Dorner Part 2: Dorner’s War

The murders of Monica Quon and Keith Lawrence on February 3, 2013 are the beginning of what I am calling Dorner’s war. Dorner’s war ends with the death of Christopher Dorner on February 12, 2o13. The details of this particular war are readily available, so I will not recount them here.

The Violence of action will be HIGH. I am the reason TAC alert was established. I will bring unconventional and asymmetrical warfare to those in LAPD uniform whether on or off duty. ISR is my strength and your weakness. You will now live the life of the prey. Your RD’s and homes away from work will be my AO and battle space. I will utilize every tool within INT collections that I learned from NMITC in Dam Neck. You have misjudged a sleeping giant. There is no conventional threat assessment for me. JAM, New Ba’ath party, 1920 rev BGE, ACM, AAF, AQAP, AQIM and AQIZ have nothing on me. Do not deploy airships or gunships. SA-7 Manpads will be waiting. As you know I also own Barrett .50′s so your APC are defunct and futile.

Christopher Dorner was right on at least part of this, assuming he is responsible for every death and attack he is accused of, his actions meet the definition of asymmetric warfare. He was what Arreguín-Toft would consider a weak actor in a battle against much larger and stronger opponent. It seems that Dorner thought that he would be capable of waging guerrilla warfare against the whole Southern California law enforcement community.

That was a mistake. Regardless of what training or knowledge they may have, there is no way a single person can defeat a metropolitan police department in a military style engagement. Once the police have a suspect surrounded they can call in almost limitless, in terms of that engagement, reinforcements. In such circumstances, a single engagement is all that it takes to defeat a one man army. Going to war without an actual army is folly.

So the asymmetrical part of Dorner’s statement was correct. How about the unconventional part? Well, his manifesto spooked the LAPD enough for them to assign approximately 275 officers to protect 50 probable targets and their families. If it was his intention to not directly attack the LAPD, but to wage psychological warfare that would serve to fray the nerves of the LAPD’s officers and tax its financial and operational resources, then it was a brilliant display of unconventional warfare.

It would certainly explain why none of the crimes he is accused of occurred in Los Angeles County. Did he intend to watch his hated police department exhaust itself in an extended tactical alert from a safe distance? Was he that smart? I don’t know. It seems feasible in retrospect. But it also begs the question of whether he would have been able to accomplish this without killing anyone.

Which brings us to the information warfare part of Dorner’s war. The point of information warfare is to use information to put your opponent at a disadvantage while maintaining an advantage for yourself. Dorner’s war and manifesto, taken together, caused a lot of chaos and confusion for the LAPD. It’s officers spent ten days on heightened alert, nervous and on edge, waiting to see what Dorner would do next. It seems possible that Dorner’s intention was not really to fight with the LAPD, only to dupe them into paralysis and ineffectiveness.

Dorner’s manifesto and actions seem to show that he was thinking in terms of information warfare. He worked hard to obfuscate his intentions. This quote from his manifesto shows that he was thinking about what was going to happen:

I know I will be villified [sic] by the LAPD and the media.

Dorner was right about this. One of the most basic tactics in information warfare is to portray your enemy as dangerous and out of control. The LAPD and the news media went to great lengths to portray him as irrational, on top of the fact that he was already accused of murder. Ex-girlfriends were trotted out to explain how scary Dorner was. Numerous news articles called his manifesto rambling. The LAPD uses these tactics often enough that Dorner knew they would be used against him.

There is some truth to the accusation that manifesto is rambling. It covers everything from LAPD racism and corruption, to his favorite music, to his analysis of celebrities and politicians. It is rambling because it reads like the last thoughts of a man who is ready to die. To call it rambling only misses the point of what he seemed to be trying to do. Calling his manifesto rambling was just a way for the authorities to portray Dorner as irrational.

Interestingly, Dorner used Facebook post as platform to tell his story, and, possibly, to intimidate law enforcement. Law enforcement officials found his manifesto and spread it to newspapers and the television news. Once it was in the news the social media picked it up and never let go of it.

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