Network Politics, Part 1, 0GW/4GW: Iraqi Sunnis

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


Earlier I described the fusion of Pre-Modern (or 0GW) and 4G nets, using the religious right in America as an example. Combining the will to power of 4G networks with the strength of families, the American Right Christian are exerting their power as never before.

But what if the situation called for going beyond politics? What if the PM/4G networks were ready to kill people?

Welcome to the insurgency in Iraq

First, take a boring family tree:


Three generations are shown, as well as three original couples. At the time of the diagram there are 12 males, of which five are married (more interested in stability) and seven are single (less interested in stability). Now imagine one of the more influential single males joins the insurgency and, drawing on family rule sets (“heeding your uncle,” “protecting the family,” etc.) recruits four others…

A Fourth-Generation network attached to a Pre-Modern network!

So how is this PMW/4GW hybrid defeated? It has the strengths of both kind of organizations, so it is undefeatable?


One option would be to lakota the insurgency. The Lakota Sioux was a violent Indian nation with a history of aggressive warfare. Allying with the United States in several early Indian wars, the Lakota eventually began massacring white settlers and succeeded in ethnically cleansing the Dakota Territory. After the convention war ended, the Federal Government responded with a hellish system of boarding school designed the destroy Lakota Sioux culture. The federal government succeeded. By removing children from their families and placing them in an alien environment that Lakota culture was not adapted to, it obliterated the Lakota ability to make war. While some warriors will remain, the fighting networks are shattered and the Pre-Modern Networks – families – fade away.

Children, Removed from Pre-Modern Net, Under State-Control

The downsides are numerous

  • Violation of human rights
  • Fits some definitions of “genocide”
  • Unlikely democratic Iraqi government will support
  • Unlikely Coalition members will support
  • Unlikely American people will support

In other words, the Lakota Option would be a massive American moral Isolation [PISRR] attack on America. Not a future worth creating.

More attractive is targeted denial of service attacks.

I earlier described a real-life DOS attack. DOS attacks are a form of “node takedown” or “politics of personal destruction” where the goal is to prevent leaders (ironically called “servers,” because they “serve” information) from talking to followers (called “clients”). Instead of America being morally isolated, we morally isolate the anti-Iraqis. Here’s how:

  1. Police capture any insurgent from the clan.
  2. Every single male is taken for questioning
  3. Police determine which single males are opinion leaders. No confessions are accusations are needed. The police only need to know which single males in the family are considered “important” or “honorable.”
  4. Police then launch the DOS attack on the single male opinion leaders. This can be indefinite detention, spreading disinformation that the targets themselves are cooperating, public humiliation (particularly sexual in a conservative society like Iraq), etc. No one needs to be tortured or killed. But the single male opinion network must be shattered
  5. Afterwards, the formerly important and honorable single males are disreputable. They do not attract followers from their tribe or clan.

Taking the same chart used previously, but snipping only the two leaders, we now get…


…A Peaceful Iraq!

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

6 thoughts on “Network Politics, Part 1, 0GW/4GW: Iraqi Sunnis”

  1. This (DoS) sounds like Richard Thieme's suggestion that you disrupt networks by breaking the bonds of trust.

    I haven't been able to keep up with your prolific work – so excuse the ignorance on my part. I really like the diagramming that displays your models.

    So what are the ethical considerations with DoS. How do you target the 'right' people if you are in essence destroying their reputations?

  2. Please, you’re giving me a headache. I apologize for my recent comments to you. When I find someone who’s output (information presented) is so much different than their input (information needed) I tend to think they are someone different than they claim to be. Now that your output is starting to stray, I see you more as one person. I really don’t believe there is any dumb question unless it was asked with the wrong intent.

    When Negroponti gets into power a firm modern warfare will startup here in the US, God help us all. Right now it is almost all 4G civil war. We will not have civil war as long as a Clinton or Bush is in the white house. They are a combination of the colonial North and the communal south.

    Osama is waging Network Centric warfare in Iraq. You were right to mention clan, because it is all from the Scottish implicit laws. Arguably, Network Centric warfare is the most powerful one there is. The Scottish were never defeated, no rule-set re-set. Their implicit laws are still intact. Osama is Scottish, so to speak, who knows the power of Network Centric war. I wish you luck in your quest for knowledge and again I apologize.

    Think computer as vertical force, network inside computer as horizontal force. Together they are a network centric society. The centric part is the vertical force, the sum of all forces vertical. Each cell has its own vertical force, very powerful and impossible to defeat. Especially when using 4GW and the people using 4GW are not inside the network. Go ahead and kill the people instead of ruining their reputation. It doesn’t matter. The network works perfect without them. There is no loss unless it is information. If the network doesn’t understand how the cell was lost, then there is a problem. If they understand they will simply re-set and move on. Information is everything. Remember OODA! You can’t shoot armor piercing bullets up through a concrete floor and kill marines unless you know they will be come, and what force they will use on you. You can’t have faster acceleration than if you get there before the people arriving know they even want to go there. Now that is acceleration on the square!

  3. Stuart: Thanks for the kind words!

    Do you have a Richard Thieme “reader”? Googling for him brings up a lot, but I don't know which is the most relevant.

    Thanks also for the point on ethics. I will try to address it tomorrow. It's important I do — one of the focus on the PolySci programs I am joining is human rights, so I better be able to defend my theories to that audience!

  4. Larry,

    Welcome back!

    To clarify. When you mean “Network-Centric” warfare, do you mean “netwar” (4GW/inurgency/etc) or “high-tech blitzkrieg” (what the military calls NCW). I just want to make sure I know which one you are refering too. They are confusingly named!

    Do you believe that networks have supernodes — nodes that are much more connected than others? If so targeted attacks can indeed degrade a network in a way not easy to repair.


  5. The answer to your first question is neither. Network centric war is completely different than either. In answer to your second question in a true network centric war, no part is indispensable. As long as the whole remains, the parts can be destroyed. Each part can have a different value, but the way I see it none are anymore important in information gathering. The information on the amount of force it took to destroy your powerful cell is just as important as the information on what it took to destroy your weak cell.

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