Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 700, December 9, 2012

"So here's a call to arms—or at least to
keyboards—for all of those I hear wondering
what they can do to advance the cause of liberty."w3

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A refute of Michael Bradshaw's "Open Letter"
by Jeff Colonnesi

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

Re: "An Open Letter to Chris Claypoole" by Michael Bradshaw

In Michael's letter in TLE #699 he describes the 5th generation of warfare. However, his description confuses a type or method of warfare with a stated political goal. More so, his description of the warfare portion of the 5th generation is not accurate.

First off, the political intent of a style of warfare is not part of the warfare. Whether you want the outcome of a war to impose a new government style, return an old government to power or to eliminate government entirely may affect tactics (mainly in a limiting sense) but it does not overly limit your style of warfare. If you have the power to win the war, by whatever means, then you have the muscle to dictate the power structure afterwards.

Second, the idea of a theoretical unorganized group, bound together only by the notion that they don't want to be subjected, rising up and throwing off the yoke of government by small surgical strikes with no coordination is laughable. Anarchy can be a worthwhile goal—but anarchy obtained through random violence is going to be, well, pretty bloody (in the literal sense) violent for a long, long, long time. Probably until some organized group forms to put an end to it. It's the same reason why in all the years of painters of all stripes spilling paint one has never accidentally produced a realistic human portrait. Chaos begets chaos, it does not spontaneously create order (or at least it never has that I know of).

Third, the 5th gen of warfare is not the assassination of high officials by individuals or small groups. That rightly is an extension of and should be grouped with the 3rd and 4th gens of warfare. Small unit attacks & sniper teams, as well as individual snipers, belong to both of those generations. Whether those, or the less savory forms of warfare also found in guerilla warfare, are employed against the grunts on the ground or the politicians pulling the strings does not change the type of warfare.

5th generation warfare is drones and robotics. Delivering attacks with a force multiplier that makes it impossible to hurt the attacker, even if you destroy what is doing the attacking. The United States Military is currently the world leader in 5th generational warfare. It's only the military's own (outdated?) rules and the civilian government's squeamishness that prevents a handful of soldiers operating drones from maintaining complete air superiority, observation and destructive ability over the bulk of the Middle East. If you think about it, a few rule changes, a few code and hardware changes and the financial investment into the hardware could place 12,000 drones in the air over the middle east in about 2 years time. All 12,000 could be controlled by fewer than 100 pilots and maintained by support crews far less numerous than the current ground troops (who could be kept in relative safety). It would be possible to keep 3-4,000 in the air at a time. Without the current emphasis on minimal civilian casualties, how long would it take to reduce the area to a level where the people would accept any conditions forced on them? Or alternately, to reduce the area to Bronze Age (or Stone Age) technology?

Thankfully, the 5th generation of warfare is unlikely to last as long as the military industrial complex would like. Because the 6th generation is already here.

The 6th generation reverses the tide of the first 5. Where the first 5 aimed at maximizing the ability to inflict casualties, while minimizing one's own, the 6th does not aim to inflict casualties. It aims at disrupting the ability to wage war without causing any casualties. It is information, both the spreading of it and the denial of it. Its viruses and hacks that disable advanced weapons systems without harming people. Its viruses and hacks that allow those advanced systems to be turned on their owners. It's hidden cameras uploading to public forums and pointing out the idiocy and brutality of the enemy. Its chat rooms and social networking that allows those of like mind to find one another though they may live 1000's of miles apart. It's the wealth of information that allows the lone individual to decide to shine the brightest spotlight on a politician's private life—just to see what roaches may scurry about in those recesses. It's the connectivity that allows that individual to broadcast what they find to the world—or to quietly mention it in to that individual before a critical vote. Like the other 5 generations, it can be used to prop up governments or tear them down.

That is where the success, or failure, of liberty lies.

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