by Chuck Stanley
Other than those affected directly, I am probably handling this less well than most here.
Especially affecting me is the death of 23 y/o Nohemi Gonzalez.
It has been only five short months since I watched my own youngest daughter draw her last breath. Brandi said, “No one should die alone,” but Nohemi died alone halfway around the world from her parents and loved ones.
She and dozens more, died at the hands of criminals. It is as simple, and as complicated, as that.
Drawing back from my role as a father and a citizen, let me put on my expert hat for a moment. I have worked with law enforcement for four decades. We are also a military family, so I understand both worlds. However, speaking as an interrogator and frequent consultant on cases of violence, this spate of attacks is NOT WAR!
I wish national and military leaders, as well as media, would stop using that word. More military in the traditional sense is not the answer. All these attacks should be handled as criminal investigations. Having said that, I am not averse to highly surgical drone strikes. I have killed enough poisonous snakes over my lifetime to know the best way to kill a snake is to cut off its head.
Nor am I averse to using the military for its intelligence and surveillance capabilities. But….we sure as hell don’t need more big bombers and massive warships that one of them, all by itself, has more destructive capability than the entire Axis military of WW2.
We need better gumshoe criminal investigators, skilled interrogators, and more HUMIT (trade term for ‘human intelligence’). The latest Intel out of France indicates at least some of the attackers were using PlayStation 4 for their communications. If one thinks about it, that’s a perfect medium for circumventing the usual NSA and CIA data vacuuming systems, such as Prism.
Consider this. Many of the games one can play online are about war and military operations. Code of Honor, Call of Duty Black Ops, Medal of Honor Warfighter, and countless others involve gathering weapons and targeting “the enemy.” Such communications are hiding in plain sight, encryption or no encryption.
If the NSA scoops up all these communications, talk of weaponry and targeting is part of the games. Additionally, the simple ruses used by the Navajo Code Talkers not only used their native Navajo language, they used metaphors. That was in case the Japanese did figure out the language. When they captured and tortured a native Navajo speaker on Bataan, even he could not decipher what they were talking about. Submarines were fish. Airplanes were various kinds of birds, tanks were tortoises, and so forth.
That Navajo POW was forced to listen to the jumbled words of talker transmissions. After he was liberated, he told one of the code talkers, “I never figured out what you guys who got me into all that trouble were saying.”
The only way to solve that particular problem is infiltration of the criminal cells. Befriend the actors so as to learn their intentions. Cracking encoded and disguised transmissions are not likely to work, or if they do, will probably not work very well in situations where the lone wolf operator is at work, and speed is of the essence.
When suspects are captured, skilled interrogation is essential. That means using sound
techniques such as the types of interrogation developed by Obergefreiter Hanns Sharff of the Luftwaffe (left photo), and US Marine Major Sherwood F. Moran
Major Sherwood Moran interrogating a Japanese prisoner in the Pacific Theater, WWII
during WW2. (right photo)
The sociopathic techniques of Dick Cheney and his enablers are not interrogations. They are punishment, designed to satiate the sadistic needs and wishes of the captors instead of gathering intelligence.
I was once “interviewing” someone who had been reticent to talk. An expert with decades of experience stood by watching. Later, she simply shook her head, saying, “You got more information in six minutes than I have gotten in six weeks.”
It’s not hard. All you need to do is listen and use good communication skills. Incidentally, that has been a lifelong interest of mine. I did my doctoral dissertation on the subject of communication skills and how easily a poor communicator can go off into the weeds, causing more harm than good.
If this were a “war” in the truest sense of the word, the criminals would have been lobbing mortar shells into that stadium and theater instead of blowing themselves up. Come to think of it, in a real war, military targets are selected. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was a true warlike military attack. The Blitzkrieg was a military attack. The invasion of Poland was a military attack. Even Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait was a military attack.
Shooting people in a theater or restaurant is not a military attack. It is not war. It is an act of raw, psychopathic, criminality and should be treated as such.
As for our response, area bombing is a waste of perfectly good explosives and counterproductive to boot. Highly accurate surgical strikes by drones, helicopters or A-10 Warthogs are probably more useful than high level strikes by a B-52 or B-2. Or even strikes by fast movers like Tornadoes, F-16s, and Mirage jets.
The civilized world does not have a war with Islam or Muslim believers. The fight is with a cabal of criminals who have a cult following. They are not the least interested in negotiation or peaceful coexistence. They consider it an honor to die for their cause, so threats of death or annihilation are empty threats. Their goal is to convert the entire world to Islam. Not ordinary Islam, but their own particular extreme brand. Part of that is to recruit gullible and alienated young people to their cause.
My very bright and perceptive granddaughter observed they are attracting the exact same sort of young person who would have been a follower of Jim Jones, Charles Manson, fringe religious cults, or other movements that give them a sense of identity and worth in otherwise aimless and disaffected lives.
It’s no surprise to me that every one of the young perpetrators of the Paris bombings and shootings have reported histories of petty crime.
It seems clear that they are trying to drive a psychological wedge between the average Muslim and the rest of the world. To some extent it is working. One of the best psychiatrists in our area was a rather moderate Muslim who had generally liberal views. However, after his home was firebombed and shot into, he said he had enough and was taking a job in Saudi Arabia. He told me he had a wife and kids to think about, and living here wasn’t tolerable, thanks to mouth-breathing knuckledraggers who no doubt flew giant Rebel flags from their pickup trucks.
The cost to our community is that the mental health center no longer has a single psychiatrist to whom I am willing to refer any of my clients. Formerly I referred all my clients with mental health issues, even the most fundamentalist Christian ones, to Dr. Ali al Garatli. They all loved him. Thanks a hell of a lot to the criminal elements of al Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL.
Back to the war issue. I repeat; this is not a war. It is a criminal investigation, requiring criminal investigation expertise and proper adjudication when the criminals are caught. If they prefer death to capture, I am not above accommodating them. If there are to be “boots on the ground,” I agree with Col. Jack Jacobs this evening when he said we don’t need to go in with a division, or multiple divisions.
Boots in these cases means special operations groups, made of small highly trained elite squads. We have Delta Force and the Seal teams. The Brits have the SAS, and Russians have Spetsnaz. If there were a ever a reason for common cause, where Obama, Putin, Cameron, and other national leaders could find common ground to meld forces, intelligence and cooperation, this is it. And make no mistake, those special forces groups can do things even science fiction writers would have trouble believing.
To do otherwise makes about as much sense as bombing Bogota in order to eliminate the drug cartels there.
So to those who say we are “at war,” my response is to tell them shut the hell up until you begin to have a clue as to what you are talking about.