Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Psst. Somebody's pissed off HR, Moktar, and I don't think it's me.

"After years of trying to discipline him, the leaders of al-Qaida's North African branch sent one final letter to their most difficult employee. In page after scathing page, they described how he didn't answer his phone when they called, failed to turn in his expense reports, ignored meetings and refused time and again to carry out orders. Most of all, they claimed he had failed to carry out a single spectacular operation, despite the resources at his disposal."

Well, I think this pretty much confirms that "we" have won the War on Terror.

When "The Terrorists" are bitching about unreturned phone calls and backbiting about expense reports? Quitting to form competing start-ups?

They're well on their way to becoming as bloated and inefficient as the DoD. All we need to do is wait for the various jihadi groups to form a weapons-contracting system and we're on the way to decisive victory.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Samakhand an Al Qaeda death squad is stealing organizational cell-phone minutes and fiddling with their TDY...


  1. I think this is the perfect opening to have our assets on the inside insert translated copies of federal civil service regulations. They will spend so much time filling out timecards, travel vouchers, and mandatory computer-based sensitivity training that they'll only have about a hour a week for bomb-making and attack planning.

  2. Brilliant! And then we open a "Second Front" through the cunning use of Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter; circulating memes, signing petitions, and starting flame wars...and then using false-flag accounts pretending to be AQ IT supervisors reprimanding the muj for spending time playing "Farmville" and checking their E-Trade accounts when they're supposed to be devising cunning plans and/or committing suicide and getting the troops pissed off because they can't access their Facebook accounts...

  3. Genius!

    I think it's time we get a sole-source $100 million contract with the DoD to conclusively end the G/PWOT before Lockheed or Boeing steals our ideas!

  4. Ah Abdul, I noticed that you didn't use the new coversheet on your TPS reports. Did you get the memo?

  5. There is a movie in work about all this:

    The Man in the Grey Flannel Thawb

  6. While it does make for a great joke, it is also revealing.

    Organized violence requires organization and large scale organization requires bureaucracy.

    AQ moving up on the bureaucracy scale suggests that they are getting considerably more dangerous.

  7. Actually it means they could get less dangerous. More time spent in powerpoint meetings on "How to Recontextualize Jihad through Enterprise Solutions" and less time setting actual bombs.

  8. Ael: Kidding aside, I tend to agree with Leon. If these guys were an actual conventional military, yes; better organization (which, sadly, means bigger bureaucracy) means better logistics and deeper redundancy - all critical for conventional military success.

    But this is an "unconventional" warfighting organization, a guerrilla group in fact if not in name. And the most successful units at UW seem to be the most chaotic and the least bureaucratized. Success in UW goes to the agents willing to take the most risks and think outside the box, pull off the "black swan" than the counterinsurgent/counterterrorist agencies don't and can't anticipate.

    The rise of Al Qaeda as a bureaucracy seems to mark its transition from the young, hungry UW organization to the "second-generation"; we've seen this happen throughout the Middle East. First the PLO arises from the anger of the post-48/67 defeats. PLO goes on to become a fat, complacent bunch of middle-aged guys and is succeeded by Hamas/Hezbollah, etc. Then THOSE guys are succeeded by the open-source islamic jihadi franchisees.

    I really just posted this because I thought it was kind of sad and funny that even bloodthirsty Caliphate-pesterers can be overtaken by Leon's Powerpoint Rangers. But there's a granule of truth to that funny; our lives tend to travel an arc from youth, danger, and randomness to age, safety, and predictability. Kind of humanizing to see that even wild-eyed religious maniacs (well, at least the ones not tuning in Glenn Beck...) follow something of the same arc...

  9. This "organization" (if that's what it actually is), doesn't signify much of anything IMO. AQ, before 9/11, was highly organized and structured thanks to their status as "guests" of the Taliban. They haven't been able to get back to that and probably won't anytime soon.

  10. Well, organizational theory on division of labour suggests that specialized workers are far more efficient than general purpose workers. Recall Adam Smith's pin factory.

    Specialized workers require constant communication to ensure coordination of the entire task at hand. Thus, bureaucracy. An organization of a few tens (or even a few hundred) doesn't need much bureaucracy. A few thousand or few tens of thousands demands it.

    Also, don't forget that organizations like Hezbollah run schools, charities and provide insurance and pension services. You better believe that they have a solid core of bureaucrats. Go look at how they rebuilt south Beirut

  11. AQ is a different critter, though; my understanding is that it doesn't aspire to be a territorial entity like Hamas or Hezbollah. It's kind of a "philosophical" sort of revolutionary organization, one that wants to bring about a return of an Islamic Caliphate without the aspiration of actually BEING the Caliphate's government...

    Anyway, this was really a sort of goof. I just liked the idea of a couple of jihadi cube rats playing "Angry Birds" on company time...