Sign up for 4gw (Part II)

You could simply refuse to be terrorized.  Send this to your elected officials:

I am not afraid of terrorism, and I want you to stop being afraid on my behalf. Please start scaling back the official government war on terror. Please replace it with a smaller, more focused anti-terrorist police effort in keeping with the rule of law. Please stop overreacting. I understand that it will not be possible to stop all terrorist acts. I accept that. I am not afraid.

Thanks to cybersecurity guru Bruce Schneier, who posted it on his blog today.

In The Changing Face of War, Martin van Creveld observed that in these non-trinitarian “wars amongst the people” (Gen. Sir Rupert Smith’s phrase):

Compared with the willingness or lack of it, in men (and women) to die for their cause, virtually all questions of policy, organization, doctrine, training, and equipment pale into insignificance. (p. 228)

Those who are attacking us have proven that they are not afraid to die for their causes, yet we act like we’re terrified of getting hurt. How do you expect that plays to the uncommitted around the world?

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Filed in Uncategorized | 27 responses so far

27 Responses to “Sign up for 4gw (Part II)”

  1. gracaton 21 Dec 2007 at 6:52 pm 1

    Having grown up in less then perfect circumstances, I have been aware for many years that a willingness to endure punishment and even die for one’s “cause” be it a peer group (gang) or a religious group trumps policy, organization and ultimately firepower particularly when a scorched earth policy is out of the question.

    What I don’t understand about the US are peoples unwillingness to even give up a little bit of everyday comfort for goals that could be realized immediately. This is the kind of thinking that breeds dictators that make the rules and do all the thinking for everyone.

    I’m not asking the average America to go bear hunting with a switch. I’m just saying we have to start looking at small steps to toughen us up for the coming ordeals such as power outages and worse.

  2. rogelio007on 21 Dec 2007 at 7:07 pm 2

    The so-called War on Terror is not about security, it is about money. There are people in high places – and not-so-high places – making money off this scam. So the scam will continue.

  3. seydlitz89on 21 Dec 2007 at 7:48 pm 3

    I agree very much with Bruce Schneier’s post and will pass it on to my hard-line-Bush-supporting US “representative”. From my perspective it is difficult not to see the war on terror as a stalking horse for empire, that is most of those who resist us are resisting our policies. Change the policies and the resistance will also be affected. But what of 9/11 you ask? A criminal act, which is dealt with in a police manner, not as an act of war, which I think is part of Schneier’s point. In 2001 of course I was arguing the opposite, but such is learning from experience.

    As to connecting Rupert Smith with van Creveld and the concept of “non-trinitarian wars”? Imo, one has to refer to what Smith actually writes, “Clausewitz’s trinity of state, army and people is a useful tool with which to analyse the actor’s purposes and activities, despite their not being states. As I have already noted, the aim of all sides, including the intervening international force, is to win the will of the people. Therefore the non-state side will also have some dependency and relationship with the people, there will be an armed force of some description and there will be some political direction to the use of that force.” The Utility of Force, p 303.

    Smith traces both the paradigm of “industrial war” and that of “war amongst the people” to Clausewitz, makes no mention of van Creveld, 4GW, or “non-trinitarian war” in his book.

    Actually a thread discussing Smith’s ideas would be very interesting.

  4. Cheton 21 Dec 2007 at 8:04 pm 4

    seydlitz89 —

    Your point is well-taken. I was borrowing Sir Rupert’s evocative phrase and gave the impression that he subscribes to van Creveld’s non-trinitarian interpretation (which he obviously does not).

  5. dckinderon 21 Dec 2007 at 8:06 pm 5

    A casual survey of recent economic news suggests that the “War on Terror” is a luxury that the United States will not be able to afford for too much longer.

    Fabius Maximus has recently made an interesting post about how foreign interests are currently buying up various US assets. While that is a good point, the real crunch will come when the federal government wakes up one day and discovers that it no longer can market its debt.

  6. maximilliangcon 21 Dec 2007 at 9:00 pm 6

    “The so-called War on Terror is not about security,
    it is about money. There are people in high places –
    and not-so-high places – making money off this scam”

    Exactly, there are enough middle, lower middle,
    and those who might otherwise be economically challenged
    Americans who earn a “living” off the military directly,
    or from suppliers, service providers and contractors.

    In a nation that freaks in revulsion at the merest reference
    of social welfare, or public health care.

    What is it they call the health care provided to US men and
    women in arms then ?

    No need to quote Eisenhower, but he sure
    nailed it when he said “even spiritual implications.”

    (To; gracat)
    Good posting, but,

    Where to begin, in a country that’s known for law
    suits over coffee served too hot, in a foam cup ?

    I feel at this stage the the USA has not been “hit” again
    since 9-11, simply because there’s no need, all the damage
    since, and I’m talking about the broad spectrum, of military
    prestige, respect, self respect, resources, economics,
    influence, moral standing, and admiration, etc, has been
    largely self inflicted.

    In consideration of the numbers of Americans that may die
    over the next 10 days in motor vehicle and other misc.
    accidents, the obsessive preoccupation with foreign
    based terrorists seems misplaced and more than slightly


  7. seydlitz89on 21 Dec 2007 at 11:17 pm 7

    Dr. Richards-

    Thank you.

  8. Cheton 21 Dec 2007 at 11:54 pm 8

    seydelitz89 —

    You’re welcome.

  9. oldskepticon 22 Dec 2007 at 2:36 am 9

    The alternative (and more worrying explanation) is that the building blocks for a totalitarian State are being built.

    When you ‘join the dots’ of all the extra powers, legislation, et al that have been enacted in the US, UK and (too a lesser extent) Canada and Australia, the picture gets concerning.

    Several commentators have noted this over the last few years, Naomi Wolf gives a nice and easy version of this in:,,2064157,00.html

    This drive seems to be bi-partisan, the latest ‘thought crime’ legislation (The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007) is a case in point (passed by 400 to 6), similar stuff in the UK has had enthusiastic support from the Tories (and Labor here in Australia).

    The UK is interesting, 25 years of IRA bombings didn’t require the draconian legislation that the Blair Govt introduced, so a skeptical person would ask “why is it needed now”? Some of the stuff they have introduced was not even required in wartime.

    A skeptical person would also ask “is there a consensus within the elites of our societies to turn our countries into totalitarian States”? If so what is their motivation?

  10. stevenmaximusdecaturon 22 Dec 2007 at 12:23 pm 10

    A letter to a representative about disdain in the “war” would indicate knowledge of the ongoing “war.” Whereas the only war the bulk of the citizenry (used lightly) is the war on their expense/checking accounts over Christmas trivialities and purchases of ugly neckties and admonishments toward style. Should the Feralists propose a tax to support the war one might then experience some public debate on the course of the GWOT(G-WHAT)? and the role of the nacent support provided to the gov’ment.

  11. maximilliangcon 22 Dec 2007 at 1:36 pm 11

    OS wrote,
    “When ‘join the dots’ of all the extra powers, legislation, et al that have been enacted in the US, UK and (too a lesser extent) Canada and Australia, the picture gets concerning.”

    Well there is some truth to what you say there OS, but as someone who has the
    benefit (re; advantage) of living alternately in the US & Canada. Canada has
    always been more heavily legislated, taxed, controlled, and ridiculously over governed, by American standards at least. This is of course a two-edged sword.

    Rest assured Canada as the largest supplier of OIL to the United States, bar none, is doing quite well these days, and despite what can be readily perceived rightly or wrongly as flaws in their governance and attitudes.

    Time was, and not that long ago, (pre-911) when crossing the border into the States from Canada, one could almost sense a weight being lifted of one’s shoulders. no more, it’s now the contrary.

    I would argue that the most recent change in Australia is about handing control
    back to their people, in exchanges I’ve had with friends from OZ on email.
    They see their identities, and values, as having been highjacked by US (war mongering) and environmentally callous big corporate interests, and thus a grass roots level backlash in the recent election.

    This might only be a fleeting reprise on the proverbial road to hell, mind you,
    but unless America wakes up, we may get their well ahead.

    Thinking about this thread overnight, I’ll say this, as robust, unique,
    and admirable as the US constitution is, the US cannot withstand
    another totally inane political administration this time out, and emerge in
    another 4-8 years anything like what you knew and loved.

    At the very least, your trading one set of serious problems for yet another.

    The stakes are high, and you’re being tested, and pushed to the brink, for all the reasons mentioned in this thread.


  12. gracaton 22 Dec 2007 at 3:21 pm 12

    Hi all,

    Post #6 makes the point about all the Americans dying every year in road accidents which is another good reason to stop driving so much and save lives and resources even if it is just on a personal level.
    Don’t get me wrong, I have been in love with cars since I was about 12. But look around. It’s nuts. The footprint of the car and truck is pervasive.

    The thirst for fuel, rubber, steel and shiny paint is as bad as having the hots for the unaffordable F-22 vs the here now F-16/F-18


  13. seydlitz89on 22 Dec 2007 at 3:25 pm 13

    Interesting thread.

    The buying up of US assets is connected to the falling exchange rate of the US$ I suppose.


    Agree. The actions of the Blair government were really hard to fathom at times. I remember the letter from the 50 former UK ambassadors to Blair in 2004 . . .

    In response to what must have been the worst British foreign policy humiliation since Suez, and maybe even worse then Suez, since it effectively trashed 40 years of UK ME policy in an instant, and was done in the interests of a lesser power, and contrary to British interests.

  14. rogelio007on 22 Dec 2007 at 10:17 pm 14

    Well, Tony Blair has been accused of being George W. Bush’s lap dog. Maybe he is. He could put on a collar and move into the White House.

  15. oldskepticon 23 Dec 2007 at 9:30 am 15

    I’ve never understood the attitude by some UK, Australian, et al politicians. yes, the US is an ally, yes there are many common interests, but there are many divergent interests as well. They are paid to look after their respective country’s interests (with the usual necessary compromises, etc), not to kow tow to the desires for a foreign country.

    The damage to the UK has been immense, Oz has escaped fairly scot free over this, except for the Govt .. now sadly (sarcasm) gone. Huge damage to the UKs traditional Middle East interests and the armed forces (how the squaddies have been treated is criminal and is there a Navy left?) and the economy. Heh, maybe Bliar is an Iranian agent, or more likely a Russian one (that would be in keeping with tradition) ;).

    Even (and I mean even) old Wilson had the brains to keep the UK out of Vietnam. Now that’s a legacy for Bliar, more incompetent than Wilson.

    I liked the coment by the PNG delegate to the US, at the recent Kyoto 2 negotiations (paraphrase) “lead or get out of our way”, now that’s a message that reflects the ‘new world’.

  16. maximilliangcon 27 Dec 2007 at 5:23 pm 16

    “you’re going to get something you never barganed
    for, and only a lunatic wants.”*

    *General Black
    Line delivered in Sydney Lumets
    hollywood master peice. “Fail Safe.”

  17. maximilliangcon 28 Dec 2007 at 4:09 pm 17

    Followup on previous links.,13319,158865,00.html

  18. oldskepticon 29 Dec 2007 at 12:29 pm 18

    Thinking back, I lived through the late 70’s and early 80’s in London, at the height of the IRA bombings.

    Now they were scary B**t*rds. Nearly got Thatcher, got a Minister, killed Mountbatton.

    By and large the British won over, though it took, far too much time. Good, though at times patchy policing (Birmingham 6, Guilford 4 plus who know how many else innocent people got banged up). Many mistakes, internment, using the Paras for crowd control (I admire the Paras immensely, arguable the finest shock troops in the world, sorry US Marines, but amongst civilians?). Misusing the SAS (superb, but making them assassins at times. Total waste). Let’s not talk about the ‘intelligence’ community (ie MI5 & MI6, now SIS). They’re greatest success was turning the Protestent militias into paid assassins, against lawyers (for one goup) whoopie do, that really worked … not.

    But, the rest of the Army (who by and large were magnificant), plus the police overall, plus the Ulster and British people (the real heros), steadily created a no win solution. Add some very enlightened Ulster (Catholics and Protestents) people, plus some IRA (and IRA related) people who saw the light.

    Some UK Govts deserve nothing but contempt for their ineptitude. Heath obviously. Callahan for his lack of nerve (though his Govt had some right ideas, but lacked the guts to do them). What can you say about Thatcher (the neo-cons pin up girl), except the ancient British joke “Thatcher got shot today, 30 million British rounded up as suspects”.

    Just a warning about new laws. I remember the Prevention of Terrorism Act. A temporary act (6 months only) that is still functional today. I also remember the first use of it, the Police rounded up huge amounts of drug users .. whoopee do that really scared the IRA.

    The IRA were the toughest, most successful terrorist group in the world. At their peak they made Al Quida look like amateurs. At the end, they had learned, scaringly, that terror killings got you nowhere .. so they went for economic targets. Fortunately, the peace process was well established and it all ended before they bankrupted Britain.

    But the great British people got on with their lives. Many were tragically killed. But their parents and grandparents had lived through the Blitz, so it was shameful to show too much fear. And by their courage and forebarance, plus some smart people on all sides (finally), eventually it all ended.

    So there is hope, but it all rests in the hands of the people and because of that they should be trusted.

  19. oldskepticon 29 Dec 2007 at 1:40 pm 19

    And maybe the last word should go to George Washington (thanks to Fabius, from: )

    “And let me conjure you, in the name of our common Country, as you value your own sacred honor, as you respect the rights of humanity, and as you regard the Military and National character of America, to express your utmost horror and detestation of the Man who wishes, under any specious pretences, to overturn the liberties of our Country, and who wickedly attempts to open the flood Gates of Civil discord, and deluge our rising Empire in Blood.”

  20. thepopuliston 31 Dec 2007 at 9:39 am 20

    I agree that the “War on Terror” is a sham. But that’s not to say there is no serious threat from global Islamic terrorism. Events in the Middle east are rapidly spinning out of control, and the war on terror is the chief cause.

    Or rather, it is the excuse used by oligarchs to invade Iraq, maintain an alliance with Pakistan’s regime, and build gas pipelines in Afghanistan.

    In addition, all the blather about the War on Terror ignores the fundamental motivation for Islamic radicalism. And that is the humiliation modern Islam has suffered at the hands of the West, more specifically The United states and Israel. Here is a link to an essay called “Responsible terrorism”:

  21. […] via Defense and the National Interest […]

  22. maximilliangcon 03 Jan 2008 at 3:45 pm 22

    Interesting research links, related topical news.
    1) Afganistan.

    2) Prognosis GWB’s “IRack”

  23. maximilliangcon 03 Jan 2008 at 3:47 pm 23

    “In addition, all the blather about the War on Terror ignores the fundamental motivation for Islamic radicalism”

    Yeah, but apart from all that, and everything else
    mentioned, here and elsewhere, the US has done
    a brilliant job, from the getgo, at least
    since WW-2. (big sarc)


  24. maximilliangcon 03 Jan 2008 at 4:00 pm 24

    “Thinking back, I lived through the late 70’s and early 80’s in London, at the height of the IRA bombings.”

    Similarly, but on a much smaller scale, through
    household exposure, and through a 10 year older uncle,
    I grew up in Montreal during the FLQ Quebec independence terrorist, and political indpendence

    The only benefit being, and probably in both our cases,
    we have an innate sense of what 4GW is all about, you might say it’s in our bones.


  25. maximilliangcon 05 Jan 2008 at 6:13 pm 25

    Link to a news item that is an illustration of asymetric warfare.

    Low tech, inexpensive and simple means,
    circumvents high technology.

    Where one side expends billions of dollars,
    and curtails the very civil liberties it professes
    to be at war to protect and preserve.


  26. maximilliangcon 09 Jan 2008 at 2:49 am 26

    This is very interesting.

  27. maximilliangcon 15 Jan 2008 at 6:33 pm 27