Illegitimi non carborundum

FM 3-0


Develop and maintain the will necessary to attain the national strategic end state.

A-21. For Army forces, legitimacy comes from three important factors. First, the operation or campaign must be conducted under U.S. law. Second, the operation must be conducted according to international laws and treaties recognized by the United States, particularly the law of war. Third, the campaign or operation should develop or reinforce the authority and acceptance for the host-nation government by both the governed and the international community. This last factor is frequently the decisive element.

A-22. Legitimacy is also based on the will of the American people to support the mission. The American people’s perception of legitimacy is strengthened if obvious national or humanitarian interests are at stake.

Their perception also depends on their assurance that American lives are not being placed at risk needlessly or carelessly.

A-23. Other interested audiences may include foreign nations, civil populations in and near the operational area, and participating multinational forces. Committed forces must sustain the legitimacy of the operation and of the host-nation government, where applicable. Security actions must balance with the need to maintain legitimacy. Commanders must consider all actions potentially competing for strategic and tactical requirements.

All actions must exhibit fairness in dealing with competing factions where appropriate. Legitimacy depends on the level of consent to the force and to the host-nation government, the people’s expectations, and the force’s credibility.

The United States has granted veto power over any military operation it might attempt to whoever can delegitimize the mission and kill domestic support.  All current and future enemies and adversaries have to do to paralyze us is partner with domestic oppositional elements such as anti-war organizations, anti-Administration politicians, wealthy Hungarian benefactors, the Perpetually Aggrieved, Guilty White Liberals, the Politically Correct, Multi-cultural, Carbon Dispensationists and Transnational Progressives who can be relied upon to activate their As Sahab media arms in a coordinated effort to magnify all imperfections, exaggerate all negative aspects, accept at face value all enemy narratives, treat all friendly narratives with withering scorn and total skepticsm, and hamsting any effort to employ American power.

Our enemies and adversaries will never be held to these standards.

Abrams Doctrine – put all the CSS in the RC to make expeditionary forces logistically unsustainable without mobilization and public buy in so no future LBJ can repeat Vietnam.

Powell Doctrine – find excuses not to act until the whole American public buys in so no future LBJ can repeat Vietnam.  Spend half a year  amassing an armor-heavy field army to fight a 100-hour set-piece battle.  Quit early because MSM calls you a bully for killing underdogs in large numbers.  Leave job for younger  brothers and sons to finish 12 – 17 years later.

Gates Doctrine – The press is not the enemy.  Getting public buy in is somebody else’s job.  The enemy gets a vote.

America is going out of the super power business.  The ability of enemies, adversaries, and internal opponents to deny legitimacy exceeds .gov/.mil’s ability to sustain or build legitimacy.

Lucky for us .gov/.mil ain’t the only game in town. 


Filed under Idea War, Lawfare, Old Media

3 responses to “Illegitimi non carborundum

  1. I sent that to Wolf Pangloss. He’s working on something along those lines.

    You found it, I couldn’t think of an immediate use for it but I thought of somebody who could, now Wolf has the puck.

    A pack, not a herd.

  2. Pingback: LInks - Political Warfare / StratCom / Psyops / Related « PurpleSlog