Thursday, July 28, 2005

Pentagon Reconsiders War On Terror

After writing numerous posts criticizing the military approach to a largely diplomatic and criminal issue the War on Terror presents (Filling The Swamp, Bombs Aren't Nutritious?, Heaven's Not Overflowing, Article Heard Round The World, Bush's Shooting Gallery), I was shocked to hear these words on CSPAN from the US News and World Report:
Officially titled the "National Military Strategic Plan for the War on Terrorism," the document is the culmination of 18 months of work and is a significant evolution from the approach adopted after the 9/11 attacks, which was to focus on capturing or killing the top al Qaeda leaders. For the first time since then, Pentagon officials say, they have a strategy that examines the nature of the antiterror war in depth, lays out a detailed road map for prosecuting it, and establishes a score card to determine where and whether progress is being made.
So, it took almost 4 years after 9/11 before such a detailed plan emerges? It has taken an unnecessary war in Iraq and increased public skepticism before the US government reconsiders its options. I can only hope the reign of "bumper sticker" foreign policy is over.

Terrorists still thrive despite Al-Queda leadership.

The following key points of the soon-to-be declassified document are as follows:
  • Terrorists are no longer considered only Al-Queda operatives or associates. Terrorists are now considered "Islamist extremists" within a "global web of enemy networks." This provides a much needed admission that the terrorist problem has been growing rampantly despite Al-Queda's reduced leadership.

  • The Pentagon cannot win the War on Terror by military alone. The new plan details diplomatic and social means of reducing terrorist recruiting, and places a strong emphasis on destroying terrorist networks rather than waging war on other countries.

  • A new set of metrics will be used for bi-yearly review of current progress. These metrics involve field commanders reporting success in locating and dismantling terrorist safe havens, financial assets, communications networks, and planning cells for each of the target groups.

  • The Pentagon's Special Operations Command is designated as the global "synchronizer" for all military commands and is responsible for the overall "War on Terror" campaign. This will hopefully reduce the chaos that currently plagues the US effort and move all military and diplomatic forces into a common direction.
Communists-TerroristsDespite all of my inner cynicism, I knew it was only a matter of time before someone realized we are creating enemies faster than we can kill them. To treat the terrorist threat like a verbatim routine as was instituted against communism in the Cold War, would be suicide. But to deny the nuclear dimension of the terrorist threat is equally suicide. I don't believe any sane individual wants the rapture in the midst of a nuclear holocaust. We must strike at the root of terrorism: the fanaticism and desperation that fuels it or fall victim to legitimizing them through lengthy military engagements.

Perhaps if the US and other nations can keep their war-hawks at bay, we really may drain the swamp...


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