4GW in Orlando

Glenn Reynolds contemplates the Orlando shootings and gives a shout out to William S. Lind in USA Today:

In the wake of the Orlando shootings, people are trotting out the usual
post-massacre talking points about gun control, terrorism, etc. But the
solutions aren’t so easy. Gun control is much stricter in Europe, but that hasn’t stopped mass shootings like the ones at Charlie Hebdo’s offices or at the Bataclan concert hall. (It’s also very strict in California, but that didn’t stop the shootings at San Bernardino.) Talking about gun control is mostly a way of avoiding a tough problem.

Donald Trump, meanwhile, was quick to tweet out that this vindicates his positions: “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!” But Trump’s proposal of a temporary moratorium on immigration of Muslims to America wouldn’t have prevented shooter Omar Mateen’s actions. Mateen wasn’t a recent immigrant but a  U.S. citizen born of Afghan parents, and he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group, according to a Department of Homeland Security report cited by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

The thing is, proposals such as gun control are basically peacetime remedies, which don’t apply in time of war. But traditional wartime remedies might not work, either, because this is not a traditional war.

Instead, what we are facing is what William S. Lind calls “fourth-generation warfare.” Or maybe it’s even fifth-generation warfare: We’re not fighting armies. We’re not fighting guerrillas. We’re not even fighting traditional terrorists. Instead, we’re fighting an opponent who turns apparently law-abiding citizens (Mateen was licensed as a security guard and thus had passed background checks) into killers without anyone noticing. They’re not actually “lone wolf” terrorists; they’re more like human drones, attacking distant targets on command without warning.

While I disagree with Reynolds on the root of the problem – the problem is Islam’s physical presence in the West, not merely addressing “the jihadist strain of Islam” – it’s good to see him bringing a more sophisticated modern take on warfare into the public discourse. There is simply no way a conventional military approach, much less a conventional police approach, is going to suffice to address the challenge being posed by the third great wave of Islamic expansion.

It will take time for people to realize that this is an existential crisis for the West, as existential crises are, by their nature, much larger in scope than the average person can readily comprehend.

But, as those who have read the 4GW Handbook know, the answer to 4GW is either a) eliminating the fish by draining the sea, or b) more effective 4GW utilizing a better light infantry. It will be several years before either option will be on the table, but the sooner they enter into the conversation, the better.