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Wikileaks Gets Hold of Counterinsurgency Manual 999

Posted by kdawson
from the what-we-learned-in-central-america dept.
HeavensBlade23 writes in to let us know that Wikileaks has published a US Special Forces counterinsurgency manual, titled Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces (1994, 2004). "The document, which has been verified, is official US Special Forces doctrine. It directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control and restrictions on labor unions & political parties. It directly advocates warrantless searches, detainment without charge and the suspension of habeas corpus. It directly advocates bribery, employing terrorists, false flag operations and concealing human rights abuses from journalists. And it directly advocates the extensive use of 'psychological operations' (propaganda) to make these and other 'population & resource control' measures more palatable."
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Wikileaks Gets Hold of Counterinsurgency Manual

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  • War is fun! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sir_eccles (1235902) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:08AM (#23836953)
    Who ever said war was a fun thing?
    • by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:27AM (#23837093)
      Who ever said war was a fun thing?

      Jools, Jops and Stoo, for a start. War has never been so much fun!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by zokum (650994)
        Kill em with your gun, kill em with your gun! War has never been so much fun! Those were the days - hmm, still is *boots* winuae.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I think it was Dick Cheney. Or George Bush, who in the first moments of the invasion of Iraq treated the attacks like some sports event,
    • Re:War is fun! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GodsMadClown (180543) <wfindl1&yahoo,com> on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:52AM (#23837387)
      Our commander in chief said as much in a videoconference with troops in Afghanistan on Mar 13, 2008:
      ( http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSN1333111120080313 [reuters.com] ) ...
      "I must say, I'm a little envious," Bush said. "If I were slightly younger and not employed here, I think it would be a fantastic experience to be on the front lines of helping this young democracy succeed."

      "It must be exciting for you ... in some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger. You're really making history, and thanks," Bush said. ...

      What a shame he's otherwise "employed".
      • Re:War is fun! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by AioKits (1235070) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @09:49AM (#23838275)
        "War is delightful to those who have not experienced it."
        -Erasmus
    • by QuantumSam (1069182) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @10:07AM (#23838571)
      Sorry to pop all your bubbles, but that Counterinsurgency Manual is publically available. I bought an offical copy from Amazon many months ago. There's nothing secret in the book and those "warrantless searches" are done on the battlefield overseas, not in this country. The whole article is alarmist tripe.
      • Amazon (Score:5, Interesting)

        by goombah99 (560566) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @10:35AM (#23838993)
        It's $10.20 (paper back) on Amazon [amazon.com].

        or you can get it on line from the us army at Us.army.mil.
        see FMI 3-07.22

        The FAS has the 2004-2006 version posted here [fas.org]

        No story. move along.
        • Re:Amazon (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sl3xd (111641) * on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @12:59PM (#23841367) Journal
          Yet more evidence that wikileaks needs more editorial oversight.

          The other problem I have with wikileaks in general is that there's no way to know anything posted there is authentic.

          For all you know, some guy at IP address www.xxx.yyy.zzz is posting some creative writing, propaganda, defamatory stories, whatever.

          The original story on slashdot is pretty biased to begin with: warrantless searches, habeas corpus, detainment without charge? They're military units at war in a foreign land - they're not the local police department, they're not there to serve & protect the interests of the locals, but the interests of the USA - or more accurately, its commander in chief.

          War is hell, and military is an instrument of war. It's amazing that people get prissy about an organization whose purpose is to kill and destroy until a government or people is either destroyed or decides it's better off agreeing with the terms for peace.

          You shouldn't get mad at a lion for eating your child on main street USA; the lion is merely doing what lions do. It is far more sensible to go after the person(s) who released the lion into a city.
      • by mizhi (186984) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @11:06AM (#23839449) Homepage
        Well, to be fair, the particular manual WikiLeaks posted was restricted on 5 DEC 2003 to Army personnel only. So, while it's not classified, it's not generally meant for public consumption. That doesn't mean you can't find it with a little searching.

        What is currently available on Amazon's website is the Operational Techniques (link [amazon.com]) Manual. This is more of a "what sf does" type of book. The WikiLeaks article links to a TTP which is like a "HOW TO" manual. And in reality, while it's no secret what SF or any other type of Army unit does, specific TTP are sensitive because they have pretty specific guidelines and checklists on how certain tasks are accomplished.

        They're not classified, but they're also not something an Army unit would necessarily want widely distributed.

        Oh, and for people complaining about the format of the manual - this is what Army manuals look like. They have lousy formatting, and it's pretty common to find typos and other errors.

        WikiLeaks didn't really scoop anything, so it's not some sort of coup.
    • Re:War is fun! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by goombah99 (560566) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @10:09AM (#23838627)

      Who ever said war was a fun thing?
      amen.
      The ludicous screed that heads the article might be considered a parody of itself. The manual that then follows is no worse than say Machievelli's "The Prince". or more apropos Sun Tzu "the art of war".

      Armies are SUpposed to plan and supposed to control populations effectively, ideally inflicting the the least damage possible. Like Jujitsu, it's about knowing the pressure points to move the whole body.

      Fuck, it's their freakin' job.

      Folks it's not immoral to plan for war. it may be immoral to go to war, but in the USA that's a civil sector choice not a military choice.

      On a similar tack. I't not immoral to equip our soldiers with the best weapons possible. If the Country decides through its political leadership to put soldiers in harms way then they should be equipt to be as effective as they possibly can. The immorailty of war comes when politicians send us to war or waste our treasure on unneccessary weapons.

    • by Kohath (38547) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @10:20AM (#23838785)
      I think the key is to play it in "Normal" mode. "Easy" mode is too easy and "Hard" mode can get frustrating. Normal mode is the most fun. Save the "Hard" mode for after you win it in "Normal" mode.
    • Re:War is fun! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @10:29AM (#23838919)
      There's also a famous quote from a WWI British officer named Julian Grenfell:

      "I adore war. It's like a big picnic without the objectlessness of a picnic. I've never been so well or happy. No one grumbles at one for being dirty." ... Julian Grenfell's picnic was soon over. He died from wounds on April 30th, 1915. He was 27 years old.
      I got the quote from here [greatwar.nl], which is a great WWI web-site.
  • by damburger (981828) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:11AM (#23836961)

    I mean, where are the true believers now? Does anyone seriously think that western governments have any kind of moral credibility?

    We wag our fingers at China for their actions in Tibet, but by any measure what they have done there is far more humane than what we have done in Iraq. We lecture Russia about corruption and they simply retort with examples of western corruption.

    Who actually believes that our governments have any reason to exist anymore beyond their existence itself?

    • by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:15AM (#23836991)
      We need some sort of government to protect peope from each other.

      Otherwise I couldn't agree more, it just sems to be a bunch of rich, cantankerous old killjoys at the top of each country, making up reasons to kill people that are under the influence of another bunch of rich old bastards.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hahiss (696716)
        Oh yeah, arming one group of people and giving them a monopoly on violence is the solution to interpersonal conflict.

        Unless, of course, your government isn't made up of people. . . . Alas, mine sure as hell is!
        • by alexgieg (948359) <alexgieg@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @09:55AM (#23838373) Homepage

          Oh yeah, arming one group of people and giving them a monopoly on violence is the solution to interpersonal conflict.
          Well, Hobbes used to say that the advantage of governments isn't that violence itself ceases to exist, just that it switches level. Or, to be more precise, that outside a state you have violence at a personal level, with people shotting each other in the streets as the only way of being sure they won't be the next killed is by being the next killers, while with states, although you still have violence among them, at least people living inside them get some measure of peaceful coexistence. The difference, thus, isn't one of "good" versus "evil", but rather one of "bad" versus "worse".

          As a result of this reasoning, his take on the subject was that, for people to be able to accomplish anything better than having to live in an eternal struggle for today's food (where anyone can come and take from you what you made, no one bothers to produce anything, much less any surplus), the very first thing they need is a state strong enough to both make other states afraid of messing with them and to make the people under its umbrella afraid of messing with each other. Once you have this established, no matter how (and at this point a totalitarian tyranny is okay for him), you have peace enough for surplus production to develop. And once you have a functional society, then you can start pursuing other goals, such as, say, freedom of belief, freedom of speech, democracy, individual rights etc. (which, contrary to common belief, he pretty much preferred).

          So, yes, arming one group of people and giving them a monopoly on violence is indeed the solution to interpersonal conflict. Even if it leads, in the worst case scenario, to the monopolist becoming an absolute totalitarian hereditary monarch and everyone else becoming his personal slaves, as in this case interpersonal conflicts are also few. But, and this is important, it's a solution only to interpersonal conflicts. Everything else requires, of course, much more than this.

          A monopoly in violence, thus, is just the very first step required in solving human problems, as it solves our very first problem. But it's never the solution to all of our problems.
      • by kestasjk (933987) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:41AM (#23837249) Homepage
        I dunno, I think this is the old problem of mistaking incompetence for evil.

        Here in Australia our labor government (and before that, to a lesser extend, the liberal government) can sure be incompetent, but as much as I dislike Rudd he's probably not evil.

        He supported the Iraq war in 2003 and now blames Howard for it of course, but he (just like the majority of people) thought it was necessary at the time.

        No point mistaking bad intelligence and unquestioning politicians for malice.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Nursie (632944)
          "(just like the majority of people) thought it was necessary at the time."

          Are we talking about in Australia?

          because in the UK the sentiment was thoroughly anti-war, to the extent that we the largest protests in the history of the country.
        • by sesshomaru (173381) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @09:16AM (#23837753) Journal

          No point mistaking bad intelligence and unquestioning politicians for malice.
          Ok, as you are speaking of Australia, this may not apply to you. After all, I could see the government of Australia accepting intelligence from their ally the United States in good faith. However, citizens of the United States, you should understand that there is a difference between cooked intelligence and bad intelligence.

          Bad intelligence is when Achmed is giving you information, but he is actually secretly working for the Taliban. Cooked intelligence is when there is no Achmed, and the information you supposedly got from him was actually created by the Office of Special Plans [guardian.co.uk] out of whole cloth. Basically, black propaganda aimed at your own populace.

          Bad intellegence can be incompetence (or it can just mean the other side is better than you), but cooked intelligence is definitely malice.

    • by blahplusplus (757119) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:17AM (#23837007)
      "I mean, where are the true believers now? Does anyone seriously think that western governments have any kind of moral credibility"

      Talk to the average north american, and you'll find out that there are many that would rank you with steretype of the crzzy-type 'conspiracy theorists'.

      This is just more example of fascism plain and simple, when business tools government for it's own interests.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Missing_dc (1074809)
        "I mean, where are the true believers now? Does anyone seriously think that western governments have any kind of moral credibility"

        Talk to the average north american, and you'll find out that there are many that would rank you with steretype of the crzzy-type 'conspiracy theorists'.

        This is just more example of fascism plain and simple, when business tools government for it's own interests.


        I have been skimming the PDF, it is scarily like what they are doing in the US. while skimming, I found this gem:
        • by PinkyDead (862370) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @09:15AM (#23837727) Journal
          But I was intrigued by the use of the world 'peasant'. I figured that it was a term that only made sense in a feudal system - so like the proper netizen that I am, I toddled off to Wikipedia to clarify my thoughts.

          I got no further than the first line:
          Not to be confused with pheasants.

          ROFL! What's that, a guideline for the upper classes when on a shooting party!

          Sorry. I never did find out about the peasants.

        • by ednopantz (467288) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @10:09AM (#23838619)
          "The average peasant is not normally willing to fight to his death for his national government. His national government may have been a succession of corrupt dictators and inefficient bureaucrats."

          That sounds about right for us Americans.


          Talk about lack of perspective. Go spend thirty seconds with Google. Pick a dictator, any dictator: Castro, Somosa, Saddam, Ceausescu, whatever.

          Look at their record in office and compare to any US president of any era--Bush, Carter, Ford, Coolidge, Harding, whatever. The level of violence, corruption, intimidation, whatever aren't even in the same league.

          I know it is cool to be all downtrodden, but really: get out of the dorm and get a sense of perspective. You have it orders of magnitude better than anyone who ever lived under those governments. On his worst day, chimp boy is better than any government in any developing country on their best day. ..expects to be modded down for disagreeing with the waah! America sucks! groupthing.
      • by stewbacca (1033764) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:37AM (#23837193)
        Facism? Every western government has some sort of Special Operations system in place with all the same provisions. I think it is more telling that the slashdot crowd is just now "discovering" what has been known about black operations since the beginning of time.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:17AM (#23837015)
      many of those special forces folks come back and become your local police. Police departments and many security firms have a preference for ex-military.

      Also, doesn't anyone else find it ironic that those folks are supposed to be fighting for freedom and the American way?

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:34AM (#23837161)
        "Also, doesn't anyone else find it ironic that those folks are supposed to be fighting for freedom and the American way?"

        I didn't realize that censorship, surveillance, union busting, and silencing political parties had become un-American; let me pull out the champagne, this calls for a celebration. Our government has been slowly but steadily stepping it up on all of the above fronts, but in countries like Iraq they just happen to have an advantage: there is no existing legal framework standing in the way, so they are free to re-create society in a manner that suits them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      We wag our fingers at China for their actions in Tibet

      We lecture Russia about corruption


      get the feeling its all for the children? these things are probably just seen as a reason to justify our need for more guns and bombs, it works as long as the truth doesn't come out
    • by value_added (719364) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:22AM (#23837059)
      I mean, where are the true believers now? Does anyone seriously think that western governments have any kind of moral credibility?

      An insightful comment if ever I read one.

      Also worth pointing out this gives lie to the "They hate us for our freedom" rubbish repeatedly heard from our leaders when conflicts and violence occur in unfamiliar parts of the world. The really sad thing is that any student of American history could say this is a non-story.

      Sometimes it's a bitch looking into the mirror.
    • by Saint Fnordius (456567) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:27AM (#23837101) Homepage Journal
      The sad thing is that huge swathes of this read as if they were redacted to fit an ideology, not truly written based on pragmatic achieving of a goal. It's all about doing the "dirty work" that the chairborne rangers with their neckties and air-conditioned offices dream about.

      I am going to read this in more detail, but right now it depresses me that counterinsurgency tactics have fallen so deeply into doing the "glamourous", "badass" stuff and ignoring the repercussions. Current lack of success in Afghanistan and Iraq should have been a wake-up call to how important treating the locals is, how accepting moral limits can reap tactical benefits later on.
    • by call-me-kenneth (1249496) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:28AM (#23837111)
      Bill Hicks said it best, of course [www.last.fm].

      Hey, aren't y'all a bunch of hired killers? Of course they're evil manipulative bastards, that's their job. You didn't really think they were there to spread democracy and peace did you?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by crossmr (957846)
      Hi,
      This is a common mistake made by many Americans, but please remember that Canada is not actually one of your states. You see we're an independent nation. If you need help finding us on a map its that really big spot above you where you get your maple syrup and you used to get cheap shopping. Since we're laterally north of you, we're also a "western government". Unless you're specifically talking about Alaska, then I suppose it is more west than us.. This was a US special force book. I don't believe it wa
    • by Stellian (673475) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @09:17AM (#23837757)

      Who actually believes that our governments have any reason to exist anymore beyond their existence itself?
      "We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."
      Any resemblance is purely coincidental.
    • by Bombula (670389) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @09:51AM (#23838311)
      It's a terrible tragedy that such a foolhardy strategy has been embraced by our current adminstration. The simple fact is that the garbage advocated in this 'doctrinal' guide is not counter-terrorism, it's merely counter-productive. You can leave aside the entire philosophical argument for fighting fire with water instead of with fire, leading by example, winning over others through cooperation and conversation rather than conflict and so on, and instead simply crunch the numbers: we could save far more American lives for far less money with a War on Drunk Driving or a War on Idiots Driving While Talking On The Phone than we ever will with the War on Terror, to pick just two examples off the top of my head.

      We lost 3000 souls on 9/11. Yet we've lost nearly 5000 in Iraq. Meanwhile, we steadily lose 50,000/year to drunk driving, another several thousand to those fools driving while talking on their phones. The numbers simply don't support a War on Terror no matter how you juggle them. This war of abstraction is, in fact, a Campaign of Terror to frighten our citizenry into submission in order keep the current military-industrial complex in power. It is as shameless as it is sickening, and the perpetrators leading the charade should be behind bars instead of in the White House.

  • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:11AM (#23836965) Homepage
    ... has been proven, what are Americans going to do to make sure the government and the military practices what they preach?

    I thought the plan was to export democracy, free speech, human rights and other such goodies ... oh boy, was I wrong!
    • by TobascoKid (82629)

      what are Americans going to do to make sure the government and the military practices what they preach?
      They are practicing what they preach - most of those practices are in various stages of implementation right now in the USA.

      Of course, this must mean that there is some insurgency underway in the US, but the media (i'm guessing under government suppression) isn't telling anyone about it.
  • in the end (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sveard (1076275) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:11AM (#23836967) Homepage
    The United States will lose more than can ever be gained with war. It's a question when, not if.
  • Figures. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fractal Dice (696349) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:13AM (#23836979) Journal
    So in other words Saddam Hussein was the ideal leader to have in Iraq?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by piemcfly (1232770)
      For about 20 years, yes.

      Then he invaded Kuwait, and the USA / West decided he suddenly wasn't such a good idea anymore.
      • Re:Figures. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by IBBoard (1128019) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:36AM (#23837185) Homepage
        Exactly. The west is perfectly happy with him when we help [wikipedia.org] him to [wikipedia.org] power [wikipedia.org] because "our enemy's enemy is our friend", but once he does his own thing then he's some evil who should be destroyed, conveniently ignoring the history of how he got there.

        I can see why it might be a shock to some that this document got out, but given that it's for Special Forces then it doesn't really surprise me. Why have your elite forces actually playing by the book when you can fight dirty, be more effective and just blank over it if you're ever asked? That's not to say I condone it, just that it seems like an obvious military tactic when you're working in smaller and elite teams.
    • Re:Figures. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Simon Brooke (45012) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:34AM (#23837163) Homepage Journal

      So in other words Saddam Hussein was the ideal leader to have in Iraq?
      We put him there, so presumably we thought so.
    • Absolutely (Score:5, Insightful)

      by goldcd (587052) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:47AM (#23837297) Homepage
      Hence the support provided to him in his war against Iran. FFS he was using chemical weapons with impunity - then he wanders into Kuwait and becomes a 'bad' person. Now we seem to have decided Iran is 'bad' again, but we've removed the hostile neighbour we were supporting... but we can't wander into Iran ourselves.. but..
      Oh you just cannot take this stuff seriously any more.

  • War is hell. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wulfstan (180404) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:15AM (#23836989)
    As General William Sherman said;

    "I've been through two wars and I know. I've seen cities and homes in ashes. I've seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is hell!"

    You aren't fighting a war to be nice. You are fighting to win and to do so you need to do whatever it takes.

    These things mentioned are unpalatable but then again - so is war. Moral of the story - avoid it. But sometimes you will have to fight, and when you do, fight hard and fight to win.
    • Re:War is hell. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:18AM (#23837019)
      So it's by any means necessary then?

      When we go over there to bring them freedom, we can do whatever the fuck we like because we're the "good guys", right?

      Whilst i can see some justification for some of these techniques in an actual war of defence against an aggressive power, you know this shit's going on in our wars of adventure and speculation too.
      • Re:War is hell. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by fitten (521191) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @09:13AM (#23837703)

        So it's by any means necessary then?


        Uh... yes? When you fight a war, you need to fight to win it. Otherwise, you get into a situation like Vietnam where the people on the ground don't know what they're supposed to be doing and just end up getting killed. Similarly, you shouldn't be sending soldiers into a situation where you should have police. Police and soldiers aren't the same thing.

        Now, there *are* options that typically aren't on the table like nuclear weapons and chemical agents, but other than that, yeah... fight to win, otherwise, you're just wasting lives.
      • Re:War is hell. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DrLang21 (900992) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @09:15AM (#23837729)
        The problem is that we should never go to war to bring people freedom. No one is going to like it. When you do need to go to war, the only strategy of war that should ever be waged is total war. The only way success in war can actually be achieved is by the complete submission of the enemy population (which also includes those not hostile). It's ugly and messy, but that's war. The idea that we're going to "bring freedom" to a region that is so hostile towards us is rediculous.
    • Re:War is hell. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Patoski (121455) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:31AM (#23837137) Homepage Journal

      "I've been through two wars and I know. I've seen cities and homes in ashes. I've seen thousands of men lying on the ground, their dead faces looking up at the skies. I tell you, war is hell!"

      You aren't fighting a war to be nice. You are fighting to win and to do so you need to do whatever it takes.
      Yes, but there is one small problem... We never declared war.

      How can you win when you don't even have a "proper" war to begin with? There is no end to this "war" (and insurgencies) because it was never begun and the objectives were never clearly identified.
    • No holds barred (Score:4, Insightful)

      by overshoot (39700) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:34AM (#23837165)

      These things mentioned are unpalatable but then again - so is war. Moral of the story - avoid it. But sometimes you will have to fight, and when you do, fight hard and fight to win.
      There are a few details in the way of your plan. Mostly treaties (such as the Geneva Convention) to which the USA is signatory, but there are still a few laws passed by Congress that also apply, depending on how creative you want to be with your redefinition of terms.

      The USA has spent a good bit of the last century telling the world that "the ends justifies the means" is not carte blanche to those with power. If there's going to be a change of policy, perhaps abrogating those treaties would be a good start.

    • by PeeAitchPee (712652)

      He truly was the first modern general. Right before he kicked everyone out of the town and burned Atlanta, he also said, "You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it . . . But, my dear sirs, when peace does come, you may call on me for any thing. Then will I share with you the last cracker, and watch with you to shield your homes and families against danger from every quarter." Sherman hated newspaper reporters too, and wanted to have them all hanged a

  • Wow, thats creepy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oh2 (520684) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:17AM (#23837011) Homepage Journal
    If this was a CIA manual noone would lift an eyebrow, but this is apparently a field manual for an Army unit. But I keep forgetting, unless you are an american citizen you lack rights in the eyes of Uncle Sam. Sad, really.
  • by Satis (769614) <slashdot@@@clankiller...com> on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:18AM (#23837027) Homepage
    Special Forces are trained to work behind enemy lines in war to destabilize the government and cause as much damage as possible to the enemy's war effort. Since when have the niceties of the US constitution applied to an enemy, in war, in the enemy's territory? Regardless, war is uncivilized. Anyone that thinks otherwise should do some research. If you try to apply peacetime's morals to a war zone you're just going to lose a lot of lives and accomplish nothing.
  • by pieterh (196118) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:19AM (#23837029) Homepage
    Sun-Tzu's book was in many ways similar, explaining how to conduct war, but the difference seems to be that 2,500 years ago in China there was no pretense of democratic government, and perhaps also the tactics described in that book were more successful.

    The cynicism of this counterinsurgency manual, and willingness to use ordinary people as material for war, is quite stunning.

    • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:28AM (#23837115) Journal

      The cynicism of this counterinsurgency manual, and willingness to use ordinary people as material for war, is quite stunning.
      Such cynicism is necessary, though, for the greater good of the country. The terrorists from the Middle East want to kill all Americans. Why? Because of something our government did decades ago, because something a corporation did, because you aren't a muslim, because you the devil! The mere fact of being a terrorist means a lack of respect for human dignity and right to life, and thus sometimes, tactics that seem wrought with constitutional issues will be used and condoned by groups who don't want you to know what tactics are being used to keep YOU safe.
  • by N8F8 (4562) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:20AM (#23837047)
    All these are valid tactics for civil war. Armchair generals.
  • by Syncerus (213609) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:23AM (#23837075)
    War is about imposing YOUR will on your enemy. If you read von Clausewitz, or Sun Tsu, you will find nothing but a ringing endorsement of the techniques described in your indignant lead in.

    Even beyond the observation that the manual describes nothing but techniques used in war since the dawn of time, I'll observe that it is the insurgents who cynically hide behind an unarmed populace. They make the fundamental decision to deliberately cause civilian casualties when they refuse to abide by the Geneva Convention and fight in uniform, away from civilian population centers.

    A uniformed military must counter the insurgents in some way; would you prefer that we burn down the house to kill the bed bugs? What do you suggest? Asking the insurgents nicely to go home? Take a long hard look at places like Somalia or the disaster in Bosnia and then tell me there are realistic options other than the judicious application of force.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Nursie (632944)
      "I'll observe that it is the insurgents who cynically hide behind an unarmed populace."

      So fucking what, does that make it all well and good to murder tens of thousands of civilians?

      "A uniformed military must counter the insurgents in some way; would you prefer that we burn down the house to kill the bed bugs? What do you suggest? Asking the insurgents nicely to go home?"

      I would suggest getting the fuck out of other people's countries and minding your own goddamn business.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:33AM (#23837157)
      Then what are your feelings about the French and Polish resistances during WWII - they had no uniforms, "hid" among the populace, etc. Now their countries had no armies or real government, but neither does Iraq or Afghanistan.

      I'm not saying that Iraqi insurgents are anything like the French Resistance, but explain to me how you would draw the line justifying what happened in WWII and what's going on now.

      As far as I can tell, it's simply whoever survives and tells their story that becomes the hero.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nickname29 (1240104)
      Asking the insurgents nicely to go home?

      In Iraq, most of the insurgents are in their home. It is the US forces that are not in their home (or their home country).

      Basically you want all the insurgents to stand in formation the sand in full uniform waiting for the USA to bomb them into oblivion?

      So, by your requirements, the French resistance during WW2 was wrong (since they did not wear uniforms and hide in the general population)?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      MMMM. Good points, King George. Have you ever heard of someone named George Washington? I think he was rather successful in fighting a war without using Sun Tsu or Clausewitz, Machiavelli, Nietsche, or any of the other instinctual morons with no sense of Grace. Washington wasn't particularly nice, attacking drunken soldiers on Christmas eve, but he did maintain his principles, which is important in a long war or occupation. The insurgents have a principle: foreigners out. What principle do we have? No lab
  • by Ihlosi (895663) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:24AM (#23837083)
    The manual is probably for situation where the world (and the press) might be watching you. If that isn't the case, you can whip out the really effective counterinsurgency measures (purges, ethnic cleansing, random killings to keep people afraid, retribution quotas, death camps, etc).
  • So? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by overshoot (39700) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:27AM (#23837103)
    It's not like it hasn't been obvious that this has been US domestic policy for several years.
  • In other words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stickerboy (61554) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:30AM (#23837131) Homepage
    War is hell, film at 11.

    Insurgencies/counterinsurgencies are a fight over the support of a population. The notion, which is implied in the summary, that wars can be fought in an environment devoid of the infrastructure of law and order with an attention to civil niceties that peacetime domestic civilian police forces can't live up to is ridiculous. The population will realize that your side is hamstringing itself while the other side has no such qualms and choose sides accordingly. That is what happened in Iraq for the first year or so of the Iraq insurgency - domestic Sunni and foreign jihadist groups terrorized the population whenever the American flag wasn't around, while the American occupation went around promising new water plants and soccer parks. No wonder the American intelligence gathering efforts were so effective back then - new soccer park vs. we will kill you and every member of your family if you cooperate.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:37AM (#23837197)
    As the above have pointed out, the manual is for SF units behind enemy lines. The emphasis however, is on "enemy". Cause last I checked, Bosnia had not actually declared war on US. Nor Cuba. Nor Vietnam. etc.

    So this is not quite "war". This is "we don't like you, so we'll send our guys to blow up your infrastructure". When we do it to "them", we're aiding democracy. When 'they' do it to 'us', it's called terrorism.

    Fellows, I'm all for cynicism in war. Most people really don't get the extremes that become routine in real war. But I repeat - this manual will never actually be used in "war". It'll be used against whoever Uncle Sam says is the "enemy"; I think we all know how well that's worked out. (cf Saddam in 1983 vs. 1991, Shah of Iran in 1953 vs 1971, etc..)
  • Obvious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:39AM (#23837217) Homepage Journal

    It directly advocates training paramilitaries,

    Chapter 23: Recruiting The Locals

    pervasive surveillance,

    Chapter 1: Know What The Enemy Is Up To

    censorship,

    Chapter 15: Maintaining Classified Data

    press control

    Chapter 15: Maintaining Classified Data

    and restrictions on labor unions & political parties.

    Chapter 8: Building A New Government (new since Iraq mission)

    It directly advocates warrantless searches,

    Chapter 2: The Element Of Surprise

    And it directly advocates the extensive use of 'psychological operations' (propaganda) to make these and other 'population & resource control' measures more palatable.

    Chapter 3: Getting The Locals On Your Side

    Honestly, WTF would you think would be in an operations manual? This is standard stuff for every army in the world. I mean, warrantless searches? My mind boggles that anyone would ever suspect otherwise.

  • Does anyone... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DnemoniX (31461) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:40AM (#23837221)
    Seriously how do people get surprised by this stuff? And no I do not mean the whole, "well the government is a bunch of criminals" mentality that has been dominating every thread like this. I mean WAR, plain and simple, is nasty business. Tactics such as those discussed in this manual have been in the playbook of armed combat since the dawn of war. Anyone who doubts that really needs to go pick up some history books. Hell that sounds just like the Roman Legions best practices guide to me. People need to get over the fact that war is dirty business period. This manual doesn't even warrant news. Before I get flamed, no I am not being cynical or being a war monger, just stating the obvious.

  • by mrraven (129238) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:44AM (#23837271)
    I liked the part environmental impact. Now remember boys and girls after violating international law and illegally foreign civilians clean up your messes. That is American morality in a nutshell focus on the trivial and utterly miss the big picture. And I say that as both an American citizen and environmentalist, but also above all a humanist.
  • by js_sebastian (946118) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:47AM (#23837299)
    From TFA:

    The manual, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces (1994, 2004), may be critically described as "what we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places". Its contents are both history defining for Latin America and, given the continued role of US Special Forces in the suppression of insurgencies, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, history making.
    This has nothing to do with "war is war". These are tactics for keeping a corrupt government in place by killing, torturing and otherwise terrorizing any opposition (this includes legitimate, non-violent opposition, labor unions, etc) and the general population. This was applied in places like el Salvador or Nicaragua, and please remember that THE US WERE NOT AT WAR WITH THESE COUNTRIES. In fact, there is no war in Iraq either, right? Mission accomplished...
  • Wow. Just wow. (Score:3, Informative)

    by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @08:48AM (#23837325) Journal
    I've scanned the comments, and after reading the respoonses from my countrymen I amd ashamed and appalled.

    There was an item on the radio in the news today that the Gitmo prisoners are suffering from TSS and show evidence of torture. When will Americans wake up and demand accountability? Like excellence, mediocrity and criminality come from the top.

    Bush, Cheney, the Secretary of "defense", and a whole lot of other people need to be tried and convicted of war crimes. The actions of my government are past shameful.

    We deserve the vitriol hurled at us by the rest of the world. For the first time in my 56 years I'm ashamed to be an American.

    Bush and all the people he has appointed should be impeached, tried, found guilty of treason and war crimes, and set in front of a firing squad and shot.

    Not even Hirohito damaged my country as much as the current administration.
  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @09:08AM (#23837631)
    If you'd all stop and take a breath from your incredulous findings for a moment. Counter-insurgency is what is needed in Iraq AND Afghanistan. The reason we haven't wrapped up both of those regions yet is because of the politicians insisting we approach these conflicts with traditional warfare pieces and making us play by the rule while the enemy has no rules.

    Let's pull out 100,000 regular troops in Iraq now and replace them with every last special ops and civil affairs troop we have, and we'll have success within months. But no, the politicians insist we play by antiquated rules because we are a "civil" society. Every time a politician says to pull troops out of Iraq and put them in Afghanistan, they instantly lose credibility with anyone who knows anything about how regular troops deploy, and how they are ineffective in the Afghan theater. Keep that in mind this election season. As much as I detest the saying, sometimes the ends really do justify the means. 10 years, trillions of dollars, a few thousand US lives, a few hundred thousand Iraqi lives and years of political instability, or a few months of counter-insurgency operations and a somewhat stable (relative term) governance in place...you decide.

  • by aquatone282 (905179) * on Wednesday June 18, 2008 @09:26AM (#23837915)
    ". . .only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." George Orwell, assholes.

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