders win.

1/26/2007 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Tarnsman said...

"If men make war in slavish obedience to rules, they will fail."

~U.S. Grant

It is long past the time for the United States start listening to the advice of its Civil War generals.

"War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it, the crueler it is the sooner it will be over."
~William Tecumseh Sherman

1/26/2007 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Terrorists have few weapons to speak of, intimidation is their only real weapon

But terrorists don't scare people once every 50 years. The real power of terrorists is when they are in every village, every neighborhood, and can terrorize & control the population 24 X 7.

That's why holding ground is the key to winning insurgency wars. If the terrorists are in a village holding guns to people's heads, then they control that village.

1/26/2007 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

World War II fighting won't work in Iraq. Too soft, too weak, too gentle. We need to be tougher than WWII in order to win.

We aren't fighting a few large armies which can be destroyed. There are terrorists spread out throughout the country, and their violence in the local village is more powerful and frightening than any long distance violence we dish out.

1/26/2007 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Dewage said...

I am a proponent of the idea that Iraq is a campaign in the "Long War". As I look at the progress, or lack thereof, I think more about how the world will appear to us after we have lost the Long War.

We will look back at Iraq as the "last, best chance" to have turned it around. The demographics in Europe as those nations depopulate their native races will shift from Christian to Muslim. Within 20 years, France will be dominated by Islam, with Germany, Italy and England following within 50 years. Russia as we know it will cease to exist, having been split up the middle through the 'Stans and Chechnya into an Islamic dominated Siberia.

Just 50 years from now, most of southern Europe will be Islamic, and so the EU and probably Canada. America will be a second class nation to the Islamic Caliphate and China. There will be no "Terrorist Watch Lists" because we will not be able to enforce it; anyone with malevolent intent who wants to come to America, will have to be let in. If China is even slightly capitalistic, it will be our best friend and Overlord.

The dollar will not be the international currency, but Euros will be, causing our system of financing international debt to fail. English will not be the lingua franca, but Arabic and Chinese will. We will need to learn these languages early in school to do business with them. We will teach the Koran in public schools, not as a religious text, but as an international legal text so we can travel abroad without being arrested.

When we want to visit the Mosque of the Notre Dame as tourists in Paris, we will remove our shoes and carry a prayer mat inside while American women dressed in burqas wait outside for their husbands. American women who are unaccompanied by their husbands outside of these waiting areas will be beaten by the Religious Police. Dhimmis (Christians) may even need religious papers to get work permits domestically. Kafirs (Jews), of course will not be tolerated.

I think it will happen this way, because this is the way we did it. We got big and powerful and inflicted our beliefs on the rest of the world, then took it for granted. Democracy, phhfft! What were we thinking. Tribal religious values are the way of the future.

In the meantime, I suggest we re-evaluate this whole "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" approach to our domestic treatment of our international policy. This idea that Bushitler is our enemy is immature, if for no other reason than there is nothing about radical Islam that advances Feminism, equality or justice. The enemy is clear, the battle joined. While it is true that the fastest way to end a war is to lose it, the consequences of that approach should be well considered.

1/26/2007 04:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

W, I will take your bait: you quote two authors whose perspective is sideways to the real issue, hoping to stimulate debate. And so far the usually stimulating discussion is off the mark. Forgive the statements without footnotes. Perhaps others can help. First, some premises:

1. The American media has framed this war in the favor of the ‘insurgents.’ So much so, that they are now defending Saddam in the way he was hanged, building his martyr status and generally making the case that this is not 1938, but a fascist grab for oil.
2. The American media orchestrated and framed the last election in an effort to turn the Democratic tide in an aggressive manner never before seen in the history of politics; from the framing of non-stories like Valerie Plame, to slanted releases of classified programs, to well timed releases of stories like the Floridian congressman’s dirty gay emails. Perhaps as a reaction to the burgeoning blogosphere, the media has reacted and taken off their gloves and openly declared themselves for the left, if not the far left. If 2004 was the first real fight, the MSM has clearly won the second round in 2006.
3. American soldiers in the Second World War were fighting in the Asian theater with skulls tied to their belts. We were a fearsome bunch. And after defeat, we occupied Japan and Germany and controlled their economies and reconstruction. We didn’t hope they elected anybody. We guaranteed it.
4. Our cultural milieu today does not allow us to fight a war with our gloves off.
5. It is perhaps irrelevant how many hundreds of thousands will die in Europe in bombings. They are tired of war.

Before the war, when Bush started talking about Saddam, I was confused. Weren’t we after the terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center? Why get side tracked by Iraq?

It was my wife who helped me understand the strategy. You see, she’s from Moldova, a long lost part of the once great Romanian empire but now a cruelly used Russian satellite that perhaps will never find its way. She told me, “Behind the fallen Iron Curtain Bush is a hero. He does not think like a child, like most western people. He is the only western leader that understands how these jerks think. In most of the world the word respect equals fear. Saddam plays his deadly games until someone kicks his ass. It’s that simple. Bush gives hope to all people everywhere. The USA is the only hope for most people around the world who know the corruption and despotism in their countries will never stop unless the Americans will come and bring the wrath of ugliness on them. And that’s what they deserve.”

We came to Iraq not for WMD. We came to Iraq because a bully defied us 16 times and 9/11 finally gave us some backbone to say, “Enough is enough.” We came to Iraq because Muslim extremism is a cancer in the Middle East exemplified in Bin Laden, not defined by him only. It was time to get ugly and put our foot on their neck and demand some respect. It was a time to inject some rationality in a Middle East full of 7th century fervor. It never bothered me that we didn’t find WMD in Iraq; that’s not why I thought we were there. I was surprised that that MSM lob stuck. I thought everyone understood the deeper purpose.

After the war started it came as a great disappointment to me when I learned that we were not occupying captured ground in Iraq; we were going back to the green zone at night and venturing out each day. This is not occupation or war, it is a police action. If this is the war we were going to fight, we should not have gone to Iraq.

We have Senators who liken comparative children’s games in Abu Ghraib to Nazi killing grounds. In another era we would have killed them all, and good riddance. After all, its war; get in line, or die.

So given the present culture and education and media, we’re back to the basic question that was looming when Jimmy Carter allowed Ahmadinejad and others to kidnap our sovereign soil for 411 days, without declaring war, and proved to the world we were a spineless and therefore decadent nation unworthy of respect (fear): “How many 9/11’s will we endure until we’re ready to go to war?” And I mean with occupation and following the supply lines back into any country they lead, and with skulls on our belts? When we’re ready to do that, I’ll show you how to win a war in 2 years or less.

1/26/2007 09:32:00 PM  
Blogger charlotte said...

Thanks for that big-picture, sane summary, Jacko. And your wife sounds brilliant, too!

1/27/2007 11:09:00 AM  

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