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Shek
05 Nov 05,, 13:26
An interesting read. As always, I'm sure that Ralph Peters' comments will act as a lightning rod :biggrin:


www.rofasix.blogspot.com

05 November 2005
The War on Terrorists

As Halloween approached this year, the ghosts and goblins of doubt and recrimination seemed to come out of every dark place. Secret sessions of Congress, politicians who are still fighting the 2000 and 2004 elections, and senior DOD leadership suggesting we can’t win in Iraq, and the macabre media fascination with the number ‘2000’ made the last couple of months simply bizarre.

The US continues to wage war on a determined enemy who is fighting fiercely for the hearts and minds of America using the domestic and international media. Their goal is simple, it is to question why the US fights against terrorists (aka insurgents, guerrillas, extremists), sow doubt, and eviscerate American resolve in the war on terrorists.

The media has never recognized the enemy we fight and why we do. The politicians did for while, but now are thinking about reelection and holding their fingers in the breeze to see which way it is blowing, instead of reminding the timorous why we do what we do.

We fight for American security and our way of life, not to impose an ideology, gain an empire, control natural resources or even to help the people of Iraq. We fight for us. It is what free men do. It just so happens that a stable government of Iraq is in our national interests, and all the other altruistic motives and rhetoric about what we do in Iraq is simply drivel. It is such a simple idea that many people cannot accept it without looking for dark or ulterior motives on the part of the US.

The terrorists have also articulated clear political objectives. They want the US out of the Middle East to enhance their ability to overthrow “apostate” moderate Arab regimes, such as the Saudi Arabia ruling family. They have clearly stated their desired “end state” too. They wish to reconstitute the Caliphate of past “glory.” Based on the examples of the first four “rightly guided” caliphs and companions of the Prophet, they have articulated the following requirements of the caliphate: the caliph should be an Arab of the Prophet Muhammad's tribe, the Quraysh; he should be elected to his office and approved by a council of elders representing the Muslim community; and he should be responsible for enforcing divine law and spreading Islam by whatever means necessary, including war.

Using religion and the power of oil, the new Caliphate would serve to replace secular nation states with theocracies and spread their form of extremist Islam throughout the world. There is no grayness in their goals, no negotiation, and no accommodation or acceptance of anything less. In essence, it is a novel and modern form of religious imperialism new to the world and not seen since Muhammad, who died in 632 AD.

It is time to remind the media and our politicians what we expect from our nation. It was best articulated by Ralph Peters in his essay, “When Devils Walk the Earth.” Peter’s advice “for a superpower” are as significant today as when he first penned it a couple of years ago.

It goes like this:


Fighting Terror: Do’s and Don’ts for a Superpower

1. Be feared.

2. Identify the type of terrorists you face, and know your enemy as well as you possibly can. Although tactics may be similar, strategies for dealing with practical vs. apocalyptic terrorists can differ widely. Practical terrorists may have legitimate grievances that deserve consideration, although their methods cannot be tolerated. Apocalyptic terrorists, no matter their rhetoric, seek your destruction and must be killed to the last man. The apt metaphor is cancer—you cannot hope for success if you only cut out part of the tumor. For the apocalyptic terrorist, evading your efforts can easily be turned into a public triumph. Our bloodiest successes will create far fewer terrorists and sympathizers than our failures.

3. Do not be afraid to be powerful. Cold War-era gambits of proportionate response and dialog may have some utility in dealing with practical terrorists, but they are counterproductive in dealing with apocalyptic terrorists. Our great strengths are wealth and raw power. When we fail to bring those strengths to bear, we contribute to our own 1
defeat. For a superpower to think small—which has been our habit across the last decade, at least—is self-defeating folly. Our responses to terrorist acts should make the world gasp.

4. Speak bluntly. Euphemisms are interpreted as weakness by our enemies and mislead the American people. Speak of killing terrorists and destroying their organizations. Timid speech leads to timid actions. Explain when necessary, but do not apologize. Expressions of regret are never seen as a mark of decency by terrorists or their supporters, but only as a sign that our will is faltering. Blame the terrorists as the root cause whenever operations have unintended negative consequences. Never go on the rhetorical defensive.

5. Concentrate on winning the propaganda war where it is winnable. Focus on keeping or enhancing the support from allies and well-disposed clients, but do not waste an inordinate amount of effort trying to win unwinnable hearts and minds. Convince hostile populations through victory.

6. Do not be drawn into a public dialog with terrorists—especially not with apocalyptic terrorists. You cannot win. You legitimize the terrorists by addressing them even through a third medium, and their extravagant claims will resound more successfully on their own home ground than anything you can say. Ignore absurd accusations, and never let the enemy’s claims slow or sidetrack you. The terrorist wants you to react, and your best means of unbalancing him and his plan is to ignore his accusations.

7. Avoid “planning creep.” Within our vast bureaucratic system, too many voices compete for attention and innumerable agendas—often selfish and personal—intrude on any attempt to act decisively. Focus on the basic mission—the destruction of the terrorists—with all the moral, intellectual and practical rigor you can bring to bear. All other issues, from future nation-building, to alliance consensus, to humanitarian concerns are secondary.

8. Maintain resolve. Especially in the Middle East and Central Asia, “experts” and diplomats will always present you with a multitude of good reasons for doing nothing, or for doing too little (or for doing exactly the wrong thing). Fight as hard as you can within the system to prevent diplomats from gaining influence over the strategic campaign. Although their intentions are often good, our diplomats and their obsolete strategic views are the terrorist’s unwitting allies—and diplomats are extremely jealous of military success and military authority in “their” region (where their expertise is never as deep or subtle as they believe it to be). Beyond the problem with our diplomats, the broader forces of bureaucratic entropy are an internal threat. The counter-terrorist campaign must be not only resolute, but constantly self rejuvenating—in ideas, techniques, military and inter-agency combinations, and sheer energy. “Old hands” must be stimulated constantly by new ideas.

9. When in doubt, hit harder than you think necessary. Success will be forgiven. Even the best-intentioned failure will not. When military force is used against terrorist networks, it should be used with such power that it stuns even our allies. We must get over our “cowardice in means.” While small-scale raids and other knife-point operations are useful against individual targets, broader operations should be overwhelming. Of course, targeting limitations may inhibit some efforts—but, whenever possible, maximum force should be used in simultaneous operations at the very beginning of a campaign. Do not hesitate to supplement initial target lists with extensive bombing attacks on “nothing” if they can increase the initial psychological impact. Demonstrate power whenever you can. Show, don’t tell.

10. Whenever legal conditions permit, kill terrorists on the spot (do not give them a chance to surrender, if you can help it). Contrary to academic wisdom, the surest way to make a martyr of a terrorist is to capture, convict and imprison him, leading to endless efforts by sympathizers to stage kidnappings, hijacking and other events intended to liberate the imprisoned terrorist(s). This is war, not law enforcement.

11. Never listen to those who warn that ferocity on our part reduces us to the level of the terrorists. That is the argument of the campus, not of the battlefield, and it insults America’s service members and the American people. Historically, we have proven, time after time, that we can do a tough, dirty job for our country without any damage to our nation’s moral fabric (Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not interfere with American democracy, values or behavior).

12. Spare and protect innocent civilians whenever possible, but do not let the prospect of civilian casualties interfere with ultimate mission accomplishment. This is a fight to protect the American people, and we must do so whatever the cost, or the price in American lives may be devastating. In a choice between “us and them,” the choice is always “us.”

13. Do not allow the terrorists to hide behind religion. Apocalyptic terrorists cite religion as a justification for attacking us; in turn, we cannot let them hide behind religious holidays, taboos, strictures or even sacred terrain. We must establish a consistent reputation for relentless pursuit and destruction of those who kill our citizens. Until we do this, our hesitation will continue to strengthen our enemy’s ranks and his resolve.

14. Do not allow third parties to broker a “peace,” a truce, or any pause in operations. One of the most difficult challenges in fighting terrorism on a global scale is the drag produced by nervous allies. We must be single-minded. The best thing we can do for our allies in the long-term is to be so resolute and so strong that they value their alliance with us all the more. We must recognize the innate strength of our position and stop allowing regional leaders with counterproductive local agendas to subdue or dilute our efforts.

15. Don’t flinch. If an operation goes awry and friendly casualties are unexpectedly high, immediately bolster morale and the military’s image by striking back swiftly in a manner that inflicts the maximum possible number of casualties on the enemy and his supporters. Ht back as graphically as possible, to impress upon the local and regional players that you weren’t badly hurt or deterred in the least.

16. Do not worry about alienating already-hostile populations.

17. Whenever possible, humiliate your enemy in the eyes of his own people. Do not try to use reasonable arguments against him. Shame him publicly, in any way you can. Create doubt where you cannot excite support. Most apocalyptic terrorists, especially, come from cultures of male vanity. Disgrace them at every opportunity. Done successfully, this both degrades them in the eyes of their followers and supporters, and provokes the terrorist to respond, increasing his vulnerability.

18. If the terrorists hide, strike what they hold dear, using clandestine means and, whenever possible, foreign agents to provoke them to break cover and react. Do not be squeamish. Your enemy is not. Subtlety is not a superpower strength—but the raw power to do that which is necessary is our great advantage. We forget that, while the world may happily chide or accuse us--or complain of our “inhumanity”--no one can stop us if we maintain our strength of will. Much of the world will complain no matter what we do. Hatred of America is the default position of failed individuals and failing states around the world, in every civilization, and there is nothing we can do to change their minds. We refuse to understand how much of humanity will find excuses for evil, so long as the evil strikes those who are more successful than the apologists themselves. This is as true of American academics, whose eagerness to declare our military efforts a failure is unflagging, or European clerics, who still cannot forgive America’s magnanimity at the end of World War II, as it is of unemployed Egyptians or Pakistanis. The psychologically marginalized are at least as dangerous as the physically deprived.

19. Do not allow the terrorists sanctuary in any country, at any time, under any circumstances. Counter-terrorist operations must, above all, be relentless. This does not necessarily mean that military operations will be constantly underway—sometimes it will be surveillance efforts, or deception plans, or operations by other agencies. But the overall effort must never pause for breath. We must be faster, more resolute, more resourceful—and, ultimately, even more uncompromising than our enemies.

20. Never declare victory. Announce successes and milestones. But never give the terrorists a chance to embarrass you after a public pronouncement that “the war is over.”

21. Impress upon the minds of terrorists and potential terrorists everywhere, and upon the populations and governments inclined to support them, that American retaliation will be powerful and uncompromising. You will never deter fanatics, but you can frighten those who might support, harbor or attempt to use terrorists for their own ends. Our basic task in the world today is to restore a sense of American power, capabilities and resolve. We must be hard, or we will be struck wherever we are soft. It is folly for charity to precede victory. First win, then unclench your fist.

22. Do everything possible to make terrorists and their active supporters live in terror themselves. Turn the tide psychologically and practically. While this will not deter hardcore apocalyptic terrorists, it will dissipate their energies as they try to defend themselves—and fear will deter many less-committed supporters of terror. Do not be distracted by the baggage of the term “assassination.” This is a war. The enemy, whether a hijacker or a financier, violates the laws of war by his refusal to wear a uniform and by purposely targeting civilians. He is by definition a war criminal. On our soil, he is either a spy or a saboteur, and not entitled to the protections of the US Constitution. Those who abet terrorists must grow afraid to turn out the lights to go to sleep.

23. Never accept the consensus of the Washington intelligentsia, which looks backward to past failures, not forward to future successes.

24. In dealing with Islamic apocalyptic terrorists, remember that their most cherished symbols are fewer and far more vulnerable than are the West’s. Ultimately, no potential target can be regarded as off limits when the United States is threatened with mass casualties. Worry less about offending foreign sensibilities and more about protecting Americans.

25. Do not look for answers in recent history, which is still unclear and subject to personal emotion. Begin with the study of the classical world—specifically Rome, which is the nearest model to the present-day United States. Mild with subject peoples, to whom they brought the rule of ethical law, the Romans in their rise and at their apogee were implacable with their enemies. The utter destruction of Carthage brought centuries of local peace, while the later empire’s attempts to appease barbarians consistently failed.

posted by NOTR - 11/05/2005-[Permalink] | Comment (0) |

Confed999
05 Nov 05,, 18:59
I agree with most, but it implies actions that may be too harsh for me to fully support.

TopHatter
05 Nov 05,, 21:17
20. Never declare victory. Announce successes and milestones. But never give the terrorists a chance to embarrass you after a public pronouncement that “the war is over.”

I knew that when "War on Terror" was declared that we were in trouble...
How do you declare war on something that has always been around and probably will always be around?

Oh wait...War On Drugs...never mind. :rolleyes:

The Navy is going to fly the "Don't Tread On Me" flag from all USN warships until the end of the conflict. When will that be? What happens after they haul down those flags and some Jihad-crazed savages decide to immolate a Disney cruise ship?

Call it whatever you want. Just don't call it something that historically has had a finite lifespan. Because this war will go on and on...and only strong resolve will enable us to continue it.

Capturing or killing Osama bin Laden won't end the war....although it would definitely help us sleep a lot better at night.

If and when a Democrat is elected, count on hear that "War on Terror" moniker being quietly dropped.

Shek
06 Nov 05,, 01:33
I knew that when "War on Terror" was declared that we were in trouble...
How do you declare war on something that has always been around and probably will always be around?

Oh wait...War On Drugs...never mind. :rolleyes:

The Navy is going to fly the "Don't Tread On Me" flag from all USN warships until the end of the conflict. When will that be? What happens after they haul down those flags and some Jihad-crazed savages decide to immolate a Disney cruise ship?

Call it whatever you want. Just don't call it something that historically has had a finite lifespan. Because this war will go on and on...and only strong resolve will enable us to continue it.

Capturing or killing Osama bin Laden won't end the war....although it would definitely help us sleep a lot better at night.

If and when a Democrat is elected, count on hear that "War on Terror" moniker being quietly dropped.

GWOT is synonomous with a war against radical Islam. Bush's speeches have become much more focused in this respect recently. Also, think in terms of the Cold War, which lasted for 44 years.

astralis
06 Nov 05,, 02:24
GWOT is synonomous with a war against radical Islam. Bush's speeches have become much more focused in this respect recently. Also, think in terms of the Cold War, which lasted for 44 years.

shek,

the new acronym that's supposed to replace GWOT is "GSAVE", or "global struggle against violent extremism." so you are right, there is a definite focusing on radical islam and an acknowledgement that in dealing with radical islam, you are talking about a struggle that will last for years and decades to come, and not a war that will somehow terminate with a surrender. :biggrin:

TopHatter
06 Nov 05,, 13:20
Also, think in terms of the Cold War, which lasted for 44 years.

Sure I can definitely see the comparison there.

However, I don't think that the term itself will survive the Bush Administration's departure from office in '08.

I'm also curious to see if the "Don't Tread" Navy jack survives (being flown from all ships)

Swift Sword
06 Nov 05,, 14:32
If you go through the laundry list presented in the article and substitute the phrase "apostate regime", "crusader ", "imperialist zionist pig-dog" or whatnot wherever the author has used the word "terrorist", the resemblence to al-Qaeda's and other terrorist group's training and indoctrination literature is uncanny :biggrin:

Confed999
06 Nov 05,, 16:54
If you go through the laundry list presented in the article and substitute
Why would that surprise you? Good tactics and strategy are good tactics and strategy. Though, to be honest, you'd have to add kill as many civilians as possible, preferably small children, for it to be a terrorist handbook item...