Thursday, April 18, 2013

To Combat Terrorism, A 'How To' case study

Firstly, in the interests of total disclosure, I supported the IRA as a child.  And I still support the cause of a united Ireland.   While I disagreed with many of their attacks, I STILL supported both the IRA and the Sinn Feinn (the political party that supported a Unified Ireland, free of British Rule)

This post is steeped in that belief, as is ALL my feelings on "terrorism"  However, MOSTLY this post is about how the British WON the battle with the IRA... (yes there are still hard core IRA cells out there...)

First I want to look at the old school ORIGINS of the fight.

Ireland was an independent country that was conquered by the English, and the Irish people were completely marginalized.  The Brits brought in their OWN lords, and peasants, and forced the Native Irish people out into the hinterlands.  They fought (WAY unsuccessfully for the ONLY country to defeat a Roman invasion...)

hundreds of years pass by, and there is a growing struggle between the Catholics and the Protestants.  Ireland (and the OLD native Irish) was mostly Catholic, and the 'newcomers'  (some of whom had been there for a hundred years or more) were protestant (CofE)... and there was a LOT of religious struggle between the 2 sides... But UNDERLYING that struggle was the struggle just to be free.

This came to stand up fights a few times in the latter half of the 18th century, culminating with the "Easter Rising" in 1916, which was the START of the IRA... Irish Republican Army  (which included MANY men of note, Padric Pierce, Eamonn DeValera(whom i named my eldest after) James Connelly, Michael Collins)

But Again, I digress

Fast Forward to the modern days... the 80's 90's and today.  Now since the 80's there have been plenty of Hollywood films that have covered the IRA, and the "Troubles"... and a LOT of support (especially on the East Coast) for the IRA.  Movies have painted the IRA as heroes AND Villains( "The Devils Own" "the Name of the Father" "Patriot Games" to name a few)  And Americans have likewise had mixed feelings about the IRA...

However THAT is not the point of my post.

THE POINT is to consider the 'end game' and see WHAT we can LEARN from it.!

lets look at the movement... the IRA...

First you have the 'hard core' people... who will keep fighting NO MATTER WHAT.

Secondly you have the "revenge seekers"  in SOME way these are the hardest to reach, however they STILL have some family, and are just motivated by PERSONAL feelings, rather than the OVERRIDING feelings of the 'Hardcore"

Thirdly  you have the "rational combatants"... in other words  those who have LIMITED goals in their heart,  They are TOTALLY committed to the cause(and are willing to DIE for the cause), however they see another way out... These people are OPEN to a compromise... BUT they are not willing to betray their compatriots

The Fourth and Fifth (and sometimes sixth ) level are very fluid... these are people who" support the goal" or have friends, lovers and family on the front line, and will support or harbor THEM

NOW we come to the Gist of my post... IE, How To Win.

you HAVE to separate those people from each other...

In America we have a "cut off the head" mentality, that is a carryover from WWII, because it WORKED... without Hitler, and his inner circle, the Nazi regime faltered and fell  and Germany went back to a democratic republican government.

HOWEVER that doesn't always work... ESPECIALLY when dealing with "Non State Actors"...

IMO, (and this is what Britain did with the IRA) you have to cut off the lowest levels...  in other words  GIVE 3,4 and 5 a COMPROMISE of their goals... (in Ireland it was Seats in Parliament, and a 'National' Representative gvmt over the northern 6)

So, THAT cuts the ankles of any terrorist movement out from under them.
At the same time, attack funding, and provisions .. but the REAL goal is to WIN over the third level... and get the 5th/6th level to win over the SECOND level FOR YOU

 The Basic idea is to provide the 'fence sitters' and thier families with ANOTHER option.  HOW can we fight an opponent in small villages when we DONT give them UP FRONT bonuses to supporting us, and the other side does??AlQ brings in a goat, we bring in nothing but "dreams of democracy"

NO, we have to meet their goat, and raise with medical support, irrigation knowledge, seeds,, etc...

we have to hold forth not only a future but a PRESENT that is undeniably better when they support US, and Democracy, than when they support the Jihadis...when the FAMILIES of those "revenge seekers" and "rational combatants" are getting better off, when there is SOME stability, even if it is just local... then SOME, if not MANY of those 2 and 3 fighters will come back home...

and when the day to day life is better NOW, than the support, the food shipments, the people who HIDE their friends and loved ones STOP hiding them, STOP sending food, and are willing to STAND UP and fight AGAINST the insurgants.... than, like a vine deprived of soil and water, it withers and dies...

DEFEATING terrorism CANT be just a military battle... we need to bring ALL our tools into play, social, economic, medical, educational, Technological,  food, farming, etc...


  1. Would you similarly advocate a breaking of the US into regions where people could choose their destiny?

    I bet not.

    1. Actually, I have considered the "regionilization" of the US (within the greater Idea of renewing and readjusting the federal gvmt, including reworking the constitution, and learning from the "grand American Experiment" as Tocqueville called it) and I kinda like the idea... specifically if it included modifying the "state level" powers and gvmt.
      There is a book, By Martin Gross called "national Suicide" (one of many by him... all I recommend...) he points out ALL the different layers of government we have accumulated over the last few centuries... when i started thinking about it, i realised that all my friends/aqquantinces who bitched about "big government"... MOST of what they were complaining about (many of them were contractors) were the lowert levels... state, county, town, city, borough, "special economic development area" etc... that ALL had their particular regulations and ALL had thier hand out for a cut... parking permits, licences, fees....etc....

      but I digress...

      lets think about "regionilizing" the US... lets say 7 regions. New England, "old South", Central Great lakes (w. PA,) w.Va, ohio, illinois, indiana, wisconsin) "greater Tx" area, midwest, Mountain, west coast...

      RegMinisters could take some of the exec powers from the Pres.... like FEMA, Natl Guard, EPA....etcand also have some veto power over him/her....war powers? going to war? (maybe even put the FBI under THEIR joint jurisdiction....)