Image 01 Image 03

Second Variety: terrorists who put children in harm’s way

Second Variety: terrorists who put children in harm’s way

It’s a tactic that works

How do you fight an enemy that is willing—nay, eager—to force you to kill its children even if you don’t want to?

That’s the situation Israel faces against Hamas. It’s the situation we face against Islamist terrorists, too, because they use such techniques as one of their primary tools, and the liberal west and the MSM all too often play into their hands by demonizing Israel and the US rather than the perpetrators.

This is not new. It began when the west decided that all-out war was something it could no longer in good conscience wage. Civilian casualties in the first half of the 20th Century had reached such huge numbers that we turned in revulsion against them, and the increasing accuracy of weaponry enabled us to entertain the idea—for a short while, anyway—that wars could be fought with “surgical precision.”

That would be true, if the enemy cooperated. But it doesn’t.

The Islamist terrorists didn’t invent the technique. In order for it to come to full fruition, the enemy needed a west with a guilty conscience about itself and a desire to excuse that enemy’s barbarism, and an MSM fully on board with the program. This was already beginning to be the case during the War in Vietnam:

The Viet Cong were amplifying and extending tactics practiced in the First Indochina War, most importantly the militarization of civilians and an “opportunistic readiness to exploit any social ‘contradiction’ in order to bring about the violent defeat of the enemy” (Johnson 1968, p. 447). The Viet Cong would attack quickly and then withdraw without trying to win the battle. They would ambush American soldiers; they would blend in with civilians; they would target civilians. Schools were bombed, health centers were bombed. “A teenager was used to throw a grenade into a holiday crowd in downtown Saigon” (Pike 1970 p. 96). Any method that could pull the enemy off balance would be used. The disappearance of front lines and a clearly identifiable enemy was disorienting. It induced fear and paranoia: “Frustrated and frightened, U.S. soldiers tended to view all Vietnamese with distrust” (Lawrence 2008, p. 107)…

The Viet Cong used children as spies (Peer 1970), suicide bombers, and sappers. Recruiters preferred the young for sapper cells “because they are more easily influenced in their thinking, are willing to run risks, physically are better able to carry out their assignments, are less likely to question the arrangements for an operation, and are less apt to become double agents” (Pike 1970, pp. 74-75). ). Some youths were volunteers while many others were forcibly recruited (Goure 1965). The lowest age for recruitment into formal Viet Cong forces was 17, and boys 15-16 years old were eligible for “youth duties” in local hamlet militia (Donnell 1967, p.8-11). However, even younger children were utilized for special operations. Fourteen year olds were known to have worked for demolition units laying land mines (Elliot and Elliot 1969), and to have thrown bombs into police headquarters. A twelve year old was coerced into throwing a grenade into a village. A Viet Cong fighter was known to have given a small school girl an unpinned hand grenade and then told her to take it to her teacher: “At the classroom door the child drops the grenade, killing herself and injuring nine children” (Pike 1970, p. 107). The tactic appeared to work on the notion that the younger the child, the greater the psychological force. The Viet Cong had produced a tactical innovation with their use of children in war.

It is altogether fitting that John Kerry, who made his reputation accusing his fellow soldiers of widespread atrocities in Vietnam, should be orchestrating our diplomacy today in Israel and Gaza for the Obama administration. In addition to his unwarranted sarcasm about the care Israel has taken to minimize casualties, we have his (and Obama’s) working against the interests of Israel and for the interests of Hamas:

As Israel has uncovered the scope of Hamas’s infrastructure of murder and terror, the US has acted with the UN, Turkey and Qatar to pressure Israel (and Egypt) to agree to a cease-fire and so end IDF operations against Hamas before the mission is completed.

To advance this goal, US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Cairo on Monday night with an aggressive plan to force on Israel a cease-fire Hamas and its state sponsors will accept.

As former ambassador to the US Michael Oren told the media, it is clear that neither Israel nor Egypt invited Kerry to come over. Their avoidance of Kerry signals clearly that the US’s two most important allies in the Middle East do not trust US President Barack Obama’s intentions…

Due to Turkey’s membership in NATO and the glamour of the Qatari royal family, many Westerners find it hard to believe that they are major sponsors of terrorism. But it is true. Turkey and Qatar are playing a double game.

Turkey…sponsors Hamas, ISIL, al Nusra and other terrorists groups.

…Qatar is the major bankroller of ISIS and al Nusra in Syria and Iraq. It gives $50 million a month to jihadists in Libya. It gives Hamas $100m. in annual aid…Qatar is the largest financier of international jihad in the world.

Manipulating the situation so that Israel or the US has virtually no choice but to kill civilians, including women and children, is popular in the Arab world because it works. It’s been working for years. In a 2007 piece about the phenomenon I wrote:

When I was about nine years old, I read the Philip K. Dick story “Second Variety.” The work, in case you’re not familiar with it, was later the basis for such disparate cinema entertainments as “Screamers” and “Terminator.”

The story featured an end-of-the-world war with a series of killer robots made to look exactly like people, and designed to prey on the humanity of the good guys. The first robot type (“first variety”) looked like a wounded soldier needing help. The second variety was unknown, and only revealed towards the end of the story (I won’t be a spoiler here). But the third—the one that gave me a special chill—was a small vulnerable child needing help, a boy clutching a teddy bear.

At least in the Dick story, these small children were not real, they were only killer robots cleverly designed to look real. But the principle of using an enemy’s humanity against itself was the same. The challenge we face is now how to fight such an enemy effectively without losing our own humanity, and so far—arguments about waterboarding and the like notwithstanding—I have no doubt we have erred, if anything, on the side of caution.

Since I wrote those words, the Obama administration has been trying to retreat from the arena. But the issue will come back to face us again; there is really no retreat possible. Israel does not have the luxury of even temporary retreat, because it lives in that arena and must defend itself.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

, ,


Any culture of death will employ the same tactic against a more civilized culture.

One reason the use of the atomic bombs was in fact the going away most humane choice was that the Shinto-dominated Japanese culture would have used literally every woman and child as “suicide warriors” against invading Allied forces.

The parallels between the Shinto cult and the Islamists is very strong, as is the comparison between the Collectivist death cults of the Soviets, Nazis, and Chinese, among others.

    Rags, the Shinto is not a good example in the way that you explain that situation.

    In Shinto the emperor was a god, and that means that the Shinto were prepared to defend their god by taking those actions. The motivation of the people is very different to that of Hamas and the Islamic cultists. On top of that the actions of the emperor at the end of the second world war is very telling, and it has led to the Japanese being seen in another light. I will add here that as far as Christians in Japan are concerned, like in a lot of other countries they had to hide their existence because they were persecuted and yes they were put to death by the Shinto, and for the same reasons that Christians were put to death by the Romans – they refused to worship the emperor as a god.

    What Hamas is doing is very different. First they inculcated the people with a level of hatred that is beyond belief. Second, they will not allow the civilians to leave. I just saw a video clip that showed Hamas actually beating people who wanted to leave. Hamas are brutal to their own people. Their hatred of Israel is such that they have lost all of their senses.

      Ragspierre in reply to Aussie. | July 25, 2014 at 7:18 pm

      “…the actions of the emperor at the end of the second world war is very telling…”

      And arguably ONLY came about as a result of being faced with atomic weapons that would make what the Japanese high command was planning a nullity.

      Don’t get lost in the weeds as far as my analogy goes.

“How do you fight an enemy that is willing—nay, eager—to force you to kill its children even if you don’t want to?”

You make it ethically untenable for anybody to help them.

The IDF has been documenting the Geneva Convention violations by the Islamists, as have the Iraqis, the Egyuptians, and the Syrians.

Proof-of-concept was established during the Cartoon Wars. The story broke as enraged Muslims demonstrated against the publication of cartoons about Mohammed in Denmark. A blogger at Iraq the Model stated that he knew the demonstrators had not seen any such cartoons, because he had not. A blogger, Freedom For Egyptians, mentioned that she had seen the cartoons, before. She and the Sandmonkey went looking, and the Sandmonkey located and published screen shots of a Cairo paper, proving that the cartoons had been published months before, without causing any riots.

People started digging into the timeline, and into the actions of a group of clerics who had taken their grievance show on the road. Meanwhile, demonstrations in Afghanistan were cut short by the local clerics because shots were fired at a demonstration, and the clerics concluded that the demonstrations had been hijacked by people of ill will.

Finally, the Washington Post published a story detailing how the Danish muslims had been no more upset than the Egyptian muslims by the cartoons, and so the aggrieved clerics (who were not Danish, but were at least temporary immigrants) added more outrageous cartoons, along with tales of abuse of Danish muslims to their show.

The lesson here is that it is possible to beat the Hamas advertising campaign.*

*The Hamas Covenant contains a contract to engage in an advertising campaign to convince muslims that they have an individual, religious duty to kill every Jew on the face of the earth, and re-conquer every square inch of land ever held by a ‘muslim” regime.

Interestingly enough this tactic does *not* work for Putin. Pro-Russian guerrillas in Eastern Ukraine are based out of population centers, and there are many documented cases of them using civilians as human shields. At the same time, Ukrainian forces continue operating in civilian areas without much regard for loss of life and property, and, if you listen to what Ukrainian nationalists are saying, they are out to teach Donbas a lesson.
Putin tried to push #SaveDonbassChildren and #SaveDonbasPeople campaigns, yet he could hardly get any attention. When I hear something about “zionazis” I invite whoever brought up the topic to sort out Russo-Ukrainian relationships.

These tactics, while effective against the naive, are also war crimes, and the civilian casualties are the victims of the war criminals. We must repeat this with every report of casualties.

We must also ruthlessly target our enemies, regardless of their victims they hide behind. When it doesn’t work any more, they will abandon the tactic.

We must not allow our civilized rules and values to be weaponized and used by the barbarians to defeat us.

filiusdextris | July 25, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Can someone do a fact post as to whether Israel’s prosecution of the war meets the requirements Catholic Just War Doctrine/Theory? The Church teaches that this is natural (universal) law, and not part of a private revelation to the Church. I was debating with my friend, and claimed that Israel seems to have met the requirements better than any other nation ever in world history, and that it need not accept dubious cease fire demands from the enemy or elsewhere (until they surrender); my friend stated that the cease fire called for by the US bishops was more critical. Here’s the wiki link:

Great sci-fi reference.

JackRussellTerrierist | July 26, 2014 at 4:50 am

The media are just going to have to get used to the truth. A few are starting to wake up, others in other lines of work are also speaking out a bit.

This is just another media narrative to keep the pot boiling. That’s what they do in order to protect the leftist dogma they subscribe to.

Being a combat veteran of the Viet Nam war I am full aware of the tactics employed by terrorist organizations such as Hamas. Nothing will stop their use of civilians to further their cause and to succeed Israel must disregard this practice. The blame should be placed on Hamas in all media conversation, or they will win in the eyes of the public. Civilians die in war and this concept of a humane war is pathetic. People kill in war, and separating the innocent from the aggressor is nearly impossible.