Thursday, August 31, 2006

The war we're in

So I've been trying since before the last post to write a better strategy of fighting terrorism. And I finally figured out why it's so hard.

Because it won't be followed, and as a consequence we're going to get further and further behind the curve. And it depresses me a lot.

Amusingly, recognizing that seems to have freed me up to write. Here's the broad outline:

First and foremost, it's a social war - a war of philosophies and principles. Most accurately it's exactly what Bin Laden recognized it as being: a war of cultures. We want our culture to supplant that which is supportive of the organizations and people opposed to us.

Second, terrorism is a tactic, not a way of life or a strategy. Letting it dominate the focus is a good way to let ourselves be led by the nose. Focusing on the "terrorists" is wasteful and encourages misdirection. It's like focusing on artillerists. Yes, I definitely like that last analogy - it's an almost perfect match, with the bonus of demonstrating the STUPIDITY of the focus.

For these reasons, we need to begin by reorienting our strategy. We need to recognize again that our foes are global insurgents. Their objective is to put all the world - or at least as much as possible - under the rule of their preferred form of government. That form is Islamic in basis - a very totalitarian (and patriarchal and 'fundamentalist') form as initially outlined by Sayyid Qutb. A significant intermediate objective is establishment of the 'Islamic Crescent' that never was - that is, re-establishing Islamic rule in every nation that was once under Islamic rule, regardless of when that was. Their model is decentralized - each nation's insurgencies are cooperative but not coordinated. There are regional and global 'franchises' that aid the cooperation and provide support through training, financing, transportation, and other functions depending on specialty.

Due to the international nature of this insurgency franchise, all nations and cultures - even those with no current active insurgent base - are part of the battlefield. In fact, as one necessary focus of the battle is hearts and minds, those nations are significant. It's necessary to demonstrate that they are irrelevant, or that they're not really different, or that they're REALLY the bad guys. And they, in this case, is in particular the United States.

We have to look like -- and BE -- the culture everyone envies. That's a key step. We have to mean it when we declaim, "ALL men are created equal" - when we speak of upholding basic human rights and rule of law, we must hold ourselves to the same standard. That's a starting point.

As for the war on the insurgents themselves, well, it's basic counter-insurgency work. Which is to say it's long and hard. In general it looks a lot more like law enforcement than it does military operations. Actually, like law enforcement working with 'humanitarian organizations'. Military operations inevitably create martyrs. They give the insurgents an anchor - an event at which they can point and declaim "THIS is what and who we oppose." Military operations cannot be completely sidestepped, however. In fact they're sometimes going to be exactly what's needed to quell a particularly sharp or significant offensive by the insurgents. But the force must be carefully focused - precise, with an absolute minimum of collateral damage. Generally this will mean bullets over bombs.

I'll write more on this - in particular, where I think we need to go in regard to Iraq and Iran (separately, mostly). But that gets the basic block out of the way.


Post a Comment

<< Home