Saturday, February 9, 2008

US General Explains How to Fight Terrorism.

by Hillel Fendel

US Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Nick Halley, a veteran Vietnam, Grenada and Desert Storm (Iraq) commander and general, says the war against radical Islam is a no-choice prospect, in which the West must do everything it can to win.

In his book Terrorism: The Target is You!, Gen. Halley calmly but emphatically calls upon the American public to internalize that the war imposed upon them by extremist Muslims is for real.  Each and every citizen has a role to play in this war, Halley says, mainly in understanding that a concerted war effort is crucial.  His list of Do's and Don'ts includes the following: Don't judge progress based on casualty reports; Don't have unrealistic expectations; Don't overreact to bad news or future terrorist attacks; Do be alert; and Do put aside political differences in order to present a unified front against radical Islam.

 What Happened in Somalia
Halley writes that the terrorists were emboldened to begin their war by an incident that occurred in 1993 in Somalia:

"We [the U.S.] went to that country with the purest of intentions - to restore order, end the civil war, and prevent the starvation of tens of thousands of Muslim people. The Muslim warlords were preventing international aid from being properly distributed to the starving people.

"In an Army Ranger operation against one of those warlords, Mohammed Farah Aideed, a Blackhawk helicopter was shot down and 18 Americans were killed in the operation... Our response was to leave Somalia.

"This was the final event that persuaded the international terrorist leaders and their organizations - especially Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda - that the US would not strongly respond militarily to terrorist attacks... The terrorists became convinced that the most powerful country in the world had a very weak will. They were persuaded that we could be defeated in any conflict by turning American public opinion against a particular conflict simply by killing enough Americans over a period of time. In effect, the real target of the terrorist attack is the American people. They want to break the will of the American people. This so-called 'Somalia Strategy' is the basis of their current strategy [emphasis in the original]."

Gen. Halley, who commanded thousands of soldiers in Vietnam, Grenada and Iraq (Desert Storm), writes that this war is the most dangerous and difficult war in US history, for several reasons: The enemies are hard to identify and isolate; they want to kill not only soldiers, but regular citizens and their children; the vast expanses of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans that protected the US in previous wars are not effective against a terrorist war; and the war can be expected to last two decades or more.

Though the strategy of deterrence helped win the Cold War against the Soviet Union, Halley asserts that it is very ineffective against terrorists who want to "kill us and our children, and [are] willing and even anxious to die in that process.  Deterrence simply does not work under those conditions."

Instead, Halley explains, the necessary strategy - though it has its dangers - is that of pre-emptiveness. It calls for attacking any country or group that presents a "clear and present" danger, even if not imminent.  It "basically calls for us to hunt down and destroy any enemies before they strike, not after."

The Media's Role
Halley emphasizes that the media has an important role to play in this war.  "We are doing better in the global war against the radical Muslim groups than most citizens think," he writes. "Unfortunately, the bad news is being over-reported, while the good news is being under-reported. This is causing great confusion and creating divisions in American public opinion that is significantly reducing public support for this critical war. The continuing erosion of support - not defeats on the battlefield - could cause us to eventually lose this war.  The enemy is counting on this."
 
One of its closing quotations was uttered by World War II General Douglas MacArthur: "It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win."

Hillel Fendel

 

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

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