RANGER AGAINST WAR: Stimulus - Response <

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Stimulus - Response

In a time of war, the government divorces language
from meaning. . . . They drain the blood from words

--Martin Esapada

Losing by neglect, sir!
--How I Won the War (1967)

We will not tolerate insurrection
(3/19/08 episode)

The first thing this Ranger ever learned about terrorism was that all terrorist organizations have as a primary objective the mission to create a situation which will force the target government to overreact to the actual threat posed.

This hoped-for overreaction is a force multiplier in the terrorist's toolbox, and is historically more damaging than the original terrorist incident(s). Reactionary news agencies like the Drudge Report and Fox News reliably act as unpaid shills for the terrorist's cause, fomenting as they do panic when they tap into latent xenophobia when they bang the drums of war.

However, terrorism will never topple a stable government. It is only overreaction on the part of the targeted government itself which may achieve objectives far beyond anything envisioned by the terrorists themselves. Terrorists can impose damage, but they cannot fell a government. However, a government can self-immolate in response.

9-11, the ostensible prelude to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, destroyed approximately $20 billion in resources. In reaction, the U.S. has self-incurred a projected $3 trillion debt as a result of the wars thus far. This does not factor in secret budgets and Homeland Security follies, running into the $100's of billions.

So, if this is war, who's winning?

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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

in his campaign against an insurgency in spain (which had already destroyed the careers of two roman governors and destroyed four legions of troops) the redoubtable gaius marius came on the scene. the first thing he did was to bring his troops into laager. then he discontinued the practice of looting provisions and supplies. he sent purchasing agents out into the population with gold to buy, at a fair price, the things the army needed. one of the first things he discovered was that the spanish steel was far superior to the stuff the romans were used to. in less than a year there were foundries humming in what is now barcelona and malaga to supply the gladii for the entire roman army.

then he began forming cohorts of spanish troops to place in his legions. these were not 'colonial' or mercenary troops, these were roman troops with full roman citizenship granted to their legionaries after ten years. veterans of those units were treated as interchangable to any other roman trooper.

he banned torturing of captives. he instituted roman courts and the system of law.

five years later, except for a dust up involving a renegade legion under sertorius, spain was a full peace and totally roman.

Saturday, March 22, 2008 at 6:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

minstrel boy; Is Plutarch your source? Or is there a modern bio out there somewhere on g.m.??


Sunday, March 23, 2008 at 10:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


What a fantastic historical analog, demonstrating the way things might go when a successful long-term "victory" is sought.

I know Jim will enjoy considering the example you have brought. You are able to connect the dots. How do we achieve a viable cessation of hostilities, and what does life look like afterwards?

Why is this thinking absent from the planning today?

Sunday, March 23, 2008 at 2:43:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

plutarch is a great place to start. but also a very good entry into to that period of time is colleen mcCullogh's The First Man in Rome which is from her six book series on the ending of the roman republic.

marius was an interesting guy. he was consul six times. he's the one who made an innovation on the javelin that absolutely changed phalanx warfare. he had the roman javelin made with a detachable head. that way the roman legion would make a mass throw with the javelin, and the heads would detach, stopping the enemy from using them to return fire. using the distraction of the javelin toss the legion would close with their wall of shields and thrusting underhand with the razor sharp gladius. it was as devastating a military machine which has ever walked the earth. marius, beat the cavalry of the parthians, the chariots and horsemen of the libyans, the guerrillas of spain and gual. he did it with heavy infantry.

he was a grunt's general. they called themselves "marius' mules."

Sunday, March 23, 2008 at 5:13:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous mike said...

thanks mb.

Sunday, March 23, 2008 at 8:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Old Bogus said...

Ranger asked:
"So, if this is war, who's winning?"

My wife, in her bountiful wisdom, answered immediately:

Sunday, March 23, 2008 at 10:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

OB, indeed your wife touched a nerve junction.Halliburton and not the American citizenry is the big winner.Thank you very much mr. cheney for your steadfast, self enlightened leadership.a grateful nation salutes you and yours.

Monday, March 24, 2008 at 9:24:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB, and of course these roman legions never pretended they were spreading democratic ideals.

Monday, March 24, 2008 at 9:27:00 AM GMT-5  

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