"Volunteers will agree to read English-language foreign dailies on an ongoing basis. When they find a relevant article, send it by link, along with a synopsis, to the designated email box."
This is an excellent idea. Much news that would otherwise go unnoticed that is absolutely critical to understanding the situation within our country can be found without our borders. However, I would like to propose that it is time for a parallel bit of research as well, one that takes things a bit further, but one also designed to give strategic warning, both for lovers of liberty and their would-be tyrants.
"I want a file drawn up on every member of the British administration. Look through whatever you can find. Who's Who. Stubb's, Society columns. I want names, addresses, clubs, where they bank down to what they eat for breakfast. Keep it up to date. Add to it every week." -- Liam Neeson as Michael Collins.
Long-time readers will recall that Absolved, while written in the hope of avoiding civil war, explores what a modern 4th Generation Warfare American civil war might look like. In chapters like "Nemesis" and "Ten Thousand Lawyers"(Part One, Part Two, and Part Three), I lay out the gruesome potentialities of such a conflict.
That was fiction. However, in the real world of the current cold war fought against the liberty-loving by representatives of the federal leviathan, some remarkable forward thinking of the "what if" variety has already been put on the table by a Marine Corps scout-sniper in a note to me last year that I entitled "One Hundred Heads."
Having explained something of this real world dynamic in my first letter to Eric Holder "No More Free Wacos," I followed it up with another entitled "'In re U.S. vs. Olofson': A second Open Letter to Eric Holder, this time explicating the obvious about misadventure, 'decapitation' and spasm," which more fully explained the dangers of federal bureaucratic misadventure in a 4GW world.
It is impossible at this juncture for anyone outside the inner circle on the command deck at Main Justice to say if any of this had an effect on their decision-making, but the fact of the matter is that the rumored ATF death threats on Len Savage which prompted my "No More Free Wacos" letter to Holder have not only subsided, but the people who are said to have issued them and the people who prosecuted the "economic Waco" against him are in deep, deep excrement just now. Internal investigations are proceeding, ATF employees have been given whistleblower status, other real malefactors have already left or are being shown the door. Congressional oversight looms large and the acting Director designate Traver and Main Justice are not only exerting a tight rein on the present set of ATF senior executives, but they are trying to clean the Augean stables before Congress smells the manure and guesses its depth. They will not succeed. In addition, the street agents sense that, as much as any other time in the bureau's history, DC and the command structure does not have their back. This uncertainty is also reflected in the growing trend of U.S. Attorneys who, having seen some of their fellow federal prosecutors damage their careers by believing the ATF's narratives in cases that have later blown up in their faces, are extremely skeptical now of ATF competence. This has made the agency less aggressive in pursuing paperwork violations and agenda-driven busts.
This is a "goodness thing."
It is also not enough. For the ATF is but one agency, and the threats to our liberty -- and thereby the threats of deadly bureaucratic misadventure triggering a future civil war -- are not simply about firearms.
U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson of Richmond, Virginia did us all a favor by declaring the "health care mandate" unconstitutional the other day, but that court case has a long time yet to run and there is no telling whether or not the Nine Black Robes will finally throw it out or not. The federal gun that Nancy "Are you serious?" Pelosi plunked down on the table threatening IRS raid teams if we do not comply with her diktat is still there. If it is not overturned it WILL be resisted and people WILL be killed, all in the name of "health care."
And everywhere else in this administration, suddenly shorn of the absolute power they have enjoyed the past two years, the executive branch regulatory schemers are working around that little obstacle by means of proposed "presidential decision directives" and tyrannical bureaucratic rule-making and diktats. Any one of these which, upon enforcement could, in the present confrontation between those who believe they have the right to rule and those who are done backing up, lead to another "shot heard 'round the world' on any given day.
These issues run the gamut from the war on family farming and co-ops to Internet "neutrality" to the ill-named "Fairness Doctrine" to the latest FCC proposed tyranny, the "Public Value Test."
Sniper: "So, what do you think? Does the asshole meet the 'Public Value Test?'" Spotter: "Naw, take the shot."
The photo/cartoon I put together to accompany the post on that one was only half in jest. There are people who will take these further infringements seriously enough that someone, somewhere, perhaps inadvertently, perhaps intentionally, is going to end up dead over them, because the intended victims will figure that this is their personal line in the sand and that if it is worth dying for it also worth killing for. And that will merely be the beginning, for there truly are "No More Free Wacos." That is not a wish on my part, it is merely sad, awful reality.
And yet we see from FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps' proposal for a "Public Value Test" -- and this is hardly atypical -- that there is no understanding of the primal forces they are toying with, no sense of the danger of throwing lit matches in a powder magazine. They have the "power" so they think we must bow to it without, they are certain, negative unintended consequences to themselves.
Throughout history it is upon such miscalculations that are heaped the million mounds of dead bloodily harvested in civil war.
Fourth Generation Warfare Schwerpunkts
Knowledge is not power. Power alone is power. What knowledge does is provide the means to determine where to focus that power, for maximum effect.
Knowledge can even be dangerous. Poring over it to excess paralyzes action. Different elements may be in conflict with each other, suggesting sometimes even diametrically opposed courses of action. There are almost always gaping gaps. It is here that decisive leadership and a robust decision making process is paramount. Every time, the less impressive strategy, ferociously executed, beats the perfect strategy that is executed timidly, if at all.
In many quarters, it is not politically correct to equate business to war and I would be the first to agree that parallels need to be drawn very carefully indeed. On the other hand, the issues in military and corporate strategy are often strikingly similar. The first two paragraphs of this posting may have come as easily from a business strategy book, as a military science manual.
One of the concepts that I believe is particularly applicable in business is that of schwerpunkt. It was developed by one of the greatest military theorists, the Prussian Karl von Clausewitz (1780 - 1831,) author of the book On War.
The direct translation of schwerpunkt is centre of gravity (the point where the mass is concentrated most densely) and this is the most common meaning attributed to the term. In fact, the meaning Clausewitz intended may have been more subtle. Recent interpretations suggest that schwerpunkt means not the point of densest mass, but the point at which the maximum result can be achieved, with a given effort. Perhaps a better translation would be the centre of balance or the focal point. -- Rob Millard, Schwerpunkt.
For the uninitiated, Fourth Generation Warfare is targeted, generically, at the command structure, political hierarchy, and philosophical and intellectual underpinnings -- the schwerpunkt -- of the enemy. 4GW warriors avoid direct attacks on the strong points of their enemies -- soldiers, police -- and attack the center of balance. In his frustration with the Serbs in 1999, Bill Clinton expanded the rules of engagement of the American military by targeting the politicians, media and intellectual underpinnings of the Milosevic regime with precision guided munitions. Clinton bent the Serbs to his will. That was the intended consequences. The unintended consequences was that we, his perceived domestic enemies, paid attention, watched and learned. Schwerpunkt.
Another name for this strategy within the halls of government is called "decapitation." Such theorists who advocate it for "insurgents" hardly ever consider that it applies to them as well.
So, as I pointed out the AG Holder in my second letter, the consequences of a second Waco would look like a spasm of 4GW violence, targeted at the war makers, the media that supported them and the intellectuals who provided the underpinnings of tyranny.
Such a strategy has several advantages. It takes only a small, dedicated force with minimum technology. It is precisely targeted -- it must be in order to be effective -- and reduces the killing of innocents to a minimum. If personnel is policy, 4GW warfare changes policy one bullet at a time, to the encouragement of the others, as a Frenchman would say.
In advance of a war, the universal recognition of the unintended consequences of their actions among the Mandarins and literati of a creeping tyranny might even prevent one.
I have asked this question before. They will fight to the last ATF agent or to the last oath-breaking soldier. Will they fight to the first senior bureaucrat, the second Congressman, the third newspaper editor, the fourth Senator, the fifth White House aide? Can they stand Bill Clinton's rules of engagement?
These are the stakes for them, though they do not understand it.
And once they start it, they will find it impossible to stop, until they surrender unconditionally or personally face the music themselves. -- Mike Vanderboegh, "Dark Thoughts," 17 September 2009.
So, that said, let us play, hypothetically of course, the Michael Collins' game. Who would YOU put on a "Bucket List" of current American tyrant wannabes for the day after their policy prescriptions and bureaucratic bumbling start the next hypothetical civil war? I guess you could also call this the "Which One Hundred Heads? Contest." Again, hypothetically. Think of it as a list of "The Ten Sexiest Men and Women" as applied to future tyranny. It is, in a backhanded sort of way, a compliment to the nominees.
All nominations will be noted, tallied, evaluated -- don't put your brother-in-law on the list because he's a deadbeat who lives in your basement -- and then posted after nominations are closed at the first of the year. Be thoughtful. Be hypothetical. Have fun. ;-)