BRIEFS AT DNI
Defense and The National Interest has two powerpoint briefs up that are worth your time to read and review:
The first is in file format ( thus no link) available for download by Dr. Chet Richards, provocatively entitled ” Neocons and neolibs: Their Edifice Has Crumbled“.
Richards work is always worth consideration for the combination of conceptual boldness and analytical precision he employs. For example, instead of running with 4GW a priori, Richards asks and then answers the question if we are facing a new form of warfare:
“We don’t know – still being worked out. To be useful, it has to be something other than state military vs. state military or insurgency vs. a state. Possibilities include state vs. state (nonmilitary) and state vs. nonstate (other than classical insurgency).”
Like most of his previous briefs, Dr. Richards wastes little time getting to the heart of the matter in COIN situations – political and moral legitimacy – a difficult intangible to directly establish with military operations, particularly without the larger non-military context in mind and well-understood. This powerpoint is also, again like Richards’ earlier pieces, deeply rooted in the ideas of Colonel John Boyd. Richards suggests the possibility of aligning with, rather than against, insurgencies as a better geopolitical bet. Though he does not mention it, this was a policy most recently used by the United States in the 1980’s against Soviet clients in the form of The Reagan Doctrine with varying degrees of success, but abandoned by the first President Bush in favor of a return to direct military intervention.
The second brief is by Colonel G.I. Wilson, one of the originators of 4GW theory, entitled “Terrorism:Psychology and Kinetics” (PDF). A short meta-analysis of literature on terrorist psychology, the most interesting sections deal with the terrorist profile and cognitive restructuring to dehumanize potential terrorist targets ( a process we also see, historically speaking, on a larger scale to psychologically prepare a society or movement to commit genocide). Wilson stresses the heterogeneous nature and rational functionality of terrorist groups, at least within the context of their own cognitively restructured terms.
This strikes me as likely, as I recall reading that researchers had previously determined from the 1970’s and 1980’s studies that ” professional” terrorist recruiters were at pains to screen out the obviously disturbed psychopaths and nut cases who might threaten group harmony.
More posts to come later today.