(GREED) – So, it’s come to my attention that many self-styled commandos are blustering about gathering their kit and going full battle rattle up to North Dakota to help out those poor indigenous folks. As luck would have it, I happen to know a bit about assisting indigenous forces. It was kind of my thing for a number of years. During that time, I learned a lot. Lend me your ears, or eyes in this case, and I’ll fill you in on some things I learned over the years.
The first thing you have to do before you ever start trying to assist indigenous forces is make sure they want your help. If they don’t, all you’ll accomplish by showing up is escalate tensions within their group which will turn their group away from you. If you continue to persist, you might provoke a conflict with the group you intend on helping.
The next thing is that you don’t gloat, especially on social media. You remain quiet professionals. Telegraphing your move in advance lets the opposing force strengthen their position.
Third, if the indigenous forces accept your help, your job is to advise and assist. You don’t make command or policy decisions. You don’t take a peaceful action and militarize it, unless you plan on intentionally getting the civilians in the line of fire killed to boost outrage against the opposing force. That seems like a pretty extreme maneuver to execute over a pipeline.
Fourth, you’re supposed to be invisible. You’re outside of the area of engagement watching and providing little direct assistance, preferably none.
So, given this, we’ll conduct a little sand table exercise discussing how one would go about assisting the natives, if one were so inclined. First, like any military operation, you need some background information. Native groups in the US are, well, pretty steeped in the warrior mentality. Apache, Comanche, Blackhawk, Chinook, Kiowa, Iroquois. These aren’t just the names of American native tribes, they’re also the names of the US Army’s helicopters. I know somewhere out there, there’s probably a group that’s angry over the “cultural appropriation” of the tribes’ names.
Let me address that in a sideline real quick. The US Army doesn’t make a habit of naming vehicles after whimps or with the intention of disrespect. Our tanks are named after great generals. Our fixed wing aircraft are named after gods or fierce animals. While the Washington Redskins or Cleveland Indians might be disrespectful, I promise you that thousands of American veterans look at the Apache with respect and reverence. Imagine being pinned down by hostile forces, and suddenly two thunderous machines pop over the ridge, unleash a storm of hellfire, destroy the opposition, save your life, and disappear before the smoke has cleared. That’s not a machine you mock, it’s a machine you respect. It’s a machine that deserves a name worthy of respect. The American Natives are pretty fierce.
Now, back to today’s natives. So you want to provide militant support for a cause that doesn’t want your help? The area of engagement is open with little cover from aerial surveillance which is filling the skies. There are opposition forces engaging in checkpoints and monitoring the whole area.
In theory, you’d travel to the general area in civilian clothes with no fanfare or posts on social media. Operational Security is a thing you need to learn about. Once there, you’d find a hotel or campsite outside of the immediate area, where you’d divide your team, change clothes, and begin your 20- or 30-mile march to the area of engagement. You’d do this at night. Once there, you’d secure an area with proper cover and concealment to defeat the helicopters and ground forces. You’d need multiple observation posts, as well as teams back at the hotel just sitting around doing nothing but laying low. Those teams will come relieve you in a couple of days.
At the observation post, you’d simply sit and wait in the cold. No warm meals because you can’t have a fire. Your bodily functions occur in a tiny trench beside you, if you have enough cover to do so. There’s no glory. There’s no photos for Facebook. In fact, if you’re engaged in this type of behavior, you shouldn’t even be on social media. If you’re not willing to engage in this type of behavior to help secure the indigenous forces, you’re not in it to assist, you’re in it to show off. This is a volatile situation. It will only be made worse by breaking down the cohesion of the protesters and provoking the opposition forces.
Another little piece of background intel on the native groups: if they choose to get violent, they don’t need your help. The last few times American Indians went toe to toe with the feds, they won. Compare that to the track record of the amateur hour crews boasting about what they’d do. If you think going up there and standing around in your MOLLE gear that’s never had dirt, much less blood, on it is going to help, you’re insane. Provoking an engagement when you are outnumbered, outgunned, egress is controlled by the opposition, and you have no reinforcements while the opposition does? Save yourself the gas money, put your brains on the wall at home because it’s suicide.