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Americans Shouldn't Be Treated Like ISIS Insurgents (No kidding)

Pony_Driver

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File this under "No shit Sherlock"

https://reason.com/2021/02/05/americans-shouldnt-be-treated-like-isis-insurgents/

Adopting "counterinsurgency" tactics for use against wide swaths of Americans can only make the situation worse.


J.D. TUCCILLE | 2.5.2021 9:00 AM

Members of the political class are buying into burgeoning fantasies about a second civil war, indulging visions about sparring with parts of their own subject populations. In the wake of recent conflicts culminating in the Capitol riot, prominent figures have been extrapolating from our violent polarization to a dystopian future of insurgency within our borders. Officialdom seems dead set on fanning the sparks of existing political strife into something resembling a national house fire.

"The challenge facing us now is one of counterinsurgency," Robert Grenier, former CIA station chief for Pakistan and Afghanistan and later director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, insists in The New York Times. "Though one may recoil at the thought, it provides the most useful template for action."

The danger, Grenier adds, lies in "a large, religiously conservative segment of the population, disproportionately (though not entirely) rural and culturally marginalized." He doesn't believe that the entire segment is violent, but it constitutes "a mass of citizens—sullen, angry and nursing their grudges—among whom the truly violent minority will be able to live undetectably, attracting new adherents to their cause."

In a subsequent NPR interview he elaborated, "I think what is most important is that we drive a wedge between those violent individuals and the people who may otherwise see them as reflecting their interests and fighting on their behalf."

Days earlier, former CIA director John Brennan had similarly claimed that the Biden administration is focusing on "what looks very similar to insurgency movements that we've seen overseas," consisting of "an unholy alliance" of "religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, Nativists, even libertarians."

Brennan added that officialdom is "doing everything possible to root out what seems to be a very, very serious and insidious threat to our democracy and our republic."

While neither Grenier nor Brennan are currently in government, both are well-connected and influential. Tellingly, the same day that Grenier's Times screed appeared, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a terrorism bulletin that read like a sales brochure for the former CIA officials' desired domestic policies.

"The Acting Secretary of Homeland Security has issued a National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin due to a heightened threat environment across the United States, which DHS believes will persist in the weeks following the successful Presidential Inauguration," warned the bulletin. "Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence."

As the DHS bulletin suggests, worries about violence and "insurgency" are rooted in reality. The Capitol really was stormed by Americans convinced, despite the evidence, that the presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. People died in the violence. The Republican Party around which they've coalesced has largely become a cult of personality venerating the former chief executive.

But few members of the rural and conservative segment of the population that troubles insurgency war-gamers are QAnon devotees, and only a tiny sliver had anything to do with the Capitol riot. If they come to support "violent individuals" because they "see them as reflecting their interests and fighting on their behalf," it will be because of deeper divisions and resentments that brought them to that point.

And those resentments really are deep. According to January YouGov polling, 53 percent of Democrats, 56 percent of Republicans, and 57 percent of Independents "think that the biggest threat to their way of life comes from domestic enemies."

The best way to calcify those perceptions of "domestic enemies" is for a government in the hands of one political faction to start treating its opponents as insurgents. That will inevitably entail the excesses and abuses that come with turning the security services loose not just on those who have committed crimes against others, but on whole segments of society viewed as potential threats.

"Overreactions give people an incentive to become terrorists—not only by creating grievances but also by reducing the relative risks of turning to violence," Northeastern University's Max Abrahms, a professor of public policy, recently cautioned in Reason. "A standard assumption in political science is that terrorists are rational actors. Many people decide against becoming terrorists because they know that the costs to them will be severe. But if the government is going to treat innocent people like terrorists anyway, then no additional risk is incurred."

Writing before Grenier's call for counterinsurgency efforts, Abrahms pointed out that John Brennan "did not distinguish between those who use extreme tactics and those with whom he disagrees politically. For Brennan, both are enemies worthy not only of contempt, but action or at least government scrutiny."

Grenier, for his part, wants to adopt tactics used in Afghanistan and Iraq, but neither country is exactly doing spectacular 20 years after the U.S. invaded and began battling insurgents. Iraq's capital city recently suffered two suicide bombings and the Biden administration is poised to, again, delay the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan because of escalating fighting in the country. Do we really want to inflict comparable counterinsurgency campaigns on our own country and risk similar outcomes?

That doesn't mean that we're helpless against politically motivated violence. Grenier rightly suggests that we "investigate and bring to account those who commit crimes." It makes sense to target people for harming others rather than for belonging to suspect groups. If he'd stopped there without talking about counterinsurgency efforts against whole communities, his column would have been unobjectionable.

We also should do something about Americans' perception of each other as "domestic enemies." We can't make people like each other, but we can pry their hands from each other's throats by decentralizing governance so that decisions are made as close as possible to affected individuals. Then, hostile communities couldn't use the reins of power to torment each other and would have fewer grounds for conflict.

Giving Americans less reason to hate and battle each other sounds a lot more promising than deploying counterinsurgency tactics at home and risking making a bad situation much worse.


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I don't know if they don't think it will make a difference or don't give a shit, but pursuing the line of effort calling conservatives and Republican "terrorists" will only end poorly. It will give the authoritarian left a cause to rally around and anyone they pursue will become a martyr (No pun intended). For many people in the middle it would only serve to prove the right's claim that "they're coming after us with the power of the state". Well no shit.

Brennan is a vile creature who should never have been allowed near national policy let alone the head of the CIA. There would be no shortage of cheerleaders on social media and the MSM if they pursued this effort. The natural reaction to this would be for the very people they're attacking to counter-attack and go after those going after them. An epic shit show would follow and we would all lose. This is scary shit.
 
I thought the CIA is only allowed to do foreign matters. Home soil is handled by FBI. Did that change?

The only thing that changed are the people who would enforce that law and the ones that would have reported that it was broken
 
I unironically support the Capitol rioters before I read the article.

All of this talk is violence-bait.
 
I thought the CIA is only allowed to do foreign matters. Home soil is handled by FBI. Did that change?

No. It did not change. I was saying that Brennan should never have been allowed to run the CIA.

What he is proposing would further galvanize an already divided country. It would be our version of the cultural revolution.
 
Our shit head leader in Canada has made the Proud Boys a terrorist organization, I am assuming its to earn favors with Biden... But now I assume our intelligence agency can do the dirty work for the CIA in the US
 
No. It did not change. I was saying that Brennan should never have been allowed to run the CIA.

What he is proposing would further galvanize an already divided country. It would be our version of the cultural revolution.

That would be more of our Cultural Revolution.

Other stages are Struggle Sessions for elders (yelling at people eating out, diversity training), Iconoclasm (destruction of important symbols like statues, condemnation of Columbus Day), and a complete repudiation of the foundation of American society.

Those are essential parts of a Cultural Revolution and they've already happened.
 
Tell that to Bank of America. :eek:



This whole deal is becoming a self-licking ice cream cone.

It's like that meme where someone pushes another until they snap and then act like the victim? This is the real life version.



Before you go down the road of the CIA "operating" in the U.S. please realize they don't need to. 1. It is still against the law 2. There are other agencies that can do it with far less ref tape.
 
I can tell you the feeling in the services right now is "extremism in the military" is being used to go after Republicans that are in the military. I get it from the Officers. The Air force Officers received an email about a week ago, starting at the top and it was handed down all the way to the bottom, they are to support the Commander in Chief, even if he is a pedophile.
 
I can tell you the feeling in the services right now is "extremism in the military" is being used to go after Republicans that are in the military. I get it from the Officers. The Air force Officers received an email about a week ago, starting at the top and it was handed down all the way to the bottom, they are to support the Commander in Chief, even if he is a pedophile.

There have been feelers sent out from on high checking the feelings of officers in the ranks for all kinds of shit from is everyone racist to how has racism affected your career?

Yes, every service member is to follow the orders of the Commander in Chief. However, one is not required to follow illegal or immoral orders.

On a personal note, the last thing I would need is a retired 4 star general, who is black, lecturing me on "white privilege".
 
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