4th Generation Civil War In the U.S

An anon provides his insights on the increasing amount of mass shootings in the US:

So, let’s talk about what’s happening in America. This is going to be fairly long post so buckle in. And to any FBI agents reading, here’s hoping this gives you a better understanding of why you are here on this site. My thesis is that a civil war is currently happening in the United States, and that just as the wars in Afghanistan and Syria are fundamentally different in character from the wars of the 20th century, so to is the current civil war fundamentally different from the one that occurred in the 19th century. My goal here is to outline the current “state of play” in what could be called the second American civil war. In order to do that, I’m going to introduce to you the concept of 4th generation warfare. But first, let’s talk about the impetus for this war.

The cause of mass shootings and spree violence in the US is not guns. They have been around for a long time, and in fact gun ownership was more widespread in the past than it is now. Also of note is that gun crime committed by minority populations far outstrips mass shooting events in terms total casualties, but mass shooting events get more attention because of their fundamentally political nature, and because, frankly, the public cares more about school students or random civilians than Chicago gang members.

Now, gun violence in the US is not new, and goes as far back as the Indian wars and the outlaws of the western frontier. What is new is this nihilistic mass public spree killing, with the earliest example usually cited as Columbine. But these are occurring at a time when gun ownership is on the decline. What then is driving these events? Not greater access to guns, not Marilyn Manson, and not video games. The answer lies in the steady erosion of the political process and the fraying of the moral and societal fabric that holds the US together.

4th genClausewitz defines warfare as a “continuation of politics by other means.” Put simply, when the political mechanism ceases to function, for whatever reason, the result is war. For a significant portion of the population, the political system has fundamentally broken down. This essentially means that they believe their interests are no longer being represented, and their concerns cannot be addressed through normal political channels. (Think of the significant number of voters who have been asking both political parties to do something about illegal immigration for literal decades, yet have gone completely unanswered) The reasons for this are many, but they don’t matter.

What does matter is that the longer this portion of the population goes without political redress of their grievances, the more desperate they become, and the more likely they are to resort to violence. By locking someone out of the political process, they are forced to seek other methods to enact change. Of course, the first to act out are the most unstable, and those who feel they have no possible road to an acceptable future under the current system of government, which is why the opening salvos have been fired by low status individuals who believe they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. But as time goes on and the noose tightens, the people who have been excluded from the political process become more desperate, and more and more arrive at the conclusion that the only way to stop it is violence, regardless of the consequences to themselves.

columbineIt is not even necessary that the shooters be consciously motivated by political ends. For example, Columbine was not seen as a politically motivated event. But ask yourself: how does one come to the conclusion that shooting a bunch of school kids is a good way to spend a morning?

The simple fact is that those shooters, regardless of whether they could or would even articulate it as such, lived in a society in which they saw that action as a reasonable alternative to growing up, getting a job, having a family, and living a normal life, or they saw the latter as impossible, and lashed out with random violence. Whereas violence in the past was motivated by a specific goal, IE robbing a bank or running booze during prohibition, now violence was used as an expression of frustration, hatred, and animus toward society itself. Over time, the animus crystallizes and becomes more well defined. Where the Columbine shooters’ rationale was a nihilistic “It seemed like a fun idea”, modern spree shooters state very clearly that they are unhappy with the direction society is taking, and see no other means to address the issue besides violence.

So, we have armed combatants who are willing to kill, and to give their lives if need be in order to advance their cause. This is all that is needed to start a war, and the outcome hinges on which side has more of said people (IE, law enforcement/military is willing to kill and give their lives in order to advance their cause, maintenance of the status quo.) Now that we know who is fighting this war and why, let’s turn to how this war is fundamentally different than previous wars.

4th gen war4th Generation Warfare (4GW) is conflict characterized by a blurring of the lines between war and politics, combatants and civilians, and it has been the dominant mode of warfare since the collapse of the Soviet Union. 4GW differs from traditional warfare in that it is not fought between states, but between a state and non state actors, whose goal is usually to attain statehood. In the case of the middle east, this was between the US and other regional governments, and non state actors such as Al Qaida, Al Nusra, and ISIS, who sought to establish an Islamic state/caliphate in the middle east. In the 2nd American Civil war, the war is being fought between the US government and an extremely decentralized network of American citizens who feel they have been excluded from the political process, and who seek either a fundamental shift in the policies of the American state which would transform it into a state they could call their own, or secession of parts of said state into a new state which would better represent them and their interests. What follows is a checklist of elements common to 4GW, and notes on how they pertain to the 2nd American civil war:

>Complex and long term
This should be obvious, but this war has been going on for a long time, albeit in a relatively quiet form. What is happening now is essentially escalation.

>Terrorism
Again, this is a ubiquitous element of non-state actor warfare, because these groups do not have the productive capacity to build and deploy military hardware against the state itself. As such, they seek targets that will have outsized impacts on political discourse.

>A non-national or transnational base – highly decentralized
This is an interesting element. The insurgents are definitely decentralized, however they all likely consider themselves part of a single national group, that is, americans. If you wanted to stretch this to include events like the Christchurch shooting and Breivik’s attacks in Norway, you could easily meet the definition of transnational base, but I have decided to focus on America in light of the recent escalation. It could also be argued that America is a multinational country, and the insurgents consider themselves to be members of a single nation of true “americans” contained within the broader framework of America, and as such are “non national” in reference to the modern American state as a whole.

>A direct attack on the enemy’s culture, including genocidal acts against civilians.
I have very little to say about this other than it should be obvious. I will also note that “facts” are irrelevant in this kind of conflict. What matters is if enough people perceive attacks/”genocides” to the degree that they are motivated to act against the “agressing” force.

>Highly sophisticated psychological warfare and propaganda, especially through media manipulation, internet trolls, bots and lawfare
Clearly this is front and center, we’re posting on the center for “internet trolls” right now.

>All available pressures are used – political, economic, social and military
Again, this is fairly obvious. This is not a war that is fought on battlefields, but on TV, in Washington, on the internet, and, increasingly, with naked violence.

>Non-combatants are tactical dilemmas
In this case, non combatants are often targets, or may be assumed to be combatants insofar as they represent the status quo which is arrayed against the insurgents.

>Lack of hierarchy
Again, one side in this war is so decentralized as to not even be classifiable as an organization.

>Small in size, spread out network of communication and financial support
The insurgent population is much smaller than the population at large (the utter majority of which are bystanders and, while they may condemn the actions of the insurgents, are unwilling or unable to fight if the need arose) and uses the digital, rather than physical space, to meet, communicate, and to some extent, train.

So, in summary: what is occurring in America, and potentially the world at large, is a massive, low intensity conflict caused by the breakdown of the political mechanism. As such, it is an attempt to force political change through methods outside the political process. As one side is a non state actor and does not have access to the productive capacity of the state, the war is fought with violent, intermittent insurgency tactics, as well as widespread psychological and “cultural” warfare.

What is most important to understand is that regardless of how a citizens views may differ from your own, and how extreme they may be, his opinions have the exact same weight yours do, politically speaking. This is the result of one man, one vote. What matters then is the sum total of people who feel a certain way, and who vote based on that position. By attempting to nullify or or extirpate the votes of those you believe to be unpalatable, you put them in a position where they may see “last resorts”, such as violence, as acceptable alternatives. And the more positions you deem “unacceptable”, the more potential insurgents you create. The number of people who will explicitly call for a white ethnostate in the US is rather low. However, the number of people who want less immigration in general is SIGNIFICANTLY higher. By not allowing those votes to be counted, or not acting on them once they are, you serve the process of radicalization.

As the cycle of disenfranchisement and radicalization continues, it is likely that the amount and frequency of the violence will increase until some kind of boiling point is reached. How and when it shakes out, I do not know and wouldn’t try to guess. For a final takeaway, the core of this argument is that people as a whole are unwilling to live in a political system which ignores or oppresses them, and over time, will be pushed towards increasingly desperate and destructive actions in order to free themselves from the political order which rules over them without including them in the political process.

Original screen cap:

4th generational civil war


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