The Importance of 5GW

America cannot win a 4GW — a long-term war of ideas — because she will betray herself first. Within a generation of the enslavement of Europe and China to Stalinism, arrogant American liberals combined with comforatble American leftists to do their best to defeat American action in the Vietnam War, and make South-East Asia safe for Communism.

If history repeats itself, or at least rhymes, within a generation of 9/11 active support of al Qaeda inspired movements should be fashionable on college campuses.

The reason that this treasonous behavior is more common among the left and the right is pretty clear: left-of-center politics is centered around the ideas such as “society should speak with more than one voice.” As long as one system is powerful — and America’s system is powerful, because it serves her citizens and her own future needs very well — the leftism distrust of authority will lead many of them to support whatever movement seems most able to destablize the established order.

As a method of defending our country, 4GW is passe.

While America cannot win a 4GW, she can win a 5GW — a war of hidden movements. America won the Cold War because, in spite of losing popular support for the struggle against Communism, she created institutions that kept the war going regardless of the will of the people or most political leaders. The Military-Industrial complex that gave America the ability to fight a world war long after the intellectual elite had despaired over nuclear “victory” was central to success.

To win this Long War against al Qaeda and her friends, we have to fight a 5GW. We have to build a Military-Industrial complex for fighting all Qaeda — what one might call a “Military-Industrial-Systems Administration-Complex” after the work of Thomas P.M. Barnett — long after political will has evaporated. We need an iron triangle of bureaucrats, contractors, and Congressmen to support the war out of reasons that have nothing to do with ideology, or else we will lose this war once the ideological pendulum has swung.

In a recent post, Dr. Barnett points out that there are now more contractors than soldiers in Iraq. This is a good sign, but not good enough. Future wars must be fought by locals, by private contractors, and others who are not motivated by ideology. That’s the way 5th Generation Wars are won. That’s the way the 5GW against al Qaeda will be won.

I’ve written three major posts on the 5th Generation of Modern Warfare

Additionally, there is an excellent blog dedicated to 5GW theory, named Dreaming 5GW after my original post, that I suggest that all check out.

38 thoughts on “The Importance of 5GW”

  1. “If history repeats itself, or at least rhymes, within a generation of 9/11 active support of al Qaeda inspired movements should be fashionable on college campuses.”

    I wasn't alive during the Vietnam War and haven't read all that much on it, so I can't comment on that aspect. But the notion that it would ever be fashionable to support al-Qaeda related movements on college campuses is laughable. You're off your rocker – perhaps your disgust of the “Left” is blinding you to some fundamental realities.

    What do college-age kids like? SEX. What does al-Qaeda fear? SEX. Ditto for drugs. And not very many people become MORE religious as they attend college. I'd believe that you meant this comment sarcastically, but you made it its own paragraph so I guess you really meant it…?

  2. “the notion that it would ever be fashionable to support al-Qaeda related movements on college campuses is laughable. You're off your rocker – perhaps your disgust of the “Left” is blinding you to some fundamental realities.”

    What do college-age kids like? SEX. What does al-Qaeda fear? SEX. Ditto for drugs. “

    Yet Communist tyrants, from Ceausescu to Mao, instituted sexually conservative regimes and harshly prosecuted drug offenders. This did not stop Communism from being fashionable enough on college campuses to imperial the physical security of ROTCs, etc.

    “And not very many people become MORE religious as they attend college. “

    It's cliche to say that college is when many young people, with a sudden increase in freedom with very little increased responsibility, start looking beyond themselves… All sorts of utopian and millennial activism happens in colleges (GreenPeace, Amnesty International, etc.). In the absence of a grand strategic program to rebel against, student troublemaking is relatively harmless. When given a noble goal to spit upon, however, colleges have proven to be very dangerous.

    (There is a reason that most state universities were placed in small towns..)

  3. Ceaucescu and Mao regulated sex as part of their overall totalitarian regime of controlling people's lives. Al Qaeda advertises controlling sex as part of the centerpiece of their raison d'etre (I learned that phrase in college!).

  4. The “sudden increase in freedom with very little increased responsibility” which Dan mentions may also lead to a **co-optation** of an ideology; this means, the orthodox Al-Qaeda ideology may not be accepted, but certain key aspects (key as defined by those suddenly “free thinker”) may be adopted.

    Interestingly, if that happened, I could foresee a potential 5GW vulnerability for al-Qaeda, or what Dan has recently singled out in the blowback/pawn thread he recently posted. Begging the question, that these American kids begin co-opting Al-Qaeda ideology, and also that their take on that ideology is really a mutation, or some synthesis of various American cultural values with the al-Qaeda ideology, they could potentially threaten al-Qaeda itself or force it to change.

    Ha, that's one for a future SF novel, I suppose…

  5. How do we deal with the shift in the role of industry here, I wonder?

    30-40 years ago it was simpler: build more bombs, build better aircraft, ships and tanks. The role of industry was huge, but it was at home. You were a cog in a very large, slow-moving machine that operated very much like every other job whether (cold-) war related or not.

    Today you sign your contract and you can be dodging and/or throwing bullets at the pointy end. You're still a cog but operating at very high RPM and the closest parallel to your work comes with a uniform and large support structure backing it (whereas if you lose a leg to an IED that's your business).

    In the long run the role of industry is not likely to be as intense as it is now (hot war will temper to a warm state – shooters will give way to spooks and engineers) but regardless of the temperature how do we sustain the idea that this is something for the good of the country/free peoples as opposed to 'another day another dollar?'

    . . . or have we gone past that point already?

  6. Adrian,

    Both Communists and Islamists regulate sexual because the unstoppable force of (DIALECTICAL MATERIALISM, ALLAH) decries it, as revealed through a careful study of (HISTORY, THE KORAN AND THE HADITHS).

    Modern totalitarianism is really a game of fill-in-the-blanks. All absolutist radicals are radical absolutists. Only the idol of the fetish varies.

    Curtis,

    Something similar happened as the Cold War dragged on, with Communist regimes cracking down on degenerate art (modernism, post-modernism, Tolkeinism, rock and roll, etc) that had first been aimed at the West.

    Certainly we can predict that the campus Islamists of 2020 would not get along well under a Caliphate. But how many of campus radicals of the 1960s would have enjoyed Breshnev? And how did this minimize the extent of the harm they caused?

    Michael,

    If history rhymes, the gentile Islamism of the professariat will spread to a dangerous Islamism among undergraduates. The New Left was first evoked by C. Wright Mills, who had respectability.

    Another option would be to close the undergraduate mind [1]…

    On the subject integrating industry into this new Military-Industrial-SysAdmin-Complex… the more developed and free an economy is, the greater the specialization of role. The Managed Democracy of 1950s America saw State Protected Companies (GM, GE, Ford, AT&T, etc), while the much freer economy of the 21s century sees all forms of creative destruction. There will not be the same need to bureaucratize and white-collarize every professional contribution to the complex, because there is not the same push for conformity.

    At the same time, much of the manpower for the Long War should come from contractors who may come from any state, leaving much of the US contribution to the managerial and logistic.

    “how do we sustain the idea that this is something for the good of the country/free peoples as opposed to 'another day another dollar? . . . or have we gone past that point already?”

    An important question, but it points out the need for a structural, 5G approach. The idea that there is something especially good about the military and the country it not shared by a large minority of the population, and perhaps only held as a living faith by another minority, but the work initiated by President Truman means that popular ideological support is no longer a big issue.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/01/22/liberal-education-part-i-the-petty-troika.html

  7. Dan,

    Given also, then, that the real effort being conducted by [America?] would be 5GW, what kind of harm would these kids be able to cause? Perhaps they'd be 4GW pawns or proxies. I think the situation now or in the future would be different than the situation during the Cold War. Unfortunately, if those kids are indeed pawns and proxies, they could just as easily be serving some opponent's 5GW plan rather than “ours”.

  8. Curtis,

    Once the 5GW is under way, the kids would be able to do what any hoodlums (losers, global guerrillas, etc) are able to do: get people killed and cause misery.

    Think about student radicalism in the Vietnam War. They harassed fellow students and researchers, put pressure for an early withdrawal from Vietnam, etc, but they were so late that the enemy had already been spoiled in Vietnam regardless, and the broader Military-Industrial Complex kept the Soviet Union in check.

  9. “If history repeats itself, or at least rhymes, within a generation of 9/11 active support of al Qaeda inspired movements should be fashionable on college campuses.”

    “…leaving much of the US contribution to the managerial and logistic.”

    If the colleges are soon going to be hotbeds for pro-terrorist sympathy where (outside of the military) is the sysadmin going to draw the leaders that will be needed to staff the multitudes of contractors and projects that will shrink the gap? Is the pool deep enough? I once mused about a Sysadmin U. over at D5GW but will it really be needed just to offset the fashionable terrorist sympathy?

  10. News to me that there was no “long war” of ideas against fascism… You might want to inform Phillip Bobbitt (Shield of Achilles) of that fact. And I guess I missed the “long war” of ideas against Indians.

    What generally frustrates me about your posts is that its sound reasoning and logic proceeding from absolutely silly premises.

  11. Adrian,

    I am fascinated by your suggestion that the total war mobilization of 1942-1945 could be described as a generational struggle. Could you elaborate?

    (Or do you view every enemy of capitalist as interchangeable?)

    Information on the Indian Wars is available from both general [1] and professional [2] sources, as well as this blog (which is neither! 🙂 ) [3].

    Aherring,

    Fifty years before the National Defense Act changed the American military forever, our old military had two tracts for attracting college-educated soldiers: West Point and ROTC. This two-tracked system seems as appropriate as ever.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Wars
    [2] http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2006/12/reading_more_of_bill_yennes_fa.html
    [3] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/02/10/lakota_after_4gw.html

  12. “Once the 5GW is under way, the kids would be able to do what any hoodlums (losers, global guerrillas, etc) are able to do: get people killed and cause misery.”

    I.e., they could easily play into the 5GW operation being conducted by “our side.”

    The reason that the Vietnam-era campus shenanigans hurt us is that it reinforced the 4GW dynamic; but such a dynamic is already geared to fail when it is confronted by a 5GW opponent. Similarly, the al-Qaeda 4GW tactic (assuming that it's not really 5GW at this point…) might gain voices within American universities, but that 4GW dynamic would be geared to fail against a 5GW opponent.

    If you want to postulate a campus 5GW rather than the old-hat 4GW style of campus activism, then you'll need to reconsider your main premises, imo. For instance, what's to say that the campus 5GW will not be a home-grown 5GW, a kind of Sixth Column, that rises up to defeat al-Qaeda activities while the State's meager 4GW/5GW efforts fail? Even if the surface appearance of the campus activities may resemble a co-optation of al-Qaeda ideology, it may actually be more than that.

    Remember, these kiddies are going to be better versed in the internet, social networking via technology, etc., than any other segment of American society.

  13. Curtis,

    Opponents of 5GWs naturally try to degrade them into 4GWs, so we can expect opponents of the Long War / Military-Industrial-Sysadmin-Complex to do the same. It's easy to see how YouTube and similar sites could be used to make the existence of the MISC a political question, forcing the 5GWs to fight in a 4GW battlespace.

    Indeed, this is much what opponents of the Military-Industrial-Leviathan-Complex, from “Why We Fight” [1] to Tom Barnett [2]

    But here's the strength of the 5GW: those who oppose it have their highest ideals on their side, those who favor it have their livelihoods. You can get campus radicals pretty agitated about it, and even take soem firebombings to campus labs. But professors, janitors, factoryworkers, middlemanagers, and their families all depend on it as a value-neutral source of income.

    Men will sooner forgive the murder of their fathers than the theft of their inheritance.

    In the battle between ideals and money — I go with money.

    [1] http://www.sonyclassics.com/whywefight/
    [2] http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/2007/06/taiwanfixation_kills_americans.html

  14. So naturally, give students more access to their preferred livelihoods (or more options) which will co-opt them into the MISC, either by making them believe the promise of future wealth or else the promise of the ultimate fulfillment of their highest ideals.

    For instance, the “Global Warming” issue has thus far led many who oppose its use into a 4GW style of attack against various “Green Parties.” Why? Why not utilize Global Warming to shrink the Gap? Plus, once you've eliminated “The Leviathan” from its current position of apparent supremacy (in the minds of these kiddies) and replaced it with “The SysAdmin”, you might give those kiddies a reason for jumping on the bandwagon. They might even accept the role of the Leviathan, a “necessary evil,” if they know their bleeding-heart sympathies will find outlet in improving the lives of the less fortunate. And so forth.

  15. Curtis,

    If I understand you, I agree. Fighting a 4GW to shrink the gap can generate important movement, and might even be won.

    Perhaps a good analogy is horses in the German armmy World War II — they came in handy, and it would have been foolish to shoot them at the outset. But they weren't the schwerpunkt, or even close to it.

  16. Okay, here's something I let slide:

    “Opponents of 5GWs naturally try to degrade them into 4GWs, so we can expect opponents of the Long War / Military-Industrial-Sysadmin-Complex to do the same. It's easy to see how YouTube and similar sites could be used to make the existence of the MISC a political question, forcing the 5GWs to fight in a 4GW battlespace.”

    Have you jumped on the Barnett bandwagon and now believe “SecretWar” is not the right term?

    Your MISC can not be **purposefully** degraded, or made into a political question, unless it is seen. Can it still be 5GW, authentically 5GW, or does it fall into the Barnett trap, the Barnettian Paradox? [1]

    [1] http://www.fifthgeneration.phaticcommunion.com/archives/2007/06/on_the_barnettian_5gw.php

  17. Without animal power the WW2 German army would have been virtually immobilized. They were still heavily reliant on animals to move vast quantities of equipment and supplies.

    What happens when myths drive thinking?

  18. sonofsamphm1c,

    Please replace “horses” with “”American mules,” “loyal Australian auxilleries,” or other terms as appropriate.

    The analogy stands as corrected. The logic stands as it was.

    Curtis,

    I've altered my views on secrecy somewhat on 5GW. I think when I started writing I assumed that because only non-states do well at 4GW, the same would hold true in 5GW. A warrantless assumption, clearly.

    Secrecy is important in 5GW because of the small size of the initial 5GW force. However, if a faction in government open declares the 5GW:

    a) the faction has the 2GW “bodyguard” of the military and police,
    b) the most obvious victims of the 4GW may want to kill the faction anyway (and can't, do to the first reason)
    c) other victims are both unable to project violence to the faction and skeptical that the declared 5gw isn't just information
    d) the American people, who would be a pawn in the 5GW, are generally disengaged of government and skeptical of democratic deliberation in any case
    e) anti-military factions already oppose the leviathan and sysadmin forces as such, and either may not differentiate the proposed 5GW force or else not have their criticisms of it be differentiated from what they were previously saying
    f) Those who would be directly corralled into the 5GW generally favor job security over other goods, and so would not see the 5GW as a threat, even if it was serious

  19. “I am fascinated by your suggestion that the total war mobilization of 1942-1945 could be described as a generational struggle. Could you elaborate?”

    The book I referenced, the Shield of Achilles, describes a “Long War” ideological struggle between parliamentary democracy, fascism, and communism that lasts from 1914 to 1989. It's too long an argument to hash out in comments, it'd be better if you read the book yourself.

    The wars against native Americans were not ideological struggles, they were simple wars for territory.

    Not even gonna touch the 5GW stuff…

  20. Adrian,

    Thanks for your speedy reply.

    Perhaps someone who has read Shield of Achilles could elaborate, if Adrian does not wish too? The idea of a global fascist insurgency that threatened the West in the same manner that Communism did certainly seems fanciful. (After the destruction of the fascist states of Italy and Japan, and the revolutionary state of Germany, the remaining right-wing dictatorships drifted into clients of the West.)

    You're correct that the Indian Wars were not ideological struggles, but they were nonetheless long wars where our opponents fought to enforce cultural and physical apartheid.

  21. Certainly Bobbit's theories seem to escape clear summary.

    That said, the interview claims that the “Long War” against fascism extends to Bismark's Germany.

    If one grants this, doesn't the fact that one state's capital is named after Bismark parallel your quip about the “Peoria Nazis”?

    I don't believe that there was a long war against fascism, at least not in the way those terms are normally used, but it seems that Bobbit's expansive structure allows one to any example wanted.


  22. [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2006/01/22/liberal-education-part-i-the-petty-troika.html

    Posted by: Dan tdaxp | Friday, July 06, 2007 “

    As I recall, my response to that series was to point out that expanding the critical instinct to include new ideologies as well as old traditions and religions settles the problem quite nicely. How is that any different here? If you encourage students to look at radical islam or communism with the same critical eye they're already looking at christianity or the military with, fewer of them will become convenient fools.

  23. I’m surprised I missed this post so long ago….

    A brief overview of Iranian history would point to the attraction of the movements to college students. And as I’ve written many times, Al-Qaeda style terrorism is exactly the sort of thing that alienated young males love.

    I think that tracking Al-Qaedist sympathies in colleges is something I’m going to have to do some more research on. Certainly bin Laden’s quotations of Chomsky have met with approval.

  24. More on Adrian’s “the notion that it would ever be fashionable to support al-Qaeda related movements on college campuses is laughable…” from blog The Volokh Conspiracy [1]:

    In the past fifty years, adolescents have joined a host of marginalized groups their parents found dangerous – juvenile delinquents, mods and rockers, punks, skinheads, and Goths. So why not jihadis? Islamist terror certainly scares authority figures; why wouldn’t Western adolescents and misfits be attracted to violent Islamism — at least as a symbolic stance?
    […]
    Most of us think that Islamic terror is just too serious to be trivialized into a pose for disaffected Western youth. But we may have underrated the effects of a decade of political correctness and anti-Americanism in popular culture, where the search for transgressive shock value never ends.

    Take M.I.A.’s new album. It lacks much of the raw energy and boogey rhythm that enlivened her first two albums, so transgression is pretty much all she has to fall back on. And transgress she does. One cut, “Illygirl,” manages to rhyme (and identify the singer with) three cultural lodestars – her “tight jeans,” “Bruce Springsteen,” and the “muhahedin”. For M.I.A., in other words, Islamic terrorism is already a kind of life-style fashion item, a marginalized-and-proud, third-world stance that can be easily worn to parties in Brentwood by a wealthy former British art student. And if it works for M.I.A., why shouldn’t it work for an immigrant kid in New Jersey?

    The articel goes on to suggest a way to counter this.

    [1]
    http://volokh.com/2010/07/24/will-jihad-jump-the-shark/

  25. While I agree w/ Dr. Dan’s assertion that a few leftists will adopt the mantras of AQ and related groups (though honestly the animal rights/eco terrorist ideologues worry me much much more, and I can personally attest to their activities and anti-human belief promotions on campuses in the Triad area), I think certain elements of the Right in this country are doing far more for AQ’s cause than some idiot college kid ever could.

    I am thinking here of the recent growth of anti-Muslim attitudes expressed by politicians and local leaders in response to Americans of the Islamic faith seeking to build a new mosque or community center, whether it be in Tennessee, California, or two blocks from Ground Zero in a multi-faith neighborhood that openly and proudly supports the presence of Americans of Muslim faith in their midst.

    Not a shred of evidence exists to back up the assertions of these opponents of religious freedom who tar all Muslims with the stink of terrorism. Our police and intelligence services worry about this spreading attitude because it makes their jobs much more difficult and also risks embittering citizens previously free to pursue like every other American life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness who just happen to be Muslim.

    As leftists sow social discord and problems with their race preference agenda, so too now are certain elements of the Right who seem to seek to promote AQ’s propaganda about the USA by making it truth instead of fiction.

  26. There is definitely both a moderate center and a radical center, and 5GW as an anti-COIN tool can be used by the moderate center against the radical center quite effectively.

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