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Archive for November 21st, 2011

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Monday, November 21st, 2011

Top Billing! Mike FewBlood Done Signed My Name

Major Mike Few takes leave of editorial duties at SWJ for a guest post at Carl Prine’s Line of Departure:

….Duke professor Timothy B. Tyson’s Blood Done Signed My Name: A True Story describes the 1970 murder of Henry “Dickie” Marrow, a 23-year-old black man who once served as a paratrooper in Fort Bragg.  The memoir them limns the acquittal of his three white killers, and what the aftermath of that injustice wrought on the tiny town of Oxford, N.C.

So, you ask, what does this have to do with small wars?  Well, I could start by reminding you that U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis recommends that we study the works of Martin Luther King as if they were texts about strategy, and Blood Done Signed My Name certainly is a tale about the civil rights movement.

But if we agree that Mattis is right, then don’t we have to look at how King’s strategy played out at the micro-level of villages and neighborhoods, towns like Oxford?  And isn’t that perhaps what an entire generation of soldiers and Marines already has done overseas, albeit when prosecuting quite a different strategy to very different ends?

When I was conducting recon in Iraq, I found it helpful to think of a town as an eco-system.  Once I understood how the caste, theological, ideological, linguistic and kinship relationships entangled the village in violence, my job became the commander who tried to untie them, or the pacification process wouldn’t work.

Various types of counter-insurgency theory were important, but it was always vital to keep an independent mind about them while I explored the hard realities of life and death in these Iraqi villages.   Experience with violence caused me to rethink a lot of those theories, just as Blood Done Signed My Name has made me reassess the role violence played in the larger civil rights movement.

Global Guerrillas – OCCUPY NOTE 11/20/11: The HIDDEN logic of the Occupy Movement

….Using John Boyd’s framework as a guide, this media disruption did have an effect across all three vectors:

  • Physical.  No isolation was achieved.  The physical connections of police forces remained intact.  However, these incidents provided confirmation to protesters that physical filming/imaging of the protests is valuable.  Given how compelling this media is, it will radically increase the professional media’s coverage of events AND increase the number of protesters recording incidents.
  • Mental.  These incidents will cause confusion within police forces.  If leaders (Mayors and college administrators)  back down or vacillate over these tactics due to media pressure, it will confuse policemen in the field.  In short, it will create uncertainty and doubt over what the rules of engagement actually are.  IN contrast, these media events have clarified how to turn police violence into useful tools for Occupy protesters. 
  • Moral.  This is the area of connection that was damaged the most.  Most people watching these videos feel that this violence is both a) illegitimate and b) excessive.  Watch this video UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walking from her building after the incident.  The silence is eerie.

The Chronicle – The Kennan Industry

A less laudatory view of George F. Kennan than Henry Kissinger gave us, from David Engerman:

….In other cases, Kennan went far beyond handwritten reminders. Soon after he authorized Princeton to open his personal papers to researchers in 1970, Kennan was, apparently, shocked that a young historian, C. Ben Wright, would focus so closely on a 1930s draft essay called “The Prerequisites.” It called for “an authoritarian state” that denied suffrage to those unable to wield it properly-that is, to immigrants, women, and blacks. Wright, who greatly admired Kennan, quoted extensively from “The Prerequisites” in his dissertation. Wright also had the temerity to suggest that Kennan’s version of containment might have a military component after all, using Kennan’s letters and speech drafts from the 1940s to support his interpretation. Kennan flew into a rage, trying to strike the offending quotations from Wright’s work and-in Gaddis’s telling-ultimately driving Wright out of the profession. The offending documents (if that is the right description) were removed from Kennan’s papers, and photocopying from the remainder of the collection was forbidden.

Hat tip to Lexington Green.

Chicago Boyz (Bruno Behrend) –A must read for every Conservative/Libertarian

Mother JonesInside the Corporate Plan to Occupy the Pentagon

AFJ Polyglot Dragon

Foreign AffairsThe Problem Is Palestinian Rejectionism

Recommended Viewing:

Hat tip to longtime ZP reader Morgan:


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