On War #290: Blowback Revisited

William S. Lind

February 3, 2009

Some time ago, I wrote a column warning that our involvement in Fourth Generation wars overseas would spur 4GW here at home. One way it would do so is by introducing soldiers to statelessness.

I do not see e-mail, but I was told that column generated lots of it. Many e-diots howled that I had somehow “attacked the troops.”

Well, guess what? It’s starting to happen. A reader sent me a copy of a story from The Oklahoman dated December 25, 2008. The title is, “Police Say Vet Made, Sold IEDs to Gangs.” It reads in part:

Police spent the day searching the house of a decorated, two-tour Iraq war veteran on Tuesday, one day after he was arrested and charged with making explosive devises and attempting to sell them…

Steven Andrew Jordal, 24, was an infantry tank (sic) specialist in the U.S. Army from 2002 to 2007. He received the Army’s Good Conduct medal, along with several other medals, badges and ribbons, the military confirmed.

Oklahoma City police took interest in Jordal when they received a tip he was selling IEDs to criminals. IEDs have emerged in Iraq as the weapon of choice for insurgents against U.S. forces.

For as little as $100, Jordal was making the same kinds of weapons he saw used against his fellow soldiers in Iraq and selling them on the streets of Oklahoma City to gang members…

Surprise, surprise. This is not the first such report I have seen. Shortly after my initial column ran, I received a letter from a reader in Poland with a news story that Polish police were being attacked and killed with IEDs.

If we read these stories merely as accounts of the spread of a technology, IEDs, we read them too narrowly. American and other foreign troops in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan are learning more than how to make IEDs and how effective they can be. They are learning by direct observation how a place works when the state disappears.

To the large majority of American and European soldiers, this is a lesson in horror. They return home thankful they live in a place where the state endures. The last thing they want is to see their native country turn into another Iraq or Afghanistan.

But a minority will learn a different lesson. They will see statelessness as a field of opportunity where people who are clever and ruthless can rise fast and far. They look upon themselves as that kind of people. They will also have learned it is possible to fight the state, and how to do so. The effectiveness of IEDs is part of that lesson; so are the power and rewards that come to members of militias and gangs. In their own minds, and perhaps in reality, they will have found a new world in which they can hope to thrive.

There is a parallel here with what the men who fought in the trenches on the Western Front in World War I learned. For most, it was the worst time in their lives. Their experience is captured by All Quiet on the Western Front. But a minority found it the best time of their lives. Their book is Ernst Junger’s Storm of Steel. It was these men, looking to re-create that tremendous experience, who made up the Brownshirts of the S. A. Their very name, Storm Troopers, originated in what they had done during the war. They came home determined to create a different Germany, and they did.

As I have argued both in these columns and elsewhere, if we want to avoid importing 4GW into the United States, we need to isolate ourselves from 4GW overseas. We need a defensive, not an offensive, grand strategy. So long as we enmesh ourselves in Fourth Generation wars like those in Iraq and Afghanistan – will the Obama administration add Somalia and Sudan to the list? – we will increase the danger we should seek most to avoid, the horror of 4GW on our own soil. That is the Fourth Generation’s strategic IED, and if it ever goes off in America, we will all get blown up.

William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the Free Congress Foundation.

To interview Mr. Lind, please contact (no e-mail available):

Mr. William S. Lind
Free Congress Foundation
1423 Powhatan Street, # 2
Alexandria, Virginia 22314

Direct line: 703 837-0483

Comments are welcome; please observe our comment policy.

Be Sociable, Share!

Filed in Uncategorized | 12 responses so far

12 Responses to “On War #290: Blowback Revisited”

  1. Maxon 03 Feb 2009 at 7:47 pm 1

    Along similar lines.

    It should be remembered that the infamous “Hells Angels”
    originated with dis-enfranchised returning war vetrans.

    We’ve yet to see or experience this time around, but if we
    do, be reminded also of that little “Bonus” along with a large measure of the current economic collaphs.

    Brought to you by,,,.

    This thankfully remains to be seen.

    However Oklahoma city was domestic and of the same theme.

  2. Newjarheaddeanon 03 Feb 2009 at 9:10 pm 2

    AHOY, Thanks Mr. Lind for the heads up sir. Sincerely.
    I once read 15 or so years ago can’t recall source, that US realized back as far as maybe Korea, that police were have most of their serious problems from combat Vets. Hence IMO the need to know training and lack of Rambo equivalents being produced today i.e. no home grown militias. Just last night I saw a story on CNN about some kind of new soft ware available to gov. officials to help them predict peoples future behaviors. Can anyone say “Minority report”. CNN did make note of the movie in order to play down any similarities. IMO the arrest of the above mentioned and lack of coverage of what should be big news is proof enough THEY i.e. those in charge know way to much about common citizens already. We need to train the troops to street fight and use them accordingly and trust in the fact that right makes might. And government needs to be accountable and fallow the constitution and the Geneva convention, stop thinking in terms of enemy combatants. Or using extraordinary renditions. There are now two battalions ready for domestic duty. G-day!

  3. Freyron 04 Feb 2009 at 1:23 am 3

    I can see the occasional IED strike, or even the possibility of a combat vet teaching gang members how to clear a room, but I’m pretty sure we won’t see a large scale political movement (like in Wiemar) by returning vets.

    Vets are given every opportunity in the world when they return. Education is paid for, free health care, vocational rehab, and extra points for government jobs. I know people will have stories about agent orange and the VA giving vets the run-around, but in my experiences the government has taken good care of me since I’ve been back from Iraq.

    Any vets who start causing trouble are probably trouble makes to begin with? I’ve read about gangs who purposely send their members into the military to get training. These people never cared for America to begin with.

  4. senor tomason 04 Feb 2009 at 1:38 pm 4

    “if it ever goes off in America”

    It already has. Mexican drug gangs have been crossing over into the United States and kidnapping United States citizens in Texas.

    Mr. Lind reminds me of the isolationists of the 1930s. I get the impression he thinks we live in a vacuum. We do not live in a vacuum and the outside world will affect us whether we want it to or not.

  5. Nightstickeron 06 Feb 2009 at 8:08 am 5

    Mr. Lind is correct it will introduce “soldiers to statelessness”. This may well result in the blowback he predicts [i.e. some individuals may act badly]. Unfortunately, this will not be the worst blowback. The worst blowback will be the introduction to this Republic of soldiers who have unsuccessfully fought statelessness. They will bring back not only their bitterness and their wounds but their failed methods [masks to conceal the identity of officials on raids; civilians dragged from their homes at night; use of sensors and drones and other privacy invasive technology; casual acceptance of “collateral damage”; massive blast walls; checkpoints; Orwellian identification systems; etc]. The worst blowback will be the gradual introduction to Main Street USA of the methods used to subjugate Fallujah.

  6. Newjarheaddeanon 06 Feb 2009 at 12:06 pm 6

    AHOY, IMO the arrest proves the Vets don’t know basics of 4GW. My suggesting troops for street fighting was meant in terms of over seas. I haven’t found any GWOT vets who know or care for old guerrilla tactics. IMO they have embraced a Martix system i.e. go to x address, kick in door, run up stairs, look out window see target (description) running north down alley. Observation; SWAT developed the stack tactic for clearing rooms, the book (FM) says it should be top down for the most part. Yet now we have SWAT going by the book, and troops using the stack. SWAT Examples, the Shinning path assault in 1999 and the Mumbai Jewish center. IMO proof of the limited need to know only training. IMO the warning of Mr. Lind should be viewed in terms of the Government being way ahead of the curve, like the Mujahideen not allowed back to there own nations. IMO US is much more sophisticated and prepare in other ways. Mr. Pinter; NPP winner; “Language is employed to keep thought at bay”. IMO like segue dialogue to blur subjects together. No time to think about points made. IMO US knows the old phrase, “the mind is the citadel that well not be taken by a frontal assault”. G-day!

  7. Newjarheaddeanon 07 Feb 2009 at 12:23 pm 7

    AHOY, I just reviewed a book mark on an article I read last mouth I think is note worthy.
    Link (will looks like I can’t link the article its on Defensetech titled Human terrain project) to an article on what is being referred to as human terrain project, i.e. a mapping of the human element for commanders to use in the field. Some of the comments mention how difficult it would be to keep such a map updated, and how bad info could be worse than no info etc. You can read them, after I read them, I suggested it was ultimately like the TV show “Quantum leap” not perfect but better than nothing. And IMO people are creatures of habit and more easily tracked than most what to admit. I also note the date of the show airing more than a decade ago i.e. those in charge are way ahead of the curve. Look how long it took for the SR-71 to become a household word, yet it first flow in, what, 1960? G-day!

    [CR: the A-12, precursor to the SR-71, first flew in 1962. The first flight of the SR-71 itself was in 1964.]

  8. loggie20on 07 Feb 2009 at 9:01 pm 8

    SR 71 was based on a set of requirements for a high altitude interceptor.

    Even I was too young to be read in on that one, but just a bit.

    I can propose several reasons it did not go the way of F-22 and get built even though it was too expensive.

    Maybe the war and economy capped the share of the MICC to 7% of GDP.

    Maybe it was just too darned hard to keep running. Like the B-70.

    Just supposing that the MICC had some bounds in the early 60’s.

  9. Newjarheaddeanon 08 Feb 2009 at 10:49 am 9

    AHOY, it seems I’m the poster child for this subject i.e. problem vets. IMO my Tri-F is the scoop, its all from open sources however it’s my organization (no BS to the point) that makes it special and IMO US hopes it all goes the way of other Black arts and not what US wants on the wild, wild west net lol. Like that exist. Hence I’m only able to post on sites allowing 1000 characters or so. Other sites allowing more close me down. IMO this proves Tri-F is not just some collection of a mad man. Other wise IMO I would be allowed to just ramble on. Every time I try to start a web site I’m told my system want work with there’s or visa versa. Google up my call sign you’ll only find the marginal stuff and personal attacks on me. I’ve lost connection to my server on average about twice a mouth, every time the phone company has to seen someone out, they always act like its no problem etc. Long story short some of there questions have clued me in on the fact that no one wants to admit malicious software is making its way to may computer threw there systems. DNI had problems and now I can’t log off with out getting the “your attempting to log off etc” page, (a security precaution?) and now I can’t post a link. I understand and don’t wish to cause any problems. However is everyone having the same problems? I know others post links. IMO in general if others did have as many problems we would either here a lot more complaints or society is crazier than I believe. However IMO US knows who I am, where I’m at and what I’m about. G-day!

  10. Maxon 09 Feb 2009 at 5:36 pm 10

    “CR: the A-12, precursor to the SR-71, first flew in 1962. The first flight of the SR-71 itself was in 1964.”

    Chet is right on.

    I’ll explain where I’m going with this momentarily, but forgive and indulge the terminal geek in me.

    A-11 was the original bare metal prototype that flew the J-75 engines,
    for basic areodynamic proof. The mcah 3 ++ J-58 engines wern’t ready yet.

    A-12 were the single seat CIA versions, lightest, highest flying and FASTEST of the lineage. Informed speculation has it operating routinely a 95,000 ft and at mach 3.5

    YF-12 was the long range high speed interceptor, designed to carry the Hughes long range radar and missile package that evolved into the F-14 Phoenix.

    Irronic that it might have been the solution for intercepting and shooting down our own B-70 Valkyries. Go figure.

    SR-71 was the SAC operated 2 seater and most popularised.

    Kelly Johnson was a phenominal genius, who lived and breathed
    to design advanced aircraft.

    Now in Coram’s book on Boyd, and without naming names, there’s a passage that describes how Boyd humilated a Lockheed executive on the L/D specs for thier early LWF fighter, that used the F-104 as a departure point.

    Kelly Johnson is also quoted elsewhere, (Ben Rich’s “Skunk Works”)
    in claiming that the “Lancer,” would have “flown rings around the F-16.”

    You do the math.


  11. JJon 17 Feb 2009 at 6:18 pm 11

    I just scanned briefly a news report about Chicago Policemen back from Iraq applying their experiences there to Chicago.

    One must seriously entertain the idea that the future of America is looking most interesting and, is it called Xe now or something like that Negroagua’s new tag, theorists of this particular discipline will be finding much to write about.

  12. cynicalon 07 May 2009 at 9:03 am 12

    Chet, thanks for posting Mr. Lind’s take on this. This is something I’ve thought about a lot, and honestly I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s really concerned about this.