Wartime Networks

I’m re-reading Networks of Rebellion for the umpteenth time. Really, for the third time but it feels like more.

It’s a dense, data rich, academic view of insurgency. Not for the weak of mind or those who get bored easily, but the payoff is the knowledge of what makes and breaks insurgent networks.

The greatest take away so far is that peacetime networks form the basis of wartime insurgent networks.

In other words, you go to irregular war with the friends you have, not necessarily the friends you want.

And it reminded me of one of David Kilcullen’s books called The Accidental Guerrilla. Kilcullen explains Usama bin Laden’s strategy of marrying into the family of Mullah Omar (or maybe Omar married into UBL’s), which is how UBL became ingratiated into Afghan Pashtun culture.

And under the code of Pashtunwali, the Pashtuns were obligated to protect UBL. The Taliban couldn’t give up UBL based on this honor code, which virtually assured a ground war in Afghanistan to defeat the Taliban and vanquish al-Qaeda.

Whether you believe the 9/11 attacks were truth, half-truth (as I do), or a lie; you have to admit that UBL chose probably the best human terrain on Earth to protect himself from a U.S. invasion. That’s how the Taliban became “accidental guerrillas,” as the book so well explains.

Kilcullen describes this as UBL’s plan all along: mire the U.S. into Afghanistan to fight against a people they didn’t understand and to wage a ground war they couldn’t possibly win.

And we go back to peacetime networks being the basis for wartime networks.

The Taliban were already a government and a fighting force prior to 9/11. And they had a predecessor in the Mujaheddin, the guerrillas who fought against the Soviets from 1979-1989. Some of those dudes who fought against the Soviets were fighting the Americans 20-30 years later.

The established networks of family members, friends, acquaintances, and others have already built networks based on similar beliefs, goals, and most importantly, trust.

While there are many “critical” factors, those three are absolutely critical for insurgent networks early on because you have an agitated social base that becomes armed in pursuit of the same or similar goals.

This is like watching a football game between two distinctly different teams:

  • Team A, consisting of players who don’t know each other, have never practiced together, and lack a leader to assign players to their correct positions; and
  • Team B, consisting of players who know their positions and assignments, and spent the past 10 weeks in training camp together.

As Networks of Rebellion proves, insurgencies that lack cohesion and don’t have deep ties to the local populace — in other words, those lacking strong peacetime networks — are most often destined for failure.

I’ll end with this: I look at the United States. There are undoubtedly political factions. Some of those factions have undoubtedly armed in preparation for armed conflict (the Right) or are doing so now (the Left). And at some level, both sides are developing influencers who might in the future steer these armed factions into an armed conflict.

Because of the ubiquitous adoption of social media and entire generations of Americans living their lives online, if Big Tech/Big Gov don’t yet understand the peacetime networks of both sides very well, then they can likely figure it out in the near future.

Author: Sam Culper
Former Intelligence NCO and intel contractor. OEF & OIF veteran. Bama alum. Marshall Tucker nationalism. Austin, Republic of Texas. @culper_intel on most social media platforms.

7 thoughts on “Wartime Networks

  1. Which is why I’ve been advocating for building Communities for over ten years now…The problem has been though that the bread and circus’s has worked on keeping people from doing that on one end and on the other the survivalist saying we need to keep to ourselves…

  2. And never discount the unintended third order consequences. When israel hired osama to build the $800 million highway in the Sudan, then embezzeled the money back, and blamed it on the U.S., the third order trigger was set.
    Also that as peacetime networks set the stage for war time networks, so do wartime networks set the stage for peacetime networks. Think of the guys you didn’t know, who you went over with, went through the grinder with, came back, got out, and now are life long buds with. Think blmantifa going over to get trained by isis/isil, then coming back with a whole other set of contacts!

  3. Where is our George Washington? A leader must come forward to rally and guide those who believe in liberty. The right to keep and bear arms is worthless if not exercised.

    1. There can be no central George Washington figure in cw2. There must dozens or hundreds of George’s for each geographic area. Decentralized resistance for the win. And decentralized governance after the win…..

      Look, even if there was no deep state / swamp, even if the nation was doing ok – you will never ever be represented in a nation of 300 million. We dont need empire and we dont need a federal government ever again. We here in northern Appalachia / rust belt have all we need to go it alone. Incredible natural resources, industry and agriculture. Skilled work force and conservative communities. The old state boundaries be damned. The northeast corridor can be walled off and go their own way, no fucks given.

  4. Sorry not post related but was looking forward to your analysis of the current klusterfuk ? These are dire times indeed. Have long stopped turning into mainstream media since it’s now just pure propaganda. Fortunately for the internet you can still find out some of the ” behind-the-scenes ” doings of the Trump legal team and their efforts to bring the crime of the century to light.

    Given the President saw this coming a mile away it just feels like he’s got something up his sleeve. Hard to believe he would be defeated now after making the left looks stupid the last 4 years with their juvenile attempts to remove him from office.

    Then again the President stated he had a very nice life before taking this job. Maybe he’ll just take that “S” of his chest, hang up his cape and declare the Republic DOA ?

    I hope not, but he’s going to need our help . Can’t ask one man to save the world.

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