Wars past in which the
When targets and combatants are clearly identified as being military in origin, battles are fought only where armies and their support infrastructure reside. Battlefields of WWI, WWII, the U.S. Civil War, etc. are easily identified, even today. Possible exceptions to these are targets composed primarily of civilian elements, whose most infamous examples are probably
In the common battlefield contexts noted above, gathering of intelligence to promote effective military operations is limited to that chain of involvement. Armies could easily be identified, so gathering information on the infrastructure that supports their operations can be highly focused, such as locations of arms-based factories, military bases, command and control facilities, etc.
The goal of conventional warfare is to eliminate the capacity of your enemy's army to act against you. This can be done by inflicting physical damage to an army and its support structure, or it can be done by inflicting psychological damage to that army or its supporting civilian populace.
The second half of the 20th century brought unconventional warfare and blurred battle lines to the forefront of military strategy.
Fast-forward to the Fall of 2001. The battlefield became the
American society is now presented with the ultimate quandary. Unconventional operators are currently planning operations against, and in the middle of, a culture whose most prized ideal is the primacy of individual liberty. Not only do those who wish no harm against others have the freedom to live according to their choosing, but those who wish the destruction of that culture have nearly endless opportunities to inflict damage to that culture. Not only are there a multitude of targets (because everything about it must be destroyed), but the elements of that society that are most able to prevent their actions are deliberately limited by their system of laws. If the
So what is a free society to do when its greatest strength becomes, potentially, the vehicle for its destruction?
As in any war, intelligence must be collected in order for combatants to operate effectively. Terrorists don't have to think much about gathering intelligence: they know where the police, FBI and military are. So they can operate extremely effectively. The Police, FBI, and military, however, have a difficult time gathering intelligence about terrorists, even in their own backyard.
If such a situation had occurred perhaps 20 years ago, the stakes would be relatively low. A conventional-yield explosive device, or somebody with an automatic rifle on a crowded street, could kill maybe a hundred people, tops. But people with intent to wreak havoc most likely now have access to weapons of unimaginable destructive capacity (we’re talking *millions* dead here) - for the right price. And the oil industry has become increasingly lucrative, for American Capitalists and Middle-Eastern Islamicists alike. The operative difference between the two is that American Capitalists love liberty.
Military (a.k.a. a few armed people sworn to protect a civilian populace) victory is achieved by a balanced combination of Strength, Resolve and Cleverness. Our past heroes were people like Gen. Washington and his Minutemen, Grant, Sherman, Buffalo Soldiers, Teddy Roosevelt, Gen. Pershing, Sgt. York, Maj. Boyington, Eisenhower, Patton, MacArthur and their Bands of Brothers. They all exemplified Cleverness, Strength and Resolve.
In the new domestic battlefield, surrounded by soft targets and civilians, our expertise of broad lethality (Strength), however, is a major liability. This weakness will have to be compensated for by Resolve and Cleverness. If you’re not quite getting it, let me be clear: CLEVERNESS = EFFECTIEVE INTELLIGENCE GATHERING + CREATIVITY. And let me be even clearer: INTELLIGENCE = SPYING ON PEOPLE. And clearer yet: = SPYING ON PEOPLE INSIDE THE UNITED STATES. And absolute clarity: = if necessary, SPYING ON UNITED STATES CITIZENS THAT ARE ACTING TO CAUSE HARM TO (POSSIBLY MILLIONS OF) THEIR FELLOW CITIZENS.
Cleverness also equals recognizing looming danger and acting to eliminate it before it solidifies. Let me be clear about this, too:
I find it difficult to believe that I have to even *begin* making an argument to engage and defeat Islamicists, wherever they might be - it's as if a cougar has just entered my child's playroom and my wife refuses to go get the shotgun because the cougar is "just trying to regain his former habitat." This leads to the concept of resolve. Right now, we have close to none. WWII would not have been won without resolve, but an even clearer example of the importance of resolve is when we lack it. Had we maintained our resolve, we would have won in
That is the true lesson of