A while back, I invited Marine Corps veteran Scott Spaulding on the show to discuss the psychology of war.
Since that first episode, Scott has returned to the show twice to discuss the first two of his four deployments.
There are a great many things that Scott told me about his deployments that have stuck with me. One of the most interesting things he told me, however, had nothing directly to do with his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
After his deployments, Scott had a chance to teach other Marines about conducting counterinsurgency operations. By this time in his career, Scott had become skeptical of the mission. His experience actually conducting counterinsurgency in the field had much to do with this feeling.
What Scott thought to do was to create a training scenario for his young marines that would change how/what they thought about the mission. (To be clear, he never used this scenario in class, but has since wondered how his Marines would have reacted to it).
In this scenario, the Marines would be tasked with destroying a weapons cache. Intel said that the weapons cache was located in a village at the end of a valley. In order to reach the cache, the Marines would have to follow the road at the bottom of the valley, passing through several villages in the process.
As they passed through the valley, the Marines discover that an insurgent operative was screening their advance, tipping off the villagers that the Marines were coming to capture the weapons cache. The Marines would have to manage the increasingly angry populace as it began to hinder the Marines’ progress.
Ultimately, the Marines would arrive at the weapons cache to find a militia had gathered to confront them. A skrimish would ensue. The Marines would then retreat back through the valley, suffering heavy casualties as the insurgents picked them off from the countryside.
Does this scenario sound familiar? It should. It happened in Massachusetts in 1775.
For some reason, I thought of Scott’s thought experiment immediately when I discovered a piece of news today. Here’s the best I could come up with.
In response to a local disaster, the nation’s leader calls in a foreign military to assist with recovery efforts. A sizeable portion of people in the host nation believe that the foreign nation has an undue influence over the host nation’s government. There are laws in the host nation that make it illegal to criticize the foreign nation. A sizeable portion of people in the host nation believe that the host nation has launched wars at the behest of the foreign nation. The citizens of the host nation were not given an opportunity to express their consent or dissent to the domestic deployment of the foreign military.
Well, this doesn’t happen to the US right? This is what the US does to other countries, isn’t it? This is what UN “peacekeepers” did to Haiti and a laundry list of other countries, right?
Well what if the “nation” was Florida? What if the foreign military was the Israeli Defense Force? What if that disaster was the Surfside Condo collapse?
What if that Governor was…Ron DeSantis?
Yeah. Well. That happened. What do we think about it?