Wednesday, July 30, 2008

That Pesky War Ended

The Rand Corporation sent the memo yesterday. The GWOT is over. No word yet as to whether Victory was declared. Remember, this is how Vietnam ended. The U.S. declared the war over. But then we left. Now we are doing business with the Vietnamese.

"'Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors,' authors Seth Jones and Martin Libicki write in ' How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al-Qaeda,' a 200-page volume released yesterday. . . .

"The authors call for a strategy that includes a greater reliance on law enforcement and intelligence agencies in disrupting the group's networks and in arresting its leaders. They say that when military forces are needed, the emphasis should be on local troops, which understand the terrain and culture and tend to have greater legitimacy.

"In Muslim countries in particular, there should be a 'light U.S. military footprint or none at all,' the report contends.

"'The U.S. military can play a critical role in building indigenous capacity,' it said, 'but should generally resist being drawn into combat operations in Muslim societies, since its presence is likely to increase terrorist recruitment.'"

An excerpt from the report: "A key part of [a successful] strategy should include ending the notion of a war on terrorism and replacing it with such concepts as counterterrorism, which most governments with significant terrorist threats use. The British government, among others, has already taken this step and abjured the phrase war on terror. The phrase raises public expectations -- both in the United States and elsewhere -- that there is a battlefield solution to the problem of terrorism. It also encourages others abroad to respond by conducting a jihad (or holy war) against the United States and elevates them to the status of holy warriors. . . .

"Our analysis suggests that there is no battlefield solution to terrorism. Military force usually has the opposite effect from what is intended: It is often overused, alienates the local population by its heavy-handed nature, and provides a window of opportunity for terrorist-group recruitment." (Emphasis added.)

The idea of making war on a country that has not attacked us was always stupid. The results have been a disaster. Defining the 'war' out of existence is one way to get out. It was always an invasion, not a war. Time to slink away in disgrace, which is far, far better than staying in disgrace.

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