Monday, April 29, 2013

Tyrants beware. 4th Generation Warfare: How the next civil war will be fought.

“Direct military operations” are precisely what the 4GW insurgent seeks to avoid. His target is the mind and the will of the political leadership of his enemy -- to be specific, the few inches between their ears which are filled with brains to be influenced or, if not, popped like a grape with an unanswerable rifle shot from distance as an example to the others.
 Excerpted from the non-fiction introduction to Absolved: A cautionary novel of the Three Percent and Fourth Generation Warfare by Mike Vanderboegh.

“Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience and are left to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and violence.” ~ John Locke, 2nd Treatise on Government.

So reads the plaque on Phil Gordon's wall in his Sipsey Street home the moment before all hell breaks loose. In 'Absolved', I try to explore the depths of Locke's belief to discover where it might lead the United States in a civil war set in the near future. . .
Another civil war in this country is the last thing I want.
"The Useful Dire Warning"

Darryl Bates: What started it?
Col. Andy Tanner: I don't know. Two toughest kids on the block, I guess. Sooner or later, they're gonna fight.
Jed Eckert: That simple, is it?
Col. Andy Tanner: Or maybe somebody just forgot what it was like.   -- Red Dawn, 1984.

So why write about one? Perhaps, as David Brin, author of the magnificent book The Postman (which bears no resemblance to the Costner cinematic flop), wrote in a forward to a reprint of Pat Frank's classic Alas, Babylon:

Two books that emerged at roughly the same time as Alas, Babylon were Eugene Burdick's Fail Safe and Peter George's Red Alert, which later inspired Stanley Kubrick to make the magnificently humorous and thoughtful Dr. Strangelove. As archetypes of the useful dire warning, each dissected a specific possible failure mode, bringing it to the awareness of so many that, ironically, their particular type of debacle became much less likely. Indeed, the "self-preventing prophecy" may be the highest and most useful species in all of the vast, imaginative genus of speculative fiction. In much the same way that Orwell's 1984 girded millions against "Big Brother," these tales may have helped to keep their own nightmares from coming true. In other words, our most vivid nightmares may have been utterly practical, helping to save our lives. -- David Brin, Forward to the First Harper Perennial Modern Classics Edition of Pat Frank's 'Alas, Babylon', 2005, p. X.

One wonders what might have happened prior to September 11, 2001 if someone in authority had taken Tom Clancy’s “useful dire warnings” about a pilot deliberately  flying a fuel-laden jet into the Capitol building and killing the President and top leadership (Debt of Honor , 1994;  Executive Orders, 1996) about enemies of this country crashing airliners into public buildings in Washington, D.C.   Clancy himself reacted to the 11 September 1001 attacks by Al Qaeda:
    "Four planes? That many people willing to die for the same cause at the same time? If any writer had turned in a story like this, the publisher would have just handed it back and said, 'No way. Not believable.' "
I can only hope that readers will take my own “useful dire warning” more seriously.  If one does ultimately break out, I will be as guilty of fomenting it as Tom Clancy was guilty of 9/11 -- which is to say not at all.  It is precisely what I am trying to avoid. . .

But the vignettes that will hopefully coalesce into a narrative that flows from the terrible opening to a logical conclusion (and I hope a good read in between) are also presented with such detail for a purpose. If this book is to operate as a "useful dire warning," then both real sides in my imaginary civil war must be able to recognize the real threat to avoid the conflict.  

You may ask, which sides and what kind of conflict?

On one side, just as in 1775, will be the Three Percent, on the other, Locke’s “Arbitrary Power” -- and it will be a Fourth Generation War.  All three concepts require explanation.
The “Arbitrary Power”
"If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban (on so-called semi-automatic ‘assault rifles”), picking up every one of them . . . Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it.” – Senator Dianne Feinstein, CBS-TV's 60 Minutes, 5 February 1995.
When the Founders declared independence, they prefaced that declaration with a detailed indictment of the offenses of the King and his ministers.  I will not waste time or space here by comparing the present federal government’s excesses of arbitrary power with those of King George III.  Go and read the Declaration and you will marvel at how today’s advocates of central power not only track quite closely but make Lord North and Company look like kindergarten bullies in comparison.
The important thing to understand about today’s arbitrary power is that it, like its predecessor, is a corruption of – indeed, a subversion of – a constitution that should have restrained it.  It was the failure of the English Constitution which led to our first Revolution.   It will be the failure of our own Constitution which will lead to our next civil war.
A key reason the revolution succeeded was its strictly limited scope. The Founders sought only liberty, not equality or fraternity. They aimed to make a political revolution, not a social or an economic one. Their Lockean social-contract political philosophy taught them that the preservation of individual liberty was the goal of politics. Its basis was the surrender of a portion of man’s original, natural freedom to a government that would protect the large remainder of it better than any individual could do on his own — the freedom to make your own fate and think your own thoughts without fear of bodily harm, unjust imprisonment, or robbery. The Founders’ study of history taught them that the British constitution under which they had lived — “originally and essentially free,” as Boston preacher Jonathan Mayhew described it — was the ideal embodiment of such a contract. It was “the most perfect combination of human powers in society,” John Adams wrote in 1766, “for the preservation of liberty and the production of happiness”—until George III began to violate it. So Americans didn’t take up arms to create a new world order according to some abstract theory. They sought only to restore the political liberty they had actually experienced for 150 years, and they constructed their new government to preserve it. . .
So when, after 150 years of letting Americans run their own affairs, the British government began to meddle malignly with their liberty once 22-year-old George III became king in 1760, following the death of his grandfather, George II, the colonists unsurprisingly responded to the interference with outrage. After decreeing new colonial customs duties and stricter enforcement in 1764, London imposed its first direct levy on the colonies in 1765 in the Stamp Act, taxing every colonial newspaper, journal, legal document, almanac, playing card, and other paper product, in flagrant contravention of the “standing Maxim of English Liberty,” as Livingston had quoted it more than a decade earlier, “ ‘that no Man shall be taxed, but with his own Consent.’ ” As Washington wrote to a friend, “I think the Parliament of Great Britain hath no more Right to put their hands into my Pocket, without my consent, than I have to put my hands into your’s, for money.” Property doesn’t belong to the government, and the social contract gives government no right to tell you what to do with your own.
The American Revolution, then, was doubly limited in its aims: limited to making only a political change without altering social or economic arrangements, and determined to set strict limits to its new government, fearful that any governmental power beyond the barest minimum necessary to protect liberty too easily could become a threat to liberty itself. . . – The Americanism of the American Revolution, Myron Magnet, City Journal, Autumn 2012.
And, as we now know, the Founders’ system of limited government has been crushed by a century of encroaching Federal power.
"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution, are null and void." Chief Justice Marshall, Marbury v. Madison
 The advocates of the “arbitrary power,” of course, say that they have the right to tell you what to do because they were “democratically elected,” ignoring the fact that the Founders themselves feared pure democracy as much or more as they feared any other kind of tyranny.  Without the limits of a constitutional republic, “democracy” is three wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.  The fact that the “arbitrarians” win elections claiming “mandates” and have rigged the court systems to prevent their diktats from being overturned means nothing to people who, like the Founders, believe that their rights to liberty and property are God-given and inalienable.  The most uncompromising of these are the Three Percent.
The Three Percent – the so-called “bitter clingers.”
    The Revolutionary War in the southern states has received little attention in comparison to the detailed study given the campaigns in the North. This is unfortunate since much decisive action took place there, but perhaps the nature of the struggle accounts for the historians’ neglect. The heroes of the southern fighting were not the officers of the Continental army but rather the natural leaders of the people, who had learned their skills in the continuing effort to seize the land of the Indians.

    By achieving better perspective of the past, something may be accomplished in the present. For the hero of this book has fallen on evil times. He is called various unflattering names today and is the butt of comic-strip buffoonery and the ‘villain’ of serious novels. Because he remains an individualist, he is a safe target.

    There’s nothing new in this attitude, of course. In the Revolutionary War period, he was sneered at by the rich merchants of the lowlands, he was held in contempt by the Continental army’s high command, and he was considered less than human by the British. Major Patrick Ferguson called him a bandit, a barbarian, a mongrel. He had little respect for law and order. He could be quite ruthless. He was also superstitious and at times naïve. Yet Theodore Roosevelt could write of him:

    ‘The fathers followed Boone or fought at King’s Mountain; the sons
    marched south with Jackson to overcome the Creeks; the grandsons
    died at the Alamo.’

    And, it should be added, the great-grandsons provided Lee and Johnson with the best fighting infantry the world had yet seen. Poorly clothed, half-starved, they responded magnificently to magnificent leadership and almost won America’s second civil war as their forefathers had won the first.

    Moreover, in wars since, they have always been the cutting edge. As F.N. Boney, the Georgia historian, puts it: ‘There is no shortage of rednecks in the neat, quiet American military cemeteries which now dot the globe. However rejected in normal times, the redneck has always been welcomed when the nation went to war.’

    Peace is the dream today, and the redneck shares that dream. For him it was often a “rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight.” He never started a war, but he was always ready when his home and personal liberty were threatened. And because of the readiness to do his duty, this nation was founded and kept alive….

    Given proper leadership, the mountain man can still be motivated. But in recent years such leadership has been largely lacking. The potential remains untapped, but it is there. As my father used to say in Happy Valley-- you may turn the damper up, you may turn the damper down, but the smoke goes up the chimney just the same.”    -- Hank Messick, King’s Mountain, 1976.

History, for good or ill, is made by determined minorities.  It is estimated that during the American Revolution, the active forces in the field against the King's tyranny never amounted to more than 3% of the colonists. They were in turn actively supported by perhaps 10% of the population. Cheering on these dedicated revolutionaries were perhaps another 20% who favored their cause but did little or nothing to support it. Another one-third of the population sided with the King (by the end of the war there were actually more Americans fighting FOR the King than there were in the field against him) and the final third took no side, blew with the wind and took what came.

The Three Percent still exists today, described by Barack Obama a few years ago as “bitter clingers.”  Put simply, these are firearm owners who will not disarm, will not compromise and will no longer back up at the passage of the next gun control act.

Today’s Three Percenters say quite explicitly that they will not obey any further circumscription of their traditional liberties and will defend themselves if attacked.

They intend, like John Locke and the Founders who studied him, to maintain their God-given natural rights to liberty and property, and that means most especially the right to keep and bear arms. Thus, they are committed to the restoration of the Founders' Republic, and are willing to fight, die and, if forced by any would-be oppressor, to kill in the defense of themselves and the Constitution that they all took an oath to uphold against enemies foreign and domestic.
It is the sons of Three Percenters who make up the bulk of the tip-of-the-spear units in today’s military simply because they were raised by families to whom service to the Republic is as automatic as breathing.  Socio-economically, today’s Three Percenters are not exclusively the descendants of the Scotch-Irish that Hank Messick describes above, but they are surely represented heavily.  So, too, are descendants of the Texans, of whom S.C. Gwynne wrote in Empire of the Summer Moon:
The (vanguard of the) westward push of the Americans. . was not federal troops and federal forts but simple farmers imbued with a fierce Calvinist work ethic, steely optimism, and a cold eyed aggressiveness that made them refuse to yield even in the face of extreme danger.  They were said to fear God so much that there was no fear left over for anyone or anything else . . .  –Page 20.
When the Texans discovered the tactical utility of the Colt’s revolver gave them parity with the fearsome Comanche lance on horseback, it spelled the end of that tribe’s ceturies long dominance of the plains.
(T)he game had changed completely.  The Texans were not the Spanish or the Mexicans.  They were tougher, meaner, almost impossible to discourage, willing to take absurd risks to secure themselves a plot of dirt, and tempermentally well-suited to the remorseless destruction of native tribes.  They did not rely on a cumbersome, heavily-mounted, overly bureaucratized, state-sponsored soldiery; they tended to handle things themselves, with volunteers who not only were not scared of Indians but actually LIKED hunting them down. – Page 82.
Texans certainly ranked among the Three Percenters of their day.

Three Percenters today do not claim that they represent 3% of the American people, although they might. That theory has not yet been tested. They DO claim that they represent at least 3% of American gun owners, which is still a healthy number somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 million people. Remember, history, for good or ill, is made by determined minorities.  They are one such minority. So too are the current domestic enemies of the Founders' Republic who seek to disarm them.  What remains, then, is the test of will and skill to determine who shall shape the future of our nation.

That test of will and skill will be fought by warfare in the Fourth Generation.

"Cherish your enemies - they teach you the best lessons" -- Ho Chi Minh.

Fourth Generation Warfare

For those unfamiliar with the term, here's one succinct definition from the best single book on the subject:
(Fourth Generation Warfare) uses all available networks -- political, economic, social, and military -- to convince the enemy's political decision makers that their strategic goals are either unachievable or too costly for the perceived benefit. It is an evolved form of insurgency. Still rooted in the fundamental precept that superior political will, when properly employed, can defeat greater economic and military power, 4GW makes use of society's networks to carry on its fight. Unlike previous generations, it does not attempt to win by defeating the enemy's military forces. Instead, via the networks, it directly attacks the minds of enemy decision makers to destroy the enemy's political will. Fourth-generation wars are lengthy -- measured in decades rather than months or years. . . Strategically, 4GW attempts to directly change the minds of enemy policy makers.  This change is not to be achieved through the traditional method of superiority on the battlefield.  The first- through third-generation of destroying the enemy’s armed forces and his capacity to regenerate them is not how 4GW enemies will attack . . . Both the epic, decisive Napoleonic battle and the wide-ranging, high-speed maneuver campaign is irrelevant to them.  Their victories are accomplished through the superior use of all available networks to directly defeat the will of the enemy leadership, to convince them their war aims are either unachievable or too costly.  These networks will be employed to carry specific messages to our policy makers and to those who can influence the policy makers.  -- COL Thomas X. Hammes, USMC, The Sling and the Stone, p. 208

And what were the previous three generations?  William S. Lind offers this in his essay, the Four Generations of Modern Warfare at the Lew Rockwell blog:
The First Generation of modern war began with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which ended the Thirty Years War. It also marked the state's assumption of a monopoly on war; thereafter, war became something waged by states, for raison d'etat, with state armies and navies doing the fighting. The First Generation ran from 1648 to about the time of the American Civil War, and it was characterized, on the whole, by a battlefield of order. The battlefield of order created a military culture of order, which endures to this day.

And there's the rub. For around the middle of the 19th century, the battlefield of order began to break down. Ever since, state militaries have had to grapple with a growing contradiction between their internal culture of order and the external reality of an increasingly disordered battlefield.

The Second and Third Generations represent two different approaches to that problem. Second Generation war was developed by the French Army during and after World War I, and is best summed up with the French saying, "The artillery conquers, the infantry occupies." Also known as firepower/attrition warfare, Second Generation war maintained the First Generation culture of order. Decision-making was centralized and hierarchical; orders were detailed and controlling, to permit synchronization of all arms; time was not particularly important; and success was measured by comparative body counts. Second Generation armed forces focus inward on methods, processes and procedures, prize obedience over initiative (initiative and synchronization are not compatible) and depend on imposed discipline. The American Army and Marine Corps learned Second Generation war from the French during the First World War and still practice it today, with exceptions based on individual commanders.

Third Generation war, also known as maneuver warfare, was developed by the German Army in World War I; by 1918, Blitzkrieg was conceptually complete, lacking only the tanks necessary for operational mobility. The Prussian/German roots of Third Generation war go back earlier, to the Scharnhorst reforms that followed Prussia's defeat by Napoleon. One of those reforms changed what was required of a Prussian officer; instead of being responsible for obeying orders, he became responsible for getting the result the situation required regardless of orders (in 19th century war games, it was common for junior Prussian officers to be given problems that could only be solved by disobeying orders). This in turn created a military culture that was focused outward, on the enemy, the situation and the result the situation demanded instead of inward on rules, orders and processes. In effect, Prussia had broken with the First Generation culture of order.

The new Third Generation tactics developed by the Germans in World War I were the first non-linear tactics. On the defense, the objective became sucking the enemy in, then cutting him off, rather than holding a line. On the offensive, the attack flowed like water through the enemy's defenses, always seeking the weakest point to penetrate, then rolling him up from his own rear forward. Operationally as well as tactically the goal was usually encirclement. Speed replaced firepower as the most important tool, and dislocation, mental as well as physical, was more important than attrition. Culturally, not only was the German Army outward-focused, it prized initiative over obedience and it depended on self-discipline rather than imposed discipline.

Much of the American military reform movement of the 1970s, 80s and early 90s was an attempt to move the American armed forces from the Second to the Third Generation. While the Marine Corps formally adopted maneuver warfare as doctrine in the 1990s, most of what the Marine Corps does remains Second Generation. The other American services remain almost wholly Second Generation, to the frustration of many junior officers.

Fourth Generation war is the greatest change since the Peace of Westphalia, because it marks the end of the state's monopoly on war. Once again, as before 1648, many different entities, not states, are fighting war. They use many different means, including "terrorism" and immigration, not just formal armies. Differences between cultures, not just states, become paramount, and other cultures will not fight the way we fight. All over the world, state militaries are fighting non-state opponents, and almost always, the state is losing. State militaries were designed to fight other state militaries like themselves, and against non-state enemies most of their equipment, tactics and training are useless or counterproductive.

Daniel Morgan

“Sure won’t his Majesty’s Government train them for me?”

Of course there have been Fourth Generation insurgencies for thousands of years, as well as the use of 4GW tactics and strategies by state militaries against other state militaries.  (See Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.)  The American Revolution began as an insurgency of largely non-state actors and used militia guerrilla tactics throughout the war even after the development of the Continental Line.  (See Paul Revere’s Ride and Washington’s Crossing by David Hackett Fischer.)

The most remarkable and effective field commander of the Revolutionary forces was Daniel Morgan, whose ability to integrate militia and regulars at the battle of Cowpens set up Cornwallis’ ultimate defeat at Yorktown.  (See A Devil of a Whipping by Lawrence F. Babits, also Daniel Morgan: Revolutionary Rifleman by Don Higginbotham.)

A veteran of the French and Indian War, Morgan commanded one of Virginia’s two rifle companies sent to support the Siege of Boston in late June 1775.  Morgan had served as an officer in the Virginia Colonial Militia since the French and Indian War. He recruited 96 men in 10 days and assembled them at Winchester on 14 July. He then marched them 600 miles to Boston in only 21 days, arriving on Aug. 6, 1775.  Known as Morgan’s Riflemen, they soon discouraged British raids out of Boston with the accuracy of their long-range fire, something the British could not match.  He also initiated tactics which first targeted the British formation’s Indian guides, then their officers, then their NCOs.  The British found this to be “barbaric.”

Morgan was an impressive field commander, big in size yet poorly educated, he enjoyed drinking and gambling but the troops never forgot who was in command.  Morgan had served as a civilian teamster during the French and Indian War. After returning from the advance on Fort Duquesne by General Braddock's command, he was punished with 499 lashes (a usually fatal sentence) for punching his superior officer. Morgan, not surprisingly, hated the British army.  He later served as a rifleman in the Provincial forces assigned to protect the western border settlements from French-backed Indian raids, and in 1774 he served in Dunmore's War, taking part in raids on Shawnee villages in the Ohio Country.

During the Saratoga campaign, Morgan’s riflemen played a key role at the preliminary battles of Freeman’s Farm and later at Bemis Heights, where at his order the British General Fraser was mortally wounded at his order by rifleman Tim Murphy.  This was the single most important rifle shot of the war, since the loss of Fraser caused the British attack to collapse and the subsequent surrender of the entire British force persuaded the French to enter the war.

After Cowpens, Morgan went home on sick leave, but he had certainly paid the British back for those 499 lashes.  There were many Revolutionary officers and men who had  acquired their military experience in the French and Indian War.  And like Morgan, many of them had also acquired an acute understanding of what the British army could and could not do in the terrain of North America.

This formation of young soldiers in the crucible of war is a constant found throughout history.  The primary lessons were moral ones, not military.  And morale is critical in 4GW.

As Hammes describes in the beginning of The Sling and the Stone:
From 1987 to 1990, I got a small taste of the practical aspects of insurgency. I spent those years training insurgents in various locations of the world. This was the tail end of the Cold War and the United States still had vested interests in the outcome of a number of insurgencies. The most intriguing part of the tour was the opportunity to talk to these men. I was particularly impressed with two aspects of the men I met. First was their utter determination to continue the struggle despite the odds. They were not deterred by fear of death. In each case, they were engaged in a struggle with a government force that possessed many times their military power. In each case, they knew the odds and were not deterred. They believed in their cause and were sure that belief was powerful enough to defeat the government. The idea they fought for was central to their resistance. In fact, they were counting on political power generated by that idea to neutralize the overwhelming military power of the government. As I worked with these men, I realized this fact should be obvious to Americans. An idea kept our American revolution alive during seven long years of war. (Emphasis supplied, MBV. It should also be noted that for most of the key leaders of our Revolution, the struggle began a decade earlier with the Stamp Act crisis.)

The second outstanding trait was the remarkable ingenuity they displayed for overcoming problems. Whether the problems were tactical, logistical, doctrinal, or political, they often attacked them from a direction that simply would not occur to a Western-trained soldier. I found insurgents are not impressed with conventional power. They respect it but seek ways around it -- and have consistently succeeded in finding those ways. They often used tactics and techniques that were outside the training and experience of the government forces. Despite years of war, they consistently surprised government forces with their ingenuity and determination. Insurgents are living proof of why man is at the top of the food chain. We are the most creative, treacherous, loyal, aggressive, and determined life form to yet evolve. Any nation that assumes it is inherently superior to another is setting itself up for disaster.

I would add to that last sentence that the same goes for political elites, only more so.  This is perfectly understood by 4GW fighters.

Michael Collins, perhaps the 20th Century’s most accomplished virtuoso in 4GW, fought in the disastrous 1916 Easter Rising, and afterward was being paraded with other prisoners through the streets of Dublin on their way to prison.

Michael Collins

As the column passed the ruins of Liberty Hall, a young woman caught up with her cousin (Collins) and called out to him.  “What will you do now?”  “Do?” asked Collins, “Do?  Sure I’ll get ready for the next round of course.  I’ve got some of the names taken down already . . . The best of men.”  His cousin was flabbergasted.  “But …. What? . . . How are you going to train them?” she called out.  Collins replied, “Sure won’t His Majesty’s Government train them for me?”  (See Michael Collins by Tim Pat Coogan.  Also, Collins’ best field commander in West Cork, Tom Barry, was a British Army veteran of the Iraq theatre during World War One.  See Barry’s Guerilla Days in Ireland.)

This is something that the governments who seek to fight 4GW don’t understand.  The 4GW warrior thinks in terms of decades, not months or years.  He or she will fight until victory or death.  The long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, then, can also be seen as universities for American armed citizens in 4GW tactics and techniques.

So, who invented 4th Generation Warfare?

Says Hammes in The Sling and the Stone:
This new form of war did not arrive on the scene as a fully developed instrument but has evolved over decades and continues to evolve at widely scattered locations.  We are not in the middle of a revolution in military affairs but rather an evolution.

Different authors assign different origins to 4GW.  Hammes traces it to Mao Tse-Tung, yet we know that much of Mao’s theory was based upon the ancient Sun Tsu.  Hammes then discusses the “Vietnamese modification” and the “Sandanista refinement.”  In each of the latter cases the insurgents were fighting for control of the mindset of the United States Congress through popular opinion within our country.  But of course this is precisely how the Founders of our own country defeated the British -- the defeat at Yorktown caused Lord North’s government to collapse and the new government that replaced it came in with a promise to end the North American war, which it promptly did.

(For more on the Vietnamese example, see Street Without Joy by Bernard B. Fall, who suggests that the principal theorist of 4GW on the communist side was neither Ho Chi Minh nor Vo Nguyen Giap but Truong-Chinh.)

The American example also inspired Michael Collins, who added his own improvisation which proved decisive:
Collins evolved a new concept of guerrilla warfare that in time would be copied by guerrilla leaders all over the globe from Mao to Shamir.  The Collins philosophy was based not on the capture of enemy bricks and mortar, but of its information.  Traditionally Dublin Castle, the seat of British administration in Ireland, had used a network of spies and informers to infiltrate and then snuff out movements directed at securing Irish independence.  Collins perfected a system of spying on the spies.  Every important branch of the Castle system, whether it was banking, policing, the railways, shipping, the postal service -- whatever -- was infiltrated by his agents.  These were not highly trained, CIA-style operatives, but ordinary men and women, little people whom nobody had ever taken notice of before.  Collins gave them a belief in themselves, a courage they did not know they possessed, and they in return gave him a complete picture of how their masters operated. . . For the first time in their history the Irish had a team of assassins trained to eliminate informers. . .

Held back from making a full-scale use of their Army by the force of world opinion -- largely Irish-American opinion -- the British tried to fight a “police war’ carried on by hastily-formed forces of ex-servicemen and officers troubled by little discipline and less conscience.  The Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries wrote new chapters of horror in the bloodstained story of the Anglo-Irish relationship.  Reprisals for the activities Collins and his colleagues included the burning of homes and creameries, random murder and the widespread use of torture . . .

In addition to his campaign of warfare, he ran a national loan, which was banned by the British so that either its advertisement or sale became illegal.  Yet the loan was fully subscribed, and every subscriber got a receipt.

(Again, see Michael Collins by Tim Pat Coogan, as well as G2 In Defence of Ireland: Irish Military Intelligence 1918-1945 by Maurice Walsh.)

As brilliant as he was, Collins would later claim that he drew much of his own inspiration from the lessons learned by the Boer commando Christiaan Rudolph de Wet.

British General Rupert Smith, in his very useful book The Utility of Force, passes over the American Revolution with a few words and then identifies the “war amongst the people” (his term for 4GW) as being invented by the Spanish and Portuguese guerrillas in their “little war” against Napoleon’s forces.

It is safe to say that 4GW has been evolving over at least the past couple of centuries, not the decades Hammes suggests, and certainly in terms of timeline, the American revolutionaries of 1775 can lay as good a claim as any to being its inventors.  This is an opinion that the current American Three Percent have no problem adopting.
However, a 4GW civil war waged by men and women who are loyal to the Founders’ concepts would not fight an unrestrained Al Qaeda campaign but one specifically targeted to spare civilians and to target the war decision makers.  The next American civil war will either successfully break new ground in 4GW tactics and techniques or it will descend into a welter of blood and massacre.  Governments have a tendency to do that when they’re losing.  The 4GW warriors who claim to represent the Founders’ Republic will have to require of themselves far more discipline and intelligence -- no Fort Sumters and no Oklahoma City bombings.  

The Utility of Force by a Regime to Impose its Will, or Lack Thereof.
War amongst the people is both a graphic description of modern warlike situations, and also a conceptual framework: it reflects the hard fact that there is no secluded battlefield upon which armies engage, nor are there necessarily armies, definitely not on all sides.  To be clear: this is not asymmetric warfare, a phrase I dislike invented to explain a situation in which conventional states were threatened by unconventional powers but in which conventional military power in some formulation would be capable of both deterring the threat and responding to it.  War amongst the people is different: it is the reality in which the people in the streets and houses and fields -- all the people, anywhere -- are the battlefield.  Military engagements can take place anywhere : in the presence of civilians, against civilians, in defense of civilians.  Civilians are the targets, objectives to be won, as much as an opposing force. . . Labeling wars as asymmetric is to me something of a euphemism to avoid acknowledging that my opponent is not playing to my strengths and I am not winning.  -- General Rupert Smith, The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World, pp. 5-6

The advocates of the disarmament of the American populace such as the aforementioned CSGV always begin by saying that no group of citizenry can oppose the might of the federal government because of the vast array of weaponry including aircraft, artillery and even nuclear weapons that the federals could bring to bear if they are opposed trumps any number of armed “insurrectionists” with rifles.  This ludicrous argument is not only contradicted by many examples throughout history but begs the moral question of resistance to a predatory government itself.  If a government is so depraved as to use nuclear weapons against its own people on its own soil, it will not long survive the condemnation of even the people who otherwise support it.  The same goes for artillery and air strikes, even so called “surgical, decapitation operations.”  (More about that in a minute.)  Such weapons are, in 4GW, merely expensive but useless, appendages, especially in an uncontrolled media environment.

The fact that CSGV and its collectivist familiars even suggest the nuclear boogeyman as a real threat by the federal government merely marks them as moral pariahs -- inciters of holocaust -- and tells you everything you need to know about such people.  THEY are apparently the ones who are willing to see millions of their own citizens dead in pursuit of gun control and a government monopoly on violence.  They are bloodthirsty people indeed.

The utility -- practical or moral -- of using even precision-guided munitions from artillery or aircraft in a civil war upon your own people, in your own territory and athwart your own logistics tail is also militarily problematic, especially in a media environment that includes the Internet, even more especially in a country such as the U.S. which depends upon it for so much of its own economic activity that it cannot be totally shut down.

First, such strikes are not entirely “precision-guided” as we have seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, leading to “collateral damage” (a sanitary military euphemism for dead civilians) and moral discredit.  Remember such a civil war would be “amongst the people” in General Smith’s term and for their loyalty.  Thus any smart 4GW operator is going to eliminate the possibility of his side creating “collateral damage.”  Notice I said “eliminate the possibility.”  Only a fool or a government agent would try to advance his or her cause by committing an Oklahoma City bombing with a day-care full of innocent kids in it.  Remember, too, that 4GW warfare is designed to change the minds of the war making elite in their opponent’s capitol.  OKC bombings merely strengthen their hand, not discredit it.  (Recall that after he was re-elected in 1996, Bill Clinton told reporters on Air Force One while traveling back to DC from Arkansas that “Oklahoma City broke the spell.”)

Indeed, if you are looking for a weapon that is in fact “precision-guided” you need look no further than a bolt-action rifle aimed at an identified target and wielded by someone who knows what to do with it.  This, in fact, defines the Three Percenters, who, being limited to rifles, know them very well and compete with each other to win competition matches somewhere in this country every weekend.  Can this be why Senator Dianne Feinstein -- a long-time advocate of “turn ‘em in, Mr. and Mrs. America” -- is so obsessed with “sniper” rifles that can “puncture a limousine” or “take down an aircraft”?  (See “A Short History of Long Range Shooting in the United States” by Hap Rocketto in The Rifleman’s Journal, September 2009.)

Second, such bad publicity might be endured if the civil war was quickly put to an end by such tactics, but in 4GW this is not only uncertain, it is fantasy.  
The final critical characteristic of 4GW is that its timelines, organizations, and objectives are different from those of earlier generations.  Of particular importance is understanding that the timelines are much longer. . .

The United States wants to fight short, well-defined wars.  We went into Vietnam, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq convinced we could “clean it up” quickly.  In each conflict, our leaders told the people we would be out in a year or so. . . For the United States, a long war is five years . . .

Unfortunately, 4GW wars are long.  The Chinese Communists fought for twenty-eight years (1921-1949).  The Vietnamese Communists fought for thirty years (1945-1975).  The Sandinistas fought for eighteen years (1961-1979).  The Palestinians have been resisting Israeli occupation for twenty-nine years so far (1975-2004).  The Chechens have been fighting for more than ten years -- this time.  Al-Qaeda has been fighting for their vision of the world for twenty years, since the founding of MAK in 1984.  Numerous other insurgencies have lasted decades.  Accordingly, when getting involved in a 4GW fight, we should be planning for a decades-long commitment.  From an American point of view, this may well be the single most important characteristic of 4GW.   

Next, we need to understand that 4GW organizations are different.  Since Mao, 4GW organizations have focused on the movement’s long-term political viability rather than its short-term tactical effectiveness.  They do see themselves as military organizations but as webs that generate the political power central to 4GW.  Thus, these organizations are unified by ideas.  The leadership and the organizations are networked to provide for survivability and continuity when attacked.  And the leadership recognizes that their most important function is to sustain the idea and the organizations -- not simply to win on the battlefield.  --  COL Thomas X. Hammes, USMC, The Sling and the Stone, p. 221-2.

Much is made in Third-Generation Warfare of “getting inside the enemy’s OODA Loop” (for observe, orient, decide, and act) in order to disrupt their operations.    Hammes points out that 4GW warriors don’t even try.
Finally, because of the long timelines, even the objectives are different.  Fourth-generation-warfare opponents do not seek to service more targets faster to disrupt an enemy’s OODA loop.  They do not seek to destroy an opponent’s industrial base using the U.S. Air Force’s  concept of targeting key segments of an opponent’s society.  Nor do they seek to dislocate the enemy’s armed forces so that their decision cycle fails and the enemy collapses.  In fact, it is essential to 4GW strategists that the opponent complete his strategic OODA loop -- with the resulting decision that the war is too costly to continue.  -- Hammes, Ibid.

For the government monopoly of force advocates of CSGV, I would like to point out that it is impossible to nuke an idea to extinction, especially on your own soil.

Hammes concludes the chapter:
Fourth-generation-warfare opponents focus on the political aspects of the conflict.  Because the ultimate objective is changing minds of of the enemy’s political leadership, the intermediate objectives are all milestones in shifting the opinion of the various target audience audiences.  They know that time is on their side,  Westerners in general, and Americans in particular, are not known for their patience.  We are not a people who think in terms of struggles lasting decades.  Fourth-generation-warfare enemies will not seek immediate objectives but a long term shift in the political will of their enemies.  They will accept numerous tactical and operational setbacks in pursuit of the goal.

Colonel Harry Summers noted in his book On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War that after the war he told a North Vietnamese colonel that the United States had never been beaten on the battlefield.  The North Vietnamese replied, “That is true.  It is also irrelevant.”  It is essential to understand that 4GW opponents do not focus on swift battlefield victories.  They focus on long term strategic approach.  They focus on winning wars, not battles. -- Hammes, Ibid.

In an American civil war between  an ideas-based Three Percent and a disarmament-bent federal government, who then would lose interest first?  You cannot destroy an idea, not even an obviously bad and evil one -- witness collectivism in all its forms.  And Hammes further points out “At the operational level, all an opponent has to move is ideas.  (Emphasis supplied, MBV.)  He can do so through a wide variety of methods, from email to snail mail to personal courier to messages embedded in classified advertisements.  He will try to submerge his communications in the noise of the everyday activity that is an essential part of modern society.  It will be extraordinarily difficult to detect the operational level activities of a 4GW opponent.”  (Page 218.)

Yes, it will.  Especially in a civil war set in your own highly-developed country.

Potential 4GW Civil War Targeting: The Federal Government’s and the Three Percent’s
Military Target (ordnance)

Any industrial plant, city, or other object, or any person, group of persons, or force marked as a target for destruction, damage, injury, or capture because of its direct or indirect use in the conduct or support of an enemy's military endeavor.

In restricted usage, a military person, force, installation, or area marked as a target because of its use, or potential use, in direct military operations.

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003

This definition is made obsolete by 4GW because “direct military operations” are precisely what the 4GW insurgent seeks to avoid.  His target is the mind and the will of the political leadership of his enemy -- to be specific, the few inches between their ears which are filled with brains to be influenced or, if not, popped like a grape with an unanswerable rifle shot from distance as an example to the others.

Let us make an example of the difference by briefly war-gaming the American Revolution using present-day 4GW tactics.

David Bushnell's Turtle

Early in the war, the following incidents occur:

Benjamin Franklin arranges a coordinated attack by David Bushnell in his submersible and John Paul Jones in the Ranger on English commercial shipping in the Thames estuary -- right at the King‘s doorstep in full view of horrified Englishmen who never thought the war would come there.  Bushnell has greater success against the commercial shipping because their wooden hulls are not copper-sheathed as are British military hulls.  This “infernal device” which strikes without warning or even apparent effective countermeasure frightens British shippers.  Bushnell, John Paul Jones and his surviving crew are taken prisoner, but the very destructive raid, which also sets a large portion of the London docks ablaze, is just as stunning, if not more so, than the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in 1942.

The Ranger

Meanwhile, Franklin dispatches a trio of riflemen by way of a neutral port into London.  One fine day, when Lord North emerges from his country estate, he is killed by an aimed shot from 300 yards away.  His wife, standing next to him, is unharmed. (NOTE: Lord North is targeted, but not the King.  Under 4GW rules the King would be sacrosanct, just as an American President in the 21st Century would be.  Anyone around them, however, would be fair 4GW targets if involved in the decisions or operations which oppress their own people.  Remember, the point of 4GW is to destroy the will of the enemy elite to proceed with the war, not give them motivation to win, or provide them a propaganda coup to use with the people.)  After North is replaced, the replacement King‘s minister is shot as well in identical circumstances.

Simultaneously, Franklin activates a third group already living quietly in England to attack by arson the buildings of the British East India Company, Lloyds of London and the Company of the Bank of England.  They do this at night so there are no civilian casualties, although several adjoining structures are inevitably destroyed as well.

The attacks by John Paul Jones & Bushnell are (barely) within the rules of war and Franklin takes credit for them.  The others are plausibly deniable.  British merchants and politicians get the point, however.  This war against the American revolutionaries is going to cost them far more than they ever dreamed.  How long would they have supported the King’s North American obsession when they were cumulatively losing hundreds of thousands of English pounds daily?

In addition, any federal government of the United States which wishes to make war on its own people must overcome a few statistics unrelated to the Three Percent or 4GW.  The United States is made up of 3.79 MILLION square miles with somewhere around 315 million people living there.  This makes it the third largest nation in the world by both land area and population.  There are, not unimportantly, something on the order of 100 million firearm owners scattered across our vast country and about 200 to 300 million firearms.

By comparison, Iraq is only 168,754 square miles in area (about the size of the state of California) with only 31 million in population.  Afghanistan is a bit bigger with 250,000 square miles in area and a population also of around 30 million.  What kind of bloody-minded fool would deliberately ignite an insurgency in a country -- especially his own -- 9 times larger than both of those combined and containing 5 times the population, many of them armed and skilled at the use of those arms?


“Don't you ever stand for that sort of thing. Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back. -- Captain Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly, 2002.

After more than a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq, the American policy elite believes it has a pretty good bead on counterinsurgency in 4th Generation Warfare which rests principally on one tactic: decapitation.
Leadership decapitation is a high-profile tactic that involves the capture or killing of top insurgent leaders. It is frequently used against guerrilla insurgencies: in the past two centuries, top insurgent leaders have been killed or captured in just under 50 percent of counterinsurgency campaigns. Yet we know little about the nature of the relationship between leadership decapitation and counterinsurgency effectiveness. Is capturing or killing insurgencies’ leader(s) an effective tactic?  Or is it counterproductive, radicalizing insurgent movements, strengthening their resolve, and making them more difficult to defeat? Or does it have no effect at all?  The general consensus is that leadership decapitation of guerrilla groups is ineffective.  These conclusions should give scholars pause: they are based on unsystematic research designs, minimal empirical data, and incomparable units--usually terrorist organizations or foreign leaders.  Patrick Johnston, “The Effectiveness of Leadership Decapitation in Counterinsurgency”

Johnston himself believes decapitation is effective and though he criticizes the critics of decapitation, his work shows an almost entire ignorance of 4GW which presumably decapitation is supposed to defeat.  How does a drone strike, for example, kill an idea?  A broader consideration with a little history is found at Michael Zenko’s Politics, Power, and Preventative action blog at the Council on Foreign Relations:
The United States did not always carry out targeted killings (or assassinations) of perceived national security threats. To the contrary, the norm against targeted killings outside of battlefield settings was established by President Gerald Ford in 1976, when he issued Executive Order 11905: “No employee of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, political assassination.” Until the late 1990s, U.S. targeted killings were officially proscribed and rarely seriously considered or authorized by senior officials.

When President Ronald Reagan was asked about the failed assassination attempt of Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah in Beirut in March 1985, for instance, he replied: “Never would I sign anything that would authorize an assassination. I never have, and I never will, and I didn’t.” Actually, Reagan signed a directive on November 13, 1984, that was interpreted as “truly a ‘license to kill’ provision.” Sixteen years later, U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk stated: “The United States government is very clearly on the record as against targeted assassinations. They are extrajudicial killings, and we do not support that.” However, after the U.S. embassy bombings in Africa in August 1998, President Clinton issued three top-secret Memoranda of Understanding authorizing the CIA to kill Osama bin Laden and several key lieutenants—if they resisted capture.

Despite these exceptions, U.S. targeted killings were extremely rare. Since 9/11, however, targeted killings in nonbattlefield settings steadily grew under President George W. Bush—roughly 50 between November 2002 and the end of his second term—and exploded under President Barack Obama—almost 350 and counting.

As some operations are covert—when the lead executive authority is the CIA—while others are obliquely acknowledged with few specifics—when it is the Department of Defense—there are ethical, moral, and legal questions that have gone unaddressed, due partly to lack of public debate and congressional hearings. Just as there remains intense disagreement among former officials about whether enhanced interrogation techniques (i.e., torture) against suspected terrorists “worked” to produce useful and/or actionable intelligence, it is difficult to know whether U.S. targeted killings are a successful and sustainable means of achieving U.S. short- or long-term strategic objectives.

Zenko’s column consulted several experts, including Johnston.  Among them,  Daniel Byman, a professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University and the research director of the Saban Center at Brookings, the author of A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism, wrote:
Targeted killings work—just not in all places and at all times. They can steadily attrite a terrorist group’s leadership and, over time, leaving it with fewer impressive leaders and fewer skilled personnel. Their biggest impact, however, is often in what the terrorist organization does not do. Leaders must spend their time hiding and changing locations in order to survive. They must curtail phone communications and avoid interacting with large groups of followers, all of which make them far less able to guide the organization, inspire followers, and enforce their will. Leaders often instigate witch-hunts in order to go after supposed traitors who provided the lethal intelligence, further reducing the group’s effectiveness.

Targeted killings, however, are a tactic, not a strategy. The inevitable civilian deaths that occur can at times, but do not always, create significant numbers of additional enemies as well as carrying a moral burden. And politically it is tempting to ignore the broader dimensions of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency as long as bad guys are dying on a regular basis. These faults and limits, while serious, should not lead to the rejection of targeted killings but rather a recognition of its costs and why alone they will not suffice.

Again, this shows an imperfect understanding, even by Al Qaeda and the Taliban, of 4GW.  4GW does not require organizations to be successful, merely the transmission of ideas to independent actors of like beliefs who organize locally and attack locally, even if the targets are of national or even international, significance.

Sarah Holewinski, executive director of Center for Civilians in Conflict, a human rights advocate and critic of U.S. drone policy, comes closest to understanding the limited use of decapitation in a 4GW world.
They may kill some of the people they’re intended to kill some of the time. But as a stand-in for long-term counterterrorism policy, covert drone strikes in particular may be doing more harm than good to national security. They’re supposed to rid the United States of enemies without the cost of troop lives or the muck of a traditional invasion.

But on the other side of the balance sheet, drone strikes are creating anger—not only among locals in Pakistan and Yemen, but among people elsewhere who want an excuse to hate America. Even for America’s fans, strikes call into question U.S. commitment to responsible use of force, thanks to the information vacuum around who can be targeted, why, under what legal framework, and how CIA and Special Forces protocols protect civilians.

A fight worth fighting comes with sacrifice. Drones have relieved much of the sacrifice born by the soldier but not the civilian, who lives in constant fear of sudden death. Regardless of civilian casualties, which are highly disputed, the psychological trauma, displacement, and suspicion among neighbors of colluding with one side or the other has turned communities into war zones, even with no visible boots on the ground. No wonder ordinary people are chanting “Death to America” after strikes.

There are no numbers on how many formerly agnostic civilians are now skeptical about U.S. power nor how many terrorists may arise as a result of the current drone policy. That X factor is reason enough to pause before claiming a counterterrorism panacea.

The American people are largely supportive of decapitation as applied in Afghanistan and elsewhere, but what happens when the targets are in Marion, Ohio or Salt Lake City, Utah? What happens when the killings of their friends and neighbors go on and on because the federal government can think of no better way to compel obedience to unjust, unconstitutional diktats contrary to the Founders’ Republic?

Back on 17 September 2009, in a column on my blog Sipsey Street Irregulars, I noted Patrick Johnston’s embrace of decapitation strategies -- “Dark Thoughts -- Misadventure, Spasm & Decapitation. How I spent Constitution Day” -- and commented on how, hypothetically, that might play out.  
The thing is, once started, the regime will find it almost impossible to stop on any terms besides their own unconditional surrender as they would be fighting an enraged but dispersed network insurgency. It is likely that after a few weeks of such blood-letting, the administration will be unable to find anybody left alive with sufficient influence among the insurgents with whom they can negotiate an end to the horror. The fact of the matter is that they would have done their best to kill the folks they would need to stop what they started.

And they will want to stop it, oh, yes, out of concern for their own miserable hides if nothing else.

For they will have provoked a conflict that will not be directed at the war-fighters, the grunts, even those in the outnumbered federal police, but rather at the war-makers, i.e. themselves.

In this they have only Bill Clinton to blame. When the Philanderer in Chief, frustrated with Serbian intransigence in 1999, changed the rules of engagement to include the political leadership, news media and the intellectual underpinning of his enemy's war effort, he accidentally filed suit under the Law of Unintended Consequences. The Serbians knuckled under, yes. But the rest of the world took note, including (the Three Percent). I assure you, the appeal to the higher court of history in that case has yet to be decided.

Decapitation, I have tried to explain to people, works both ways in 4GW.  I continued:
Johnston is as wrong as he can be when comparing past history to 4th Generation warfare, distributed networks and leaderless resistance, especially as will be practiced in the United States if it ever goes to war with itself.

He is wrong, but the powerful men and women he is writing for think he's right.

Unfortunately for them, in the situation the administration would find itself after Waco Two, the "decapitation" strategy would for them more resemble Russian Roulette played with an automatic pistol.

Hypothetical: They kill some of (the Three Percent), at first accidentally perhaps, but almost immediately thereafter intentionally. The spasm of defensive killing begins, targeted at their leadership. They spasm in return. They would not be able to scuttle into their "green zones" fast enough. For each clumsy attack on (the Three Percent), they receive a lesson in the 500 meter war, one bullet (or many bullets) at a time. They commit "collateral damage" of our innocents, (the Three Percent) stay(s) within the rules of engagement and kill only war-planners and war-wagers.

I have asked this question before. They will fight to the last ATF agent or to the last oath-breaking soldier. Will they fight to the first senior bureaucrat, the second Congressman, the third newspaper editor, the fourth Senator, the fifth White House aide? Can they stand Bill Clinton's rules of engagement?

This is what 4GW means in an American civil war in the 21st Century.  Can you understand now why I am trying to get that “useful dire warning” out to as many people as possible?   Only if both sides understand the possibility of bloody civil war can it be avoided.

“Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun."  -- Mao Tse-Tung, from Problems of War and Strategy (6 November 1938), Selected Works,  Vol. II, p. 224.

Which brings us to today.

Once again we hear demands for bans on semi-automatic rifles and for federal control of all private transfers of all firearms (the so-called “gun show loophole).  This time, it is said, there will be no “grandfather clause” of existing weapons and that confiscation of all military-pattern semi-auto rifles is intended.

Yet the Three Percent will not obey such laws and they will defy the federal government to do anything about it.

I was once told by a “gun safety” advocate back in the Nineties that he favored total civilian firearms confiscation.  Only the military and police should have weapons he averred and what did I think about that?  I began to give him a reasoned answer and he cut me off with an abrupt, “Give me the short answer.”

I thought for a moment and said, “If you try to take our firearms we will kill you.”

It was true then, it is true now.
The “arbitrarians” believe that they can continue to encroach upon the liberty and property of their fellow Americans without consequence to them.  They cannot.

When democracy turns to tyranny, the armed citizen still gets to vote -- with his rifle.  Any grasping would-be tyrant who ignores that truth does so at his or her own peril.
I pray, then, that Absolved is viewed as a useful dire warning in time to prevent the Fourth Generation Civil War it describes.


Anonymous said...

Holy cow Mike, sing it far and wide! You've been far more Inspired lately and it's awesome to read. So many quotes to remember, so many tactics to learn. My reading list continues to grow due to your investment of time and moral capital. Tyranny is here, it's deadly and I want no part of it for my children. The general public is beginning to see things they never knew, even my once liberal wife has changed sides and sees the moral implications of obedience to tyranny.

Great men inspire lesser men to great actions by invoking the spirit that rests inside every man. The spirit of freedom and responsibility to future generations to ensure their basic human rights. Without these great men, the sheep are led to slaughter without a single scream of dissent. Or rights as Americans will be further trampled without a second thought from the elitists who rule over us.

Anonymous said...

Since this reads like the prologue to Absolved, can this mean it's close to ready? We wait with baited breath because we KNOW it will be a masterpiece. Not since Unintended Consequences....

WarriorClass said...

Excellent post!

One idea we need to communicate is that supplying the Federal arsenal at the expense of the populace will cost you.

So far, the ammunition manufacturers have devoted the bulk of their efforts at filling lucrative government contracts, while ignoring the loyal customers that put them in business. And then they charge them double the price when the product is made available.

This practice needs to be condemned in the strongest terms in the court of public opinion. As a first step. Since this costs them nothing - their profits continue - there must be follow up. This second step can be done at the worker level. Disrupt production. Discredit the product by purposeful mismanufacture. Disrupt component supplies at the origin and in delivery schedules. The possibilites are endless, but the acts are essential.

Screw up all government contracts and make them worthless.

Motto, "Sell your ammunition to civilians or don't sell it at all."

Mark Matis said...

I would only note that "Green Zones" are not a safe solution for them in CONUS. In how many "Green Zones" are the occupants willing to do their own chores such as cleaning the restroom facilities used by them and their families? How effective would it be for one cleaning person to swab each toilet seat with a MRSA culture, and wipe some on the California Condom Dispenser while they're at it, all the while wearing protective gear such as what OSHA loves for such cleaning activities? How many "Green Zones" would need to be thus struck before NOBODY would live there?

Anonymous said...

Mike; The majority of the morons who would support and call for civilian disarmament, are themselves, victims of their own criminally intentioned educational system.. is that justice or what ?

There wont be no time to talk after it starts because we are dealing with "Believers" on both sides and only one side will be armed physically and mentally.. the taking of sides has already begun in the peoples minds and most don't even realize it.

Yank lll

Anonymous said...

That was a good read. I look forward to Absolved. The Big Fellow had some good ideas and I'll have to give Tim Pat's book another read as well.

Anonymous at 6:28 AM: John Ross may be plotting another book. He dropped by AT a few weeks ago and asked if we'd read it. I of course said yes.

Anonymous said...

The radical journalist Thomas Wooler approached the nub of the problem in the first issue of his periodical, the Black Dwarf, back in January 1817.

The people ought to have remembered that they were the guardians of the constitution. Instead of that the simpletons expected protection from the constitution; which is infact nothing but the recorded merrits of our ancestors. The country has boasted of being free because Magna Carta was enacted; when the least share of penetration would have taught us, that Magna Carta was only enacted because our ancestors were determined to be free. Our ancestors, with swords in their hands, and the tyrant John on his knees before them, would have been just as free, whether they had insisted upon the signature of Magna Carta, or not. Their freedom was in their power and their will.

Our authorities must from time to time be reminded of our readiness to once again, in the words of Shelley, rise 'like lions after slumber'. This is the lesson of our radical history: the struggle for our freedom goes on.

Anonymous said...

That was a riveting read

Anonymous said...

The authorities will pay no attention until we employ effectively some of the tactics and strategies outlined in John Ross' book, "Unintended Consequences".

I don't think we'd even need to kill them, just hide them away in a cave somewhere until we get what we want.

Just sayin'


Anonymous said...

It's funny I should find and read this today.

I live in California. My state legislature is set to pass the LIFE Act -- a melange of anti 2nd Amendment resolutions that will, among other things, force me to register the semiautomatic .22 I've owned since I was 14 as an ASSAULT WEAPON. Or face prison time. Oh, and mandatory gun registration for all existing firearms. But don't worry, because registration never leads to confiscation. Even though existing standard capacity magazines holding over ten rounds must be turned in, even though they were grandfathered in in our earlier Ugly Gun Ban.

By this time next year, should I fail to comply, I will be a multiple felon. Canada's gun registry had compliance rates of less than 10%. If the same pattern prevails here, I will have about twelve million multiple felons as company.

Natch, we will need enforcement, perhaps with Federal help to enforce the LIFE Act and protect our children. With every shootout, the calls for greater police powers and more money. And a frightened low-information California suburbia will give it to them.

You see what the end state is here. This entire post speaks eloquently of it.

It sounds like something out of a dystopian sci-fi novel. But here we are. Armed civil unrest -- it ain't just for Mexico anymore.

Anonymous said...

Is there a place to find all the current chapters of Absolved?

Or is there a place to purchase the whole book?


Kulafarmer said...

Excellent piece, had never read anything on warfare other than history stuff, but my thinking was along the lines of your piece, especially on the subject of targets and effectiveness of our common enemy against such a broad based group such as ourselves. I believe they will quickly find out just how big a mistake it would be to try and disarm us. I do also believe tptb totally underestimate the abilities of the 3%, i can hardly wait!

jrharvil said...

I just found this site today and I could not believe what I was reading. You seemed to have crawled into my mind and downloaded and then left to write all you saw there. In other words, I agree with everything I have read so far on your site.

I have been thinking for years as to what a modern war against tyranny would look like. Its obvious we irregulars cannot go toe to toe with a modern fully equipped military force from just about any nation, much less the US Military. What I have settled on is what I call the power of a single bullet. Who does not have a single bullet?

The modern military cannot run without fuel, electricity and resupply. A single bullet into a transformer cooling fin is undetectable and will cause the thing to be in flames in under an hour. A single bullet into the diesel and aviation fuel tanks followed by a single tracer will do likewise. Those tanks, helicopters, Humvee's and diesel generators cannot run without thousands of gallons of fuel. The same can be said for the tanker trucks where a single bullet through the windshield will cause an abundance of twisted metal laying in the ditch. If that truck is a resupply transport, those MRE's, water, ammo and other supplies will make its way to our tables, not theirs.

Think of the TSA, DHS, NSA checkpoints that will have to be manned on every road. My single bullet theory says they should not bother to learn the names of the replacements, because either them or the newest replacement will not be around very long. How will all those loyalists wearing BDU's and wearing their little bicycle helmets feel when they leave their family home alone while they go forward to tyrannize their neighbors.

If one man, or woman, in 3000 can zero in on and ventilate just one of the loyalists who are supporting the unconstitutional government, the war will be over rather quickly.

The power of a single bullet cannot be understated.

Yurm Ahm said...

You can't register a gun when you dropped off the side of a boat while shark fishing last season.

Yurm Ahm said...

You can't register a gun that was dropped off the side of a boat while shark fishing last season.