Editor’s Note: This Op-Ed was previously published in The Times of Israel. You can read our previous interview with Mr. Chabot here.
To fight evil, watch a horror movie. What happens at the end of each horror movie? Just when the good guy or gal believes they have slain the monster, they turn away– that is when evil rises again, like the villain at the end of a horror movie. Fighting evil never ends. Good forces must always stay “on-target,” continuing to keep evil on the ground and never walking away or turning our backs.
Hamas is a terrorist organization that is evil and resilient. It is an evil monster with a radical ideology that will not die.
To understand how to fight evil best, let’s return to Iraq during the 2008 “Surge,” where I served.
The “Surge” was a pivotal period for Coalition Forces in Iraq. Many thought al Qaeda was winning as American soldiers were killed in high numbers. Hence, American forces “surged” troops into Iraq to turn the tide.
I was there and wrote a strategy developed based on my earlier dissertation work combating drug cartels. What I learned then is that while evil has many faces, they all share the same composition of resiliency characteristics, or more simply put– what allows them to reconstitute. The key to keeping evil on the ground is a never-ending process of doing a few things right.
The U.S., Coalition, and Iraqi forces made great progress in combating al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) by severely damaging and limiting its operational potential. However, despite all the best efforts, AQI had adjusted to internal and external pressures and remained a threat to the region and national security.
Hamas is no different than al Qaeda, ISIS, or any other form of sophisticated evil the world has seen.
AQI fit the academic definition of a resilient organization based on my years of doctoral research on organizational resiliency. The enemy was aware of challenges, continued to make sense of its environment, learned from failure, adjusted to difficulties, and created or used resiliency characteristics to sustain itself in what I describe as a resiliency cycle. If U.S., Coalition, and Iraqi pressure were to be released on AQI, it would reconstitute itself with a vengeance and wreak havoc throughout the region yet again.
In short, we are facing a starfish organization with no real head that could be cut off for the kill.
My strategy proposed simultaneously attacking each of the enemies’ resiliency characteristics with the asset best suited for that mission. As such, the enemy will shrink further, much like applying pressure to all sides of a balloon. Results are measured, evaluated, reassessed, and refocused. The process of attacking the resiliency characteristics begins again, thereby further shrinking the organization. This process repeats itself, like peeling back layers of an onion. Eventually, the enemy will be so severely shrunk and damaged that it is remnants compared to its previous strength. It is at this stage, in its weakest form, that it was most susceptible to near organizational failure.
This is the blueprint for fighting all terrorist organizations. Such evil must either adapt to pressures or collapse upon themselves like a dying star. Those organizations able to sustain despite such pressure and survive exhibit resiliency and, therefore, contain resiliency characteristics. It is these resiliency characteristics that we must identify then focus our efforts upon to bring about the decline of evil. It is a precise, focused strategy requiring leadership, resources, and patience.
The typical resiliency characteristics of evil I found through extensive research in my doctoral dissertation, book research, and military strategy publication focused on the resiliency characteristics of sinister organizations, which often include the following: reputation of brutality; radical ideology and belief structure; patience; cultural advantage of operating in sympathetic territory; corruption and criminal activity; business acumen; situational awareness; recruitment operations; adaptability; monopoly goal orientation; organizational level trust; compartmentalization of information; optimism; technological understanding and implementation; loyalty; financially independent or well-funded.
These characteristics sustain the organization during significant pressure to collapse but also remain during regular operational times when no such force exists. Although these characteristics are highlighted above, additional strengths comprise several resiliency characteristics.
Organization resiliency prevents organization dismantlement. The organization can learn from failure and apply methods to counter or limit its vulnerabilities. Organizational resiliency is not an end state but rather an evolutionary and, at times, revolutionary cycle that allows an organization to better itself based on its ability to apply new learning to its business. Organizational resiliency, as it turns out, is not an applied technique but is instead what one can define an organization as having obtained after demonstrating its ability to fight back (learn, adapt) to prevent catastrophic failure.
Organizational resiliency is achieved only through several phases described in the resiliency framework (i.e., cycle). Organizational resiliency does not prevent failure, rather, organizational resiliency is the phase reached by implementing any number of resiliency characteristics. Evil becomes resilient against several efforts to destroy it (although several “good” actions have severely impacted evil). From each of these efforts, the sinister leadership learned how to adapt and implement the necessary change to survive. It is more accurate to describe the role that organizational resiliency plays within the evil network by examining episodes of organizational hardship and the actions taken by evil. Therefore, organizational resiliency does not prevent failure; instead, it is a concept used to describe organizations, like evil, that can survive any number of actions and practices by not failing when extreme conditions present a likelihood of organizational failure. Organizational resiliency can best be described and understood through the lens of human beings. Resilient human beings bounce back time and again from significant hardship, and more importantly, because they take actions that lead to their resiliency. These actions— for both human beings and organizations— are the essence of resiliency.
To best fight evil, we must align resources against resiliency characteristics and understand that the public must be informed of the lifelong mission to always stay on target because if not, like in horror movies, the evil will rise again with the potential to catch humanity off guard.