2009/02/22

The motivation bottleneck

.
India had the famous Mumbai terror attack a while ago, and one thing annoyed me a big time; journalists and pundits mentioning the 'complex logistics' of such an attack. Many seemed to believe that only a well-organized terror group could stage such an attack.
Such simple things as multiple attacks at once on different targets were hyped up to something really, really challenging.
I'd like to say to them: Come back to earth. Video gamers at the age of ten plan several synchronized attacks on multiple targets with different objectives in a matter of minutes.

I could plan a so-called 'complex' attack in less than an hour, prepare it in a week and train a group for it in another week. Acquiring the armament as city guerrillas would almost be the most difficult and most risky part of such preparations.
The most difficult part would be to recruit and motivate personnel - that's the one thing that cannot be done in a matter of weeks.

It's not that terribly difficult to plan, supply and finance such an attack.
The bottleneck doesn't seem to be planning or resources to me, but motivation.
That's probably difficult to believe for those who view terror groups as full of fanatics who are ready to do anything at a moment's notice. That ain't so. They need months of MENTAL preparation. Suicide bombers aren't being sent on the mission the day after they were recruited - that's a matter of months or even years of preparation. This preparation isn't so much about training, equipment and planning, though - it's about the mental dimension.

Warfare is about will - and will was the decisive scarcity in many historical conflicts. That's why leadership is more important than technology; leadership is about the mental dimension of warfare. Leadership is motivating troops for combat and makes them resilient to the mental pressure of combat.

I bet the intensity of resistance in Iraq wasn't critically limited by a lack of militiamen, weapons, ammunition or opportunities - it was limited by motivation.

We need to pay more attention to the enemy's motivation and must not see him as fanatic radical madman. We can reduce the intensity of warfare by discouraging him and increase it by provoking/encouraging him.

I've discussed such and other attempts to predict or influence enemy behavior (options!) and attempts to influence his willpower and decisions more directly than through violence. Some of the replies were disingenuous; some were discouraged by anecdotes of failure.
So what? Not every artillery shell hits the mark, that doesn't stop the artillery from firing.

Sven Ortmann

1 comment: