The Iraq insurgency

Global Guerillas covers “networked tribes, infrastructure disruption, and the emerging bazaar of violence. An open notebook on the first epochal war of the 21st.” This is some of the best writing anywhere on the changing structure of conflict and war, written at a high intellectual level, but also by a seasoned counter-terrorism expert who has been there.

Emergent intelligence in open source warfare

Open source warfare, like what we see in Iraq and increasingly in other locations, relies on networks of peers rather than the hierarchies of command and control we see in conventional militaries. This structure provides an open source movement with levels of innovation and resilience that rigid hierarchies can’t match. Unfortunately, these attributes are likely not constrained to merely local tactical activity. Open source movements can exhibit emergent intelligence that guides the movement’s collective actions towards strategic goals.

Here’s a real life example of how rigid US military hierarchies can’t respond nimbly. A new robotic device designed to destroy roadside bombs in Iraq works in tests 90% of the time yet hasn’t been deployed due to “red tape.”

Also, as it patrols the road ahead of the convoy, sending out electrical charges to ignite detonaters on bombs, would this not have to slow the convoy down, making them better targets for snipers, etc. Also, when the robot is patrolling ahead of a convoy or out on its own blowing stuff up, does anyone check to see if innocent civilians are in the area first? If not, then it’ll just drive more into the welcoming arms of the insurgents.

The whole idea is a ungainly, expensive, probably unworkable high-tech ‘solution’ to a problem that is really no solution at all and will probably makeԚ  things worse instead, something rigid hierarchies are known doing.

Analysis of the Iraqi insurgency indicates that emergent intelligence is evident. What this means to the outcome of the war is as follows:

-The insurgency will continue to improve over time.
-Breakout is possible.
-It is impossible to discern the motives of this movement until it fully matures.

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And since it’s clear the US is losing the war, let’s bring the troops home now.