Sunday, September 03, 2006

Sun Tzu for Secessionist

Here is something inflammatory and dangerous, the most dangerous thing I have ever written. Now do not take me wrong, I am not advocating violence as the solution to achieve political freedom. My point here is to dispel a constant argument I hear articulated in opposition to secession or for that matter any real discussion of taking back liberties and freedoms that are rightfully ours.

The counter-argument goes something like this. 'Ok so let's say you secede, then what? The Federal government would never allow it and it would only result in another Civil War that you would lose'.

The counter-counter argument that the secessionist provides to this generally ignores the point and states something to the effect of: 'Wow, do you really think the Federal government would actually use force again against a group of Americans exercising their democratic will?'

Good counter argument but it ignores the detractors point, they leave the discussion with a sense of victory and the pro-secessionist is left with a sense of inferiority. After all what if they are right and it is impossible to secede without the permission and consent of the federal government? What if freedom depends entirely upon the Federal government using restraint and refraining from violence? History as well as current trends makes this a pretty dubious hope to hang one's dreams upon.

Fourth Generation warfare(4GW) has changed all of that. The age of the state having the exclusive right to the use of violence has passed. Asynchronous warfare enables a numerically inferior, technologically disadvantaged antagonist to best a well-equipped, well-trained superior force. There is nothing really new about this type of warfare, it has always existed. The Huns used it to successfully, a portion of the American Revolution included this type of warefare. It has had many names but the current incarnation is a direct adaptation to the prevalence of 3GW (i.e. maneuver warfare).

Total war reentered the Western mind in the 1860's with Lincoln, Sherman and Grant. As much as Southerners loathe those despicable creatures the fact is total war, the idea of fighting not just the armies of your enemy but his capacity to wage war also, was something bound to find its way into the thought processes of western leaders. I suppose the fact that the US government is the only modern government to ever successfully wage total war (against the South, Germany and Japan) is something that future historians will certainly comment upon.

In the early 20th Century German military thinkers developed real maneuver warfare (3GW). The French in 1939 were a technologically superior Army but they were based on 2GW tactics and strategies. The Germans sliced through the numerically and technologically superior French forces in mere weeks. Of course today all nation-states maintain 3GW armies to one degree or another. Some maintain 4GW capability but most lack the ability to successfully engage in sustained 4GW and win.

4GW is total war, fought on the ground and in the hearts and minds of the people. The very notion of Jus ad bellum (Just War) in terms of rules and laws simply does not apply in 4GW. The rules that nation states apply are relics that maintain their legitimacy and claim to exclusive use of violence in the furtherance of their aims. The only rules that apply in 4GW are the rules that bind the participates to their own sense of morality and decency, everything beyond that is fair game and must be included if a disadvantaged foe hopes to prevail.

By any assessment Israel took a good hiding in Lebanon. The US experience in Iraq has proven that 4GW is more than a match for the best equipped Army in the world. Sure the US pacified Afghanistan for the most part, but this was largely due to the fact that the population (or at least a large enough portion of the population) was willing to cooperate. Do not forget the Soviet experience in that country when the population was not so supportive. Also recall the Russian experience in Chechnya. (and yes the Soviets/Russians were at best second string in the big picture but their doctrine was 3GW vs 4GW and they were hammered).

The point being that if a people are truly dedicated to their cause they ought not fear large, technologically superior militaries of nation-states. Neither should secessionist fear answering the straw-man counter argument presented above. If freedom is worth having and a people seek it then the decision to seek it ought not depend on the charity and restraint of the government that holds them hostage. Neither should it depend upon the potential costs and sacrifice. A people dedicated to their freedom can win it if they persevere and stand fast on their convictions.

I hate to use a line that has become cliche but one particular scene in Braveheart pretty much sums it it (I paraphase as I have not exactly memorized the line):

"Fight and you may die, run and you will live. But someday as you lay frail and weak in your bed, dying, you will willingly trade each day from today to then for the chance of freedom."

There is truth in that line. Nobody, especially those that have seen first hand the horrors of war, seeks violence. There are however greater tragedies than death. Sitting idly by while our republican form of government is taken away, day by day, and liberty vanishes from the earth; that is a tragedy worth fighting to stop.

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