Law-ScaleAndHammerWe received a heads up from a friend who is a retired senior special operations officer. We think it deserves his full introduction and have edited it in the interests of his privacy. We’ll call him “Roger” because his real name is something else.

Invite your attention to following article by Dr. Kathleen Hicks, currently of CSIS [one of the “Government in Exile” crowd who move to think tanks when their party is out of power) and formerly of the Department of Defense:

Keeping America’s Principles In the Age of Terrorism – Defense One

 I have met Kat Hicks.  I see her as typical of the plethora of academically overeducated, operationally underexperienced females who get senior positions in administrations by virtue of who they know, who they’re married to, how much they contribute, etc.  There are several others of her ilk. 

To be fair, there are a small number of senior females who both have academic degrees and practical experience at the pointy end of America’s spear.  They can be shit hot.  Dr. Janene Davidson, USAFA grad, C-130 combat pilot, wife of Australian COIN guru David Kilcullen, and onetime boss of OSD Policy/Plans is one of those.  She is also part of the Government in Exile crowd. 

Back to Kat Hicks: In article at link above, her most critical point, IMHO, is the following:

It is hard to craft a winning political strategy that counsels Americans to simply be resilient in the face of challenges. Yet leaders have done it in the past: a resolute Winston Churchill guiding his country through the Battle of Britain and FDR admonishing Americans that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

My rejoinder to Dr. Hicks would be this:

  1. In addition to whatever else he did or said, Winston Churchill, gave the British Special Operations Executive, Britain’s rough counterpart of the Office of Strategic Service’s (forerunner of Army Special Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency) an unambiguous mission order:  “Set Europe Ablaze.”
  2. With less flair, FDR granted MG William J. Donovan, Director of the Office of Strategic Services, comparable operational latitudes.
  3. Some 20 years later, in the Aden Protectorate, the British were having a terrorism problem.  Discreetly prominent among their response approaches were “Keenie Meenie” (Swahili for “snake in the grass”) operations,  Keenie Meenie operations were a low tech version of the targeted killing operation that we execute using drones.  As implemented by the British, Keenie Meenie involved dressing Special Air Service (SAS) operators in native Arab dress, arming them with sidearms and photographs of their assigned terrorist targets and having them walk the streets of Aden in areas where their targets were likely to be found.  When they located and ID’ed targets, they simply shot them dead at close range on the street and kept walking.  Simple and effective.  Almost certainly, IG/L (intelligence gain/loss) considerations had been coordinated and adjudicated ahead of time.  The SAS officer in charge of Keenie Meenie for much of its lifespan was named Peter de la Bierre.  Fast forward to 1991/92.  Peter de la Bierre had risen to Lieutenant General in the British Army and was the senior British Army officer in Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM.  A SEAL phrase seems appropriate here:  “it pays to be a winner.”

We think the officer that “Roger” (not his real name) is thinking of is Peter de la Billiere, but that probably just means one or the other of us has got the name wrong.

We would concur with “Roger” that there are some policy-educated, operationally-experienced women in the community who are, in his words, “shit hot.” None of the names that comes to mind is as much a public figure as Ms Hicks or Ms Davidson, and in fact, all the ones we know are either still operational, stuck in HQ (and hating it), or retired (and hating it).

The problem with Hicks’s article, which is a bit gauzy and imprecise, can be summed up by comparing the quote that “Rog” pulled above, with this one from earlier in the same paragraph of her article:

The American experience through each of these prior periods has demonstrated that abandoning the letter and spirit of constitutional principles doesn’t pay.

Of course, one of the things the US did, that Hicks appears to be in denial about, is remove the “sea” of ethnic Japanese in which the Japanese espionage machine swam (and hid itself) from the spies’ American targets. To do this, many innocent Japanese immigrants and Japanese-Americans wound up being essentially incarcerated without particularized cause, and with only the merest nod in the direction of due process. American public opinion now says American public opinion then was wrong, but, in wartime, was it?

And that’s the problem with undeclared wars. This kind of risk-balancing, trimming, and second-guessing becomes the daily routine. Declared wars, conversely, provide more clarity, and historically, more and more significant royalties?

This entry was posted in Unconventional Warfare on by Hognose.

About Hognose

Former Special Forces 11B2S, later 18B, weapons man. (Also served in intelligence and operations jobs in SF).

16 thoughts on “Principles vs. Counterterrorism

Bill T

We (The USA) absolutely MUST get control of our borders and immigration. At present we don’t have borders except in a geographical sense. If we immigrate several hundred thousand “Syrians” 10 to 15% of whom are jihadists is the same as National Suicide. January of 2017 can’t get here soon enough. If we lose the election to the Dems either legitimately or otherwise we better have our “Bugout Bags” and other preps in order. It will be difficult enough if the Repubs win legitimately or otherwise. (Better have “BOBs” and preps in order here too)

God help us in any case, I hope and pray that the AMERICAN SPIRIT is still alive and well in enough patriots that we can dig ourselves out of the pit we are in. REPUBLICRATS! Asshats!

John Distai

The country is not birthing enough replacements from its traditional citizens. People are choosing to have pets instead of children. The politicians are hoping that the immigrants birth more replacements than they blow up.

Plus, the US doesn’t have enough carpet stores.

Tom Stone

You forgot to mention that the property ( Much of it very valuable farm land) of American Citizens of Japanese descent was seized without due process and ended up in the hands of the politically connected. I was fortunate enough to have one of the veterans of the 442nd RCT as a High School teacher, his Father and Sister died in Manzanar due to a lack of medical care while he was in Italy.

Sometimes all possible decisions are bad…

Hognose Post author

There’s no way you could catalog all the wrong any government does, in its well-meaning blindness. (And even the nightmare governments thought they were well-meaning. The Soviets were saving the world from capitalist exploitation. The Nazis from Jewish-capitalist domination. Pol Pot from, don’t know what, education?)

Government is force; it is a coin with stability on one side and brutality on the other.

John M G

See the Ni’ihau incident for a little more background on the decision to intern West Coast Japanese. I certainly never heard of it in a history class.


Consensus is going to have to work in any mode of advancement. I’m not talking about 1 vote – we do it this way….like in a DOD directive to allow trans conversion on the tax dime. An extreme example one way, but my point is that you can’t take the area under a very thin slice of the gaussian curve and expect to defend yourself against the rest of it! You need the middle half! Then we have consensus and a direction, I hear a lot of preachin’, but this is the 21st century let’s acknowledge where man is today with today’s technologies and knowledge and certainly how it got here and come to a larger consensus – an age of to say.

Haxo Angmark

the entire Beltway Crowd – politicians, lawyer-lobbyists, apparatchiks, commentariat, and think tankers – must be exterminated root and branch. Let God sort out the few good ones. If any. Fortunately, once Mrs. Clinton becomes ‘Murka’s last Prez, the opportunity to do so will arrive. And sooner than many of us think

Dyspeptic Gunsmith

What a load of unctuous twaddle from what sounds to be a fairly useless female.

Compared to today’s ROE’s, we fought unrestrained, unrestricted war in WWII, both at home and on the fronts. We did things that modern PhD’s and JD’s would howl at if we even suggested them today.

Besides the forced internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry, we also dealt with the German sab’s who showed up on Long Island in a most efficient manner, putting most of them to death with a speed that would make current lawyers howl all the way to the SCOTUS. We deliberately and repeatedly bombed civilian population centers in both Europe and Japan, causing 10’s of thousands of deaths to over 100K deaths in one raid. We bombed historic religious sites (Monte Cassino, which was established by St. Benedict himself, and is regarded as the first monastery) not just once to turn it into rubble, but twice so as to make the rubble bounce.

Today, such over-educated, over-employed PhD’s would be on every cable news channel there is, explaining in their polished east coast accents, why the DOD was a bunch of cro-magnon barbarians for daring to think about destroying such sites.

John M.


mr. sharkman

What isn’t mentioned in the reply re: Keenie Meenie ops will make you love the Brit shooters even more.

At one point, the targets started laying a little low. Results were causing them to draw the appropriate conclusions.

So the SAS began pulling some subtle strings to convince the more naive of the FNGs working for the foreign office to ‘go be among the people!’ in some of the…ahem…parts of town were said cautious targets were most likely to be laying low.

Even the most cautious of targets found it hard to lay *completely* low in the face of these temptations. I mean, that dumb foreign service Brit was only 1 block away, wandering around like an idiot.

The story as related to me ended with a senior foreign service type not quite having the nerve to accuse some of the senior SAS types of out-and-out using his FNGs as ‘bait’, but then rumor had it that the subtle strings being pulled may very well have been entangled with the senior foreign service dude in the region and just maybe he was making decisions relating to poor intellectual capacity, acceptable risks, and acceptable losses. 😉

7 of 13 into a playing card, rapid firing with a Browning HP after a concealed/combat draw supposedly came from the shooting requirements for the shooters involved in Keenie Meenie ops as well.

Cap’n Mike

I remember reading about the SAS and the playing card thing years ago.

Do you remember the exact distance and time they were supposed to do it in?

It sounds impressive.

John Smith

Picturing the WWII era Brit pro timer: Rolex wristwatch…


Constitutional protections extend to the enemy? Sounds like she has never been punched in the face.

I wonder how many of our “elites” have never been punched in the face? A nice bloody bruise is a wonderfully enlightening experience. Causes one to reflect on all sorts of things, without permanent harm.

Western civilization was built on the bodies of barbarians.

That is what is necessary to build and hold a civilization.

That is the necessary response to crime that approaches warfare.

Refusal to do it is national and civilization suicide.

If we do not, the barbarians will be burning the Botticelli’s and shitting on the floors of the Uffizzi.

Also the Met’s arms and armor collection, the NRA museum, and the Cody museum, in case you don’t like the Venus. Go see her anyway- no photo can do justice-and you night not get a chance later.

Hognose Post author

I wonder how many of our “elites” have never been punched in the face? A nice bloody bruise is a wonderfully enlightening experience. Causes one to reflect on all sorts of things, without permanent harm.

You see a wry comment on the enervated elites in society, I see a business opportunity. Punch Up Your Character™ with Bruises Incorporated!

John Smith

A politico “fight club”…what I would pay to watch a few of the murderously narcissistic effete bloodied in the name of progress.

John Smith

There will always be too many lawyers in the process. The dithering agents of failure infect every facet of war making. Brutality can’t be removed from necessary killing any more than tediousness can be removed from government…