Liberal and Conservative Intra-Connectivity

No Romney in 2008?: Dean’s Debacle,” by Robert Novak, Townhall, 7 May 2005, (South Dakota Politics).

Confessions of a Listener,” by Garrison Keillor, The Nation, 23 May 2005, (from South Dakota Politics).

Conservatives trump liberals in financial connectivity to their party

Democratic National Committee (DNC) fund raising under the chairmanship of Howard Dean shows a disappointing $16.7 million raised in the first quarter of 2005, compared with $34 million reported by the Republicans.

That tends to confirm dire predictions by old-line Democratic fund-raisers of a fall-off in money if Dean became chairman. He had promised to bring in heavy individual contributions, as he did in his 2004 campaign for president. But the DNC in the first quarter received only $13 million from individuals, compared to $31 million for the Republican National Committee (RNC).

Conservative trump liberals in rhetorical connectivity to each other. To quote Garrison Keillor

The reason you find an army of right-wingers ratcheting on the radio and so few liberals is simple: Republicans are in need of affirmation, they don’t feel comfortable in America and they crave listening to people who think like them. Liberals actually enjoy living in a free society; tuning in to hear an echo is not our idea of a good time.

In other words, they constantly affirm the message.

Now, remembering also conservatives have a 3:2 advantage over liberals, which ideological network is stronger

From the left?


Or the right?


Larry Dunbar’s Lakota After Pre-Modern War

In early January I wrote a post called Lakota After 4GW. It was one of the first things I wrote about Fourth-Generation War. Discussions with Mark and Larry convinced me that the Great Sioux War was in no way a 4GW, but rather a Pre-Modern War.

Larry was kind enough to edit my original version. His new version is available in Microsoft Word “.doc” format.

His afterward is reprinted in full

Amodern war is a subset of a Pre-Modern War. The methods are the same except more refined. I am not so sure but I believe, this is the US army as it is today. It wants to completely hold the enemy harmless with out being squeamish (religious). However, Modern Warfare will never be strong enough to defeat a 4GW. This is because Modern Warfare gets its Strength by posing as a horizontal force (Kind of like your Zombie networks). The 4GW is a horizontal force posing as a vertical force (wolf in sheep’s clothing). While the 4GW may be smaller than the vertical force that it is opposing, the strength it possesses is modified with an exponent, where as the modern warfare force has a one to one modification. The 4GW at twice the strength would need to be handled by, I would guess, 4 times the vertical force.

I am delighted to have my thoughts challenged by men as smart as Larry. Blogging is a wonderful job. 🙂

Defending 4GW Against Echevarria

The Problem with Fourth-Generation War ,” by Antulio J. Echevarria II, Strategic Studies Institute, February 2005,

A bit ago I asked for criticisms of 4GW. Chet Richards from DNI kindly gave me a link to an article by Lieutenant Colonel Antulio Echevarria, who has published many papers on war. Greatly respecting Echevarria’s experience and service, I criticize his work as follows

In The Problem with Fourth-Generation War, Echevarria’s makes three main points

  1. War does not change in “Generations”
  2. Even if it did, the next Generation would not be “4GW”
  3. Even if it was, some past wars were also “total wars”
  4. 4GW is just another name for Insurgency

I believe that Echevarria is wrong on all three counts

First, His Claim That War Does Not Evolve In Generations

In context:

Unfortunately, this construct is misleading on several counts. First, the theory’s sequencing of the so-called generations of war is both artificial and indefensible. Portraying changes in warfare in terms of “generations” implies that each one evolved directly from its predecessor, and, as per the natural progression of generations, eventually displaced it. However, the generational model is a poor way to depict changes in warfare. Simple displacement rarely takes place, significant developments often occur in parallel. Firepower, for example, played as much a role in World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam conflicts as did maneuver, perhaps more.

4GW theorists agree with Echevarria. That is one reason for 4GW suspicion of a “revolution in military affairs.” As Hammes writes in The Sling and The Stone, warfare evolves messily in stages driven by practical considerations on the ground.

Likewise, Echevarria’s criticism of the “generational” model is unfair. I am alive and working, though my father and grandfather are still alive. I have yet fully “displaced them.” But I am younger than they are and I am “the future” in a way they are not.

Second, His Charge That The Next Generation Would Not Be ‘4GW’

Second, even if it were valid to portray major changes in the conduct of war as an evolutionary progression from 1GW to 3GW, the next logical step in that progression would not be the sort of super-insurgency that 4GW theorists try to depict. Instead, 4GW would be closer to the vision of Net-centric warfare—small, high-tech forces networked together in a knowledge-based system of systems that enables them to act rapidly and decisively—currently propounded by some theorists. To their credit, the proponents of 4GW criticize Net-centric warfare for being too dependent on high-technology, and for being too inflexible to accommodate a thinking opponent. Yet, and quite ironically, this is the very direction in which the logic of their particular theory of military evolution would lead them, if they were true to it. The logic they use to explain key developments in the conduct of war, thus, actually undermines their case.

Let’s check them off, using a notable 4GW attack as an example

  • small – 19 men. check.
  • high-tech – attack coordinated using global telecommunication infrastructure. check.
  • networked – both technologically (see above), ideologically, and socially. check.
  • act rapidly – attacks were completed before conventional forces could respond. check.
  • and decisively – WTC destroyed. Pentagon damaged. Thousands killed. check.

Third, His Charge That Some Past Wars Were Also Total Wars

In other words, [4GW Proponents] establish a false comparison by which they wish us to conclude that most of the wars of the modern age, which they claim were characterized by firepower or maneuver, were narrowly focused on military power and, unlike the super-insurgencies of the information age, rarely involved the integration of political, economic, and social power. Yet, even a cursory review of the Napoleonic, and the First and Second World Wars reveals that this is not true. Political, social, and economic capabilities were, in many cases, employed to the maximum extent possible. Some historians, in fact, go so far as to maintain that the First and Second World Wars were, in effect, examples of “total” war precisely because of the extent to which the major combatants mobilized the elements of their national power.

Echevarria is attacking the wind. 4GW does not mean that there were no “total wars” in the past. In deed, this definition of “total war” would seem to exclude 4GW — thus making Echevarria’s point meaningless!

The major break between 4GW and past wars is that 4GW seeks to end the enemy’s will to fight, while previous generations of war focused on removing his ability to fight. The examples of “total war” that Echevarria cites fall into this latter category.

Fourth, His Change That 4GW Is Just Insurgent-Warfare

In fact, insurgency as a way of waging war actually dates back to classical antiquity, and thus predates the so-called second and third generations (firepower and maneuver) as described by 4GW theorists. Insurgents, guerrillas, and resistance fighters figured large in most of the wars fought during this period. Mao was certainly not the first, nor even the most important, theorist to articulate the virtues of insurgency, or Peoples’ war, as it was sometimes called. Clausewitz, for one, called it a “reality (Erscheinung) of the nineteenth century,” and provided some valuable insights into its nature. Insurgency did, after all, help the American colonies win independence from the British crown, and it nearly thwarted the ultimate Prusso-German victory over France in the War of 1870-71.

Finally, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel with regard to insurgency as an effective form of war. A great deal of very good work has already been done, especially lately, on that topic, to include the effects that globalization and information technologies have had, are having, and are likely to have, on such movements. We do not need another label, as well as an incoherent supporting logic, to obscure what many have already made clear.

Echevarria’s mistake is understandable. I made the same mistake discussing the Great Sioux War. The classical insurgencies were not Fourth Generation Wars. They were Pre-Modern Wars. These are struggles based more on family structure than ideological networks. Echevarria’s demonstration that pre-modern war preceded all generations of modern war is thus meaningless.

I hope I have understood Echevarria’s arguments. What other criticisms of 4GW exist?

9/11 Commission Opposes Filibusters

13.4: How to Do It?: Unity of Effort in the Congress,” National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States Final Report, 22 July 2004,

I finally finished the 9/11 Commission Report, after my brother gave it to me for Christmas. And there, on one of the last pages, is this beauty:

A president-elect should submit the nominations of the entire new national security team, through the level of under secretary of cabinet departments, not later than January 20. The Senate, in return, should adopt special rules requiring hearings and votes to confirm or reject national security nominees within 30 days of their submission. The Senate should not require confirmation of such executive appointees below Executive Level 3.

Granted it’s not judicial filibuster’s they are attacking. But the Commission did not see it filibusters as sacrosanct, as supposed ancient rights and privileges of the Senate are never mentioned! Nor is the word “filibuster” thought important enough to even be used.

Network Politics, Part 5, 4GW / 4GW: John Kerry

Note: This is a selection from Network Politics, a tdaxp series.


Kerry takes on … the gays,” by kos, Daily Kos, 9 May 2005,

John Kerry Needs To Go Away,” by John in DC, America Blog, 9 May 2005,

Another post illustrating Fourth Generation Political theory and the dysfunctional nature of the liberal “netroots”

But first, some definitions

  • The Fourth Generation of Modern Politics (4GP): a modern method of politics designed to seize the government and enact laws. When successful it is based on flat-horizontal-strong ideological networks. Resistant to decapitation attacks, these peer-to-peer nets can sustain themselves for fights that last decades. A 4GP struggle evolves in three unique stages, though the network can go back and forth or even be at different stages in different places at the same time.
  • 4GP’s First Stage (4GPS1): This first stage of a 4GP net, characterized by a weak 4GP movement and a strong enemy. 4GPS1 attacks are known as “node takedown,” “the politics of personal destruction,” “agitation-propaganda,” or just “horror stories.” These are high-profile symbolic attacks designed to recruit followers through “militancy.”
  • 4GP’s Second Stage (4GPS2): The second stage of a 4GP, characterized by a strong 4GP movement and a peer-strength enemy. The most popular kind of 4GPS2 attack is “network contestment,” where the insurgent network tries to steal members away from an existing network in mass, or otherwise inflict mass harm on the victim net.
  • 4GP’s Third Stage (4GPS3): The final stage of 4GP, characterized by direct assaults and take-over of the government, the military, and police powers. 4GPS3 attacks are known as “elections,” “judicial nominations,” “Presidential appointments,” or similar names. These are attacks by very strong 4GP networks that attempt to co-opt the government for its own purposes. Successful 4GPS3 is the goal of almost every 4GP network.

Now, the story.

John Kerry was the Democrat nominee for President in 2004 and he wants to run again 2008. He is faced with a population that looks like this:

“Blue” liberals are outnumbered by “Red” conservatives 3:2. These factions spend their time arguing and trying to make each other look bad. The general population — folks who don’t care that much one way or the other — are broken down on similar lines. Visually:

Contemporary Politics
Lines represent supportive political communication, arrows represent attacks. Note that the “playing field” is tilted toward Red Conservatives, and that the Conservative net is thicker

The only way for liberals to win is to tear off a substantial fraction of undecided moderates. Kerry wants to run for President in 2008, and he knows that unless the “liberal” Democrats tear off a substantial number of moderates, his party will lose again. Kerry saw a good opportunity to do this when the Massachusetts Democrat Party pondered supporting homosexualist marriage. So Kerry publicly opposed homosexualist marriage in his home state, in an attempt to form bonds with moderates who also oppose homosexualist marriage. If successful, this would change the correlation to forces to favor the Democrats and liberal groups. Visually:

Kerry’s Appeal to the Center
John Kerry publicly opposed homosexualist marriages to attempt to form common bonds with Republican-leaning moderates.

Trying to steal Republican supports this way is network contestment — classic 4GPS2. To work it requires the liberal base — the “netroots” — to support him. It requires liberal radicals to realize that a successful 4GPS2 attack makes successful 4GPS3 attacks more likely, and it requires the liberal radicals to believe that political struggle without 4GPS3 victories is useless.

Guess how well that turned out.


Before the election I called Kerry a “spineless ass” for his opposition (where none was warranted) of gay marriage in Massachusetts. Opposition that was clearly politically motivated given his past support on the issue. Well, my assessment remains operative.

Kos is launching a 4GPS1 attack on his ally, while his ally is attacking Republicans with a 4GPS2 attack! Friendly fire!


Liberal Radicals Attack Their Ally

This is like terrorists attacking Abu Zarqawi because that terrorist was spending too much time controlling territory at night and not enough setting off car bombs.

But it gets worse for the liberal network. The attack isn’t an end in itself. It has a goal

America Blog:

I’ve had it with this jerk. He was a lousy presidential candidate, couldn’t find a consistent position non the Iraq war if his life depended on it, and now the only consistent message he’s been able to find post-election is to bash gays.

Note to Kerry: Go away. You were a crappy candidate, a milquetoast Senator (Kennedy always pulled your weight, anyway), and now you have the nerve to weigh in AGAINST gay rights in your own state? Grow a pair, buddy, then come back and we’ll talk.

If you dare run for president again, I’ll be telling the world loud and clear that I voted for John Kerry for president, before I voted against him.

The goal of the netroot attack on Kerry is to disconnect Kerry.

The goal of the liberal radicals is to shrink the liberal network.

The visual is astounding

America Blog‘s Future Worth Creating: Kerry Disconnected

Disconnection is something reserved for The Enemy.

Of course, liberal radicals believe that Washington Democrats are the enemies.

The outlook for conservatives: good.

Network Politics, a tdaxp series
Introduction: Net-Attacks and Counter-Attacks
Part 1, 0GW / 4GW: Iraqi Sunnis
Part 2, 0GW / 4GW: Christian Conservatives
Part 3, 1GW / 4GW: George Soros
Part 4, 2GW / 4GW: Social Security
Part 5, 4GW / 4GW: John Kerry