Or, "Professionals Are Predictable, But The World Is Full Of Amateurs"

 

 

It seems that "everyone" has an axe to grind, these days. After over 6000 years of recorded history, it seems that we humans just keep getting more adept at this whole "war thing".

And - just to be clear - no, this article is not a "how to" do anything. You're on your own, there.

There are as many reasons to "go to war", as there are human groups in existence; anytime two or more people decide that they agree on an issue enough that they are willing to do violence - if not agree to lay down their very lives - in that goal's furtherance, "war" at some level becomes a distinct possibility. And by this, we're talking about "war" in the sense most people are thinking - replete with dead people, lots of violence, destroyed cities, etc., as opposed to a more figurative example.

However, most people simply don't "get" war. From an external view, they do not grasp the intricate web of minutiae that goes into "war"; it's not simply swinging a sword, or pulling the trigger of a firearm, or pushing the button on a missile. Neither is it simply knowing when to do so but, in toto, it is know how and when to do these things, as well as understanding the systems that enable these actions.

While the individual "spear carrier" does not need to understand the intricacies of the industrial base that created his sword or rifle, his leaders do. The real challenge for any prospective leader or groups of leaders, though, has always been how to teach some kid - who may even agree with their goals, as far as they can understand them - how to swing that sword, or shoot that rifle.

Military training and military science have evolved over time. Even in the days when muscle power was the definitive factor in combat - swinging a sword is a very physically demanding job, when done for any length of time - it was an understood fact that the person who worked from a regularized system of actions ("drills", in modern parlance) in combat had a much better chance of winning the fight than someone who simply ran up and tried to smash their opponent in the face with a bat.

However, that kind of training has always been hard to come by; either there simply were not enough people with the knowledge to teach it, or the teaching took too long -- it was said of the dreaded English and Welsh longbowmen, that "if you wanted to train the archer, start by training the archer's grandfather." This is why projectile weapons were continuously evolving, and faster than swords and polearms.

The reason for this, militarily speaking, is quite simple: maneuver is a very powerful tool, and if you can hurt your opponent at long range and still stay on the move, that is definitely what you want to do...However, this brought on other problems: horses are faster than humans, but they require a large and intricate infrastructure to obtain, train and support, complete with specialized fields of labor, such as the farrier; specialized saddle-makers; special armor and weapons to maximize fighting from horseback, and on and on...

This translates across virtually every conceivable field - the never ending quest to "tweak" the equipment you have, and to find The Next Big Thing.

These all contribute to the training problem - "training, techniques (or 'tactics') and practices (or, 'procedures')" (TTP) - since the TTP's for any given concept or field are in a constant state of flux.

What this translated to, as recently as the 1980's, was getting some people together, sort of teaching them how to march, handing each of them a rifle and a few rounds of ammunition to practice with, then sending them out to do battle for the "glory" of whatever...usually with predictably catastrophic results. And make no mistake - this phenomenon was in no way limited to guerrilla bands of former farmers and shopkeepers who had never held a weapon in their hands with lethal intent. There were plenty of armies around the world who did exactly this -- and in some places, still do, as of this writing.

But today, things have changed. With the advent of the internet and digital files, it is now possible to create the core of a training program - at almost every level - simply by searching out files and videos. Nothing, obviously, can replace actually running around an assault course with a weapon, but it is entirely possible to locate acceptable-quality videos and training manuals online to show a person exactly how to run the course - it is then up to the searcher to then put into practice what the videos and manuals teach them.

People love to share; that's a feature of human interaction. Whether it's cooking recipes, flower arrangements, tips on fixing your car or what have you, chances are, someone out there has not only written something about it, but probably has a video to teach you how to do it for yourself. What's more, their advice is likely free...whether they intended it that way, or not.

Military training is no different. Finding information in the form of .PDF manuals - everything from the basics of plumbing, to field food service, to how to build a fortified bunker, to just exactly how to go about taking that hill - whether created in a government printing office, or written by a private person (whether they are a professional soldier or a gifted amateur), is ridiculously easy, in most parts of the world.

Military training video courses - some of them quite extensive, as in the video at the top of this article - are equally accessible for most people with the acumen to navigate websites LiveLeak, YouTube or Vimeo. For the raw, untrained amateur, the sheer wealth, depth and breadth of information available is staggering. For the experienced trainer, however, there is a vast archive of tools available for study and use, that anyone who knows what they're looking for can access for their training program between their morning Lifer Juice and lunch.

For the aspiring totalitarian, this is a terrible, terrible thing, because it undermines the State's monopoly on the application of force as a tool of control -- if every Tom, Dick and Harry in your country knows how a military force operates (even if only in the crudest, most basic manner), your loyalist military will be facing a staggering number of enemies, far more than they either have ammunition to deal with, and possibly so many that they will begin to desert, rather than try to plant your boot for you.

Of course, if you are a Libertarian with the proper outlook on the world in general, and human civilization in particular - this is probably the closest to heaven that you are going to get to, since The People now have the means to stand up to those professional armies that you are so worried about.

So -- the next time a politician starts talking about limiting the availability of, or the access to, information - of whatever stripe - remember that information is the real root of all power, and if a politician doesn't want you to have it, you should probably be seriously worried about why they don't want you to have it.

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