Body count x distance / time 2
Tirelessly, civilization has refined this threat formula stuffed with constants and variables. Recorded history is a deceitful review of this compulsive refinement.
Humanity has retained as much weapon know-how as its collective memory has forgotten peace technology. Infant mortality, per capita calories consumed, songs sung: variables like those have fluctuated then soon been forgotten. Meanwhile, humanity has faithfully committed weapon requirements to memory. Weapon management is all that we have really excelled at.
Weapon management has never secured its adherents’ safety for very long. The more passionately we embrace weapon technology, the likelier we will be crushed during its next paroxysm, along with everything we hold dear.
Each nation identifies a multitude of strategic threats – at home and abroad – and coordinates a vast array of technologies and behaviors to sustain its threat counter-deterrent. From Trinidad to Tiananmen Square, modern states have optimized themselves for war. Every country can go to instant war footing and conduct continuous combat, all the while so vulnerable that it can be devastated within minutes. All of them are brittle masterworks of weapon management.
We have forgotten most real peace technologies and mentalities (whether based on religion or ideology), even preliminary ones adopted long ago by weapon civilizations less defensible than ours. Everything peaceful that we accept today, we’ve forgotten time and again and had to relearn.
By definition, pure peace management is prehistoric: beyond the purview of our historical records because history has destroyed it. It may have been quite sophisticated in the past; but it is considered “primitive” according to our contemporary weapon barbarism.
Weapon technology forces otherwise peaceful economies to withdraw from sustainable levels of development and creativity. Even in times of peace, many workers are idled to satisfy military recruitment. Many peace technologies are rejected as cost-inefficient (such as solar and wind power). On the other hand, ruinous weapon technologies get double and triple subsidies.
Nuclear power, for example, demands at least fivefold fortunes: one for construction, one for operation and three more for security, waste disposal and downstream decontamination. No commercial nuclear reactor has been decommissioned; we will have to pay that astronomical cost, much less that for 500 soon-obsolete ones. A typical weapon system: ruinous from a peace technology standpoint but correspondingly lethal.
Inadequate education and unemployment never reduce inflation, even though the control of inflation has been a routine justification for abusive levels of unemployment. Unemployment has never solved economic problems; it worsens them.
During World War II (sic) – despite total mobilization and full employment – America neutralized inflation by taxing military-industrial profits and redistributing this wealth through GI Bill real estate and educational loans, and foreign aid programs to Europe (the Marshall Plan), Japan and the “little tigers” of Asia.
The Swedish people and government managed to do so – from the end of World War II (sic) until that country’s end-of-century backslide into just another McDonald’s parking lot – by taxing everyone and everything, then spending this fortune on massive public works, full employment and generous social benefits.
On the other hand, crimes and riots multiply with mass unemployment, as do recruitment rates for the Harm (Armed) Forces, as does the quality of those recruits. Reactionary politicians thrive like maggots in carrion.
Criminal, industrial, environmental and tax wastage have this in common. Like a beached whale recently butchered, they leave strips of financial blubber lying around during peacetime. These can be recycled more efficiently during future military emergencies.
This is why weapon managers never manage to control routine injustice, runaway crime and economic inefficiency. These proliferate in peacetime despite well-meant attempts to prevent them. Reinvested more efficiently in times of war, this gross peacetime wastage can pay for unforeseen but critical military projects.
Getting a weapon state to operate with justice and efficiency would be like getting a garbage dump to smell like roses. You can do it, mind you, and with relative ease. Just cover the garbage with topsoil and plant roses. But it wouldn’t be a garbage dump any longer. Weapon technologies cannot be turned into efficient peace technologies without destroying them and without exposing their destroyers to better-armed, more reactionary weapon technicians at home and abroad.
National reputation is another key factor in the weapons equation. How successfully have previous wars been terminated? How often has the army been victorious? How often defeated? Paradoxically, defeated armies often prove to be more capable adversaries than those with a long run of success. Surviving military defeat and restoring political cohesion are much more demanding governmental tasks than managing victory. It takes superior leadership to turn military defeat into long-term success. Any fool can manage a victorious nation. Haven’t conspiracies of dunces done so lately? Later on, the losers’ superior leaders will most likely defeat victorious mediocrities.
General George Patton asserted that no one ever won a war by standing on the defensive. The American experience during the Vietnam War, and that of Russians then of Americans in Afghanistan, would have baffled him as much as they did his John Wayne peers, Capitalist and Communist alike. No doubt he would have commanded that we nuke the lot. The way French generals plotted the Americans would do during the battle of Dien Bien Phu in Indochina—drop a nuke (atomics, actually) on the Vietminh Army that French generals had assembled into an enormous target, by deploying their elite troops as bait in the bull’s-eye. Generals MacArthur and Lemay and their military-political peers wanted to do the same thing : nuke-happy fruit loops.
Actually, no one has ever achieved decisive military victory. Such victories are subject to the material imperfection of any worldly adventure (which Clausewitz called “friction”). Alexander the Gross of Macedon came close to total victory, but his triumphs cost him his life and his empire.
America may well boast that it won both World Wars (sic) hands down. However, its hundreds of thousands of war dead since World War II (sic), its bloated military-industrial-intelligence-prison complex, its collapsing civilian infrastructure, its ignorant electorate and doltish, conniving leadership, all of them add up to give the lie to this rosy scenario.
In total war, the bravest, most dutiful, idealistic and diligent, (also the least, leaving the mediocre to triumph) fall at the forefront of battle. Incompetents, cowards, mental fossils and timeservers are left, by and large, to pick up the pieces. Thus Europe took decades to recover from its Paroxysms, America never recovered from its Civil War, and the ex-Communist powers are just emerging from their traumatized comas. A nation ravaged by total war resembles a stroke victim slowly recovering the use of her palsied limbs, voice and memory.
Eventually, every empire falls prey to its internal contradictions. Only a superb organization can absorb such vicious losses and emerge with long-lasting success. Following defeat, surviving peace technicians (the best of them lost in combat as small unit leaders and gentlemen troopers, or massacred by both sides as defenseless community leaders – teachers, doctors, priests and such) mend a frayed social fabric, replenish an exhausted production base and reassure a shaken public. Once they’d restored a modest infrastructure of peace as best they could, weapon managers re-emerge, re-assert illicit control and resume routine abuse.
I ask you. What would civilization look like, had so many talented artists, good folk and brilliant thinkers not perished in war? Think of thousands of international Einsteins, Teslas, Kants, Monets, Clara Bartons, Verlaines and Yeats, ground down under artillery barrages and sickened to death in charnel trenches. Multiply this sacrifice by thousands of historic instances and thousands more locations.
World War II (sic) followed World War I (sick) like clockwork, not because of geopolitical inevitability but because the collective genius that could have understood things and achieved a better result was massacred in previous battles that served no other purpose than to wind up the weapon mentality cuckoo clock.
If they had been spared, world culture would no doubt be much more brilliant, refined and meaningful—much less weighed down with bad taste, mass-produced junk, and the literary, philosophical and political trivia favored by the vicious mediocrities that war spares and promotes in their place.
A defeated society’s survival technique is more interesting to study than “successful” military empires we are coached to study and revere. Those tend to collapse at the death of their charismatic originator or at the first serious defeat. Besides, the history of peace mentality is a staccato of well-intentioned fiascos that seem to culminate in disaster. So post-defeat attitudes and strategies should arouse Learner curiosity.
We can draw certain conclusions about weapon dissidents. Their many defeats make them as hungry for success as they are clueless how to achieve it. They insist on the soundness of old tactics and refuse to admit their continuous failure. Like mental patients mummified in a straightjacket and padded cell, they repeat the same empty distractions over and over again, expecting better results.
Indeed, the worst opponents of progress could not have done a better job sabotaging the results of progressive parties, even if they had controlled the progressive agenda from above, as the Nazis did. Is current progressive “leadership” managing to do just that? Who knows?
During the Alaska Nuclear Freeze initiative in 1986, a delightful middle-aged lady hosted Anchorage activists in her home. Eventually, we had to meet and re-organize elsewhere because, despite her expressions of enthusiastic support, she managed to downplay and naysay every course of action suggested in her presence. The same thing may have happened to the anarchic body of alter-globalists. Have their activities been hosted, sponsored and sabotaged up ‘til now by our worst enemies masquerading as inspirational patrons?
Reactionaries hold several advantages over ineffectual progressives. Their leaders needn’t be admirable. On the contrary, they’d best be harsh, judgmental, arbitrary and punitive (Trump). They can be counted upon to lie about a wide range of topics with enthusiasm and artistry. A sense of humor is superfluous, the last refuge of the weak. Any plausible deviation from these extremes can be accepted as a hypocritical tactic, and the deviationist, esteemed for his ability to hoodwink the credulous. Conservatives will choose a cad, a mediocrity, a smooth-talking con man or an obvious nut case—so long as he embraces Conspiracies of Greed with sufficient gusto. Reactionaries require no rational policies. On the contrary, the more emotional, simplistic, escapist, self-serving and prejudicial they are, the better. Their basic appeals (in code, if necessary) are to greed, panic, bigotry, self-pity and unjustified entitlement.
Emotions seem so superior to them than wisdom that they must scour the latter from public discourse. Which is an interesting idea in itself. Psychopaths without empathy appeal to panicky emotions that block rational thought. Those who run on empathy appeal to rational thought first and foremost, and find emotional appeals pointless most of the time. After all, for the conscientious, few emotional appeals are necessary (reason is self-evident). Whereas for those deprived of conscience, their verbal repetition of panic emotions seems to be essential. In fact, having no policy beyond a few insulting clichés just reduces the reactionaries’ vulnerability to rational criticism.
Many conservative politicians have based a successful career on fraud, deceit, blackmail and worse—shared only by those in the know. The most powerful have focused their malice against select prey minorities. Had their everyday wrongs been publicized, that would have spun them into political oblivion, (Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Kurt Waldheim, Radovan Karadzic, George W. Bush, etc.). Unfortunately, they are shielded by information elites just as corrupt.
Long-standing habits of reactionary Americans have hog-tied the United Nations, lobotomized the State Department and planted troglodyte bosses to rule the intelligence community. The less mastery these organizations display, the more warfare and crises they allow in the world, with corresponding wartime revenues for slimeball patrons.
Since this kind of abuse has gone uncorrected for centuries, all we can expect from those agencies are shoulder-shrugging ineptitude, bureaucratic stagnation, behind-the-scenes mayhem (currently drone-driven and remarkably similar to the Assassins of ancient Syria), bigot shadism and media-driven panic mongering.
Who could have predicted that 8,000 guys in Toyota machine-gun pickups could rout four American-equipped and trained Iraqi infantry divisions? Or that Gadhafi’s arsenals should have been carpet-bombed before they fell into wrong hands? Who indeed? Ever since its inception in Afghanistan under Soviet occupation, one way or another, Daesh has been subsidized by the United States and its recruitment spurred.
Gigantic tax receipts disappear in the pockets of the worst crooks that reactionaries can unearth, both at home and abroad.
Progressives, on the other hand, hesitate to back anyone. They await some Moses to lead them into the Promised Land. Anyone whose sainthood isn’t certified isn't worthy of devotion. This moralistic insecurity is their greatest glory and most consistent weakness. The Perfect Leader they await so placidly can be assassinated with ease, clearing the political landscape for certified reactionaries and bandits for another generation or two, century or two, until the next charismatic target has the guts to stand up and get punctually gunned down, and so on.
No-one has grasped the basic truth that the Perfect Voice and Vision they await reside in the collective superconscience where they are beyond the reach of political assassination and character defect. Progressives are too panic-stricken to take the initial step and rally regardless of personal and organizational limitations. They’d rather delegate the risk and responsibility for social transformation to the alluring mirage of some Messiah shimmering in a distant, hazy future.
Most colonial conquests were nothing more than ambitious pillaging expeditions dreamt up by a few junior middlemen. Insignificant militarists, shopkeepers, politicos and religious fanatics spilled buckets of red ink and red gore, despite the aversion of metropolitan citizens and bureaucrats equally reluctant.
As to the influence of the rich, well:
“Every great political act involving a new flow of capital, or a large fluctuation in the values of existing investments, must receive the sanction and the practical aid of this little group of financial kings…
“To create new public debts, to float new companies, and to cause constant, considerable fluctuations of values are three conditions of their profitable business. Each condition carries them into politics, and throws them on the side of Imperialism.
“The public financial arrangements for the Philippine war put several millions of dollars into the pockets of Mr. Pierpont Morgan and his friends; the China-Japan war, which saddled the Celestial Empire for the first time with a public debt, and the indemnity which she will pay to her European invaders in connection with the recent conflict, brings grist to the financial mills in Europe. Every railway or mining concession wrung from some reluctant foreign potentate means profitable business in raising capital and floating companies. A policy which rouses fears of aggression … and which fans the rivalry of commercial nations … evokes vast expenditure on armaments, and ever-accumulating public debts, while the doubts and risks accruing from this policy promote that constant oscillation of values of securities which is so profitable to the skilled financier. There is not a war, a revolution, an anarchist assassination, or any other public shock, which is not gainful to these men; they are harpies who suck their gains from every new forced expenditure and every sudden disturbance of public credit…
“The policy of these men, it is true, does not necessarily make for war; where war would bring about too great and too permanent a damage to substantial fabric of industry, which is the ultimate and essential basis of speculation, their influence is cast for peace. [Author’s note: this was written before the First (sic) World War, which permanently refuted this conclusion]… But every increase of public expenditure, every oscillation of public credit short of this collapse, every risky enterprise in which public resources can be made the pledge of private speculations, is profitable to the big money-lender and speculator.
“In view of the part which the non-economic factors of patriotism, adventure, military enterprise, political ambition, and philanthropy play in imperial expansion, it may appear that to impute to financiers so much power is to take a too narrowly economic view of history. And it is true that the motor-power of Imperialism is not chiefly financial: finance is rather the governor of the imperial engine, directing the energy and determining its work: it does not constitute the fuel of the engine, nor does it directly generate the power. Finance manipulates the patriotic forces which politicians, soldiers, philanthropists, and traders generate; the enthusiasm for expansion which issues from these sources, though strong and genuine, is irregular and blind; the financial interest has those qualities of concentration and clear-sighted calculation which are needed to set Imperialism to work. An ambitious statesman, a frontier soldier, an overzealous missionary, a pushing trader, may suggest or even initiate a step of imperial expansion, may assist in educating patriotic public opinion to the urgent need of some fresh advance, but the final determination rests with the financial power. The direct influence exercised by great financial houses in “high politics” is supported by the control which they exercise over the body of public opinion through the Press, which, in every “civilized” country, is becoming more and more their obedient instrument…” Imperialism: A Study, by J. A. Hobson, George Allen & Unvin Ltd., London, 1902, Fourth Impression, 1948, pp. 57-60. (Bold italics mine).
A situation fraught with disturbance, panic and uncertainty generates the greatest profit for the elite. The favorite con of the very rich is to bring the hottest spark of confrontation to the thickest explosive vapor of international tension, without igniting the pool of gasoline in which we’re all floundering.
Thus the Cold War left us a hundred and fifty million more war dead, billions more casualties from preventable starvation and disease, and uncounted millions of refugees (in reality, 65.3 million in 2015, thus the 21st nation on Earth). It has served as a plush nursery for war profiteers.
As long as they succeed at their bloody game, they earn themselves unimaginable wealth. But should they fail, even for an instant, and boom! There go their own kids, along with almost everyone else’s, down the drain of total war.
Learners will defy this routine. From their perspective, an excellent, fully informed foreign policy would induce the worst climate for high-risk investment: too boring, too much security on behalf of distant victims, too much personal recognition, too many intimate interactions (“How are the kids?”) and expressions of mutual esteem. None among the weak would be left ignored and despised enough to serve as dehumanized victims ripe for profit-taking (as the poor South serves the rich West these days). None of the strong would expose their fellows near and distant to such disasters no matter how improbable. No more profit to be had in that and a lot more trouble.
Effective international policy will apply minimal force to reduce world tensions. In cosmopolitan interactions, the clearly superior community would sacrifice minor concessions to re-stabilize things after each crisis. Local moderates will gain full support, while Prisms and Chaosists will be disarmed using minimal force. This policy will frustrate high-risk speculators on Earth. Learners will shift their focus to outer space where their craving for crisis management would do the most good.
A notable private enterprise project in space in the near future will be an orbital wheel like that in the movie 2001, except resembling a giant roulette wheel when seen close-up, and far away a fat, ruby-red star. It will serve primarily as a luxury casino and a getaway and/or display case for the rich and famous.
Under Learner management, every instrument will serve its proper function in cooperation with its counterparts, doing what it does best and leaving the rest up to those better qualified.
Never again weapon management, whether it be the bean-counting nihilism of corporate slave market empires or the imposition of some new cult or ideology (no matter how seductive) dominating everything by brute force and failing to control anything effectively. It should be obvious that only God controls everything under the sun, which has never been the case for any single institution that man has come up with and imposed at gun point.
When weapon policies curdle into massacre and disaster, they cannot be characterized as “failures” or “errors” as we have been led to believe. Instead, weapon managers worsen vicious outcomes on purpose. After every disaster and mass crime, we are left to ponder, “What could possibly have gone wrong?” The answer? “Nothing went wrong. Everything went strictly according to the planning of weapon management.”
Every time we have mistaken the monstrous outcomes of deliberate weapon policy for accidents of petty greed, insanity or stupidity – each insignificant – we’ve helped weapon managers cover their tracks.
Not even total nuclear war can be considered a weapon management failure. After all, once they dart with their sting, warrior bees die. This fate does not prevent them from stinging a threatening apparition. And they may flatter themselves, with their last flickers of consciousness, that they fulfilled their honorable duty. The same thing goes for nuclear holocausters to whom we’ve handed the means of ending civilized life on this planet, all to defend values and pursue profits that may or may not be legitimate.
Arms embargoes don’t work either. Legitimate governments and innocent people suffer the brunt of bilateral (“even-handed”) arms embargos. Weapons embargoes have failed during the Spanish Civil War, the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, the Yugoslav Crisis, the hiatus between the Iraq Wars, and at other times and places.
All justice forfeit, the Aggressors’ first reflex will be to outgun their victims from the get-go. Before their first attack, they will arm themselves to the teeth. For a price, well-organized (and/or criminal) brokers will provide them with more weapons and ammo on demand. Often, these brokers are the same ones mandated to enforce the weapons embargo while mass victims and their legitimate governments suffer the brunt of its effects.
America’s ritual recall of traumatic assault at Pearl Harbor has kept the global community on the edge of its nuclear seat for the last half century. Our only redemption? That we pulled that easy trigger only twice during our watch, aroused by the utmost provocation. In the case of Russia and the other nuclear powers, never.
The last fifteen years of futile war between the Muslim World and the West were provoked by 9/11. In the same way, Russia’s part in the Cold War and Putin’s attempt to resume it since have been in part justified by the Nazis’ thousand-mile-wide assault on Mother Russia. Just imagine, overnight invasion from Maine to Florida by superbly organized and ruthless foreigners. The Chinese by the Japanese, likewise. No wonder everybody’s on a hair trigger! Every government on Earth has got PTSD.
It is ironic to think that President Franklin Roosevelt knew Admiral Yamamoto’s attack plan in detail long before Pearl Harbor’s Battleship Row was bombed. Thousands of American casualties, hundreds of aircraft wrecked and eight obsolete battlewagons settled in the shallows of Oahu: those losses might have been less painful than the next most likely scenario.
Had the U.S. Battle Fleet suffered the Japanese attack with fewer losses, it would have sailed out to rescue General Macarthur and his troops in the Philippines, in accordance with an Orange Plan drawn up a decade earlier by “battleship” admirals. Four American aircraft carriers (conveniently absent from Pearl Harbor on December 7, along with vital high-speed supply ships and naval tankers) along with almost every other surface combatant the Navy could muster ‒ their aircraft obsolete and pilots novice; their radars primitive, cranky or non-existent; and their twitchy torpedoes, impotent ‒ would have convoyed entire divisions of Regulars and Marines as well as hundreds of crated aircraft, artillery pieces and tanks, virtually the entire trained cadre and ordnance inventory of the USA.
Somewhere out in the Western Pacific, far away from friendly support and trapped in a spider web of fortified Japanese air bases, they would have encountered up to ten enemy aircraft carriers loaded with superb planes and veteran pilots, a like number of modernized dreadnoughts, swarms of submarines and surface escorts bristling with deadly Long Lance torpedoes.
At that time, bigot American Admirals underestimated their opponent’s combat prowess—a bad habit routine among the American military. No worse military outcome can be expected than that achieved from underestimating your enemy.
Out for blood, the Japanese would not have burdened themselves with vulnerable transports. Day-long aerial duels and submarine wolf pack attacks – more imbalanced in favor the Japanese than those at Midway and around the Solomon Islands, during which the Americans barely won through heroic sacrifice and miraculous timing – would have alternated with slashing night surface firefights relying on Mark I eyeballs and brutal training versus infant radar technologies, at which the Japanese Navy routinely whipped the Americans during the war.
It would have been the battle of Tsushima all over again. This time, it would have been the Americans, blinded by their bigotry and lack of radars, who would have succumbed to samurai sailors; instead of the Russians who lost because they stored ready ammunition in their secondary batteries (to forestall surprise torpedo boat attacks), which detonated sympathetically during the first long-range hits of Japanese primary batteries.
Instead of the shallows of Oahu, America’s vital military assets would have headed for the bottom of the deepest seas on Earth. Survivors who fought their way through to the Philippines would merely have added to Japan’s haul of starving prisoners.
Reeling from this debacle, lacking trained cadres for its world-spanning armed forces, the USA would have taken another decade to achieve 1944 levels of combat skill. Of necessity, Americans would have ignored Europe beyond the static defense of England. It would have had to counter-attack in Hawaii, Australia, India, China and perhaps even Panama, to secure long-range bomber bases for its atomic weapons. Unlike us, these Americans would have desperately needed atom bombs to defeat their enemies otherwise unstoppable.
As a matter of fact, the Japanese had at least five opportunities to drag the war on for another half-dozen years:
· Pearl Harbor: attack with a third wave and bomb essential fuel depot and repair facilities;
· Savo Island, Guadalcanal: after having gutted its cruiser escort, close in on the American invasion fleet and destroy it;
· Midway: send in the Japanese battleships first, to act as airpower bait in small, carefully spaced carrier hunter-killer groups; instead of in the rear as mediocre escorts for Japanese carriers;
· Komandorski Island: sink a self-crippled American cruiser and its escorts, then every enemy afloat in nearby seas; and
· Leyte Gulf, Philippines: close in with its overwhelming firepower and destroy the vulnerable American invasion transports.
But Admiral Yamamoto, a true samurai and gentleman/scholar, was infected during his visit to America with the conviction of ultimate U.S. victory, to the extent that he convinced his admiral disciples (even beyond the grave) that the triumphs listed above were not worth their risk.
In any case, an American submarine could have delivered a nuke to Tokyo Bay, Etajima or some other target (on a suicide run, if necessary) just as readily as a B‑29 bomber that might never have been launched at Hiroshima or Nagasaki from the Marianna Islands because they were out of reach of U.S. amphibious forces, defeated according to this hypothesis.
For the nth time, policy makers on both sides agreed to fail at their pre-war planning and negotiations. They resorted to passive-aggressive militarism instead of actively pursuing of peace—precisely as we are failing today. All sides committed these errors, rubber-stamped by a castrated League of Nations, long before the Manchurian Incident triggered the Second (sic) World War.
Our United Nations aren’t even marginally better in the long run. None of today’s governments can claim world peace as its primary goal; none can claim real legitimacy or sovereignty except at gunpoint with our reluctant consent, as during an airline highjack. All of them need to be replaced.
While the first-rate powers are spellbound by the dynamics of military aggression, the weak are equally tempted to resort to it, as long as the great powers forbear. High-rank fools (the 1990’s Yugoslav Aggressors, for example) have argued that restraint is a sign of weakness to be fully exploited.
This dilemma remains crucial. When weapon sectarians block the path of peace, they should be disarmed using minimal force. This is more a question of rapid police intervention, rather than a military one carried out too late, as we are used to. Questionable expedients may be judged legitimate: like arresting tin pot dictators in their bedclothes (Assad) and pumping sleeping gas into the ventilation shaft of kangaroo legislatures (Bosnian Serb) before they can vote for more war. However, we should rely on World Court juried trials for final judgment as to the legitimacy of these tactics. Local moderates should be encouraged in every other way.
After enormous sacrifices, a defeated nation may achieve strategic superiority over its tormentor. It may come to resemble its enemy in more ways than it would like to admit—since imitation is the sincerest form of defiance. Revived losers may be tempted to challenge old enemies in a grudge rematch. In that case, they have merely traded places: operant parameters remain the same, mirrored but otherwise undisturbed.
All the governments of Earth resemble each other in this way.
Another factor influences the threat deterrence formula. It is the count of person-years wasted in combat, subtracted yearly from the productive pool of labor and permanently from the roster of the living.
Even if humanity had expended in idleness the titanic effort and resources wasted on warfare, everyone could still earn a comfortable living from a twenty-hour workweek and a few years of a half-thousand hours each. We could have pursued our topics of passion (or done nothing but watch TV) for the rest of our lives. We’d be much richer in any case.
Another crucial factor in the weapon formula is the political cohesion that binds a proletariat to its elite. It cannot be faked or coerced for very long. Defeat looms if the info proletariat refuses to support its elite spontaneously. Popular discontent must remain muted.
In all but the worst-case scenarios, (see Boom! above), info elites sacrifice very little compared to the benefits they gain. They reserve this privilege for the info proletariat.
In the long run, public opinion must remain apathetic, even for overly long and costly wars (and what wars aren’t?). As was the case during the World Wars (sic), once elite youths had been massacred as often as proletarian ones, their grieving parental decision-makers refuse to opt for peace. After all, they have already made the supreme sacrifice; they won’t give up until their host nation has been stomped flat and they, shoved up against the wall.
We must forestall this ultimate sacrifice and turn it into a celebration shared by the same actors.
The number of well-trained warriors, times their rate of fire, divided by re-supply deadlines, times cruising and battle speeds; divided by the defender’s throw-weight, his ability to dig in, armor plate, maneuver, evade detection and replace casualties; times ... These and many other constants and variables make up an intricate threat formula whose complex elements weapon managers have compulsively refined.
Col. T. N. Dupuy attempted to formulate this equation in his book, Understanding War, Paragon House Publishers, New York, 1987. He didn’t quite make it. His results, bearing on the Iraq War and predicting enormous American casualties under fire from Saddam Hussein’s army, were not predictive. This formula exists; its definitive version just hasn’t been openly published yet.
In a process strikingly comparable to Darwinian selection, alternate bursts of technological innovation favor the means of attack and defense. These and many other variables make up a complicated threat formula. Morale, morality and cultural factors (for example, personal eagerness to kill despite God’s forbidding it, as well as a ritual default to ultimate self-sacrifice) may turn out to be more important than mere details of military hardware and strategy. The Japanese and the Celts thought so, to their ultimate defeat.
Several thousand years ago, the Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu, perhaps the ultimate military theoretician on Earth, listed five non-negotiable requirements for victory:
· Politics: how to get people to stand alongside their leaders, even at the risk of their lives;
· Commander: his particular traits; and
· Military doctrine: organization, discipline, ordnance and logistics.
It seems that everything else, good or bad, can be endured, made up from scratch or ripped off from the enemy. This list (and his entire philosophy of military struggle) could just as readily serve the goals of World Peace.
Modern nuclear, scalar and biological warfare nullify every known form of military defense. Weapon technicians have optimized the threat formula to such an extent as to render it vain. Modern armies (harmies) – with their superb warriors, exquisite weaponry, and extraordinary paramilitary and paracivilian supports – run the risk of total collapse under a rain of computer, nuclear, meteorological, biological and propaganda bombardment. As a result, modern armies are less and less likely to achieve a satisfactory outcome, even while their maintenance cost spirals out of control.
It sickens me to witness infantry patrols posted to urban malls and transit stations, after every new terrorist atrocity, tanks parked in the street and fighter planes thundering overhead: the least effective of preventive measures. Yet very effective to browbeat one’s own people into submission to intolerable circumstance.
The logical collapse of this value system vindicates Learner. Virtually overnight, the time-honored paraphernalia of a weapon state becomes obsolete; its glories, justifications and tactics, vain.
If you follow this line of reasoning, you should be just as frightened as excited. Everything we have been led to believe has gotten too bitter to hold down. It is up to us, at this point, to come up with better alternatives. It’s about time!
It is time we optimized the Armchair Formula at the expense of the Threat Formula. This project might seem unrealistic and even alien to our way of thinking, but we cannot let that stop us. We have had very little practice at peace—unlike total war at which we are experts. To succeed at peace, we will have to reclaim ancient expertise we had forgotten, retrieve it from the collective superconscience that has not forgotten anything.
Until these facts are common knowledge, weapon mentors will harness the delusion of hypnotized masses to distort this debate. Learners won’t replace them until global majorities have agreed to resolve their problems in unison and in peace, despite every call for more war and less peace. In the meantime, isolated attempts at individual, institutional and mystical improvement will fail, swamped under the social contradictions that enclose them.
It is our duty to defy weapon mentality in all its manifestations, erase weapon mythology from our collective conscience, re-codify our laws and struggle to achieve a dependable peace. Let every potential sacrifice be converted into a celebration. That could get us there.
Tell yourself, “I am ready.” Find your peers, just as ready. Gather to broadcast Learner. Once enough of you will have read this text, grasped its content and rallied around its ideas; the next steps will reveal themselves as self-evident, ordered in time and place, and enacted by the most qualified individual or group.