Sunday, June 10, 2012

Terms of Endearment

By all that you hold dear on this good earth,
I bid you stand, Men of the West!

Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien

Where you've fallen, you will stay.

In the whole universe this one
and only place is the sole place
which you have made your very own

--On the Wall of a KZ Lager,

Janos Pilinszky

Everything a lie. Everything you hear,

everything you see. So much to spew out.

They just keep coming, one after another.

You're in a box. A moving box

They want you dead, or in their lie
--A Thin Red Line (1998)

When considering terrorism or the militarization of a society, the American Revolution is a good place to start.

Let us address terms so simple nobody knows what they mean, though they use them like common coin.

In the spectrum of conflict, what is terrorism – a term which should have been defined before basing a worldwide war upon it. What is a “conflict”? Is peacekeeping (PKO) an “act of war”? Is the latter a military or a political action? Both?

Is a revolution the same thing as a rebellion? Are rebels considered soldiers? Are revolutions wars? Are Civil Wars revolutions? Are revolutions guerrilla wars or unconventional wars? Can they be all three, and be so at the same time? Can a revolution be a conventional war?

Can Counterinsurgency be a conventional war? Does winning hearts and minds have any relevance to the battlefield? Do won hearts translate to positive action? Are hearts as fickle as minds?

If COIN is not a viable mode of warfare, then what is? Is COIN terrorism counteraction? Does a nation invade another in a presumptive strike to avoid a possibility of terrorism emanating from that source? Do such invasions affect hearts and minds negatively? Do invaders ever bring peace? Are invasion and peacekeeping polar opposites, or are they the same?

If COIN is not a valid theory, then what is? Are invasions sound preemptive policy? If COIN is not the prescription for terrorism, then what is? Are military options even viable? Are there any examples of successful military operations against terrorists on a national level? Are all armies based upon terror?

Is all military power terrorism? Is institutional (governmental) violence more legitimate than non-state use of terror?

Further, are police actions wars? Are they conflicts? Can both sides be right in a war? Are wars ever justified? If so, when? Is there “good” versus “bad” killing? Is assassination an act of war?

Do warriors conduct a legitimate form of violence? Are soldiers warriors? Are warriors covered by the Geneva Conventions? Are terrorists soldiers? Are partisans soldiers? Do partisans use terror as a tactic? Are Hellfire missiles a form of terror?

Are these questions answerable? Do we define these terms currently in a meaningful manner? Do our Army manuals address and reflect these questions? Do our leaders think in these terms?

If the American Revolution was legitimate, then why are not other revolutions? Why does the U.S. support some revolutions, start others via covert operations, and oppose others (sometimes doing all three concurrently)?

Why is a Civil War not right for Iraq and Afghanistan, but it was right for America? Why do we use sneak attacks after fighting a war, especially since we were “sneak-attacked” at Pearl Harbor? Is sneakiness o.k. for our Special Operations?

Are Black Operations legal? Why are they classified?

A few idle thoughts for your consideration.


  1. jim-

    I think you should be nominated for the "George Carlin Award" for identifying so many examples of double standards and double think.

  2. If the only military Opns we are conduction are "Special Opns" then what makes them "Special"?

  3. I think the crux of this issue comes down to our, our being defined as strictly American PoV, definition of the "Golden Rule."

    Certainly, our "revolution" was a noble act of good men answering the call of liberty and freedom in their souls to win the hearts and minds, and adoration of future generations with their manly acts of heroism, bravery, manliness, and the fine display of testicular fortitude, ergo, the often implied reference from politico's to yesteryear's act's of patriotism.

    But these questions underscore the soup of liquified bullshit most Americans willingly spoon into their maw each and every day served up by an all to willing wait staff of Politicians and Propaganda lobbyists.

    We're a nation held enthralled to masterful marketing, and to the best commercial goes the heart of the audience.

    What you speak of is digging for something that hasn't been discussed in three decades...oh sure, after Vietnam the whole, "what the fuck are we, as a nation about anyway? Over!" was on the table; But the Politicians and those aforementioned Propagandists swept that table clean before anyone could sit down, and consider them.

    As it turns out, and I think current history being served up raw, and wriggling...we, as a nation, are a pile of hypocrits.
    We are vicious, nasty, brutish hypocrits who want every nation on this earth to suck our dick; and not just suck it, but want to suck it.
    And if they don't want to suck our dick, then they must be American hating sons of bitches who hate apple pie, our mothers, and everything we stand for.

    In short, we have the mentality of a four year old who's been doted on for years, and suddenly found ourselves in kindergarten and must learn to share...and our response has been a collective, "FUCK THAT!"

  4. Al,
    per your 2nd cmt. I just did an art. on what is special.will pub soon.
    John Hancock was a professional smuggler and tax avoidant.

  5. jim-

    According to the Oxford Dictionary, the adjective "special" is defined as:

    better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual

    So my question remains. If "Special Opns" are all we are doing (and therefore the "usual"), what's so "special" about them?

    Just applying the semantic logic used in your original post.

  6. Al,
    When SOCOM is 60,000 plus then how indeed are they special.
    They may be the tip of the spear as they say, but they ain't the spear.

  7. Al,
    Read this months Pop Mechanics for the future of SOF.
    I'm gonna comment on it here on the pub.
    Only for you and your comment.