We do not question professor Cassidy’s intelligence, learning or patriotism.
We question his understanding.
Though, it is possible – as a result of living under a quasi-communist, bureaucratic dictatorship – he has to mouth formal platitudes and hide his real meaning.
In any case, his recent essay the Wages of War Without Strategy co-written with Jacqueline Tame, is uninformed and incomplete.
Professor Cassidy’s 2012 essay Why Great Powers Fight Small Wars Badly suffers from the same defects.
Before we begin, we must remember that what we are discussing here is not an idle question.
As of this moment, thousands of American soldiers have perished, and more have been maimed and many more suffer from psychological problems – and it will continue. (We ourselves know someone who suffered from psychological problems resulting from the Iraq War and have known someone – a female soldier – who was killed in Afghanistan.)
What about Muslims? How many have been killed (Jihadies and civilians) in this forever war? Over a million? How many will die by war’s end? 50 million? 200 million?
The clock is ticking, and we only have a limited time to deal with the three conjectures, so let’s begin.
The Two Fundamental Errors of Professor Cassidy.
1: Professor Cassidy is uninformed.
When we say that the professor, who is a professor of military strategy, is uninformed we mean that he is uniformed about key facts that are vital to his work. Without these facts, he cannot solve his basic problem.
His basic problem is why America (we prefer to use USG) cannot fight, cannot win, cannot crush third-world rustics.
The key fact that professor Cassidy, who has been a “special assistant” to two ICJ Commanders, who has been awarded a Bronze Star and who has done a better’s day work than what we could hope to match in 100 days, is the Iron Law of Progressive Democracy.
The Iron Law of Progressive Democracy states that when a Western, progressive (communist), democratic country fights a non-Western guerrilla army, the Western country cannot win and is either defeated or withdraws.
Martin Van Creveld writes:
1944-1948. A few hundred active “terrorists” hound the British out of Palestine, leading to the establishment of the State of Israel.
1946-1954. French troops are defeated in Indochina, leading to Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian independence.
1948-1960. British troops fail to hold Malaya and end up by withdrawing from the country. Thanks to a masterpiece of propaganda, the Brits make most of the world believe that they had actually won the war. But this does not prevent Malaysia from becoming independent state.
1950-1953, Western forces, operating under UN auspices, wage against North Korea and China. The outcome, stalemate, is probably the best that could have been achieved.
1953-1960. British troops fail to defeat the Mau Mau Revolt in Kenya, ending up by withdrawing from the country, which gained its independence.
1954-1962. The War in Algeria, which had been a French colony for well over a century, ends with a humiliating defeat for France.
1955-1960. An insurgency forces the British to give up Cyprus, which becomes an independent country.
1963-1967. Another insurgency forces the British to surrender Aden. Ditto.
1965-1972. The Second Vietnam War, which was the largest of them by far, ends with the decisive defeat of the US and its allies and their final withdrawal.
1970-1975. As part of the Second Vietnam War, the US invaded Cambodia. In 1975 it had to throw in the towel. With the US cowed and decolonization all but complete, major Western attempts to intervene in the developing world came to a halt.
1982-1984. A small continent of US troops enters Lebanon, but quickly leaves again after terrorists start blowing them up.
1991-1992. The US and its allies, provoked by Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, go to war. In almost seventy years, this is the only campaign that resulted in a clear victory. As a result, President George Bush declares that the US “has overcome the Vietnam Syndrome.”
1993.The US and its allies send troops into Somalia. To absolutely no avail, except for turning that country into an even worse hell than it already was.
2002-present. To avenge 9-11, the US and its allies invade Afghanistan. The resulting mess is still waiting to be cleared up.
2003-present. The US and its allies invade Iraq. Saddam Hussein is overthrown and, ultimately, killed. However, once again the outcome is a mess that has still not been resolved.
2005-present. French and British forces, initially supported by US cruise missiles, assist local militias in overthrowing Dictator Muammar Gadhafi. The outcome is the same as in Iraq.
2011-present. Small NATO contingents take part in Syria’s murderous civil war, but achieve practically nothing.
Our first homework for the professor is the following from Edward Luttwak:
1: Dead End: Counterinsurgency Warfare as Military Malpractice. Edward Luttwak. 2007.
You can read it here.
The Iron Law tells us the Democracies cannot win, but it does not tell us why they cannot win.
Luttwak hints (and only hints) at the reason why:
That decision reflects another kind of politics, manifest in the ambivalence of a United States government that is willing to fight wars, that is willing to start wars because of future threats, that is willing to conquer territory or even entire countries, and yet is unwilling to govern what it conquers, even for a few years. Consequently, for all the real talent manifest in the writing of FM 3-24 DRAFT, its prescriptions are in the end of little or no use and amount to a kind of malpractice. All its best methods, all its clever tactics, all the treasure and blood that the United States has been willing to expend, cannot overcome the crippling ambivalence of occupiers who refuse to govern, and their principled and inevitable refusal to out-terrorize the insurgents, the necessary and sufficient condition of a tranquil occupation. (Bold, underline and italics ours.)
Professor Cassidy also hints at the reason why here:
In the war against terrorism, the United States worries too much about international coalitions, just as it does about world public opinion…….
As for international public opinion, nothing delights good people more than seeking solutions that are acceptable to it. Yet, nothing is more difficult for them to grasp than the myths and realities of international public opinion. In the heat of an issue, how many people realize that world public opinion is not based on a universally agreed-upon value system, that it is not always objective, that it is difficult to define, that it is easily manufactured or manipulated, that it is fragmented and ephemeral, that it has a very short memory, and that it can often turn out to be wrong?
Take the matter of definition. How does, or should, one define world public opinion on a given issue? By the level of violence committed in its name? By its loudness? By its repetition? By its media coverage? By the language and number of resolutions the United Nations has adopted on the issue? By the tally of states invoking it on a particular side of an issue? By the total population of those countries? Or take the fickle and forgetful nature of world public opinion. The Russia that international opinion condemned decades ago for invading Hungary and Czechoslovakia is the same Russia that was hailed for its anti-Israel attitude during those decades.
The world public opinion that condemned U.S. intervention in Vietnam is the same public opinion that ignored China when it conquered Tibet. The intellectuals who condemned America’s sometime use of nonlethal tear gas during the Vietnam war were the same ones who were silent when Iraq used lethal poison gas during the Iraq-Iran war. In short, world public opinion, to the extent that it exists, is always conditioned by multiple perceptions of democracy, Is World Opinion Important?
Since Somalia, the United States’ use of force has appeared to be even more restricted by a zero-deaths syndrome. Another manifestation was Kosovo where an air campaign exacerbated the notion of using force without bleeding. Moreover, the U.S. forces that deployed to Kosovo to conduct peace operations had no friendly casualties as their most important criterion for success. advantage in guerrilla warfare, urban combat, peace operations, and combat in rugged terrain. The weapon of choice in these conditions remains copious quantities of well-trained infantrymen.”17 Guerrilla war is more a test of national will and endurance than it is a military contest. (Bold, underline and italics ours.)
Why Great Powers Fight Small Wars Badly.” Military Review (September-October 2002).
So has USG’s “military malpractice” something to do with what professor Cassidy’s “World Opinion”?
What is “World Opinion”? Where does this “Opinion” come from?
Here is our answer:
“Public Opinion” is a reflection of whatever stance the New York Times has taken on a subject; “World Opinion”, meanwhile, is whatever position the State Department (whose staffers all read the Times) have taken regarding some international issue.
The Times and State and the people who work, live and breathe in them, however, are downstream of whatever paradigms, assumptions and theories that are taught at Harvard University.
Is this true?
Let’s set aside this question and ask a different one:
Why would Harvard, the Times and State not want USG to win against the Viet Cong, the Taliban or ISIS?
In order to answer this question, our second homework for professor Cassidy is the following:
2: The Patron Theory of Politics.
The political theory of Bertrand de Jouvenel presented in On Power its Nature and the History of its Growth[i] is one which provides an interpretation of human society, and the role of power, as following certain imperatives dependent on the relative position of the actors in question.
The model which we can adopt without the confusion provided by Jouvenel’s political affiliation is one which shows that Power acts both for its own expansion and security, and also as a social process for the benefit of those that come under the purview of Power.
The model thus provided by Jouvenel is both exceptionally simple, yet of devastating importance, it is simply that in any given political configuration if there are multiple centers of power then conflict will occur as the centers of power seek to both secure their position and pursue expansion. The dominant power center will become the central Power. This dominant Power will enlarge its remit and power not by direct physical conflict (which would in effect spell outright civil war) but through means presented (and seen by both the actors in power, and those who benefit) as being beneficial to society overall.
…. the primary motivations for power centers to engage in leveling conflict were the insecurity of their positions and the blocks they faced, they simply could not, and cannot, govern in a direct and concise manner. This has many further ramifications which we shall cover later, but for now it suffices to note that as these power centers were placed in positions of chronic conflict within society. The centers were unable to engage in actual direct conflict to resolve the tension, so the alternative option was, and still is, to pursue that of advancing their attempts at centralisation and conflict against competing power centers by appeal to greater societal good.
Instead, by placing the analysis on the manner in which internal institutions have been allowed to operate in a state of permanent surreptitious conflict, a picture emerged of a strange governing entity which centred around the Ivy League universities, media, the civil service and additionally non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society foundations in a systemically logical conflict against all other intermediary structure which have been under sustained and continued destruction. The key point to note is that the systemic conflict provides all of these centers with the context within which their decisions are enacted, rendering their actions predictable to a large degree. This is why we can see all the progressive institutions acting in a similar manner without need of a central governing body. Unsecure Power is then definable as power acting in a system designed on (or degraded to) internal conflict.
Secure Power in contrast is Power acting within a system in which institutions are complementary and not conflicting. Authority flows down only. Similar entities are seen in the form of corporations, the very same entities which actors in governance have been engaging on ever greater levels as a means to provide effective and efficient services, something which the national governance structure of the modern state has been unable to maintain. The great expansion of private military companies and privatisation in everyday walks of life are premised on the idea that the profit motive is a strong driving force for competence, but fails to take into account that the profit driven companies are first and foremost driven on a model of governance which is a rejection of imperium in imperio, thus ensuring a means of management which allows for clear and effective action. No one creates a business with an imperium in imperio design. (Bold, underline and italics ours.)
The Patron Theory of Politics.
Please read the entire paper and this book, but if you do not understand what you have read, here is the executive summary:
Every society has a Ruling Elite – the Elites. This fact is also known as the Iron Law of Oligarchy.
The Elites, however, need a group to help them govern – the Essentials.
The Elites, who are always a small minority in comparison with Essentials or Expendables, are threatened by Essentials. Essentials threaten Elites in two ways: either replacing or overthrowing them with the support of dissident Elites and or by enlisting support of Expendables.
The Elites respond to this threat by enlisting the support of Expendables in order to degrade, diminish, defeat and sometimes destroy the power of the Expendables.
The logic of Power conflict is similar to the logic that leads to the Iron Law of Wages.
How do they do this?
Immigration is one route, which is our third, short, homework:
3: Rub the Right’s Nose in Diversity. Migration Watch: Is Mass Immigration a Conspiracy?
Or course, in America, it is Mexicans and Muslims, but the logic of Power conflict leading to these policies are the same. The logic of Power conflict leads to a Thucydides Trap – for America as America.
The logic of Power conflict can be understood by reading our next homework:
4: Selectorate Theory or the Rules for Rulers. Bueno de Mesquita.
If you want to understand the logic of Power conflict better, we recommend that you read up on Bueno de Mesquita’s selectorate theory. You can also read this book; importantly, the logic applies in democracies as well. You can read our treatment here.
Our fifth homework is the following:
5: The Pentagon is Making the CIA and the State Department Obsolete. Ryan Landry.
This report documents and explains recent changes resulting from Trump’s election and the consequences for the Red Empire V the Blue Empire struggle.
The Red Empire is the Pentagon, elements of the Republican Party and their supporters – the “Red State Americans”. The Blue Empire is Harvard, the Times, State, Hollywood, The Judiciary, the Civil Service, the Democrat Party and the “Blue State Americans”.
Thus, American foreign policy, and groups like the Viet Cong or ISIS become proxies in American domestic political struggles.
See this report for additional details to understand how the game is played.
Our sixth and final homework is the following:
6: Commentarii de Bello Gallico. Julius Caesar.
Caesar, having again marched to harass the enemy, after collecting a large number [of auxiliaries] from the neighboring states, dispatches them in all directions. All the villages and all the buildings, which each beheld, were on fire: spoil was being driven off from all parts; the corn not only was being consumed by so great numbers of cattle and men, but also had fallen to the earth, owing to the time of the year and the storms; so that if any had concealed themselves for the present, still, it appeared likely that they must perish through want of all things, when the army should be drawn off. And frequently it came to that point, as so large a body of cavalry had been sent abroad in all directions, that the prisoners declared Ambiorix had just then been seen by them in flight, and had not even passed out of sight, so that the hope of overtaking him being raised, and unbounded exertions having been resorted to, those who thought they should acquire the highest favor with Caesar, nearly overcame nature by their ardor, and continually, a little only seemed wanting to complete success; but he rescued himself by [means of] lurking-places and forests, and, concealed by the night made for other districts and quarters, with no greater guard than that of four horsemen, to whom along he ventured to confide his life.
Having devastated the country in such a manner, Caesar leads back his army with the loss of two cohorts to Durocortorum of the Remi, and, having summoned a council of Gaul to assemble at that place, he resolved to hold an investigation respecting the conspiracy of the Senones and Carnutes, and having pronounced a most severe sentence upon Acco, who had been the contriver of that plot, he punished him after the custom of our ancestors. Some fearing a trial, fled; when he had forbidden these fire and water, he stationed in winter quarters two legions at the frontiers of the Treviri, two among the Lingones, the remaining six at Agendicum, in the territories of the Senones; and, having provided corn for the army, he set out for Italy, as he had determined, to hold the assizes. (Bold, underline and italics ours.)
The Gallic Wars, Book 6. Julius Caesar.
Let’s return to Luttwak, who knows the answer:
The Easy and Reliable Way of Defeating All Insurgencies Everywhere Perfectly
Ordinary regular armed forces, with no counterinsurgency doctrine or training whatever, have in the past regularly defeated insurgents, by using a number of well-proven methods. It is enough to consider these methods to see why the armed forces of the United States or of any other democratic country cannot possibly use them. The simple starting point is that insurgents are not the only ones who can intimidate or terrorize civilians. For instance, whenever insurgents are believed to be present in a village, small town, or distinct city district—a very common occurrence in Iraq at present, as in other insurgency situations—the local notables can be compelled to surrender them to the authorities, under the threat of escalating punishments, all the way to mass executions. That is how the Ottoman Empire could control entire provinces with a few feared janissaries and a squadron or two of cavalry. The Turks were simply too few to hunt down hidden rebels, but they did not have to: they went to the village chiefs and town notables instead, to demand their surrender, or else. A massacre once in a while remained an effective warning for decades. So it was mostly by social pressure rather than brute force that the Ottomans preserved their rule: it was the leaders of each ethnic or religious group inclined to rebellion that did their best to keep things quiet, and if they failed, they were quite likely to tell the Turks where to find the rebels before more harm was done. Long before the Ottoman Empire, the Romans knew how to combine sticks and carrots to obtain obedience and suppress insurgencies. Conquered peoples too proud to accept the benefits of their rule, from public baths and free circus shows to reliable law courts, were “de-bellicized” (a very Roman idea).
It was done by killing all who dared to resist in arms—it made good combat practice for the legions—by selling into slavery any who were captured in battle, by leveling towns that held out under siege instead of promptly surrendering, and by readily accepting as peaceful subjects and future citizens all who submitted to Roman rule. In the first two and most successful centuries of imperial Rome, some 300,000 soldiers in all, only half of them highly trained legionary troops, were enough to secure a vast empire that stretched well beyond the Mediterranean basin that formed its core, today the territory of some thirty European, Middle Eastern, and North African states. The Romans could not disperse their soldiers in hundreds of cities, thousands of towns, and countless hamlets to repress riot or rebellion; the troops were needed to guard the frontiers. Instead, they relied on deterrence, which was periodically reinforced by exemplary punishments. Most inhabitants of the empire never rebelled after their initial conquest.
By contrast, the capacity of American armed forces to inflict collective punishments does not extend much beyond curfews and other such restrictions, inconvenient to be sure and perhaps sufficient to impose real hardship, but obviously insufficient to out-terrorize insurgents. Needless to say, this is not a political limitation that Americans would ever want their armed forces to overcome, but it does leave the insurgents in control of the population, the real “terrain” of any insurgency. Of course, the ordinary administrative functions of government can also be employed against the insurgents, less compellingly perhaps but without need of violence. Insurgents everywhere seek to prohibit any form of collaboration or contact with the authorities, but they cannot normally prevent civilians from entering government offices to apply for obligatory licenses, permits, travel documents, and such. That provides venues for intelligence officers on site to ask applicants to provide information on the insurgents, in exchange for the approval of their requests and perhaps other rewards. This effective and straightforward method has been widely used, and there is no ethical or legal reason why it should not be used by the armed forces of the United States as well.
But it does require the apparatus of military government, complete with administrative services for civilians. During and after the Second World War, after very detailed preparations, the U.S. Army and Navy governed the American zone of Germany, all of Japan, and parts of Italy. Initially, U.S. officers were themselves the administrators, with such assistance from local officials they chose to re-employ. Since then, however, the United States has preferred both in Vietnam long ago and now in Iraq to leave government to the locals. (Bold, underline and italics ours.)
Dead End: Counterinsurgency Warfare as Military Malpractice. Edward Luttwak. 2007.
The executive summary is the following:
A: The general principle:
To defeat an insurgency you must out-terrorise the terrorists.
This means that you must:
B: Carry out punishments such as floggings, hangings and burnings.
C: Take hostages.
D: Humiliate and destroy property in response to insurrectionary behaviour.
When it comes to Muslim insurgents, the following strategies are necessary:
E: Recalcitrant Imams are to be punished.
F: Mosques, linked with the insurgency, are to be demolished.
G: Family members, especially female family members, of known insurgents are to be humiliated and punished.
H: Psychological warfare, via targeted propaganda aimed at core religious beliefs, is to be utilised. This means deploying satire using movies, books, TV, music videos, commercials, video games etc. etc. In addition, it means developing intellectual and scholarly critiques of the intellectual principles of Islam, and demolishing them utterly in Arabic media, universities and schools – in essence De-Islamification.
Of course, this cannot be done and it cannot be done because the “Blue Empire” of Harvard etc., will not let it happen. They will not let it happen because it means that its enemy – the “Red Empire” – will gain glory, popularity and power.
The result is a prolonged and unsolvable political crisis until crack-up, succession, civil war or caesarism happens.
That’s just the way it is.
Of course, we have not asked the fundamental question:
Why should USG fight Islam at all?
Why not simply close the borders to all Muslims?
If energy is the issue, then build up USG’s shale-oil industry and develop nuclear alternatives.
What about Europe?
Europe has grown weak, decadent and fat under USG’s protection; letting them handle their own security will toughen them up and will help bring a conclusion to this war. If Europe needs help, the STEEL-cameralist answer, which is the instinctive position of Donald Trump, is that Europe has to pay for it.
That’s just the way it is.
This, then, is the second error of professor Cassidy.
His analysis is incomplete because he never asks why USG should involve itself in the Muslim world, which has nothing of value (except oil); Muslims make nothing, but they destroy everything.
America’s real battle is yet to fight – the fight against itself. This is why professor Cassidy is uninformed (his first error). America’s enemies are not, necessarily, Muslims but the political structure of republican democracy itself; a structure that enshrines the cardinal political error of Imperium in Imperio (a state within a state) that cannot but lead to division, chaos and conflict.
Now, that USG is an empire, its internal political battles span the entire globe and threaten everyone and everything in it.
The machine is out of control, and only a Napoleon or a Caesar can master it, but a Napoleon or a Caesar must be mastered in turn.
This is the project of Imperial Energy.