Military honor is the only thing that will prevent weapon technicians from wrecking everything, which fact must be emphasized by peace mythology. Learners should appeal foremost to warrior honor: the honor of my father, of any good warrior, that scrubs him of his filth. He will recognize honor at once and defend it against anyone crazy enough to deny it, lethal as he might be. Military honor will champion PeaceWorld and guard it fiercely thereafter. Duty, honor and Learning will fuse as one.
It may surprise you to stumble across a blueprint for World Militia in Learner, the PeaceWorld manifesto. Actually, that should be expected. The Second Amendment of the American Constitution bans government from infringing on the right of its citizens to bear arms—a well-regulated militia “being necessary to the security of a free State.” The weapon justification was to arm local militias against slave revolts in the South and attacks by Native Americans wherever they had not yet been exterminated or confined to military reservations; that of peace will be to arm everyone against any threat from global tyranny down to a neighborhood bully.
No solution can be found in current practices of private handguns in too many households, (fire harms + children = tragic loss guaranteed); bodyguards for the rich and weapon shakedowns for the poor; a ruinous, mercenary army anathema to the spirit and letter of the Constitution; skirmishes against suicide bombers; fire fights that mow down innocent victims in the streets, in the restaurant, even in the hallowed halls of our schools.
Learners, what a disgrace! America, the West and the whole world may have come to terms with this unspeakable infamy, but we should have known better and done better.
Some people confound a world without war with one devoid of violence. In the end, they may be right. Then again, they may have mistaken a method like non-violence – the most powerful method and therefore the most challenging one – for the goal at hand: a world without war.
Can you tell the difference between simple pacifism and much more complex Satyagraha, between a world without any violence whatsoever and PeaceWorld? I could fill a complete chapter to address this topic completely: which should come first?
The practice of deliberate non-violence (Satyagraha) has just been rediscovered by humanity, after thousands of years of universally brutal suppression every time it was tried.
One of the most recent attempts was in Palestine, a painful failure for the time being, because such an exercise cannot succeed until the following lessons have been Learned. Palestinian Satyagrahi overlooked two vital elements: A) the presence of a dangerous military alternative, the evil twin brothers of the Satyagrahi, but under their control, provided the peaceful alternative succeeds: “Negotiate with us in good faith or take them on as best you can;” B) realtime, world-spanning media coverage of any repression against the Satyagrahi.
Palestinian Satyagrahi may have theoretically possessed the former necessity, but were fatally denied the latter. The systematic brutality of orthodox reaction won out once again, this time under the rule of the Israelis.
On the other hand, humankind has understood and discussed pacifism for thousands of years (“No matter what happens, I don’t like war”). It may take centuries to perfect it in our institutions and even longer to convince ourselves as free-willed individuals.
Learners can assertively criminalize warfare and establish peace on Earth. We can do it; we have merely to work for it real hard and all together. It might take mere months or years to institutionalize that across the planet.
Criminalization does not mean total elimination; it means making it illegal, thus more difficult, thus less rewarding, savage, frequent and lingering. Theft has been criminalized everywhere. That does not mean that there is no theft, merely not as much, in proportion to the effectiveness of institutions that criminalize it and, even more importantly, the public wellbeing that makes it redundant and obviously self-destructive.
The better that peace institutions become, the lesser the war, perhaps to the extent of its extinction―as with cannibalism, human sacrifice and slavery, even if their sorry remnants persist at disgracing us these days.
What would the world look like if we had done nothing about theft until everyone would religiously obey the commandment not to steal?
This text is quite wary about ending human violence, a trait deeply rooted in human nature. Will it prove valid in the long run, more or less tractable, more or less subject to institutional remedy? After all, any project to eradicate it could arouse the worst extremism of its ultimate adherents.
But if the criminalization of warfare must wait until brutality had been purged from every psyche, then we are due for a long, long wait. And if PeaceWorld must wait until everyone is solely motivated by non-violence in any given conflict, then multiply that wait-time by hundreds. Since war has achieved hair-trigger devastation of staggering compass, this delay could let warfare swallow us whole in the meantime.
What should we do now? Hold off until everyone has achieved personal perfection? Or transform our institutions into peaceful ones today, and then revisit to the project of universal perfection? You choose. Let’s be realistic about our priorities, alright?
Learner concludes that warfare must be criminalized now, while we retain the means, motive and opportunity to do so. Thereafter, unconditional human non-violence could be initiated systematically for as long as it would take.
Those two are separate projects. The former might take the next few decades to perfect; the latter, the rest of human existence.
Just keep this in mind the following: the perfect is the enemy of the good, and the good, the enemy of the worst. Would you hang on to the worst until perfection had been achieved or try to make the worst a little less bad, pending perfection in the long run?
Let me be perfectly clear. These two projects are not and have never been mutually exclusive. On the contrary, each would reinforce the other. We should work hard for the good now and for a perfect future at some future date.
This said, in the here and now, we could reduce the worst effects of weapon mentality, multiply the benefits of peace and replace penal punishment with shrewder, more focused methods of conduct improvement. What’s more, we can criminalize warfare, which provides the greatest scope for those who would rather do harm.
Learner forecasts no end to human violence … it wouldn’t begin to tackle human evil. I doubt if evil could be strained from human awareness without harming that awareness. However, a global majority of sane Learners could defy weapon mythology’s intent, demote weapons elites to cultural insignificance and relegate weapon technology – their masterpiece – to vestigial status. Once enough of us agree to share that b burden, we could achieve this outcome virtually overnight.
Learners will disband the world’s Harm Forces, decommission most of its trappings of mass destruction and reassemble their remnants into four nested organizations:
· World Militia,
· World Court Foreign Legion,
· Continental Constabulary, and
· Local Police.
This chapter contains the least effective of Learner’s prescriptions. Those outlined in this chapter are merely cosmetic tweakage until Learner majorities adopt some semblance of the following features first:
· (direct, proportional democracy through a World Agora),
· , and
· The entire constellation of these features imply.
Indeed, without these crucial supports, militia paramilitaries morph into nightmare murder clubs. Examples abound: Colombian death squads, the Afghan Taliban – “Taliban”: an ironic twist on the term “Learner” in Arabic – and an assortment of gangster concerns here and there across the world. Eliminate them where they breed or expect them and theirs to take over your hometown. In this case, a penny of local development is worth the price of thousand of stray rounds at the same target.
A well-regulated militia will rely on a universal draft and incorporate the best features of the armies of Switzerland and Israel.
Mandatory high school training will emphasize the tough fieldcraft of elite light infantry. Militia units will not have organic vehicles, artillery, armor or aircraft; but they will be well equipped with dug-in, crew-served weapons: automatic, anti-tank and anti-aircraft. Prepared positions will dot the approaches of every community. In times of chaos, entire communities could mobilize completely in a very short time. Indeed, this Militia scheme will require Civil Defense facilities comparable to those built in Switzerland. Local Militia garrisons will offer a few high value targets to a mechanized aggressor; on the other hand, a multitude of equally dangerous, low value, low signature targets; relative logistical immunity and tremendous defensive depth against assault, bombardment and military occupation.
During Operation Desert Storm, air power dominated ground combat because of the relative prominence and vulnerability of mechanized forces in desert terrain, as well as their fragile command, control and logistics networks. None of these liabilities would trouble an omnipresent, static, pre-positioned and virtually self-sufficient World Militia whose units would fanatically defend their homes and families and thus deter aggression.
Let’s set aside, for a moment, the pros and cons of Yugoslavia’s dysfunctional politics. Tito organized his Harm Forces to stalemate road-bound invasion from any direction. For decades, his setup stymied foreign aggressors regardless of their strength and provenance. This arrangement backfired in Yugoslavia. The Serbian ethnic minority monopolized access to weapons and disarmed the others.
No minority will remain disarmed among Learners. The World Court will see that every minority could defend itself and that no unarmed group “of innocent civilians” would get handed over to heavily armed chaosists … as happens all the time these days. We could forbid this around the world, prevent this flare-up or buy our way out of it if not.
Ideally, this kind of defensive posture will deter local Aggressor forces until their groundwork preparations attract World Court investigators who will arrest local ringleaders before they trigger organized combat.
Every once in a while, the World Court might fail to pre-empt criminal aggression during its conspiracy stage. In that case, World Militia doctrine would permit the pass-through of gangster main force elements and temporary occupation by them if inevitable, in order to reduce local casualties. Thereafter, guerrilla raids will fall on their logistics, command/control and combat support elements. Military occupation would become too costly for any future Hitler with his homegrown army.
In Vietnam, thousands of mechanized infantrymen parked their armored vehicles around the village Chu Chi and rooted out every underground fortification in frenzies of mayhem and destruction. Then they left, only to have to repeat themselves soon thereafter. The battles of Grozny I, II, III, etc., taught the same painful lesson to the Russians; and once again for the Americans at Faluja in Iraq.
Military headquarters require years of repetition of the same painful lesson before it sinks in and forces them to radically transform accepted military doctrine. In the meantime, their faulty doctrine triggers corresponding casualties, defeat and dishonor.
Short of total extermination, labor-intensive fortifications, extensive woodlands, deserts, mountain fortresses and dense urban hardscapes ‒ if manned by determined locals ‒ can frustrate almost any amount of capital-intensive firepower. Big cities are like enormous armored tank parks that shield the combatants within, even if immobile.
As a mechanized aggressor, there's not much more one can do. One can surround the city with one’s own troops that outnumber the rebels by at least three to one, or occupy it against an organized guerilla force (urban or, worse yet, rural) with ten to one or better odds. One can extinguish them by hunger, exposure and lack of reinforcements; or crush the city under a firepower hurricane, block by city block. One can kill an unforgivable number of innocent civilians, recruit their outraged survivors into the next wave of enemies, get many of one’s own people killed, and then lose the case in the court of world opinion (as is making sure America’s Drone Program).
M.L. Cavanaugh posted Military Victory is Dead at http://www.mwi.usma.edu/defeat-military-victory/ on September 11, 2916. In this article, he concludes that the standard definition of military victory: disarming an opponent to the point where he can no longer resist militarily, is no longer a practical objective. Weapons have become so cheap, widespread and lethal that any group can offer significant military resistance so long as one of its members remains alive. He calls into the question the entire purpose and goal of national military might.
These lessons are as much a tribute to the heroism of the Vietnamese people, the Chechen, the Iraqi and countless others, as to their tactics. The Serbs used similar ones to baffle NATO air power during the 1999 Kosovo Campaign. They ejected local inhabitants from their homes and inserted their own heavy weapons. Short of blowing up every empty house, the allies could find nothing to shoot at. Saddam Hussein’s shadistic partisans and opponents adopted the same tactics in Iraq from 2003 on, and baffled American occupation forces.
It doesn’t matter how “decadent” we become in the future. Military heroism will remain constant in the human species, regardless of its provenance, riches, religion and ideology. Warrior valor is innate to large groups of humans. Defeats in Afghanistan and Chechnya taught this lesson to Russian chauvinists; those in Vietnam and Somalia, to their American peers. Genghis Khan’s Mongols and Alexander’s hoplites, otherwise undefeated, learned the same lesson—often by the same opponents.
There is a critical contradiction between conventional, set-piece warfare and partisan warfare (a guerilla or so-called low intensity war).
In the first category, generals on both sides collect mounds of materiel and droves of human resources. Only weapon mentality could coin such an expression without loathsome connotation. Since when have sacred, gorgeous human beings become a resource like so much guano? Only in the mind of psychopaths, whom we have blindly allowed to dictate our reality.
They assemble them at one time and location in order to dispute their claim to conquest by murder. It is a laborious and time-consuming task to gather so much military logistics and train so many men to operate effectively under unified command. Much time elapses while both sides gather their strength in relative isolation from one another, interrupted by shorter stretches of time during which they exercise their military marionettes in close combat.
According to Clausewitz, this period of open conflict must be of maximum intensity in order to conclude it quickly and decisively. This rule has been contradicted by the horrific yearlong losses of many prior wars, given how lethal our weapon technologies have become. Military parlance calls this “establishing and maintaining contact with the enemy”: sort of like sticking your hand in the coals of a fire to put it out. Unit A of your military is going to be destroyed while it destroys unit A of the enemy.
In the second category, factionalists gather under local leadership – usually the traditional one; if not, then chosen democratically – in violent opposition against their neighbors supported by a distant authority (whether some tyranny headquartered in the regional capital, a foreign invader, or quite often both). Military contact and destructive friction are continuous between these groups.
The sum of casualties and devastation during a certain interval of guerilla warfare may be lower than that during pitched battles as described above. However, since guerilla attrition is ongoing and cumulative, final casualty and damage assessments in partisan war may tally higher than those of climax battles. Entire districts may be sterilized by guerilla warfare, which might have recovered more quickly from a momentary tsunami of regular warfare. The proportion of civilian losses is usually higher during guerilla warfare than during organized battles. Many civilians flee set-piece battles that may rage locally and then shift elsewhere or linger and spare other places; whereas guerilla warfare is so widespread that most locals cannot escape it. Furthermore, in typical situations of regular combat, neither side wishes to burden the discipline and morale of its troops with civilians and their anarchic clutter. It is easier to chase them off the field.
Both sides of any war come to view the locals as cheap hostages and candidates for extortion (mistakenly, as it turns out, see below). The intensity of guerilla warfare can only be considered “low” during brief snapshots of time; it may be much more intense in the long run. “Low intensity” warfare is thus another falsehood made up by weapon mentality to make it more palatable.
Contact is maintained between conventional adversaries by cavalry, light infantry, aerial reconnaissance and irregular forces, also by civilian spies favoring one side or the other. Continuous skirmishing between these elite units is rarely described in standard military histories more concerned with the better-documented maneuvers of large, regular Army units. Notwithstanding other factors such as raw numbers or relative superiority in equipment and training, the cumulative success or failure of such skirmishing usually entails corresponding success or failure by regular armies.
After all, it is only by maintaining contact that vital information may be garnered: awareness of the enemy’s strengths and weaknesses, and of his layout, plans and intentions. The likelihood is, if you lose this low-level war of information, you will lose the conventional one sooner or later.
World War I (sic), a few wars before and most since, differ from those prior in that regular forces on both sides were responsible for both conventional battle and lower-intensity warfare. For example, in major offensives during World War I (sic), tens of thousands of casualties and kilotons of munitions were expended in a few days; meanwhile, “low-level” warfare persisted as each small unit (a battalion of 500 men) lost a handful of men almost every week on the front line.
During most civil wars, entire regular armies are built-up on both sides. Each develops its own central government, tax base, geographical focus and regular army units (intended for combat instead of garrison: the difference is significant in terms of leadership and material) so as to come to blows in conventional warfare. So-called low-level warfare is just the initial, developmental stage of the final test of strength.
Low-intensity war is not necessarily an existential challenge for the occupying power. In other words, whether it wins or not, its physical existence is not in the balance—at least in the short term. Usually, it will fight with one hand tied behind its back, by definition. This weakness may be crucial. The home team has nowhere to run and is fighting for its life.
The rebel organization has another automatic home advantage against a distant authority, its Regular Army and local adherents. Most local inhabitants identify with the rebels and provide them with logistical support, reinforcements and information about the enemy. A foreign power or regional government is at an obvious disadvantage with its long history of abusing the local population. However, once these advantages and disadvantages have been assigned to both sides, their combatants face the paradox described below. They will succeed or fail depending on how well they handle it.
Given this imbalance, “low intensity” warfare has one major distinction from conventional warfare. Those who have ignored that distinction in the past have lost the “low intensity” fight and, quite often, the conventional war this skirmishing heralded.
In conventional warfare, scoring a superior body count of the enemy and occupying his terrain successfully pretty much dictate military success, regardless local wishes, (for example, the military occupation of his capital, his resource extraction and industrial centers). Losses among civilians can be ignored or worsened. According to Clausewitz’s doctrine, they will fall into line in any case, once their army has been crushed while trying to block the path of invasion.
During “low intensity” warfare, the side will lose that antagonizes the largest segment of the local population. This, regardless of body count and terrain successfully occupied. The higher the body count among the local population, the greater the advantage to the side that minimizes it, and the worse for the one that kills a lot of civilians and terrorizes their survivors.
In guerilla warfare, a conventional general will need to be harder, in a way, on his own troops than on the enemy. He must discipline them so severely that they will allow their own casualties to increase in order to minimize civilian ones. As much as possible, economic transactions between his warriors and the civilian population must be voluntary and fully compensated, his combatants must be punished for every crime committed against local civilians, and more of his resources must be devoted to civil affairs and reconstruction through civilian agencies than to devastation by military means. The sooner during the fight he enforces these requirements, the less likely he will be to fail at this task whose failure is guaranteed otherwise.
The U.S. Army ignored this requirement during its wars in Iraq. With the exception of the efforts of General Petraeus, it tried to defeat the Iraqi Army and its paramilitary supports much harder than rebuild its society and infrastructure. In Afghanistan, the proliferation of civilian casualties from long-range drone bombardment may prove our undoing, as well as hiring local warlords to “maintain the peace” by denouncing personal rivals as the common enemy. We will pay for those mistakes with continuous additional conflict.
Law and order must be restored despite the fact that almost everyone has the means to flaunt it; property rights must be protected even though local civilians are helpless to protect themselves. It is easier for hungry soldiers to rip into local civilians than to fight dangerous, resource-poor guerillas. Or do both and still lose.
This rule applies just as much to hungry troopers who steal a peasant family’s chickens, as to a field commander scanning a battle map to find fewer and fewer valid targets for his prodigious firepower—indeed, more so to the latter.
Be damned the false promise of lethal drones. This whole program should be dubbed “Dragon’s Teeth,” since it multiplies one’s enemies.
The military discipline required for a guerilla war is much more ferocious and difficult to enforce than that required for conventional one. The massive ideological education and propaganda campaigns that guerilla armies such as Mao’s Red Army had to teach themselves, were not needed to fight the enemy. Red Army soldiers were fully prepared to fight without them. This schooling was required to prevent the Red Army men from destroying their civilian base at gunpoint.
An army of occupation confronts an even greater challenge in preventing its troops and local supporters from enhancing their security and sustenance at the expense of native civilians. This problem may be insuperable in the long run. A foreign power may only guarantee its short-term military success by certifying that it will withdraw as soon as possible and allow honest inhabitants to reestablish local autonomy. Such a promise would be an admission of defeat during a conventional war, but the key to victory during a guerilla one.
Conventional generals have only recently grasped this idea and its ramifications. http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24.pdf. They would rather fulfill the requirement of conventional war: the simple demand that our casualties be minimized and those of the enemy maximized whatever the cost. Adherence to this standard formula guarantees failure and defeat in guerilla war. Adherence to its semi-reversal – though paradoxical and extremely difficult – forecasts success. Whichever side, guerilla or conventional, kills, rapes, rips off and terrorizes more of the civilian population, that side is more likely to lose in the long run. The other side win by default, no matter how much weaker militarily and unsuccessful in the short term.
There is also a double jeopardy based on home-ground advantage. Even though native rebels may murder more civilians, if they manage to shuffle the responsibility for those murders onto the foreign occupier and his inability or unwillingness to control them, he will lose the fight.
Policing those murders must become the occupying power’s priority, whatever the cost. It must honestly integrate all the forces for peace in-country into its administration and grant them sovereignty and full support; otherwise, give up in eventual defeat.
Success would require an occupation administration as in-tune with local inhabitants and responsive to their needs as they would be loyal to the occupying power – somewhat like Lawrence of Arabia – and fully responsible for local administration. The sooner this is done and the less interference from doctrinaire intruders ignorant of local traditions and language, the less difficult it would be. No tactical compromise, ideological intervention or strategic delay would be allowed.
Finally, the survival chances of a local guerilla force and of its eventual victory over an aggressor are virtually guaranteed by the military support of an adjacent country immune for whatever reason to follow-up invasion. If your country plans to wage a counter-insurgency campaign, plan to invade and occupy its friendly neighbors and their friendly neighbors and so on…
These are Learner military doctrines that conventional generals and their civilian leaders must teach themselves from scratch.