Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Long Term strategy

Wesley Clark is a very smart man and has some good ideas for how we can succeed in defeating Al-Qaeda. He seems to be doing a much better job of thinking long term about what needs to be done in order for us to Win.

But al-Qaeda has evolved since the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001.

Relentless pressure by the CIA, Special Forces and many other national intelligence and police efforts has made the old, centralized structure of al-Qaeda unworkable.

And we need to keep up the pressure. But al-Qaeda's new threat is decentralized. Thursday's attacks in London have all the earmarks of such a "franchise" operation, locally planned and resourced with relatively modest means, emulating al-Qaeda without the vulnerabilities of centralized resourcing and direction.

I'm really glad to see that there is a national figure who realizes that we need to do more than kill bad people in order to be safe. We need to be smart and think globally in order to win this fight, but I think it is one that we must win.

But fighting terrorism at home isn't just a matter of "killing terrorists." Terrorists aren't born that way. They are created by their interaction with their surroundings. To win this war, we must defeat the ideology of terrorism, depriving angry young people of their ability to justify their hateful actions in the name of Allah.

This will require not only strong Islamic condemnation of terrorists and their acts, but also a winning dialogue within Islam to defeat Koranic interpretations seeking to justify the use of force against innocent people. We need to encourage "moderates" in Islam to debate, to proselytize and to win over potential terrorists. They are the only ones who can do it.

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