The war mentality

One of the major problems in the world is the fact that so many have the “war mentality” — the notion that war is actually an effective tool and that the only way to utilize it is to continue until you have “victory.”

The fact is that war isn’t an effective tool; it’s a destructive device that only works for the wielder in one of two situations: as a destructive device for organized aggression, or as a destructive device to counter organized aggression.

Wars particularly do not work when trying to deal with a market or an ideology. And that’s when the notion of continuing to “victory” is especially idiotic and damaging. In those kind of wars, there is no flag to capture, no dictator to kill in his bunker… no end to the war possible. When you have a war with no end because there’s no one on the other side who can surrender or be killed thus ending the war, then continuing on to “victory” merely means the endless use of a destructive device with no possible value received.

Calderon has the war mentality. He really has it bad.

‘No alternative’ to Mexico’s drug war – says Calderon

Mexican President Felipe Calderon has said he will continue his war on the country’s drug cartels until the country is safe, despite the tens of thousands of deaths it has already cost. […]

The recent massacres in the north “reinforce our determination to fight and defeat those criminals” he told me. “These are crazy and the government must act with the full force of the state against them. I will not rest until Mexico is safe”. […]

“It is painful,” the president concedes, “but there is no alternative”.

Marching on to victory.

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25 Responses to The war mentality

  1. Ben Mann says:

    It has been apparent for decades now that attempting to solve an economic problem via paramilitary means is never, ever going to work. People want drugs, and will pay to get them no matter what the law says.

    The entire drug war seems to me like we took this one major pipeline of our economy, one which carries billions of dollars, and we severed that pipeline so that it sprays money onto the streets of the poorest areas of our country. We then made it illegal to pick up any of that money off the street, we stand by watching, and then rush in and beat the living shit out of anyone who touches it.

  2. ezrydn says:

    As I see it, all who talk about the “war mentality” have no background or training in warfare. Calderon doesn’t. I don’t think you do, Pete. Those of us who do have that background know how to use it, even within society. While we exchange bullets for words and facts, we still use the same tactical maneuvering that we were taught, LPs, OPs, Ambushes, you name it. I’ve constantly pushed our people to make the connection and utilize what they know in the Reform “war.”

    So, it’s not necessarily the “war mentality.” I use it all the time. Rather, it’s those who have no idea of war that seem to be trying to engage and therefore, having no ROE, get mirades of people killed. It was the “war mentality” that created the USA, from the beginning. I wouldn’t say that was a “wrong approach.” It worked.

    Wile with guns, drugs or anything else, it’s how it’s used that matters. My trip up recently, to me, was considered a “Long Range Recon Patrol.” I spoke with a lot of “villagers” and explained the rights they had. They understood that I was doing for them, not just me.

    When non-warriors conduct war, it’ll always turn into a mess.

  3. darkcycle says:

    You cannot wage war on an unchangeable fact of human existence. You can’t take and hold territory on a behavior. Put in any other context, Calderone would be considered insane.
    Sisyphus Calderon

  4. Buc says:

    Damn him.

    I hope he has to answer to God someday.

  5. Negation says:


    “You’ll all be dead by the time I save your lives.”

  6. darkcycle says:

    Nice one, Negation.

  7. claygooding says:

    How does it go?
    “When a mans paycheck requires him not too
    comprehend it is a cinch he will remain clueless.”

    Just substitute country for man and you see why Calderon
    wants control of the black market.

    Up until people started mentioning that he was perhaps trying to gain control of the market,instead of stopping it,hardly any large quantities of drugs were found,now they are doing public relation busts,probably some cartel warehouse that the product had set too long and would have been hard to sell.

  8. malcolmkyle says:

    Clay, most of the people who have truly investigated this would fully agree with your last paragraph.

    “There are no important detentions of Sinaloa cartel members,” — Diego Osorno, an investigative journalist and the author of a book on the Sinaloa cartel published last year. “But the government is hunting down [Sinaloa’s] adversary groups and new players in the world of drug trafficking.”

    And Edgardo Buscaglia, a leading law professor in Mexico and an international organized crime expert, has analyzed 50,000 drug-related arrest documents dating back to 2003, and states that only a tiny fraction of the them were against Sinaloa members, and low-key ones at that.

    “Law enforcement [statistics] shows you objectively that the federal government has been hitting the weakest organized crime groups in Mexico.”

    “But they have not been hitting the main organized crime group, the Sinaloa Federation, that is responsible for 45 per cent of the drug trade in this country.”

  9. If I had a rocket launcher says:

    Now there’s a guy who has never read any Sun Tzu, particularly not “The Art of War.” There aren’t any generals that has made a name for himself by leading his soldiers into a slaughter after he has determined that the enemy has either a superior force or some significant tactical advantage that he can’t mitigate, much less cure. No, I take that back. I guess that is why General George C Custer is well remembered. Hmm, maybe something happened to Napoleon like that?

    Now someone who has read Sun Tzu and taken it to heart is Kenny Rogers. The Gambler is most certainly Sun Tzu’s philosophy all prettied up.

    You got to know when to hold ’em,
    know when to fold ’em,
    Know when to walk away,
    know when to run

  10. malcolmkyle says:

    And you got to know when you can get away with attempting to wipe out the opposition while pretending to be doing it for the children.

  11. Dante says:

    America is overflowing with “The War Mentality”.

    Our football games are filled with war terms – blitz, sack, heat seeking missile, bomb, etc.

    The legal profession always talks of take-no-prisoner battles, tactics, scorched-earth policy, nuclear options, etc.

    Our kids play video war games like Halo.

    The Congress is the worst, constantly screeching “Danger” where none exists in a ploy to act “tough” so they can get re-elected. Works every time.

    War is shoved down our throats each and every day, and usually in a positive light – like “We need to have war to keep your children safe”. In the ultimate irony, those who fall for this crap lose their children to an IED in Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Vietnam. Or wherever the next war on people with brown skin is located.

    The concept of NOT fighting at all is lost. Negotiation and equal compromise are lost arts. Sun Tzu (author of The Art of War) would probably condemn us all.

  12. claygooding says:

    Not completely lost Dante,,,,we have been doing it for years.

  13. Scott says:

    No offence, Pete (I am a big fan), but words like war (not to mention drugs, conservative, liberal, libertarian, and so on) are ‘slutty’.

    Such words are abused to the point where using them can easily lead to misunderstanding.

    Such misunderstanding can lead to tremendous suffering and is arguably the greatest “enemy” that we face.

    Here is one dictionary’s definition of war:

    Definition six is “a struggle”, likely the one that best applies to our movement regardless of the side you are on.

    Of course, people who like to get a lot of other people excited choose “war” over “struggle”. After all, which one sounds more powerful and important?

    As for the possible alternatively-called ‘struggle mentality’, you all know that such mentality dominates each of our lives, so there is no point in trying to eliminate that form of mentality.

    Word selection is abused just like drugs are at times. The harm from word selection abuse can be just as devastating as the more serious case of drug abuse, or far more so.

  14. Scott says:

    Correction: as the most serious case of drug abuse…

  15. malcolmkyle says:

    This just in:

    15 people killed in Mexican car wash massacre

  16. darkcycle says:

    Scott, it was Nixon who coined the term “Drug War”, and every President and Drug Czar right on down to Kerlikowski has used it. They chose the terminology and the tactics. We respond. When people react negatively to the terminology of war applied to the drug laws in this country, we know we are reaching them. You’re one hundred percent right to abhor that terminology…the idea of the tactics and weapons of war employed to address what is a public health issue should be abhorent. But don’t blame Pete….blame that Slut Nixon and all the others on down the line.

  17. darkcycle says:

    As an aside, when Nixon later declared war on cancer, they didn’t begin arresting everybody with cancer, and they SURE didn’t send the SWAT teams in to shoot Monsanto’s or 3M or R.J. Reynold’s dogs…Ironic, no?

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  19. If I had a rocket launcher says:

    A couple of years ago just as the trees started turning the Washington Post did some ‘man in the street’ interviews to find out how people felt about the war on fall. I bullshit you not. I can’t wait for the start of the war on war. Drop bombs to make peace.
    darkcycle I swear that I read something by Harry Anslinger within proximity to the 1937 Merryjewhuana Tax Act and he wanted something from Congress so that he’d have the necessary ammunition to fight the war on drugs. But I’ve never managed to find it again and it’s not searchable, so I guess I might have dreamed it. Christ, the absurdity has to be so extreme that it’s mind boggling that I can even think it possible that I dreamed about a bureaucrat from 70 years ago giving testimony to Congress. Cognitive dissonance indeed.

  20. If I had a rocket launcher says:

    October 27, 2010 at 4:35 pm
    “This just in:

    15 people killed in Mexican car wash massacre
    Next headline: Dog Bites Man

    “A man was bitten by a dog when he tried to take a shortcut through the dog’s yard. He was taken to the hospital and treated for mild abrasions and is expected to make a full recovery. He was committed to the county jail in lieu of $500 bail. The dog declined medical services at the scene.

  21. Just me. says:

    These crazy bastards(here and there) will just continue on till they have destroyed us all. Insane…

  22. darkcycle says:

    Just got back from MY monthly “social club” meeting (Yeah, Ezzy it’s a former SF group that I still meet with. As much as I’d like to chide you about still having your head in the service, I have to admit I don’t completely avoid those, either) Everybody there is scared shitless about the whole situation here, from 19 and the Fed’s threat to go after individual users to the whole ‘citizens united’ rat-bag. The Koch brothers and the phony ‘tea party’ was also at the top of the latest “Whats going to finally tear the rotting fabric of our society to shreds” list.
    Ya know I’s gets a little nervous when the guys who know when to be scared are gunning up and digging in.

  23. Just me. says:

    Correct me if Im wrong, you vets that have been there know:

    The people dont start wars, governements start wars, the people are forced to fight them.

    So if this statement is true, and with all the other BS that comes down from government that makes life miserable, Why do we need or have governments at ALL?
    Hasnt humanity learned by now? Where theres money and power there are criminals and misery upon the people.

    Not to get religious but, the ten commandments seem simple enough.
    Why do we need government to hand down thousands of laws we will never be able to follow.Most of which are made to enslave…control.

    Maybe Im nuts…maybe not. Maybe its time to end the reign of governments world wide. End the reign of criminals making humanity miserable.

    Can we agree that thats what government is…criminal?

    How bout a short set of laws we can all live by and be truely free.

  24. darkcycle says:

    Just Me: The fact is that Rousseau laid it out in a basic form hundreds of years ago. When people gather together in societies they need to have certain rules and assurances for the society to function. Stuff like I will not hit you over the head and take your food and you don’t do the same to me. Also social institutions establish norms and provide services that people deem important. We pay for some form of public education, because the costs of large numbers of uneducated, unemployable young people are higher, and such people make poor members for society. This all falls under what he called “the social contract”. Governments are the result. They establish the norms and operate and maintain the intitutions and infrastructure that allow us to band together in societeis with some level of safety.
    Look to Somalia, to find out what a society without a social contract and central government looks like.

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