Saturday, November 26, 2005

Another righteous (non)bust

Two junior officer face reprimands for burning bodies of killed Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

Note that militarily unjustified burning of bodies is a contravention of the Geneva convention, and that a reprimand is something you collect, for instance, turning up to work late.

BUSTED. PUBLICLY. But not really. The woes of political corectness. The need to be seen taking action without actually taking action. Piss-weak really, the generals should have stood up and said "So what?".

Burning muslim bodies is a trifle. We should be feeding every dead mujahideen to the pigs.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Zarqawi : His ass is grass?

Jerusalem post reports that Zarqawi has been killed
The Elaph Arab media website reported on Sunday that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of the al-Qaida in Iraq terror group, may have been killed in Iraq on Sunday afternoon when eight terrorists blew themselves up in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

The unconfirmed report claimed that the explosions occurred while coalition forces surrounded the house in which al-Zarqawi was hiding. American and Iraqi forces are looking into the report.

We can only hope so, and *unchristian lack of charity* hope it hurt. Of course, dismemberment by explosives is far too easy, Zarqawi deserved to be fed to the pigs.

Update : doubts are expressed (charred corpses and DNA tests?), but he has yet to appear alive either. Speculation that his own tribe may have informed on him after the Jordan wedding bombing. Interesting. $10 says that he's still alive (such a bet makes for a win/win situation :D )

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Generation Gap

Blog Them Out of the Stone Age carries a series more than a little derisive of William Lind's 4th generation warfare theories.

In purely academic terms, Fourth Generation Warfare is laughable. The master metaphor--"generations"--is incoherent, since it implies that one form of war eventually generates the next. In the sense of operational or tactical response this might be correct, but as proponents of 4GW themselves point out, the factors that transform war invariably come from outside; e.g., political, technological, and cultural change. Even if you jettison "generation" for "age," "era," or "phase," the taxonomy of the earlier history of warfare is crude. Take my word for it, or read the articles for yourself.

In lieu of better terms I will stay with Lind's terminology (i.e. 3rd generation warfare = 3GW etc).

The term generation is misleading*, since generation implies both descent and progress from previous generations. 3GW is not descended from 2GW, 2GW and 3GW arose at the same time from 1GW during WWI, and 3GW is an alternative not a development or improvement.

2GW is an outgrowth of 1GW in its essential human aspects - it is still the the culture of order. 2GW is the older culture of order adapted to the industrial age. The culture of order was however present earlier, much earlier, epitomized by the Roman legions.

Lind has not written of the other* - let us call it the 0 generation warfare (0GW). This then, the prime demographic of warfare for millennia, where individual honor, chivalry, bravery are more important than discipline or even collective victory. It is essentially chaotic, direction being imposed by vague common purpose or value (crusades, chivalrous codes) or individual loyalties (to ruler, clan, tribe).

4GW is not an outgrowth of 1GW/2GW, or 3GW. It appears to be good old 0GW, loose direction (Islam! .... but which Islam?), fractured (many groups) with clan / tribal / sect / splintergroups abounding , featuring individual heroics (martyrs).

0GW, the basic chaotic condition of human warfare, has throughout history been crushed by entities with unified purposes (primarily imposed by despots, less often but more importantly by shared values - like the spread of Islam). Tribes and sects are isolated, split, finally destroyed or suppressed. The key word is isolated.

4GW is 0GW with a twist, the ability for essentially laughable non-state forces to coordinate, to develop consensus, to share experience. Would the Roman empire have lasted long if the Barbarian margins were linked by the www? Would the European colonial powers have carved up Africa or the Americas with such ease? But ... the warfare culture underlying has not changed. 4GW is the 0GW mindset with modern tools, the same relation as 2GW to 1GW. Divide and conquer becomes difficult when division is nigh impossible.

There needs to be new terminology developed to describe 4GW. Lind himself refers to the cultures of 2GW, 3GW etc, and this is the most important point. How about removing "Generation", the simplest concept being "Culture"?

* Or On War #53 - Fifth Generation Warfare?
One reason for the confusion may be a misapprehension of what “generation” means. In the context of the Four Generations of Modern War, “generation” is shorthand for a dialectically qualitative shift. As the originator of the framework, I adopted the word “generation” because I was speaking to and writing for Marines, and “dialectically qualitative shift” has more syllables than the Marine mind can readily grasp (think of the Emperor Joseph II’s response when he first heard Mozart’s music: “Too many notes.”). Most Marines vaguely remember that Hegel pitched for the Yankees in the late 1940’s.

**Actually he did just that in On War # 76 - 4GW In The Sudan

Friday, November 18, 2005

Eternal peace is a dream --and not even a beautiful one. War is part of God's world-order. Within it unfold the noblest virtues of men, courage and renunciation, loyalty to duty and readiness for sacrifice--at the hazzard of one's life. Without war the world would sink into a swamp of materialism.

Helmuth von Moltke the Elder,
"On the Nature of War",
December 11, 1880

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Still missing

On war #139 finally appears on SFTT. appears not to be interested .... and the article is virtually uncommented by the wider world, in direct contrast to the reception of commet #138 (concerning exit strategies for iraq)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Lind's On War #139 - Missing in Action?

William Lind's latest comment On War #139 - C'est la Guerre has yet to appear in any of the usual pages - neither or DefenceWatch have chosen to post it as of yet. Lind's opinions are seldom less than controversial, and in the past even his less relevant musings have been published without delay.

At a guess it's simply too controversial for them, even Defence and the National Interest put a hand-wringing, cringing disclaimer in front of this one.

Now, although Lind sometimes goes off half-cocked, on the balance his predictive power is second-to-none. Some of his "On War" columns on Iraq were little short of prescient at a time when he was one of the very few to sound serious warnings, long before the events occurred.

Furthermore, the column in question is not that controversial, or maybe should not be controversial, the observation that France appears to be in the opening statges of 4th generation warfare, and that France is worth saving, and that France should fight should be no-brainers.

And yet this comment, of all Linds many controversial opinions, is the one they choose NOT to publish. Not good, not good at all.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Parallels with Serbia

It strikes me that France is now in a parallel position to that which Serbia was a decade ago with Kosovo. A muslim minority, breeding quietly but exponentially (and we are talking a terrifying average of 6-8 children / family in the 80's), became a majority. The new majority rose up and demanded power. The Serb government responded by driving the new majority out, and restoring the historical status quo (Kosovo as a Serb province with an Albanian minority).

We (the west, led by Pres Clinton and the US) responded by attacking, then invading Serbia in order to enforce the rights of the new majority.

Fascinating. If France "goes bad" and begins repressing muslim citizens, how are the rest of the west going to respond?