Brynn Tannehill Profile picture
Nov 2, 2022 25 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
The credible, close-call attempt to kill or maim Speaker Nancy Pelosi for a second time, and the GOP response, signals how close the US is to the end of the road as a Democracy. It also tells us about what comes after the fall. 1/n
The GOP has generally treated it as a joke, denied that DePape was conservative, or spread conspiracy theories that it was a gay quarrel during a hookup. There's been a lot of wink and nudge, "Sure it was bad, but whatever gets Nancy out, amiright?" comments like Youngkin's. 2/n
There has been almost NOTHING done to deter other would be assassins from killing Democratic officials. When people protested outside homes of SCOTUS justices, security was immediately increased. Dead silence now. 3/n
The difference is that Dems and Republicans are willing to protect conservative officials, but Republicans aren't willing to protect Dems, because they know that actual violence against officials is driven by the right wing base. 4/n…
There is the implicit assumption by Republican leaders that violence will come for their opponents, and not for them.

And at the moment, they're correct.

But, most of them weren't in Iraq from 2004-2006. 5/n
I had a front row seat as Sunnis, cut off from power, formed AQI and started launching a campaign of terror aimed at government officials, particularly judges. Targeting family members was very much part of their CONOPS.

It didn't take long before retaliations began. 6/n
Baghdad segregated rapidly, as mixed neighborhoods forced out people who were the local minority. Similar (violent) sorting happened among Iraqi Kurds in the north. 7/n
One lesson I took away is that once political murders are normalized, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. It turns into an accelerating cycle of violence, particularly when both sides feel like it's a matter of group survival. 8/n
Part of the violence in Iraq in that period was the settling of old scores. Saddam had displaced, gassed, and murdered innumerable Kurds. He had kept Shiites (who form a plurality of the population) powerless and second class citizens for decades. 9/n
In the US, the GOP intends to seize power, and never let go, much as Saddam did with the Ba'ath Party. They're not hiding it. I'm not engaging in hyperbole or putting words in people's mouths. This is coming straight from their candidates. 10/n ImageImage
If the GOP does win, they're promising to settle scores. Here we have the former President, and likely the next administration, promising to lock up journalists and have them raped until they give up confidential sources. 11/n…
The repeated violence against Pelosi, and ongoing stochastic terror, is a promise of what is to come. If the GOP seizes power, you can be sure that they will do as little as possible to prevent, stop, deter, or prosecute political killings. 12/n
The DoJ will become a tool for imprisoning political opponents. It also won't lift a finger to do anything about assassinations of Democrats, journalists, or political enemies or disfavored minorities (like trans people or doctors treating them). 13/n
They'll claw back control of the City of DC, and prevent prosecutions of violence against Dems there, while blaming the murders on the victims for being soft on crime. 14/n
Most Republican leaders are smart enough to know that it isn't really leftists driving the political violence. They'll yell about Antifa and BLM, but they're not stupid (Ok, true believers like MTG, Jordan, and Boebert are), but Cotton and Cruz can do math. 15/n
The problem with their thinking is that they assume that the status quo will hold: that their opponents will continue to feel like they can vote their way out of the problem, the threat is not perceived as existential, and they will eschew targeted violence. 16/n
I've had front row seats when a country tears itself apart. I also learned that an insurgent group only needs maybe 10-15% of the population supporting it for it to be self sustaining.

And, like Iraq, it's about religion. 17/n
45% of Americans are ready to end democracy to make the US an explicitly Christian nation. People under the age of 40 are much more likely to be secular. 18/n…
This creates a situation in which the unaccountable theocratic government engaging in stochastic terror against political enemies is hated by the largely secular majority of young people who have little economic prospects, no say in government, and no hope of peaceful change 19/n
WTF do you think is going to happen? Because this is pretty much an exact description of the situation in Iran, except there are ~390 million guns just lying around. 20/n
Republican leaders by and large tend to believe that they can manage whatever response happens to their complete take-over of government, and institution of theocratic rule, or that people will quietly accept it the way they have in Hungary, Russia, Turkey, and Poland. 21/n
The semblance of democracy, using elections rigged against the opposition as an anesthetic for the population, pretending "vote harder" might remove the authoritarians from office, or simply presenting it as a fait accompli, has worked elsewhere to prevent unrest. 22/n
So maybe it's even better than 50-50 bet.

But it's not a sure one: they're creating the necessary conditions.

It's worth remembering that in Iraq, once the toothpaste was out, 150k US troops struggled for almost a decade to restore some semblance of order. 23/n
Thus, by tolerating or encouraging political assassinations, the GOP is raising the risks, and the potential consequences, of their authoritarian drive to end democracy and punish those they see as political enemies. 24/n
Take it from someone who spent most of the aughts studying insurgency, counter insurgency, destabilized countries, hybrid governments, and evaluating the risks of civil war: what is happening with Pelosi is playing with fire. 25/n

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More from @BrynnTannehill

Jun 7
One of the biggest questions about the destruction of Nova Khakova dam has been: "Why would Russia do this?" (And I am NOT suggesting they didn't, I'm anything but pro-Russian). But, let's talk about why not, and propose a theory for why. 1/n
The short version of "why not" is that many Russian fortifications are now underwater. Kherson and Zaporhizia's canals are hosed, and so is the North Crimea canal. Agriculture in Russian held territory is doomed. 2/n
The optics on this are terrible: it looks like eco terrorism and no one is really buying Russian denials. There are reports that the US is working to declassify information showing Russia did it, and EU leaders seem to agree (and seen it already). 3/n…
Read 20 tweets
Jun 5
Nikki Haley's claim last night that transgender people are the reason why teen girls contemplate suicide is beyond specious, it's actively contradicted by the actual statistics.

It's also dangerous pro-extermination propaganda. 1/n…
Idaho leads the nation in teen suicides. It has been one of the leaders in banning trans youth from everything from sports, health care, bathrooms, government IDs, and inclusion in sex ed. It was the first to ban trans athletes. 2/n…
The six states with the lowest teen suicide rates are all either blue or purple. Five of the six (CA, NJ, NY, MA, and MD) all have explicit protections for trans people codified into law. So it's not the existence of trans kids in school. 3/n…
Read 15 tweets
Jun 5
I need to cancel an appointment I made for a hearing test I made through the @DeptVetAffairs. It's the right thing to do: someone else might need the appointment that I made months ago (b/c) that's the wait time.

There were 44 people ahead of me in the phone queue.

@DeptVetAffairs Tried VA myhealth. Login hangs up and dies at this page. Been like this for 10 minutes now. Image
@DeptVetAffairs Screw it. This is a "them problem". The only service the VA reliably provides is a suicide hotline so that they can promptly send cops to your house to shoot 15 times when you answer the door.
Read 6 tweets
Jun 4
This is a sobering look at deficiencies within the Ukrainian military. Both Russia and Ukraine suffer some glaring weaknesses, but given Ukraine's numerical and material inferiority they can less afford them. A short discussion. 1/n…
Lack of Mission Command: This is shorthand for "Ukraine's military still has a legacy Soviet command and control mindset." Still building up a professional NCO corps. Under-involved field grade officers. Cumbersome and inflexible system of giving orders. Lack of initiative. 2/n
All of this adds up to a military that will struggle to "improvise, adapt, overcome" in situations where speed of decision making (OODA loop), and unit level flexibility / initiative is critical. These are traits that will be vital during an offensive. 3/n
Read 25 tweets
Jun 3
There's something altogether maddeningly dumb about the platform that is given to people who advocate rejecting the identities of trans youth, whether it is Musk, TERFs, or the religious right.

Because when people follow their advice, they fail. 1/n…
Consider Musk's trans daughter. Sha disowned her 100xbillionaire father, and his response was "Can't win them all"

How much do you have to hate your parent to decide you'd rather not have billions of dollars? And how callous is Musk's response? 2/n…
And then there the people who reject their trans kids identities and withhold medical care, and wonder why their trans kids are miserable and hate them. These literally cannot believe that their kids are happier away from them. 3/n
Read 13 tweets
May 31
I'm in the mood to talk about some of the nuts and bolts of what a Ukrainian offense may potentially look like. First, we'll start with a brief description of what Russian fortifications look like. 1/n…
Russia has built an extensive network of land mines, trenches, and dragons teeth 5-25 km behind the front lines (FLOT). Their intent appears to be for forward troops to be a speed bump, and fall back to these lines, buying time for reserves to emplace 2/n
This is in part because Russia does not have enough manpower to man all of these fortifications all of the time while nominally holding the existing FLOT position. Conducting breach operations is exceptionally difficult. 3/n
Read 20 tweets

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