Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A few points about the Long War

There are a few short points I'd like to make here in answer to two thoughtful comments on the previous post. I was writing a reply in the comments section when it ran too long.

Joseph Sixpack (cool handle Joe!) wrote:

"I found it interesting that the traveler used the term "Long War". That is actually a term also used by those who view this as a global insurgency. The reason that many refer to the Long War as a global insurgency is that an insurgency is a struggle for control of a population. It rests on the assumption (which I believe to be true) that militant radical Islam is not mainstream Islam; that it is a fringe element. The militant radical Islamic movement is a fringe element seeking to obtain control of the Islamic world."

I don't believe it matters if jihadism is "mainstream" Islam or not.

(Though I do believe that yes, the Koran tends to encourage it. Maybe that doesn't matter on balance either though, you can make religious scriptures mean pretty much whatever you want them to.)

Some guerilla theory I read years ago, I think by General Georges Grivas though I can't find the reference now.

As I recall the estimate was something like: If 2% of the population are hard-core committed, and 20-30% are sympathetic at the minimal level of not informing to the authorites and supplying aid-in-kind, then the rest can be terrorized into cooperation.

And as Eric Hoffer pointed out about forced conversion, that cooperation won't be any less fanatical. The cowed majority will work themselves into passionate committment so they don't have to face the fact of their own cowardice.

Note that point, it's important to the development of the argument about Europe later.

Brandon W asked:

"Are you saying that it is not within our (the people's) power to avoid a war, or are you saying that it is not within our (the United States government's) power to avoid a war?"

I do indeed mean we the people of the United States.

It is beginning to strike me as kind of weird, that folks on the libertarian Right who know all about envy as a motivation on the Left for socialism, class warfare and regular old warfare warfare, don't apply it to their understanding of foreign relations.

Why do people in third-world countries, failed civilizations, and increasingly in a decling Europe hate us?

When have the rich, successful, powerful, and generally happy ever been liked by those who were not?

Does anyone think that hatred and resentment won't motivate attacks on us?

Some on the Left seem to realize something like this and come up with the solution, "We'll abase ourselves in abject apology, make them rich too and then they'll love us."

Oh yeah?

So people who inherit fortunes or are supported by rich relatives are always and forever grateful to their benefactors? They never regard self-deprecation as a wee bit patronizing?

And what does liberal guilt-tripping really say?

"Oh I'm so terribly ashamed of what my people have done to yours!"

Could it be that the inferred message is, "Don't ever forget what we are capable of doing to you."

More later.


  • At 7:44 AM, Blogger Joseph Sixpack said…

    "As I recall the estimate was something like: If 2% of the population are hard-core committed, and 20-30% are sympathetic at the minimal level of not informing to the authorites and supplying aid-in-kind, then the rest can be terrorized into cooperation."

    I think that is correct. However, I simply do not believe that anywhere near 2% of the Islamic world has a desire to fight America or the west in general, and certainly has no visions of a Caliphate. Take an extreme example like Iraq.

    Even if one were to grant the 2% assumption for the sake of argument, the 20-30% of passive support does not exist. That 20-30% has been terrorized into submission. The remainder is focused on daily survival, helps the authorities when it can, and let's not forget about 300,000 Iraqi Soldiers/Police plus their extended families who put their lives at risk by virtue of serving in uniform or being related to someone serving. Considering the average size of families in Iraq, that's pretty darn close to the remainder of the population.

    I regard Iraq as an extreme example, and even in Iraq I do not believe that the 2% exists, I believe the 20-30% is being terrorized into cooperation (probably less than that), and the remainder is not cooperative. There are certainly large chunks of the population fighting, but those are Muslims fighting Muslims (Sunni vs Shia, JAM vs Badr, tribe vs tribe, etc). Obviously, this all rests on my impression of what percentage of the population is committed/passively supporting/terrorized and I have no datat to support this. But, for what it's worth.

    And if we shift the focus back to Europe, the prospects for the jihadists sink even further.

  • At 5:20 AM, Blogger Steve Browne said…

    The percentage of unassimilated Muslims continutes to rise in western Europe as the native European population declines.

    What strikes me as the danger point is when you get to the Ulster figure, somewhere around a 1:3 ratio.

    One-third is the dangerous number. If you are one in ten (the ratio of Scots to English for example), thoughts of winning are a fantasy.

    One in three (the ratio of Catholics to Protestants in Ulster when the troubles started), especially when your median age is a great deal younger, and you have a recipe for catastrophe - expecially when those numbers are concentrated in the urban areas.

    And... the west Europeans have talked themselves into a state of mind where they won't resist.

    And as to how much of the Islamic world wants to fight us, I think the thinking is not so much that of organized war but of counting coup - but I'm developing that later. (I say that a lot these days, sorry.)

  • At 4:57 PM, Blogger Ted said…

    Why should the Muslims go for the loaf when they know they can take the cake slice by slice over time, and most of it, have the guilt-tripped, left-leaning whities hand it to them on a silver platter?
    "Is the new policy to come to terms with the totalitarian powers, in the hope that by great and sweeping acts of submission, peace may be preserved?" - Winston Churchill, 1940.
    Unfortunately, this is no new policy, but the one that has preceded every time America has had to go in and clean up the mess before!
    Socialized Europe has never ruled well its own house.


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