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Old 03-04-2015   #21
omarali50
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On the question of Islam and ISIS etc

http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksd...the-dream.html
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Old 03-04-2015   #22
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But Bill, this is the root of the problem. Until we can decide on a definition we are going no where. The JP-1 defines war as a socially sanctioned violence to achieve a political purpose. By this definition, when O'Rielly claimed that he was in a war zone during violent street protest in Argentina where the people were seeking relief for political grievances, he was absolutely right - he was in the middle of a war.

Until we define our terms we will simply talk past one another.

My biggest problem with most of these discussions is that they are largely merely philosophical. There is very little "science" in Military Science. It is mostly history - arguing about this conflict or that. It never digs down to find a common root in all war.

This is why I feel that, before we start this conversation on how to categorize wars, we need to properly define war. Perhaps that is another thread, but I still feel it is important.

... while I am ranting, there is also precious little science in Political Science, so tying our definition to the political realm is only marginally helpful, and largely useless in insurgencies and revolutions.
So true, I think economic interests are political interests, so I don't see the disconnect with some TCNs conducting warfare (character of war) to achieve their criminal objectives. When people tell me this is war and this isn't with a high degree of confidence, I ask them a simple question. What is war? To date no one has been able to provide an answer. When they tell me war is an extension of politics by other means, then I ask them what is politics? No answer, unless it is someone clinging to the past assuming only states possess political policies.

Doctrine states warfare is subordinate to war, if that is true, then insurgencies, rebellions, and yes high levels of violent crime directed against a government and its citizens are all war. I don't have a problem calling them war, as you stated it is the character of warfare in a particular instance we need to differentiate. As long we cling to Cold War definitions of insurgencies and pretending criminal activity is always separate we will continue to ill-define the problem and develop inappropriate solutions.

As long as we forget what we're trying to achieve using war/warfare/military activities because we're overly concerned with underlying issues we can't change in most cases we'll continue to spin in circles. I think you and Bob tend to dismiss why do we fight? What are our objectives? How do we achieve them? The job of war isn't to make everyone love each other around the world, if it is, then we'll be broke (we are already) in a few more years.
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Old 03-04-2015   #23
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Bill, our challenge is not due to a misunderstanding of "the job of war" - our challenge is that we too often apply a war solution to problems that are not war.

We then write off the resultant failures to any number of situations beyond our control, such as "complexity" or "ideology" or lack of political will.

But our PME institutions are full of the keepers of doctrinal inertia; think tanks are full of those paid to define reasons for success or failure in terms favorable to those who pay their bills, and politicians of every ilk are as unlikely to claim responsibility for failure as they are apt to claim credit for success.

The forces of strategic inertia are powerful.
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Old 03-04-2015   #24
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Gentlemen,

as an aside, and for a little levity, I am happy to report that the foibles of doctrine writers exist even in the hallowed halls of academia. In this case, the question is where war comes from.


" Is it natural for humans to make war? Is organised violence between rival political groups an inevitable outcome of the human condition? Some scholars believe the answer is yes, but new research suggests not.


A study of tribal societies that live by hunting and foraging has found that war is an alien concept and not, as some academics have suggested, an innate feature of so-called “primitive people”.The findings have re-opened a bitter academic dispute over whether war is a relatively recent phenomenon invented by “civilised” societies over the past few thousand years, or a much older part of human nature. In other words, is war an ancient and chronic condition that helped to shape humanity over many hundreds of thousands of years?
The idea is that war is the result of an evolutionary ancient predisposition that humans may have inherited in their genetic makeup as long ago as about 7 million years, when we last shared a common ancestor with chimpanzees – who also wage a kind of war between themselves.


However, two anthropologists believe this is a myth and have now produced evidence to show it. Douglas Fry and Patrik Soderberg [umlaut over o] of Abo Akademi University in Vasa, Finland, studied 148 violently lethal incidents documented by anthropologists working among 21 mobile bands of hunter-gatherer societies, which some scholars have suggested as a template for studying how humans lived for more than 99.9 per cent of human history, before the invention of agriculture about 10,000 years ago.


They found that only a tiny minority of violent deaths come close to being defined as acts of war. Most the violence was perpetrated by one individual against another and usually involved personal grudges involving women or stealing.About 85 per cent of the deaths involved killers and victims who belonged to the same social group, and about two thirds of all the violent deaths could be attributed to family feuds, disputes over wives, accidents or “legal” executions, the researchers found. “When we looked at all the violent events about 55 per cent of them involved one person killing another. That’s not war. When we looked at group conflicts, the typical pattern was feuds between families and revenge killings, which is not war either,” said Dr Fry."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...t-8718069.html


I must admit that I am not a fan of Dr Fry and his theories. He has skewed the data so that deaths as a result of feuds and raids between tribal groups are not wars. I like to kid that he used the Correlates of War standards, at least 100 deaths - which would be the complete extermination of an average hunter-gatherer tribe.
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Old 03-04-2015   #25
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I think you and Bob tend to dismiss why do we fight? What are our objectives? How do we achieve them? The job of war isn't to make everyone love each other around the world, if it is, then we'll be broke (we are already) in a few more years.
Bill, I don't dimiss why we fight, but we "fight" over a lot of things - I just beleive that what a group goes to war over is not always the same as why two individuals fight. To me, war is not simply a really big brawl. It is a collective social act that is morally sanctioned by the larger group in order to defend something that group values so much that it is willing to send its sons and daughters off to die for it.

I believe that if we can key in on that motivation, on why we fight, then we can begin to see solutions to all that "complexity."
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Old 03-04-2015   #26
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So, most violence is not war. I am comfortable with that.

My primary thesis I am offering here is that political conflict within a single system of governance is fundamentally different in nature than conflict between two or more systems of governance. That conflicts between fit within how we have come to think of "war," but that those within really do not fit that paradigm.

I believe that when we make this distinction and stop waging war against these internal political conflicts that we will be far more successful in resolving the same.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 03-04-2015   #27
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Default Belief Systems Are Primary Over Governance

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Slap, I read a pretty good book on this a couple years ago, and as I recall without going back to do the research, the '79 movement in KSA that took the Holy Mosque in Mecca (and the separate but parallel movement to expel the Americans from Iran) were both extremely political in nature.

In the Kingdom the leader of the movement employed an Islamic ideology, and identified a young man who had the characteristics described in the Koran as prophet who would liberate the people to serve as the central selling point in his movement. The people who believed political change was necessary to that point had been deterred by law, state power, etc. But with the coming of this prophet they believed it was time to act. Power manipulation for political purpose, wrapped in religion. But at the heart, it was a political challenge and revolutionary non-war.
Bob,
No it wasn't and that is the point. Islam is primary to politics, bad governance was going to be "fixed" by good religion. I would say all belief systems are primary to governance that is where we get into trouble. Good politics doesn't counter God only a Religious reformation can do that.
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Old 03-04-2015   #28
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So, most violence is not war. I am comfortable that.
That is pretty close......all war is based on deception. (mental fraud)!
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Old 03-04-2015   #29
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Default So Does Galula

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Slap thinks it includes fraud, which seems a bit of a stretch, but since doctrinal explanations no longer (if they ever did) address reality they have little utility outside of their legal context.

Bill,
I do believe that and so did Galula and so most LE people I know because we see gangs use it everyday. They firmly believe that if you get what you want by lying that is the way to go, if not then use violence.
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Old 03-04-2015   #30
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The US Joint Pub 3-24 stands (shakily) upon this definition of insurgency:

Quote:
Insurgency uses a mixture of subversion, sabotage,
political, economic, psychological actions, and armed
conflict to achieve its political aims. It is a protracted
politico-military struggle designed to weaken the control
and legitimacy of an established government, a military
occupation government, an interim civil administration, or
a peace process while increasing insurgent control and
legitimacy—the central issues in an insurgency.
The danger of lists: "Insurgency uses a mixture of subversion, sabotage,
political, economic, psychological actions, and armed
conflict to achieve its political aims."
Or simply stated, an insurgent acts illegally, and a politician acts legally to achieve their political aims. To employ a list of examples of illegal ways an insurgent might employ puts blinders on the reader, and constraints upon the definition that are both unintended and unnecessary.

"It is a protracted politico-military struggle designed to weaken the control and legitimacy" I believe more accurately is an effort to coerce change in part or whole of a system of governance. It may be protracted, but could be quick. And "control"? This is a favorite word in our foreign interventions in the insurgencies of others because often WE seek control in those places - but we believe that in the US control belongs to the people, not the government. Then there is "legitimacy" - no word is used more often or has more meanings in the COIN business. There is legal legitimacy, a recognition by some formal body of the right of some system of governance to be in power. More importantly for purposes of insurgency, however, is the concept of political or popular legitimacy - the recognition in the population of the right of some system of governance to affect their lives. This is at the core of nearly every resistance and many revolutions. Some distinct segment of the population simply does not recognize the right of the existing regime to be in charge of them. Maybe they were excluded from full participation, or perhaps a foreign power picked the government or has somehow gained a corrosive degree of influence. How matters little, it is the perception that counts and must be understood.

"of an established government, a military occupation government, an interim civil administration, or a peace process"

These are VERY different things. An odd mix of internal and external forms of governance. By dumping all forms of insurgency into this single sack misses important nuances. By dividing by those that are within vs. those that are between one begins to craft a very important sorting out of the nature of things.

"while increasing insurgent control and legitimacy—the central issues in an insurgency"

A bold assumption. Sometimes people just want respect or dignity or justice. We need to be careful not to mirror image our concerns as an intervening power onto the population that is daring to challenge the governance we have so carefully crafted for, or protected from, them.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 03-04-2015   #31
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Originally Posted by TheCurmudgeon View Post
Bill, I don't dimiss why we fight, but we "fight" over a lot of things - I just believe that what a group goes to war over is not always the same as why two individuals fight. To me, war is not simply a really big brawl. It is a collective social act that is morally sanctioned by the larger group in order to defend something that group values so much that it is willing to send its sons and daughters off to die for it.

I believe that if we can key in on that motivation, on why we fight, then we can begin to see solutions to all that "complexity."
I have been saying that since I have been here.....you must know the motive. So did Galula for that matter. In fact he really made a good point when he said that what defines an insurgency (as oppposed to some other violent action) is the cause (motive).
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Old 03-04-2015   #32
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Originally Posted by omarali50 View Post
On the question of Islam and ISIS etc

http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksd...the-dream.html
omarali,
Great post.
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Old 03-04-2015   #33
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The weakest part of Galula is his perspective on the role of his own nation in the insurgencies he dealt with through his life. He could see the people and the domestic government with great clarity and insight, but was blind to causal role of France. He brought that blindness with him to the US and shared it with us, so that we too could be blind to the causal role of the US in the insurgencies we intervened within.


COIN should be limited to domestic operations only. Anytime one thinks they are doing "COIN" abroad they are likely acting in ways that will make the underlying problem worse for their efforts. This is true regardless of how inept the host governance is, or how non-existent it is. If you don't plan to stay and force the place and the people who live their to submit to your governance, then you are not the COIN force. Making that one small fix in US COIN doctrine would save us Trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, and tons of influence around the globe.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 03-04-2015   #34
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The weakest part of Galula is his perspective on the role of his own nation in the insurgencies he dealt with through his life. He could see the people and the domestic government with great clarity and insight, but was blind to causal role of France. He brought that blindness with him to the US and shared it with us, so that we too could be blind to the causal role of the US in the insurgencies we intervened within.


COIN should be limited to domestic operations only. Anytime one thinks they are doing "COIN" abroad they are likely acting in ways that will make the underlying problem worse for their efforts. This is true regardless of how inept the host governance is, or how non-existent it is. If you don't plan to stay and force the place and the people who live their to submit to your governance, then you are not the COIN force. Making that one small fix in US COIN doctrine would save us Trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, and tons of influence around the globe.
That is very true. That is why I keep bringing up Karpman's triangle. When two people start fighting and a third person intervenes it can end up being a disaster for the intervening person since the original 2 combatants may unite and fight the third party together.


Galula also made this point it was ALL originally called Revolutionary War, Galula decided to change that slightly by calling it COIN and confusing everyone to a certain extent.

Revolutionary War=Political Action(non violent black proganda,fraud) + Guerrilla Action (violent action by armed civillians). The political was primary,guerrilla was secondary or supporting. Hence the famous 80% poilitical vs 20% military quote on COIN by Galula.
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Old 03-04-2015   #35
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Quote:
Revolutionary War=Political Action(non violent black proganda,fraud) + Guerrilla Action (violent action by armed civillians). The political was primary,guerrilla was secondary or supporting. Hence the famous 80% poilitical vs 20% military quote on COIN by Galula.
But that is just tactics. There are many paths (tactics) up the mountain (good governance), and when the government seeks to deny some segments of the population access to the mountain, or to block effective, legal routes up the mountain, the population will go without permission and cut their own path. THAT is revolution.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-04-2015 at 08:51 PM. Reason: fix quote
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Old 03-04-2015   #36
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COIN should be limited to domestic operations only. Anytime one thinks they are doing "COIN" abroad they are likely acting in ways that will make the underlying problem worse for their efforts. This is true regardless of how inept the host governance is, or how non-existent it is. If you don't plan to stay and force the place and the people who live their to submit to your governance, then you are not the COIN force. Making that one small fix in US COIN doctrine would save us Trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, and tons of influence around the globe.
I had to stare at this paragraph a long time with my head slightly askew while years of Army training butted heads with logic. Then, as my Army training lost the battle, I came to the conclusion that you are right.

I guess if we are doing COIN we are doing it really small and in an advisory capacity, assuming it is a true revolutionary insurgency and not an invasion masked as an insurgency (Ukraine) and it has not reached the point where the insurgents have declared a seperate state (ISIS). Am I reading you correctly?
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Old 03-04-2015   #37
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For me one must apply the flagpole test.

Go the capital of the place you are at to deal with an insurgency, find the tallest flagpole and look to the top of that pole. If it is the flag of your nation, you are conducting COIN, but if is the flag of anyone else, you are not.

COIN is not unlike parenting. If you are at home dealing with your own children you are parenting. But if you go to a neighbor's home to help them with their children you are not parenting. To think you were parenting would lead to a disaster of undermining their role as parents and regardless of how good your intentions or actions, would probably not leave a functional family behind when you leave to go home.

We understand this intuitively in operations of the scale of a family - but for some reasons lose all common sense when we scale it to the national level, rationalize our actions with interests or threats, and label it "war."

But it is the same damn thing.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 03-04-2015   #38
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For the US, dealing with Ferguson effectively is COIN. Dealing with ISIL is not COIN for the US at all.

In fact, now that the Iraqi state has divided and a separate system of governance around ISIL has formed, it is not COIN for the state formerly known as Iraq either. It is truly, Civil War.

We love to use the term civil war as a measure of the scale of an insurgency, but that serves no purpose. When we use Civil War to identify when an insurgency has evolved so as to become a distinct system of governance, then it is helpful. What was once revolutionary non-war has become war. That in turn drives changes of strategy and tactics. The scale of operations, or the presence or absence of violence does not affect the nature of the problem. We focus on the wrong criteria.

Our current lexicon and distinctions have little strategic value or purpose.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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Old 03-04-2015   #39
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Revolutionary War=Political Action(non violent black proganda,fraud) + Guerrilla Action (violent action by armed civillians). The political was primary,guerrilla was secondary or supporting. Hence the famous 80% poilitical vs 20% military quote on COIN by Galula.
But that is just tactics. There are many paths (tactics) up the mountain (good governance), and when the government seeks to deny some segments of the population access to the mountain, or to block effective, legal routes up the mountain, the population will go without permission and cut their own path. THAT is revolution.[/QUOTE]

Yes,
It is the Cause that mobilizes the population that is Strategic and must be defeated. Which is why I say there must be an Islamic reformation just like Christianity had or this will never end.
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Old 03-04-2015   #40
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We love to use the term civil war as a measure of the scale of an insurgency, but that serves no purpose. When we use Civil War to identify when an insurgency has evolved so as to become a distinct system of governance, then it is helpful. What was once revolutionary non-war has become war. That in turn drives changes of strategy and tactics. The scale of operations, or the presence or absence of violence does not affect the nature of the problem. We focus on the wrong criteria..
I agree - you cannot have a war without two clearly distinct entities; a clear "us" and "them". As long as we are all still "us," its not a war.

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Our current lexicon and distinctions have little strategic value or purpose.
Yes, but the current lexicon has a larger budget attached to it.
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