Small Wars Journal is pleased to present an excerpt from Ascensión: A Tale of the Mexican Drug War by Small Wars Journal-El Centro Fellow Michael L. Burgoyne.
This fictional account—or FICINT (Fictional Intelligence)—describes the security situation in Mexico in an accessible manner.
Here the situation in Mexico is described through the lens of fiction and intelligence to depict future conflict scenarios grounded in reality. Is it ‘criminal insurgency,’ ‘civil strife,’ ‘crime wars,’ ‘non-international armed conflict (NIAC),’ or something else. Burgoyne seeks to inform the policy and operational debate surrounding insecurity and criminal armed groups (CAGs) in Mexico in this text.
Comments from the author:
In 2020, Mexico suffered over 35,000 homicides, marking another year of exceptionally high rates of violence that are comparable to a war zone. Mexican transnational criminal organizations drive the violence in Mexico and play a key role in the over 70,000 annual drug overdose deaths in the United States. Yet, Americans lack an understanding of the complex security situation just south of the border.
I am thankful to Small Wars Journal-El Centro for the opportunity to present an excerpt from, Ascensión: A Tale of the Mexican Drug War. I wrote the story as modern day western designed to bring the reader into a violent and complicated world where there are no easy answers. While the story is fiction, the events depicted are drawn from reality, which is documented in the accompanying notes section. These notes also include references to outstanding scholars that provide excellent analysis of the ongoing conflict in Mexico.
Finally, this excerpt is augmented with a brief interview with Alexei Chevez, a Mexican scholar and security practitioner with a deep knowledge of the nature of the internal stability struggles in Mexico.
My hope is that this work of fiction provides an engaging way to understand the very real and daunting security challenges the Mexican people face.
Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!
The following is taken directly from the Afterword in Kelly Mccann’s Outstanding book Combatives for Street Survival.
In this afterword, Kelly draws corollaries between what is taught in the USMC Field Manual (FM 1) Warfighting and what is experienced in personal combat using Combatives for self-defense. Kelly divides these corollaries into Several distinct sections: War, Friction, Uncertainty, Fluidity, Disorder, The Human Factor & Violence and Danger.
FM 1: “It is critical to keep in mind that the enemy is not an inanimate object to be acted upon but an independent and animate force with its own objectives and plans.”
Combative Corollary: Always Train with an ACTIVE partner and not someone who is robotic or remains fixed in place while you execute a technique. Never allow the use of staged pillar assaults to support your technique. Encourage your partner to move and act freely, because your attacker will.
FM 1: “Friction is the force that resist all action and saps energy.”
Combative Corollary: Fighting for your life saps your strength MUCH MORE quickly than training or competition. Be Aware of this fact.
FM 1: “Friction may be mental, as in indecision over a course of action.”
Combative Corollary: Don’t learn too many alternative techniques because it will only result in indecisiveness under duress and INCREASE reaction time. See HICKS LAW.
FM 1: “The very nature of WAR makes certainty impossible; all actions in WAR are based on incomplete, inaccurate or even contradictory information.”
Combative Corollary: You will never have all the information you would like to have before needing to act except in the most obvious cases.
FM 1: “We can learn to fight effectively despite uncertainty by developing simple, flexible plans; planning for LIKELY contingencies and FOSTERING INITIATIVE.”
Combative Corollary: Avoid complex and intricate techniques. Take the initiative when warranted and pre-emptively attack. Strike unexpectedly. If a technique fails, immediately branch and EXPLODE into another. As quickly as you recognize them, EXPLOIT new targets.
FM 1: “Risk is equally common to ACTION or INACTION.”
Combative Corollary: You must risk being hurt in order to hurt others. As an attacker gestates, you’re at risk EQUALLY if you use violence and if you don’t.
FM 1: “Since war is a fluid phenomenon, it’s conduct requires flexibility of thought.”
Combatives Corollary: Rage with reason. Keep your wits about you in order to see and then seize the fleeting opportunities discussed above. Stay flexible in the attack. Rely on your rapid-targeting process and quickly branch from one technique to another, exploiting opportunities as quickly as they present themselves to overwhelm your attacker.
FM 1: “As the situation changes continuously, we are forced to improvise again and again until finally our actions have little, if any, resemblance to the original scheme.”
Combatives Corollary: There is a saying in the military: “No operations order survives the first shot.” Similarly, no Kata survives the first punch. Faced with disorder, ESTABLISH ORDER WITH OVERWHELMING FEROCITY. Once you have the momentum, stay on your toes and keep the attacker backing up on his heels. Ruthlessly and Relentlessly CLOSE WITH and finish the enemy.
THE HUMAN FACTOR
FM 1: “Since War is an act of violence based on irreconcilable disagreement, it will invariably inflame and be shaped by human emotions.”
Combatives Corollary: Channel your Rage, but rely on your Training.
Violence and Danger
FM 1: “Violence is an essential element of war and its immediate result is bloodshed, destruction and suffering. While the magnitude of violence may vary with the object and means of war, the violent essence of war will never change. Any study of war that neglects this basic truth is misleading or incomplete.”
Combatives Corollary: Your primary goal is to AVOID, your secondary goal is the ESCAPE UNHARMED. Unfortunately, depending on the severity of the situation, sometimes it will be necessary to seriously injure or perhaps kill an assailant in order to prevail. For that reason, you must never confuse Combatives with a “Gentle Art.”
Stay Alert, Armed and Dangerous!