Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Flipping the Bird instead of COIN

Flipping Birds at Counter Insurgency, Flipping Bass Ackwards.
By Gordon S Fowkes,

ST Bartholemew's Massacre of French Calvinits, 1572

Now is the time for Bass Wholes on both sides of the Aisle to bay at the winds and microphones of how “nation building is not a military job” or how “remotely piloted vehicles” with pin point precision is a war crime, unlike carpet bombing of Japan and Germany which were not.   Now is also the time when virgin pundits describe that which never happened in Vietnam, or those whose scope of understanding of the nuances of mortal combat are confused with Four Quarters or Nine Innings. War is not a game, nor is it an election, nor a debate.  War Sucks, but somebody has to do it. 

And it better be done right.

War is not a continuation of politics by other means, it is politics with other means just as an airstrike is no different from a traffic ticket aimed at reducing the speed of the action. Whatever it takes to feed and protect the family is what the fighting is all about, as is all the rest of survival of the adaptive, fit or not.

And if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  That sad tale is how the best equipped, best trained, best led, and best supported military force of the US, was bested by a hollow point between the ears, by a bloated bureaucracy bent on self-aggrandizement and career enhancement.  The latter a sham foisted on those in field grades with eyes on the stars whose chosen slots were shot down by those without branch or insignia.

US MP and German Police on Traffic Duty during Occupation

But enough for the platitudes.  We screwed up, again as we had in the villages and towns of other ancient civilizations. We assumed (ass out of you and me) that our fantasies of what was sacred and absolute truth, were as imaginary as are those of our enemies are towards their own.  

Muslims have this nutty idea that Islam is the central truth of the universe, despite that they aren’t even a (Circle One, or more):
  • American, Texan, Southern Californian, German, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French, Italian, Russian, Chechen, and/or _________________. 

The fundamental motivation of the Rescuer is to convert the Victim and fight villainy, insanity, and heresy.  Nation building is rescuing and converting the helpless and stupid to worship the ground we walk on.

 Civil Affairs (and Military Governance) works to grease the gears that might not mesh, and fix shot up places get to their own feet.  Regardless of what kind of shoes they wear.  The flip side of CAMG is to flip the other guy’s feet. These include Special Forces and Special Operations.  Psychological Operations supports both stand and flip.


The term counter insurgency became the fad by means obscure to me, as it anoints the counter insurgent with a righteousness not bestowed upon the insurgent.  And, to make it even clearer, what is an insurgent?  The Taliban was the effective government in place in Afghanistan when the US took sides with the Northern Alliance and invaded.  That was a surge against the Taliban, but not an insurgency? The term has a political definition not relevant to military operations. 

Nevertheless, the logical lines of operation (LLO) in the counter insurgency (COIN) as originally spelled out in the Army/Marine Corps manual on Counter Insurgency applies in fact to all of war for or against those whose contributions to success or failure make a difference.  

LLO or LLE or whatever dissected the body politic into functions of a society including governance. Or as it is done by ISIS in reverse to topple and repeat on those toppled.

From one of the manuals LLO are directed at:
  • 1.     Civil Security
  • 2.     Civil Control
  • 3.     Security Forces
  • 4.     Governance
  • 5.     Essential Services
  • 6.     Economy and Infrastructure
  • 7.     Advertising and Public Relations

As one who is retired from the City of Houston (Building Inspections) and member of many a society for the preservation of the good, and disruption of the bad, this is a fairly standard list of logical lines of reelection, election or selection to the higher and mighty.  At present, REMFCOM appears to have decided that local governance is not one of interest to the infantry including those on boots who must travel the routes through those local governances with unpronounceable names.

Just as it is in local elections, the efforts of one side to enhance their version of the LLO, must be destroyed, disrupted and/or discredited by actions against the other’s LLO, and to enhance the other’s own.   This is precisely what the Taliban and ISIS are doing, and have been doing for decades, in one version or another.

There are, therefore, four variants of LLO depending upon which side one is on:
  • 1.     Making your own,
  • 2.     Wrecking someone else’s,
  • 3.     Defending one’s own,
  • 4.     Wrecking the wreckers.

This bears some resemblance to the Tactical Imperatives of combat.

Stability Operations therefore have the same four modes. As such there is Stabilization and Destabilization already under Special Operations Command, as it was under the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation.  And therein, lie many a good example of what not to do and what to do.

The Hanging of French Protestants during wars of religion

The Cold War was a religious war in all but name.  The present religious wars are like the political wars of the religion, as the two differ only in name.

 Bloody Awful ISIS is!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Liars, Advertisers, and True Believers

The Truth about Liars, Advertisers and True Believers

I hated it when my father said that all facts are just someone’s opinion.  It was damning as he was a renowned Chemist and decorated artillery officer from WW2 in the Pacific.  His nickname in the 31st Infantry Division (Dixie) was “Fearless Fred”.

If facts are opinions, so is the truth.    In order to manage getting through the day, one must make decisions on other’s opinions based on opinions that one would like to treat is if they were true facts.  . What we do is to assign a level of confidence in the accuracy, relevance and reliability to the “opinions” we want to treat as “facts”.  After all, doesn’t one and one make two?  One apple and one banana make two fruits if one is from San Francisco. 

But, one can’t get of bed without knowing where the floor is. Or where the car keys are.


When dealing with other people, however, we treat their opinions based on the “truthiness” of that person and/or their opinions. It helps to know when they are diverging from the real truth (whatever one accepts as such).  Such divergence can be categorized as lies which the liar knows is false. There are True Believers who believe the false as true but also lie to themselves as well. Being wrong is not a measure of belief or lie, just being wrong as the facts don’t support the truth (or the other way around).   


Deep down, the liar and the true believer know that the truth they speak of are not true facts, at some level of awareness.  Deep down.  The instinctive cover up is to raise the volume, intensity, and assertion to cover the falsity subject to false attribution as true.  This is especially true when dealing with Virtues and Vices asserted or assigned.  When the volume goes up, they reverse.

I call it, the Law of the Inverse Attribution Reflex which just so happens to work out as an acronym. L.I.A.R.  The braggart brags of his own weakest virtue, and blames other with his own worst vices. 

The True Believer believes in the falsity, but subconsciously doubts.  The Liar knows he is lying.

Back in the Sixties, there was the Pam Am auto race from Canada to the Mexican border.  It was not about speed, but upon gas consumption which was touted in the ads for cars of the guzzling Sixties.  The virtue of those old cars was size, glamor and comfort, not safety. Today’s cars are hard to tell apart compared to the Sixties.


In the days before seat belts one could be belted through the windshield on collision.  And, steel cars were more easily reparable even if the driver wasn’t.



Then there were the cigarette ads that touted how low the tar in the lungs would be by smoking the Right Brand



   And clearly it was sexy. There was a style in how one smoked that would be a personal trade mark.



Now we know that gas guzzling and smoking are negative while the comfortable gas guzzler and the sexy smoker are positives.  Both are tweaked in the pitch.  Going out on a date to the drive in movies back then was as roomy as a motel room.  Then came air conditioned inside movie theaters and no foreplay room in the front nor rear. 

Now, as then, one can enhance one’s image and social impact with the display of socially significant toys, trinkets, clothes, big boobs, and hard abs.  In Los Angeles one is what one wears on the wrist and what one drives.  In San Francisco it is how, what and where one eats.  In New York it is what one wears, drinks, as well as how fast one seems to be.  In Texas and Chicago all serious business is done behind closed doors, where it belongs.  If you don’t know who or what, you don’t have the clearance to know.

And everywhere it is what comes out of one’s mouth that marks one’s turf. Sort of a dog walk and whiz.   



The dog knows what he is doing, and why.  That’s not always the case with us higher animals.



Who knows?



It helps to know what role the players are playing, plus the knowledge that the role will switch for a payoff.  Lucy gets a win which she wants, while Linus gets a dump which why he went for Lucy’s predictable switch with the football.

A knight and a murderer often use the same tactics, techniques and procedures so which color the other is doesn’t really alter the truth.  Which is why the Drama Triangle is really a circle.



The switch between victim, rescuer and prosecutor can be done in a single sentence, and in the current election especially so.  From the darker side of American demagoguery:



It boils down to what’s the tar and what’s so cool that it is hot.  The most impressive mix these days is the ad for the latest drug which pictures a picture of health while reading off a list of all the really sick stuff that could happen.  Music in the background.  The mind easily slides past cognitive dissonance without as much as a hiccup. 

 Cialis, and the four hours:

or “stifficade”

True Believers don’t lie just because they have up and down mixed up, it’s what they believe that separates them from Liars. Liars know which way is up, but they profit from calling it down. True Believers switch sides because the buzz or payoffs are greater, while the Liar lies when it is to his calculated advantage. It is hard to tell one from the other absent objective data of the subjects at hand.

Coca-Cola includes extracts from Coca leaves for cocaine, and Kola nuts for the caffeine. In 1903, the cocaine was removed from the Coca leaves for making Coca-Cola.  This goes to the everlasting snide commentary about “the Real Thing” that Coke has no coke in it anymore.  Coke was originally sold in drug stores then over drug store counters the last of which disappeared by the Sixties.



Taking the Coke out of Coke is about Power, not Truth.  The word “truth” when stressed with unnecessary trappings, wrappings, bells and whistles are fairly good lie indicators. 



Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. But it doesn’t cure getting out of the rut, grind, routine and dirty diapers. Or the in-laws.  

It takes no brains to see the link between the erection and vitality side to the core of biological survival. Feed and Breed, Paid and Laid, Dinner and a Date, Food and Family.  Decoding transactions (messages, propaganda, etc.) can be done with connecting the Tools, Rules, and Roles to Food and Family and back again: 

The Rules (Sociological) fall into two groups: Social Status and relations with the Physical World. The arm and hand signals work better than another damn acronym.

Sociological Rules

Smoking a sexy cigarette (body) in a sexy manner saves Face and hopefully Fame and maybe fortune which would be applied at the Biological level, which in turn delivers Fame as a successful breeder which enhances one’s Face and possibly fortune to buy a set of wheels to cover the Distance over the Ground in less Time.  Smoking while driving a sexy set of wheels was a definitive statement of savoir faire.


In drinking, driving and smoking were (are) at the core of the attractiveness of who gets bred.  The core of politics goes to the successful survival of the bred.  As in Family and the preservation of what was once called a “bloodline”.   The biological center of survival is the interaction of who controls the bloodline as coded in the DNA of the bred. 

The male and female sides of any given species, or part thereof, are addressed in two distinctive strategies.  The male seeks to control the bloodline by excluding any but him.  The female seeks to control the quality of the bloodline through selection of the right male.   A dominant theme in natural selection is competition between males for the female to select the winner.  An alternate (horses and lions) only one male gets to breed, the Stallion and the Simba while the lesser competitive lurk or wander. 

Biological survival of any given bloodline in humans is delicate compared to other animals by the dangers of in-breeding.  Consequently, and instinctively, the female seeks to enrich the bloodline of her part of the brood by adultery.  In response by the male bloodline is to kill the adulterous, as in stoning. If the male doesn’t suffice, another will.  Rape is the reverse of selective breeding by female selection, hence men comprise six sigma of all rapists.  And adultery is a necessary element in preventing in-breeding.  And arranged marriages relied more on issues the smitten could not. 



Even though arranged marriages are largely out of flavor today, save in certain sub-continents, the deep investment in who gets to swap whose genes for whom extends to issues other than gene swapping. It goes to deep sense of who “we” are from nuclear family to family of nations.  “They” are the enemy of the purity and essence of vital bodily fluids, so sayeth Sterling Hayden in the role of General Jack Ripper in the movie classic “Dr. Strangelove, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb”. 

Closing scene with Vera Lynn’s “We’ll meet again”, a truly beautiful song. Note the reference to breeding and a mine shaft gap:


In this movie, Sterling Hayden plays the role of a True Believer, albeit crazy.  He orders his B-52 Squadron to bomb Russia using a loop hole in the law.  Post this, and double-double checks were made in SAC.  His purpose was to leverage the Murderous side of protecting the Family in accordance with rules (Fate) to break the Body of the Soviets and make them lose Face and Fame. 



Elmer Gantry was a liar, Leon Trotsky was a True Believer.   Stalin had Trotsky murdered in Mexico City so much a threat he was to Stalin, a liar.

Gantry plays the (Battering Bastard) aka Murderous parent to cow those seeking a replacement for the Battering Daddy and Manipulative Mother (Bitch) as if disruptive (Brats).   This theme of replicating dysfunctional parenting is very much at the core of True Believer motives.  Themes such as these are found in ISIS, North Korea, and were fundamental in the Soviet Union, Red China under Mao, and Germany under Hitler.

War, however, is serious shit.


(to be continued)

Gordon S Fowkes