Saturday, June 17, 2006

We're all soldiers now

As I've mentioned in my previous post, like it or not, everyone is a combatant in this new era of warfare. The lack of a home front and the mentality that accompanies the possession of a safe area has caused everyone to understand that we are all potential targets, simply by our being U.S. citizens. This idea of terrorism making us into possible physical combatants/victims is not a new one, and is an idea that is commonlly talked about and well understood by a majority of the populace here.

However, that isn't what I'm addressing. The possibility of becoming a victim of terrorism is largely a passive role. Yes, you can prepare for it by making a disaster kit, by getting first aid training, by being aware of your surroundings, but there is nothing you can do to prevent or otherwise affect this in the long term. This is not true for the other type of combatant in this war, which is why this type of combat is so important: every American is, either directly or indirectly an active combatant who can affect the outcome.

What exactly do I mean by this? In order to understand that, we need to take a more in depth look at 4th Generation Warfare (4GW.) As I discuss here, 4GW results in a primarily political war, often disguised as a military conflict. 4GW is specifically designed around asymmetrical warfare to enable a lower tech, poorer adversary to triumph over a richer and better equipped, yet politically vulnerable nation. The basis of 4GW can be found at the link, but how it applies to this discussion is that because 4GW is centered around politics, the primary targets of our adversaries is going to be our politicians; the easiest way to get at politicians is by using their constituents. Their constituents would be the citizens of the U.S., hence every citizen of the U.S. is currently being targeted in an information war by our adversaries. Unfortunately, far too many of our fellow citizens (including many in the media) fail to realize this, and thereby fail in their duty as citizens. That duty is to educate oneself about the current conflict, from all sides, and attempt to understand just what exactly our opponents are doing. Doing this will enable one to gain a better understanding of the conflict and how our opponents shape their message, enabling citizens to better resist the asymmetrical information campaign waged by our adversaries.

Engaging in this activity of education and understanding is the best way for citizens today to support the war effort. In WWII, citizens put aside their normal jobs and went to work in a war factory on a wartime footing to support the war. Today, due to drastic changes in the waging of war, this kind of "national mobilization" is entirely unnecessary, but education and understanding are not, even more so since this war is being fought in the political and information arena, not the battlefield. Unlike Rosie the Riveteer, we are all engaged in combat with the enemy, whether we like it or not. He views it this way, so there is no reason why we should not.