Wednesday, October 22, 2003
Rumsfeld Rules !

The recent leak of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's memo may have well been a purposefully executed trial balloon to test the elite response to the idea of a sweeping reorg of the DoD. It may have been leaked by the staff officers of the Joint Chiefs in an ongoing effort to kill off such a prospective " Revolution in Military Affairs " that threaten bureaucratic empires in the armed services.

In any event, if this represent's Rumsfeld's real thinking I'm very glad that he's the Secretary of Defense because at a critical time of transition to asymmetric warfare ( the strategic position of the United States is such that all foes - separately or in combination - are in an asymmetric position and will wage war and diplomacy accordingly). Not being a captive of the Pentagon bureaucracy Rumsfeld has the vision to try to change the DoD rather than be changed by it to become yet another guardian of the status quo.

Rumsfeld has asked his chief advisers some pointed questions. here are the answers they should give:

Q: Does DoD need to think through new ways to organize, train, equip and focus to deal with the global war on terror?

Absolutely. The American political-ideological response to Islamism has been the least effective and amateurish aspect of the War on Terror while the creative use of Special Operations and high tech have been the most effective. This is a war of tracking,surveillance, stealth and attacks of surgical precision punctuated by bursts of larger, conventional force actions.

A large percentage of the world's population is sitting on the sidelines, afraid to offend Islamist terrorists, apprehensive of our ultimate intentions and in the case of Europe, resentful that our response was not simply to passively absorb the effects of terror as the price of " leadership " but to dare to do something about the root causes - Islamist totalitarianism and rogue state actors. We have hedged regarding the nature of the threat too often and only intermittantly emphasized our own ideals as competiting memes, which even many of our critics admit might be beneficial if enacted in the Arab world as political reforms. The move by President Bush to invest in Indonesian schools today before Saudi Arabia can radicalize them as they did in Pakistan should be the precedent for a greater " Hearts and Minds " effort.

Q:Are the changes we have and are making too modest and incremental? My impression is that we have not yet made truly bold moves, although we have have made many sensible, logical moves in the right direction, but are they enough?

Yes. Timidity and inertia work against us. The assumption should be that the next administration will not have the will to initiate major changes in terror policy and might even retreat from the battle. Strategy needs to be " locked in" today in an aggressive posture.

Q:Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?

The last part begs the question of the issue of " clerical command and control ". When radical imams and mullahs issue fatwas that result in their organizations initiating paramilitary and terrorist operations against American targets they cross the line from noncombatant to military commander. As such, they would become legitimate military targets for the United States. We are not yet treating such figures or those who act as financiers of terror as targets.

Secondly, getting caught up in a " body count " attrition mentality may be able to offer up yardsticks of bureaucratic measurement but doing so plays to the enemy's numerical strengths. We might as well be passing out contraceptives in Pakistan if we are going to look at the Terror War in that fashion. This perspective could also distract us from the need to think in terms of employing a strategy that seeks a disruption of networks, denial of critical resources, ideological delegitimization and retention of the intiative over the enemy. More Sun Tzu and less McNamara please.

Q:Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? The US is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan, but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists. The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' costs of millions.

Yes. One relatively cost-effective option we have ignored is defining and enshrining terrorism as a crime against humanity comparable to genocide, slavery, ethnic cleansing and use of biochemical WMD. A Terrorism Convention would be a useful club with which to beat rogue state supporters of terrorism and coerce some terrorist groups into lawful guerilla armies obeying the Geneva Convention.

A comprehensive strategy has to disrupt or moderate the Madrassas to end their role as the " SS Order Castles " of Islamism. Much cheaper than hunting down their graduates or preventing the carnage they can wreck. This means confronting the Saudis ( and the Egyptian radical scholars) as the ideological fountainhead of Islamism

Do we need a new organization?

Yes. Upgrade and expand Special Operations to a service on par with the Marines and divide tasks with CIA Special Tasks clandestine paramilitaries

Q:How do we stop those who are financing the radical madrassa schools?

Some of those who finance Madrassas also contribute to al Qaida and Islamic Jihad. Those folks are themselves terrorists who use a checkbook instead of a gun or bomb. They're liable to be captured and tried or killed like any other al Qaida operative. We should make a point of *not* lumping those who finance more moderate or apolitical educational institutions with the radicals. The poor in Pakistan and Indonesia right now see these schools as their only gateway to an education so we have to be discriminating.

Q:Is our current situation such that "the harder we work, the behinder we get"?

No. The less we do the behinder we get and the stronger terrorists become. Inaction does not begat moderation.

Q:Does CIA need a new finding?

Probably, if their military capabilities and role are expanding.

Q:Should we create a private foundation to entice radical madradssas to a more moderate course?

Yes. Concentrate on Indonesia, India and African Muslims where the Wahhabists have yet to reach critical mass as they have in Pakistan.

Q:What else should we be considering?

The formation of an idea-generating, creative -thinking organization with experts from a broad cross-section of fields to do for the ideological and " soft power " realm what DARPA does in technology and science.

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