Time-Shifting the OODA Loop

The Pentagon’s New Map: Book Proposal,” by Thomas Barnett, letter to Jennifer Gates and Todd Shuster, 2002, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/pnm/proposal.htm.

In the Pines,” by Smog, A River Ain’t Too Much To Love, 31 May 2005, http://www.lyrics007.com/Smog%20Lyrics/In%20the%20Pines%20Lyrics.html (available from Amazon.com).

Council of Trent,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, 22 July 2005, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Trent.

10 for 10,” by Steve Rubel, Micro Persuasion, 21 July 2005, http://www.micropersuasion.com/2005/07/10_for_10.html (from New Persuasion, also at Between Lawyers, Site 9, Telagon Sichelputzer).

“Ten Trends Let Me Take Charge,” by Nellie Lide, New Persuasion, 27 July 2005, http://newpersuasion.typepad.com/new_persuasion/2005/07/ten_trends_plus.html.

“The longest train I ever saw
Went down that Georgia line
The engine went by at six o’clock
And the cab went by at nine”

– Smog, In the Pines

An interesting article on “technology-driven trends will revolutionize how companies communicate,” which are really just techniques for fighting wars.

Most of them fit nicely with theories of modern war, like the mass-movement-based 4th Generation War (or “NetWar“)

1. The Long Tail – small players can collectively make up a market that rivals the giants. As Seth says, small is the new big. This applies equally for journalism as well as for marketers.

This refers to the super-empowerment of “small players,” which allow even the little guys to change world history. 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta shows the power of the long tail.

5. Citizen Marketing – consumers will organize – either on their own or with the help of companies – to evangelize products they love and vilify those they don’t

The peaceful Christian NetStruggle is an example of this citizen marketing in action — converts become evangelizers for new converts.

10. Decentralized Communication – armies of individual employees will use technology to become the voice of every company; like it or not. The solo singer is dead. Long live the chorus.

Why has the Iraqi insurgency been so hard to fight? Because of its decentralized communication.

One “technology” really caught my eye though, because it seems so different from what we are told makes wise warriors

3. Timeshifting – consumers will increasingly want to devour media on their own time, on the mobile device of their choice and without commercials

To understand how revolutionary the concept of timeshifting is, take a look at Air Force Colonel John Boyd’s Observe-Orient-Decide-Act decision cycle, sometimes called the “OODA Loop”

A Model of Human Thought

In the OODA loop, we observe the world, and then we orient (“make sense of it”). Most of the time, we go right into action after orientation — we are on autopilot (do you decide what foot to move next when walking? no — your orientation implicitly guides and controls you). Sometimes, we take the time to decide what to do, and then act (and observe that we made a decision, starting a whole new OODA loop!). In any case, the action effects the world, and the OODA loop begins again.

Modern militaries — whether our super high-tech Army or al-Qaeda’s super-empowered terrorists — try to get inside the enemy’s OODA loop. This means they try to go from Observation to Action before the enemy can. If you can Act before your enemy has acted, they will be acting on observations that are now out-of-date. If you are really good at this, your enemy will become paralyzed with doubt, because he knows he will never have observations that are up-to-date.

In other words, modern war theory teaches the warrior to “time-now,” to do things faster. Yet here is this idea to “time-shift,” in a list of other ideas that do fit with known keys to victory.

What is going on here? Has there ever been an example of a successful time-shift in struggle, where a fighter won by going outside his enemy’s OODA loop?


The Council of Trent (Italian: Trento) was an ecumenical council of the Catholic Church held in discontinuous sessions between 1545 and 1563 [a generation! — tdaxp] in response to the Protestant Reformation. It clearly specified Catholic doctrines on salvation, the sacraments and the Biblical canon, in opposition to the Protestants, and standardized the Mass throughout the church, largely abolishing local variations; this became called the “Tridentine Mass”, after Trent.

Establishment Power: The Catholic Church
Insurgent Power: Protestantism
Establishment Strategy: Get Outside the Enemy’s OODA Loop (very long “orientation” period)
Rejected Strategy: quest for Schwerpunkt/ch’i (decisive battle)
Outcome: Success (within a century, more Catholics than before the Reformation)

Hmmm… anything more recent?

Most importantly, this book [The Pentagon’s New Map — tdaxp] will link our nation’s foreign policy vision to its domestic security strategy in a way no one has done before. It will argue that America’s number one foreign policy goal in the 21st Century will be to shrink the Gap—not just “mind the Gap” in some Cold War-like standoff. During the Cold War it was enough just to wait the Soviets out [for 40 years, two generations!! — tdaxp], hoping they would fail. But that approach doesn’t make any sense with the Gap, which is already defined by failures such as authoritarian rule, poor economic connectivity to the outside world, endemic conflicts and epidemics, and routine acts of terror and genocide. The clock is already running out on these two billion people, which is why rooting out the dangers that keep these states from attracting direly needed foreign investments and thus growing economically—dictators, radical fundamentalists, terror networks—is so crucial.

Establishment Power: The United States of America
Insurgent Power: Communism
Establishment Strategy: Get Outside the Enemy’s OODA Loop (very long “observation” period)
Rejected Strategy: quest for Schwerpunkt/ch’i (decisive battle)
Outcome: Success (nearly all Communists regimes changed or transformed)

Of course, sometimes time-shifting the OODA loop is a sign of weakness, but that is a post for another time…

5GW and “Plain Janes”

Mark tipped me off to an article on Phatic Communion by Curtis Gale Weeks on 5GW. It is an excellent contribution to the blogosphere’s conversation on SecretWar. It’s all the better because it continues the “frame” of a SecretWarrior assassin trying to kill a Yakuza boss on a dance floor (see Walk Without Rhythm and Plain Jain), but it is better thought out.


Happily, coincidence made Curtis’ article all the better. Yesterday I purchased Beauty from Pain by Superchick, and yesterday I blogged on the 4GW nature of the lyrics to the first track, “Anthem.” However, two sections of the song stood out



“We are lipstick and cleats”






“We are concrete and grace We are not what you think”



I noted that these hint at “Christian 5GW,” but I did not go into any more detail.


Before I went for a walk this morning I loaded my collection of Superchick tracks onto my music player. It was in this context that I heard the lyrics to One Girl Revolution. What makes it all the better is that the analogies Superchick uses are almost identical to those of Curtis.


In that context, I will respond to Curtis’ fantastic article. I will try to keep his original ordering of concepts, but I have rearranged them when it would make my task easier.



Dan gave an example of a “Plain Jane” who does not draw attention to herself as she attempts to kill the “Yakuza Boss” on a dance floor — and my first question was whether a Plain Jane would be allowed into the party or the club, although I didn’t ask it at the time. Instead, I wondered whether randomness, when expected, would serve to obfuscate whatever patterns might actually be present: the target who expects randomness is less likely to see hidden patterns, especially when occurrences do have a “seeming randomness” to them.


The expected randomness, because it is expected, would create the regularity Dan said might lull the target.


On the other hand, the Plain Jane (were she even allowed into the party) most likely wouldn’t approach the yakuza boss directly, in a straight line aimed at him. Her movements would be random: she would take an offered drink, she would walk to the man who bought it for her to chat him up, she would dance to a song, she would go to the bathroom to powder her nose (heh, not Pulp Fiction, but Kill Bill vol. I), etc. A straight line to the yakuza boss would be an easily definable rhythm, one foot after the next on the path to her prey.




So Dan’s Plain Jane has this limit. In the yakuza boss’s world, plain would likely be only too obvious. A Plain Jane probably wouldn’t be allowed into the type of club the yakuza boss frequented; if she was, she’d likely stand out from the other women. The best person to assassinate the yakuza boss undetected would be an associate or someone with whom the yakuza boss is on very close terms. The assassin might even be a Brutus, the yakuza boss’s best friend.



Superchick used the same analogy when in the opening to “One Girl Revolution” she describes a Christian SecretWarrior


“I wear a disguise
I’m just your average Jane
The super doesn’t stand for model
But that doesn’t mean I’m plain


A bit farther on, the artist clarifies her meaning


Some people see the revolution
But most only see the girl


The SecretWarrior must walk with a rhythm that is neither obnoxious nor attractive. As Curtis observed, in a Yakuza club a “plain Jane” would be obnoxious. The SecretWarrior must blind her enemy to her presence, preventing him from obtaining any information from her appearance. The SecretWarrior tries to arrange the mind of her enemy, making his observations flow naturally and automatically into harmless orientations (“only a girl”), by-passing the Decision element, and going straight into action (“ignore”) — all part of the Observe-Orient-Decide-Act decision loop.


A photograph from the official Superchick website gives exactly the appearance that would be beneficial to a female SecretWarrior in a club




She’s Pretty So She Can’t Be a Warrior

Not quite a model. Not plain. Only a girl.


Note how the English language gives away that this is the accurate description for secrecy-in-plain-sight. A beautiful girl is a model, a bland woman is a plain Jane, but a girl who is trying to be attractive just like every other woman is… only a girl. The language itself will blind the victim to his enemy.



When the yakuza boss is dead, he’s dead. Anything that happens after Plain Jane’s action will not change the fact that he’s dead. His closest associates will likely know that he’s been assassinated, unless his death is made to look natural in all respects. In fact, Plain Jane might not care if his associates know he’s been assassinated, because the world after his death will no longer be what it was before his death, and that would have been her objective after all.



SecretWar is a natural evolution of effects-based operations. Effects-based operations, or EBO, looks beyond individual targets to see the effect of removing key super-valued targets. Effects-Based Operatives see the world as a system of systems, a network of networks, and try to subvert or subdue their enemy through well-targeted attacks on those systems and networks.


Curtis’ focus on the effect of the assassination (“Anything that happens after Plain Jane’s action will not change the fact that he’s dead”) is well placed. The Yakuza Boss will be dead because he did not notice the SecretWarrior — he saw only a girl.


As “One Girl Revolution” puts it:


“If all you see is how I look
You miss the superchick within
And I christen you Titanic
Underestimate and swim



The SecretWarrior will not care if the effects of 5GW activity are apparent if the effects leave her adversaries on the other side of the rubicon.



Anyone involved in SecretWars must remember that the SecretWarrior is human, and that she will care about her fate. She may desire worldly safety, heroic suicide-by-cop, or eternal bliss, but she is not a machine who cares only about the effects of her operations. The greatest strength, and greatest weakness, of any human organization are the humans it organizes.



This would be a case of “knowing too late,” in that the sudden revelation that a SecretWar had been underway in no way mitigates whatever position in which the target now finds itself:



Indeed. In the OGR example, the victim finds himself in the North Atlantic alone (“christen you Titanic”). At this point the enemy and anyone who would have been sympathetic to the enemy is unable to have revenge.



The target would have a new set of circumstances requiring immediate attention which could not be ignored, and from which the target is unlikely to emerge unscathed. A successful 5GW will leave the target on a downward spiral into insignificance. The target’s knowing it has been a victim won’t save the target from the spiral.





 “a downward spiral into insignificance”




“a new set of circumstances requiring immediate attention”



At the same time, some effects of 5GW pre-conclusion may be apparent to the target, thus influencing the target to cross the rubicon, although the target will not know that he’s about to cross such a rubicon. Motivating the target to move down to the river, and to cross it, would require observable effects, problems to solve, the solving of which can only be effected by going to and then across the river. If the target at any time senses it is being manipulated down a path, the target will resist and the SecretWarrior risks being discovered.


A defending 5GW society — whether it is an unbelieving family, a O-Ren Ishii’s yakuza gang, or the United States — must influence the SecretWarrior to against herself. In this struggle the Society has the advantage, because it is able to shape the battlespace much better than some small collection of individuals.


The SecretWarrior sees this weakness, and tries to guard against it


I can loose my hard earned freedom
If my fear defines my world

I declare my independence
from the critics and their stones”


Society can shape the battlespace by repeating the stories of those who were captured (whether Gitmo in a shooting war or “Jane Roe”‘s public misery in an ideological one), and by mocking those who attack it. Society is built on horizontal controls (which may or may not be the same thing as horizontal rule-sets — you’ll need to ask Mark about that 😉 ), and society can shape its horizontal controls to inflict pain on those who merely consider a SecretWar. This is what the business and technology worlds call “transparent adaptive mass customization” the marginal costs for potentially or actually rebelling are customized for the individual through his social network, while leaving those who don’t fight mentally unscathed.


This purposefully asymmetrical battle goes a fair bit to answer Jeremiah‘s question (which is deep enough that I have not yet answered it properly).



Phil at tdaxp has recently offered thumbnail character sketches of possible SecretWarriors:



In 4GW the enemy attempts to use the target country’s media as a vehicle to sap the people’s and political leaders’ will to fight. In 5GW the enemy actually becomes the media and the political leadership. In 4GW a terrorist organization might attack a school or a courthouse in order to show that the government can’t defend itself; in 5GW the enemy would become the teachers and judges. It doesn’t get much deeper than that.



Like the first commenter in that thread, I immediately questioned the sketch work. It has the Red Scare sound, brings to mind the House Un-American Activities Committee, and such a comparison would serve to distinguish 5GW warriors from what has gone before: even the smallest hint of variation in character, philosophy, or creed will out the SecretWarrior, or at least attract too much attention.



I read the bolded passage at least six times trying to see what felt wrong about it.


Then I put it together with a previous paragraph by Curtis


“On the other hand, the Plain Jane (were she even allowed into the party) most likely wouldn’t approach the yakuza boss directly, in a straight line aimed at him. Her movements would be random: she would take an offered drink, she would walk to the man who bought it for her to chat him up, she would dance to a song, she would go to the bathroom to powder her nose (heh, not Pulp Fiction, but Kill Bill vol. I), etc. A straight line to the yakuza boss would be an easily definable rhythm, one foot after the next on the path to her prey.”


And another fragments of another song by Superchick, Barlow Girls



But I know for sure it’s never popular to be pure
And while some guys might be passing them by
I think they’ve caught someone’s eye



You can get noticed with your body
Sexual hypnosis by being hottie



Barlow Girls describes the massaging of Observations. In the song two different physical aspects are described — “pure” and “hottie” — and in both cases the appearance invites types of notice. To put it in OODA decision cycle terms, the guard Observes a loosely dressed woman, orients this with knowledge of previously so-dressed women, acts by watching more, observes information in the context of believing he is watching a loose woman, etc. Thus the SecretWarrior gets inside the head of the Yakuza boss’s guards. The 5GWarrior rearranges the mind of her enemy, changing his fingertip-feelings into something better for her.


Just as the 5GWarrior must struggle with her physical appearance to be only a girl, the SecretWarrior must also struggle with her beliefs to appear to be only a girl.


Appearing to be without “the smallest hint of variation in character, philosophy, or creed” would make the assassin appear to be an airhead. A noticeable idiot. Someone to watch in case she does something stupid. The mental equivalent of walking without rhythm.


One might chart the best set of beliefs through quality Internets, or visualize the perfect waves to surf in a sea of friction, but those are posts for another time…



So Dan’s Plain Jane has this limit. In the yakuza boss’s world, plain would likely be only too obvious. A Plain Jane probably wouldn’t be allowed into the type of club the yakuza boss frequented; if she was, she’d likely stand out from the other women. The best person to assassinate the yakuza boss undetected would be an associate or someone with whom the yakuza boss is on very close terms. The assassin might even be a Brutus, the yakuza boss’s best friend.



Agreed that the best person to assassinate the yakuza boss would be a close associate, but this doesn’t mean that the best person to “turn” to kill the boss would be his close associate.


Economy of Force, the desire to …


Employ all combat power available in the most effective way possible; allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts. Economy of force is the judicious employment and distribution of forces. No part of the force should ever be left without purpose. The allocation of available combat power to such tasks as limited attacks, defense, delays, deception, or even retrograde operations is measured in order to achieve mass elsewhere at the decisive point and time on the battlefield. …


… will be vital to SecretWarriors, whose network must be kept small to maintain secrecy on all levels. The energy spent turning a close associate of the boss may be better spent elsewhere, and if the boss’s associate comes to the SecretWarrior, this implies the SecretArmy isn’t secret at all!


A pre-existing wide-spectrum military force might use its resources to turn a close associate of the enemy, starting a new 5GW with the associate as the leader. But from a pure-SecretWar perspective this is identical to the associate starting the SecretWar on his own.



Dan’s consideration of rhythm and randomness is important in the way it brings “framing” into the discussion of 5GW. (See Anger Management’s recent considerations on “framing” here and here.) The radio station that randomly selects songs from different decades nonetheless selects songs within a certain framework — pop and rock, or country western, English language songs, etc. — and the randomness enjoyed by that station’s listener seems particularly “random” because so many other radio stations do not select their music the same way. The common thread running through those songs goes unquestioned because that thread already conforms to the listener’s most basic expectations (inner framework); whereas, the expectation of a limited selection (per other radio stations) is subverted in the selection of songs from many different decades (outer framework).



Another reference to Quality.


It relates to discussion of friction too…



In order to remain secret, the SecretWarrior would need to avoid drawing the attention of the targeted society, NGO, or nation. Anything, anything which might suggest an unusual motivation will draw attention. When considering Phil’s thumb sketches, I realized that a 5GW warrior-organization isn’t likely to be able to insert so many operatives into the schools, government agencies, churches, etc., because 1) the more people who are “in on the plan,” the more chances for leaks and switched loyalties, and 2) chances increase that the internal framing — opposition to the target — of those operatives will lead to external displays of that framing, and suspicion of the operatives will occur. A single 5GW intelligence — the mastermind — will not even consider planting so many operatives into a targeted society.



An apt description of “economy of force.”



One feature of HUAC was its targeting of media, particularly of Hollywood, in the search for Commie Sympathizers. In modern America, the media is consistently the target of speculation and paranoia, more so now perhaps than before. Any 5GW warrior who sought to use the media to influence or turn a society runs into the barrier of skepticism, particularly when whatever message is chosen is likely to have so many opponents within the society. The easiest use of media would be to inspire internal strife and conflict, especially given the tendency toward skepticism. Using the media to create unsuspecting pawns may actually be effective, and this may lead to terrorist activity or other covert activity against a target within its own society; but, again, many within the society will be suspicious of media’s role and at least somewhat aware that some members of its society have been so affected by the media: such opposition to the society is not 5GW activity, anyway, although it may serve to distract the target.



Skepticism of the media is an American strength. So the wise 5GWarrior, or any wise warrior for that matter, will not attack the strength. A wise warrior will use that strength.


How hard would it be for a well-placed conspiracy to do real harm by causing a phony news scandal? If the SecretArmy wanted to take-down enemy politicians who were close associates of what Americans would call a “pedophile” (say, pro-Iraq-War administration officials who strongly support a certain ayatollah, noted for his Koranic encouragement for men to marry a young girl), might the conspirators encourage attacks on the media for not properly covering sexual predators, which might spread to criticism for not exposing predators, or those that shield them…



I was very aware of Phil’s suggestion that our neighbors will be SecretWarriors, and this plays into what Dan suggested about the Plain Jane. It also plays into the consideration of one of the commenters at tdaxp, who suggested that jujitsu tactics will be used, or a target’s “weight” will be used against the target. The only type of SecretWarrior who will be able to move freely about without ever raising suspicions will be the one whose activity most matches the expectations of the targeted society, the internal and external framework most shared by the members of that society: most likely, that society itself.





And the important word is “society,” not “culture.” The SecretWarrior isn’t worried about full-spectrum engagement with an enemy’s culture. Only the society’s where he has to operate. In the same way, the assassin in the club doesn’t give a hoot about the mores of modern Japanese society. Only what the societies in that club — the bounces, the clubbers, the crazy-88s bodyguard, the employees, think and expect.



No society is 100% homogeneous, but the most influential members of the society (whether the society is a small group or a nation) are those who can promise the most benefit to the other members of society, whether the benefit is material in nature or psychological or social. To give an example: should a string of natural and not-so-natural disasters occur, those leaders, thinkers, and other members of a society who are able to mitigate or nullify the effects of those disasters are most likely to have the freest reins. They are certainly more likely to avoid suspicion — if, and only if, their efforts actually seem to lead, and ultimately do lead, to benefits.


A society that believes it’s moving toward a better future is a society less suspicious. The distrust of leaders (whether governmental or academic or social or business), combined with uncertain forecasts, elevates suspicion, doubt, and resistance; but a society in which vast numbers of its members believe they are co-authors of the success, co-conspirators in progress, will happily walk to the river and the Promised Land on the other side of that river.



It’s often said that commanders plan for the last war. The French and Polish Armies of World War II could have easily trounced the Kaiser’s Men. For that matter, the very modern French Army and the very rugged Polish cavalry would have defeated the Germans if all sides were using the same tactics. But they weren’t. The Germans jumped a generation and won.


In the same way, as the American military and bureaucracy super-empowers individuals, transforming soldiers into strategic corporals and bureaucrats into sheiks, it weakens itself against conspirator enemies. To a certain extent, arming for NetWar means disarming for SecretWar. The reason Max Weber gave for bureaucracy in the first place — that it disempowers individuals and increases resistance to arbitrary whim — is exactly why it is a good defense of SecretWar.


Or perhaps not.


Gotta love brainstorming.



In order for a target of 5GW to never have a suspicion that a war had ever occurred, that target would need to be left with the impression that it had succeeded in its endeavors. So while a successful 5GW might leave a target in a hopeless downward spiral — all too obvious to the helpless victim — it might also leave the victim with the feeling of success, albeit a success much smaller than would have been achieved if 5GW had not occurred.



This is the ultimate form of jujitsu, and shows how in SecretWar one can subdue (take-down) the enemy through subverting (taking-over) him.


In his original post on 5GW, Mark Safranski feared a “a total war on a society or subsection of a society” and “campaigns that would be indiscriminate, democidally-oriented death squad campaigns that shred 4GW networks.”


How might one use this jujitsu to conspiratorally subvert a society so that it destroys itself totally, and the society feels good about it afterwards?


The conspiracy’s goal could be to engineer the rise of a disasterously misguided leader, who would kill millions (including possibly loved ones of the SecretWarriors, destroy the country’s infrastructure, etc), all to permanently weaken that state and engineer the rise of another…


I wonder how many anti-Semites believe this has already happened?

One Girl SecretWar

One Girl Revolution,” by Superchick, Karaoke Superstars, 8 January 2002, http://www.getlyrics.com/lyrics.php/Superchic%28k%29/SHOW+LYRICS/One+Girl+Revolution (remix available on Regeneration).


Lyrics for a 5th Generation War..



I wear a disguise
I’m just your average Jane
The super doesn’t stand for model
But that doesn’t mean I’m plain
If all you see is how I look
You miss the superchick within
And I christen you Titanic
Underestimate and swim
I’ve got the rifle
Gonna be myself


I’ll be everything that I want to be
I am confidence in insecurity
I am a voice yet waiting to be heard
I’ll shoot the shot, bang
That you hear ’round the world
I’m a one girl revolution


Some people see the revolution
But most only see the girl
I can loose my hard earned freedom
If my fear defines my world
I declare my independence from the critics and their stones
I can find my revolution
I can learn to stand alone


I’ll be everything that I want to be
I am confidence in insecurity
I am a voice yet waiting to be heard
I’ll shoot the shot, bang
That you hear ’round the world
I’m a one girl revolution


Beauty from Pain

Anthem,” by Superchick, Beauty from Pain, 29 March 2005, http://www.christianrocklyrics.com/superchick/anthem.php.

4th Generation Warfare, also called 4GW or NetWar, relies on networks of super-empowered individuals who share a common ideology.

To its victims, one of the most disturbing parts of 4GW is how relentlessly honest the 4GWarriors are. Mao, Ho, and others explained exactly what they wanted and exactly how they would win. This is because a 4GWarrior wants to subvert every supporter of his enemy — the 4GWarrior wants converts.

The reason of the 4GWarrior’s enemy at the start of a campaign is typically “he can’t be serious.” Mao couldn’t seriously be advocating a socialist revolution of landless farmers – that made no sense! Ho couldn’t seriously be advocating nationalist Communism — that made no sense! bin Laden couldn’t seriously be advocating a return to the early Middle Ages — he must really just be upset about police tactics in the West Bank or something.

The 4GWarriors are serious. Their serious, plainly-spoken message, demands, and tactics are ignored in a wider world used to sarcasm, ridicule, and conformity. NetWar is an “irony free zone,” where the NetWarrior’s statements may appear ludicrous to his enemy. The enemy laughs at his peril.

Christianity started as a 4GW, and over the past centuries it has recovered its status as a NetFaith. Super-empowering individuals at all levels of society, the Christian movement speaks its message, its demands, and its tactics over and over again.

An extremely clear example of this is from the first track Christian rock band Superchick‘s latest album.

The album’s non-ironic name: Beauty from Pain
The album’s non-ironic first track: Anthem

Beauty from Pain: A Megaphone and a Message


Here’s to the ones who don’t give up
Here’s to the ones who don’t give up
Here’s to the ones who don’t give up
This is your anthem
Get your hands up


Self-descriptive. A 4th Generation attack can last many lifetimes, or even many centuries. The warrior should never experience strategic despair, because as long as Christianity can keep moving it can still win.

This song is an anthem for that conflict.


We are fire inside


“Fire,” like “flame,” is a common metaphor for creative destruction. Spreading fire is acting recklessly, and as Mao Zedong wrote to his guerrillas, “Just as recklessly and everything will be all right.” Mao’s message was that when one is weak and attacking, one must act as recklessly as able because the Establishment’s greatest strengths are order and predictability.

(Often in a war both sides will be “insurgents” against an established political order, like the United States v. al Qaeda struggle in the Middle East. In such cases both will be “spreading a flame.”)


We are lipstick and cleats


Shades of Christian 5GW, but such is a post for another time…


We are not going home and We are playing for keeps


What do the Christian 4GWarriors want?

The world.

In Christian Theology the universe composes part of the Mystical Body of Christ, so worship has a natural political component.

(The idea of “church” and “state” were ideas pushed by the Roman-Greek-Jewish establishment of first century Palestine — an establishment that the Christians were trying to subvert. To a Christian who sees all existence as part of the Mystical Body, state and church are separate organs connected to the same neurological, blood, and other pathways.)


We are girls with skinned knees


This is the first reference to pain in the album Beauty from Pain. Throughout the album physical pain is used as a symbol for the mental pain of isolation and loneliness. As Mother Teresa said


We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.


Christianity, like an 4GW movement, grows through isolation and mental pain. 4G movements provides meaning to its followers, with every individual super-empowered to fight as they think best to help achieve the greater goal. This fetishism of pain prevents Christians from bolting to other ideologies the next time it strikes. The individual is “reprogrammed” — his mind is rearranged — to embrace that pain as part of a larger mission.

In other words, Christianity redefines alienation as a meaningful activity, preventing discussion of true “alienation” as NewSpeak’s redefinition of “free as “without cost” prevented discussion of liberty in George Orwell’s 1984.


We are concrete and grace
We are not what you think


More 5GW.


Can’t keep us in our place


Similar to Jesus’s feelings on families. See his words in Matthew

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

and Luke

They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

While Christianity might be called “conservative,” it is a radical. It is a belief that is “playing for keeps.” A fighting faith.

Christianity sees to subvert the family structure, but the ideology is not afraid to smash it when necessary.


Here’s to the girls on their boards with bruises and scars
Here’s to the girls whose fingers bleed from playing guitar


More fetishism of pain. Helps to immunize followers from true alienation.


Here’s to anyone who never quit when things got hard
You’ll never let them say you’ll never get that far


This is interesting — self-inflicted mental isolation as a key to victory. The 4GWarrior must disconnect himself from some inputs — from some parts of reality — in order to fight better.


You’ll never get that far

Never get that far


Triumphalism. This is an “anthem,” after all!


We are a fire inside
We are an army asleep
We are a people awaking to follow their dreams


Talking about “People’s War,” Mao couldn’t have said it better.

The “dreams” in this case is the Christian future worth creating — the happy ending of Dominion.


We don’t have time for your games


Jesus said his followers didn’t even have time for burials

Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

A 4GW super-empowers its followers, but it super-employs them as well. Every warrior is critical, and so each is worked to his maximum ability.


We have our own goals to score
There are trophies to win


Paul would have understood the sports analogies

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

And the idea of The Prize

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”


Instead of being one of yours


More imposition of alienation, giving more meaning to the ideology by taking away meaning from human relationships.


Here’s to the ones who don’t give up
Here’s to the ones who don’t give up
Here’s to the ones who don’t give up
This is your anthem


SecretWar: Plain Jane Tries to Kill the Yakuza Boss

The Power of Random for Marketers,” by Rohit Bhargava, Influential Interactive Marketing, 20 July 2005, http://rohitbhargava.typepad.com/weblog/2005/07/the_power_of_ra.html (also at AdPulp).

Conjectures and Refutations,” by Matt McIntosh, Conjectures and Refutations, 20 July 2005, http://conjecturesandrefutations.net/weblog/?p=3 (from ZenPundit).

Interesting, Dan,” by Curtis Gale Weeks, tdaxp, 21 July 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/07/20/dreaming-5th-generation-war.html#c177495.

SecretWarriors Walk Without Rhythm, Won’t Attract the Worm,” by Dan, tdaxp, 23 July 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/07/23/secretwarriors-walk-without-rhythm-won-t-attract-the-worm.html.

Random is not Random if Used as a Marketing Tool,” by Nellie Lide, New Persuasion, 24 July 2005, http://newpersuasion.typepad.com/new_persuasion/2005/07/post.html.

Note: This article is about 5th Generation War (“5GW”), or “SecretWar.” This post is part of an ongoing discussion that was started by Mark Safranski. I posted my thoughts, fixed a significant error, received valuable feedback by Mark and others, and followed up with my post “Dreaming 5th Generation War.” My 5GW posts since then (Emerging Tactic, Walk Without Rhythm, etc,) have been derivative of “Dreaming….” My thinking has been vastly improved by the wonderful comments I have received. At the time of this writing, Mark had just compiled several 5GW articles and enlightened the world with his thoughts.

Earlier I wrote about the need for SecretWarrirors, fighters in a 5GW, to “walk without rhythm”. By that I mentioned the danger of predictable or repitious acts, because


In SecretWar, or 5GW, the fighter tries to hurt without being hurt — at all. If the world knows the SecretWarrior exists, she has already lost. 5th Generation War allows very weak fighters to attack, because the world does not know about them. If the world knew about a 5GWarrior she could be eliminated easily.


In the same post, I quoted Curtis Gale Weeks who wrote


I was thinking more along the lines of a scenario in which multiple, seemingly unrelated events hurt one nation (or a group of nations) repeatedly, as if “the hand of God” were behind those events: say, one major terrorist act, one major financial crises, one upsurge in bird-flu, one natural disaster, one powergrid failure, and a case of a targeting error in some ongoing conflict (killing many innocents), over the period of 9 or 15 months.


To me, the two statements seemed identical, and the obvious implication was that the SecretWarrior must “walk without rhythm” and act unpredictably.

But then, I read an article on NP that made me wonder if my advice to 5GWarriors to walk without rhythm was dangerously wrong.

It was about five years ago that my two teenagers started saying things like “That was so random” or just “Random.” It was sort of random how the word random entered their vocabulary. Anything that was random caught their attention and they usually found it funny.

My reaction on reading this first paragraph was “uh oh.”

It gets worse:


A radio station here in the D.C. area – WRQX – just changed to a format, “the best mix of everything” – I find myself listening to it whenever I’m in the car now (and not changing channels) because I want to hear what they’ll play next. I’ve already heard some songs that I hadn’t heard in years and years and I was so happy. They play a 60’s song, then a 90’s song, then a 2001 song, then a 2005 song, then maybe a 70’s song. It’s the randomness that keeps me coming back.


To sum it


What makes random such a powerful marketing tool? Is it the promise of surprise? Or the fact that it stands out from more traditional and predictable marketing messages? Consumer attention is precious and most theories today focus on how attention can be driven by credibility, trust or brand authenticity. While I agree with these theories, there is another force that works outside of any of these. Curiosity. Randomness drives curiosity, and curiosity drives attention. Anyone who has worked with children knows this to be true. Children are inherently curious – and this curiosity drives their attention.


To see this yourself, AdPulp gives justcurio.us as an example of fascinating randomness.

Because randomness is very attractive, a succession of “random” catastrophes striking a nation will be very, very suspicious. People are superstitious — they are gifted with “fingertip feeling” or Fingerspitzengefuhl — and will implicitly decide that something is doing this to them. To a 5GWarrior, who cannot afford to have her cover exposed, a paranoid victim is a dangerous victim.

Imagine the 5th Generation Warrior as an assassin on the large, crowded, dance floor. She cross the floor and get close enough to the yakuza boss to kill him. However, she is weak and unable to defend herself in a fight.

The SecretWarrior must cross the dance floor unseen. She must not walk with noticeable skill, dexterity, or charm. If she “walks with rhythm” she will be attractive and will have her movements watched.

However, she must not be clumsy. Mao’s old advice, just act recklessly and everything will be all right, would be foolish. For a woman crossing the dance floor, tripping is even more noticeable than swaying her hips.

The 5GWarrior must hide in the crowd, making the most probable explanation of her behavior that she is just “normal,” not that she is attempting to murder a Boss. She must arrange her enemy’s observations, depriving him of meaningful information about her existence if she must supply him with meaningless data of her existence.

As a post on C&R put it, in an unrelated discussion


One of the key consequences of Shannon’s formalization is that the amount of information conveyed by a transmission is a function of the uncertainty or unpredictability of what the particular message will actually be. The (a) strings seem more redundant and thus the next character carries less information than it does in the (b) strings, which are less redundant and hence more unpredictable. This comes out more intuitively in example (3) — most English-speaking people wouldn’t have any trouble guessing what the next few blanks of the (a) string are meant to be, but nobody would have a clue what the next few blanks of the (b) string will be; if the missing content turns out to be “Gerald”, this string would have a higher information content than “tates” in the (a) string.


Predictable movements paint a simple picture in the enemy’s mind. This is what attacking “Observation” — intellectual warfare — means. The 5th Generation Warrior’s movements should be predictable and should be part of a recognizable pattern — a boring and wrong pattern.

The 5th Generation Warrior must be a “plain Jane” to kill the Yakuza Boss.

He will never know what hit him. Nor, if the 5GW does her job well, shall anyone else.

SecretWarriors Walk Without Rhythm, Won’t Attract the Worm

Weapon of Choice, by Fatboy Slim, Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars, 7 November 2000, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/07/22/lyrics-for-weapon-of-choice-by-fatboy-slim.html.

Rhythm,” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition, 2004, http://www.answers.com/rhythm&r=67.

Interesting, Dan,” by Curtis Gale Weeks, tdaxp, 21 July 2005, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/07/20/dreaming-5th-generation-war.html#c177495.

tdaxp pays more attention to music lyrics than most of the blogs in my blogroll. But perhaps others should pay more too. As observers of the world, musicians

  • Are creative horizontal thinkers, and help the listener smash the boundaries of intellectual domains
  • focus on love, jealousy, lust, and other forms of struggle
  • rely heavily on fingerspitzengefuhl — fingertip feelings — and so their creative work is relatively unencumbered of the philosophical baggage of more rational thinkers

These thoughts hit me as I listened to Weapon of Choice, surely one of the most frightening songs of recent years.

Take just one verse:


Walk without rhythm, it won’t attract the worm
Walk without rhythm, and it won’t attract the worm
Walk without rhythm, and it won’t attract the worm
if you walk without rhythm, you’ll never learn


Hint: it’s not about Dune.

Remember how human mind’s decision cycle, or the “Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) Loop,” is shown by first that the individual gives a flow of action to the outside world, and the outside world gives the individual a flow of information.

The same basic scheme holds if the individual is a fighter

We can break of the action and information into “friendly” and “hurtful.” Hurtful action is when the fighter attacks something in the world, and hurtful information would be when part of the world hurts the fighter.

In SecretWar, or 5GW, the fighter tries to hurt without being hurt — at all. If the world knows the SecretWarrior exists, she has already lost. 5th Generation War allows very weak fighters to attack, because the world does not know about them. If the world knew about a 5GWarrior she could be eliminated easily.

A 5GW action/information loop would look like:

Or for clarity:

But of course if parts of the world know they are being attacked, they will try to fight back.

In a comment on this blog, Curtis Gale Weeks of Phatic Communion suggested how a fighter could avoid acting on the world in a way that would trigger hurtful information


I was thinking more along the lines of a scenario in which multiple, seemingly unrelated events hurt one nation (or a group of nations) repeatedly, as if “the hand of God” were behind those events: say, one major terrorist act, one major financial crises, one upsurge in bird-flu, one natural disaster, one powergrid failure, and a case of a targeting error in some ongoing conflict (killing many innocents), over the period of 9 or 15 months.

Successive acts would not necessarily be all of the same nature, thus further blurring the threads that might lead back to a single agent.


And what is the word for actions that seem to be of repeated related events — of one nature — to coherent movement?



(rÄ­TH’em) pronunciation
1. Movement or variation characterized by the regular recurrence or alternation of different quantities or conditions: the rhythm of the tides.

7. Procedure or routine characterized by regularly recurring elements, activities, or factors: the rhythm of civilization; the rhythm of the lengthy negotiations.


So to win the SecretWarrior must walk without rhythm to avoid the worm of hurtful information.

To survive, the 5GWarrior must keep her innocence of hurtful knowledge.

To expose the double entendre of Weapon of Choice: the SecretWarrior must not be fucked by the world, ever.

Victory through virginity.

Emerging NetWar / SecretWar Tactic: Stealth Shareholder Activism

Shareholder Activism: Policy Battlefield of the Future, by Bart Mongoven, Stratfor, http://junkpolitics.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/07/22/stratfor-public-policy-intelligence-report.html.

SecretWar, or 5th Generation War, relies on leveraging power while minimizing visibility. A successful operation would be able to subdue or subvert a government without being noticed. Therefore it is appropriate that Stratfor, started by the author of America’s Secret War, outlines a way for SecretWarriors to subvert corporate America: shareholder activism.


Since the 1970s, social and environmental activists have used proxy voting and public companies’ annual shareholder meetings as a platform to push for new public policies. The early shareholder activist and “socially responsible” investment movements achieved their most significant victory in the 1980s, when heavy pressure forced major U.S. and European multinationals to withdraw from South Africa and contributed significantly to the end of the apartheid regime. By the end of the apartheid era, few major multinationals dared do business in South Africa lest they be seen as endorsing its racist political, social and economic structure.

Shareholder activism does not depend on gaining the support of the majority of a company’s shareholders in order to be effective — proxy votes are nonbinding. Instead, it changes corporate policy when management sees that a strong minority of shareholders (usually 20 percent will do) find the company’s policies troublesome. Senior executives begin to fear that significant amounts of management’s time, energy and attention will be diverted to addressing the issue. To reach that threshold of effectiveness, activists try to recruit the support of as many large shareholders as possible — beginning with small social-oriented firms such as Calvert, then progressing to socially-oriented pension funds such as CalPERS (and potentially TIAA-CREF, if the demonstrators get their way). Still, most successful campaigns need significant rank-and-file shareholder support and that of at least one major mainstream investor.



  • Major Benefit of Shareholder Activism for 5GW: SecretWarrior can affect change through publicly inoccuous front organizations
  • Major Detriment of Shareholder Activism for 5GW: Relies on visibility of front groups to be effective, requires “hearts and minds”

Of course, shareholder activism can also be used in netwars, or 4th Generation Wars. Indeed, shareholder activism may help 4GWarriors more than 5GWarriors. But such is a post for another time…

5GW Independently Discovered on "Use Perl;"

5GW equals ‘whoops’,” by TorgoX, Use Perl;, 13 April 2005, http://use.perl.org/~TorgoX/journal/24173.

Ever have a dream/nightmare you have an original idea, only to find out someone on the other side of the world had the same idea right before you?

Apparently, some of Mark Safranski‘s and mine discussion of 5GW was foreshadowed by “TorgoX”

Dear Log,

The core idea of fifth-generation warfare is shaping up to be: “make it look like an accident


In Net-Centric Politics, The Net-Centric Politicians Ru[i]n the Party

Internet and the Democrats,” by Jon Schaff, South Dakota Politics, 20 July 2005, http://southdakotapolitics.blogs.com/south_dakota_politics/2005/week29/index.html#a0005664380.

Schaff of SDP notes that the infusion of high-tech politics into the Democrat Party is hurting America’s Opposition, by turning the technophile “netroots” against the factions of the party who can actually win


There is no such thing as a free lunch. You get activism and money out of the online world, but you also get a louder voice for the far left of the Party. Note this bit referring to Marcos Moulitsas Zuniga, aka Daily Kos:


[Kos] sweepingly dismissed the Democratic Leadership Council, Joe Lieberman, and The New Republic magazine as “tools of the GOP.” In 2004, Kerry’s campaign cut its link to Moulitsas’s Web site after he wrote that he felt “nothing” when four American contractors were killed in Falluja, because “they are there to wage war for profit.”


And also:


After years of uncertainty, he had discovered his niche. Kos quickly found an audience by expressing the unmediated anger of the Democratic base toward Bush, and even more so toward Democrats who cooperated with him, especially over the war in Iraq.


Kos’s “niche” is fueling anger and resentment towards all who do not share his extremist views.

But to the point at hand, I think it is interesting that the very part of the Democratic Party that is gaining power is rejecting the only part of the Party that has won an election in the last 40 years (remember Carter ran as a moderate Southerner).


The God of Viet Nam

The Chaplain’s Last Sermon,” by Dean Barrett, Memoirs of a Bangkok Warrior, 1983, ppg 57-60

Unclear theology. Notable poetry:


“Men, I want to talk to you today about prayer. I know many of you — as professional soldiers — may feel ill at ease when humbling yourself before God. But I have a pleasant surprise for you. Because praying to God is not unlike stepping on a land mine. Yeah, that’s right: there is nothing more explosive than faith in God. Now, I know you cannot always tell a good gook from a bad book. But God can. God knows which gook plants rice and which gook plants mines. I do not have to remind you that planting rice is Good and planting mines is Evil. And God wants you to recognize Evil when you see it; that is why He created land mines in such a way that when you step on them they blow you away.

Of course, I do not mean to imply that land mines planted in His name are Evil. (But, don’t forget, those too can blow you away.) But, remember, all personnel blown away in His Name have Life Everlasting.

You cannot see God — and you cannot see a land mine; but both are there and both are capable of responding. This is because both have power. Enormous power. But God has far more power than ordinary land mines. Land mines can blow you away when you step on them. But the power of God is unlimited. He can blow you away anytime, anyplace, under any conditions, war or peace, out on patrol or while cleaning your rifle, standing in the chow line or marching in a parade, engaged in a firefight or walking to the latrine, combatants or non-combatants, officer or enlisted, man, mama-san or bab-san, soldier or queer. Even, somewhat unfairly, perhaps, in a demilitarized zone.

Now, men, I want you to think of God as a powerful weapon. Because God is smarter than the smartest bomb, more powerful than the most destructive artillery, and don’t forget, He can see in the dark.

Think of God as a Great Being looking at us all through an infra-red starlight sniperscope. Wherever we are, the eyes of God follow. We are forever lined up in His sights. And one day this Supreme Being will peer through those sighs, squint through that scope, slowly squeeze the trigger and neutralize each and every one of us — regardless of race, color, creed, sex, age, I.Q., name, rank, and serial number.

God needs no illumination rounds or saturation bombing to rubbish His chosen targets. His rifle never jams; His ammunition is Everlasting. The day will come when each and ever one of us will be trapped in one of God’s multi-divisional search-and-destroy sweeps, or by angels deployed by God to mop up. And let me assure you that God’s angels are perfectly able to bomb and strage any pockets of resistance that hold you, however briefly, against them.

Let there be no doubt about it, the day will come when God will frag all of us. And when that day comes, when God in His wisdom springs His ambush, when God booby-traps your trail, when God chooses to evacuate you from the battle zone forever, when He discharges you from our army to reinforce His own celestial combatants, be absolutely certain that you have been adequately briefed on your new mission.

Because on that final Day of Judgement, when what we call our universe is finally and utterly defoliated for all time, God will gather thee elite troops of his most crack divisions around him, while those soldiers who surrendered to temptation, or who performed unnatural acts, will be condemned to a free-fire zone forever.

And those who feel they might escape God’s Incoming Rounds, remember, even Jesus was not issued a flak-jacket. Quite the contrary. Out of His Great love for the world, God fragged His own son. And that is something to think about.

Now, men, even after the war is over, people will still have faith in God — and they will still have children, some of whom will become soldiers themselves, and some of whom will be blown away by stepping on leftover land mines — regardless of race, color or creed, boy or girl, tall or short, military dependents or draft resisters, students participating in R.O.T.C. or deserters, applications of O.C.S. or queers. God calls everyone. But how many who have ever stepped on a land mine have actually paused to consider… consider how one path can lead back to base, and how one path can lead to Life Everlasting.

As I’ve said, men, land mines cannot be seen, neither can God; but both exist, and both are waiting — Out There. Now, you may never step on a land mine, but that does not mean God does not love you. Let us pray.

‘O Lord our God, Thou who art greater than any weapon yet conceived by man, Thou who exist in greater depth than any land mine yet planted by man, Thou who has blown away more soldiers on more battlefields, than even we are able to do, give us this day the power to tell good gooks from bad gooks, and to know which gooks serve in Your Name and which gooks should be neutralized… in Your Name. Give us the firepower to destroy Thine enemies. Give us the strength to understand Your Wisdom, to glory in Your Plan, and — when that time comes — to readily and gratefully allow our bodies to be rubbished in Your Name.

When you call us back to base, oh Lord, when we stand before you in Divine Interrogation, lead us not to report that our mission was aborted or that our air-strike against Thine enemies was canceled because of unfavorable weather conditions. Let us salute proudly and smartly and with confidence our Supreme Commander-in-Chief; and let us never stoop to inflating a body count in order to make favorable impression.

And give us this day the ability to recognize that beseeching Thy aid is — if we sincerely and humbly request it — as simple and as uncomplicated as stepping on a land mine. We ask this in Your Name and in the Name of Your Only Begotten Son. Whom You saw fit to rubbish on our behalf. Amen.'”