To continue the Foreign Internal Defense series where Loren left off, I want to talk a bit about the concept of mirroring and why it is dangerous for Special Forces soldiers. Mirroring occurs when we imagine that foreign, friendly military units or unfriendly terrorist organizations are a mirror image of ourselves. We do this because we are locked into path dependency and have been deeply institutionalized in the military. It is also a matter of laziness. “This is like that” comparisons don’t really work.
What I mean by this is that you can’t say “Al-Qaeda has a rigid military hierarchy,” because if you look at the structure of that organization, it is much more horizontal than the U.S. military. You can’t say “China’s Ministry of State Security is the government’s main domestic and international intelligence organization performing functions similar to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation.” No, it really isn’t, and this is an intellectual shortcut. The MSS is a very different animal with a very different structure. To say that it is like the CIA or FBI gives a false impression of what it really is.
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