THOSE WHO SEEK DISCONNECTION - COMBATTING THEIR STRATEGY
Just as statesmen craft strategies to deal with other states and advance national interests, would-be revolutionaries have occasionally put down their objectives in pursuing the destruction of the established order. In Iraq, we seen insurgents using one of the oldest techniques of terror, organizing through a leaderless network of interdependent " cells" that become self-sustaining systems of recruitment, action and mythic political propaganda. Some examples of strategists of disconnection:
Catechism of a Revolutionary
The Al Qaeda Documents
The al Zarqawri Letter
Mao's Red Book
The Modern Prince
God and the State
( Dostoyevskii, fiction)
The Turner Diaries
( fiction, inspired several Neo-Nazi terrorist groups)
In many historical cases, once these networks have proliferated to a certain point of critical mass the revolution either succeeds or they are thwarted by the advent of equally lawless, competing, self-sustaining, systems, usually referred to by supporters of revolutionary causes as " death squads", " white terror " or " war lords ". In reality, these private paramilitaries are more or less morally identical to the revolutionary terrorists in terms of operational practices and organization - they eschew any traditional constraints of the laws of war or the Geneva Convention and commit atrocities against the supporters of revolution( real and imagined) in hopes of disrupting the terrorist movement itself. They are often quite successful in putting a serious dent in the aspirations of revolutionary movements.
While the government gains an advantage in sponsoring a competing network of terror by leveling the playing field it assumes a number of risks. First is that the atrocities committed by the paramilitaries will be attributed to the government by citizens and foreign states causing the terrorists to gain political support and sympathy. Secondly, this practice marks an escalation from a stage of conflict of limited insurgency to that of a general civil war with a rapid increase in human and economic costs and increasing risk of foreign intervention. Thirdly, is the problem of " Blowback " where the paramilitaries and terrorist movements alike evolve out of all control, mutate into new and more violent manifestations and the nation descends into a generalized chaos of a failed state.
Alternatively, the state can also opt to fund peaceful but political self-sustaining systems like political parties, trade unions, civic associations, newspapers, charitable groups in an effort to strengthen and immunize civil society against the forces of disconnection and terror. In the meantime, the state continues to wage war on the insurgency, retaining the legal monopoly over the use of force. This is what the CPA should have pursued during the past year in Iraq but failed to do so, among many other important tasks left undone.
At the moment, Iraq seems to be teetering on the brink of sliding into a generalized civil war. Counter-terror groups have made shadowy but minor appearances first against the Sadr militia then in a videotaped threat against the Islamist terror-master al Zarqawri
but a commitment to taking that route in earnest has not yet been made. It's apparently a possibility and one that would be instantly formidible if a deal is cut with the Kurdish Peshmergas and moderate ex-Baathist security personnel. If the U.S. were to pull out of Iraq preciptously in the near future it's highly likely that Iraq's interim government will be forced to take this step, lacking any other credible military options.