An Indian nabob.
A Field Training Exercise, generally shortened to the acronym "FTX", describes a coordinated exercise conducted by military units for training purposes. Field training exercises are usually practice "mini-battles" which provide fairly realistic scenarios and situations based on actual situations a unit might face if deployed. -- Wikipedia.
There were armed citizens training in the desert of Arizona and up on the Llano Estacado of eastern New Mexico this weekend. Likewise in the melting snows of Ohio and Michigan, in rainy North Carolina and Alabama, and behind enemy lines in Connecticut, Colorado, New York and out in Washington state -- and those are just the ones I know about personally. These are formally known as Field Training Exercises, or FTXs, a variety of what are sometimes sloppily referred to as "war games."
Webster's Dictionary defines the word "game" with a variety of meanings that are great and small, even contradictory. The first listing is "an activity engaged in for diversion or amusement." This is not what those folks engaged in military training were about. Diversion and amusement were the last things on their minds.
There is an increasing sense in this country that night is falling, that we are at the end of our previously bright, sunny, optimistic day and, perhaps, arriving at the sudden end of days for many of us. It is this foreboding that motivates otherwise busy people whose lives are full of competing demands to put them aside and train to efficiently defend themselves collectively -- to practice how best to kill other folks who are trying to kill them. This is no game, at least not one played for sport.
There are other definitions of the word "game," of course. Webster's tells us that among these are "a procedure or strategy for gaining an end (tactic)" and "an illegal or shady scheme or maneuver." There are a lot of those kind of games being played by forces of the militarized federal police these days. Activists in Washington state report being tailed, out in the middle of that state's eastern high desert, by small convoys white Tahoes with heavily tinted windows as well as other forms of harassment -- designed to pressure them into unforced errors of minor traffic laws so that they may be "legitimately" detained for interview and arrest. This chicken excrement police state activity actually does more to illustrate the Feds' essential limp-dicked impotence than anything else, but it also is an invitation to the kind of misadventure that can get people inadvertently killed -- or start a civil war.
Another definition of "game" is "a physical or mental competition conducted according to rules with the participants in direct opposition to each other." Yet another is "animals under pursuit or taken in hunting." With these we begin to approach the mindset of those tax-paid meatheads in the white Tahoes. Their misapprehension is that the rules by which they've operated for years still obtain. (See my earlier post U.S. Marshal's Service: Risking Civil War From A Failure of Institutional Memory. Bundy Ranch -- only with bullets this time.) They really believe that they are the mighty imperial fedgov and that they've got more guns, power, intelligence and determination than those of us who still believe in the Founder's concepts of liberty do. Used to dealing with common criminals, they feel comfortable in their certainty that we're just a variant of that reality. They believe that they are the hunters and we are the game. And they will be the hunters (for we have no interest in anything besides being left alone) until they really screw up and the tables are turned, when they will become the game as well. And they will be astonished when that, sadly, tragically, but predictably, happens. Some of them terminally so.
As an amateur historian, this is not something I'm advocating -- indeed I'm doing my best to avoid it -- but it is something that is entirely foreseeable. For words on a page are powerful things and they can kill. The words that will later be used to justify the killing of you and me and many, many innocents are already written in some dry bureaucratese in an agency report, a federal judge's decision, a "Presidential Decision Directive." They will be hauled out after the fact in some Nuremberg maneuver to explain that all those deaths really weren't their personal fault. They were only executing "the law" and "policy." You don't have to be able to cite the document and page to know that. Our death warrants are already written -- if the powers that be are stupid enough to try to enforce them in their ignorance that they are in fact mutual death warrants -- a suicide pact for an entire society, a whole country, and the end of everything they and we have known.
End: noun, "a point that marks the limit of something; the point at which something no longer continues to happen or exist." -- Webster's Dictionary.
The E.N.D. Game: "Exterminating the Nabobs of Dictatorship."
I was made aware recently of another game now being played by some liberty-minded folks in this country. Mindful that 4th generation warfare requires a very different sort of FTX, these people are playing what I call the E.N.D. Game, for "Exterminating the Nabobs of Dictatorship."
Now "nabob" is not a word you encounter in conversation. The apex of its usage in American politics came about when Spiro Agnew called the news media the "nattering nabobs of negativism." Still, it is a very descriptive word for certain purposes.
According to Webster's "nabob" comes from the Hindi word navāb (nawāb in Urdu and nuwwāb in arabic) meaning "governor" during the period of Mogul Empire. It is defined as "a very rich or important person; a person of great wealth or prominence." Synonyms include "big boy, big cheese, bigfoot, biggie, big gun, big leaguer, big-timer, big wheel, bigwig, fat cat, heavy, heavy hitter, heavyweight, high-muck-a-muck (or high-muckety-muck), honcho, kahuna, kingfish, kingpin, major leaguer, muckety-muck (also muck-a-muck or mucky-muck), big shot, nawab, nibs, nob [chiefly British], pooh-bah (also poo-bah), wheel." Phew. Well, you get the idea. In the bureaucratic terms of tyranny this adequately describes the decision takers and the war makers. Not the foot soldiers. No, these are the Heydrichs, the Eichmanns, the people whose orders fill the trains, get them running in the same direction to the east -- to the showers and the ovens.
The E.N.D. Game is, as they say, in developmental stage, but its practitioners tell me that it involves "grey men" and volunteer "nabob" targets. A team of grey men and women are given the name of a target -- the volunteer nabob -- and sketchy information as to his or her job, whereabouts, etc. The grey men then flesh out an intelligence profile of the nabob, beginning with untraceable research (using anonymous computer and library open sources). This information is crafted into a surveillance plan, then an action plan. Finally, comes the field training exercise where the nabob is, shall we say, forcibly retired in a simulated sense.
A variant of the Assassination Game, the E.N.D. Game is much more complex and puts a premium on techniques that minimize forensic traces of the participants.
It is played ONLY with volunteers, as the use of such techniques on an actual nabob would be highly illegal, even absent the last act, simulated or not. Were it a video game, it would come with the disclaimer "No tyrannical politicians or their bureaucratic, economic or propagandist minions were harmed in the filming of this exercise."
It is an interesting game, and I am looking forward to seeing a complete praxis on how to win it. I only pray it comes before the E.N.D. Game is transmogrified by the events created by a blundering nascent tyranny into the end of games -- and the end of days -- for many of us.
LATER: Ramsey A. Bear, with his usual incisiveness, has distilled down the previous essay in one short line: "In the event of civil war, aim for the nabobs."