Thursday, July 07, 2005


Is A New Strategy Needed For The War On Terror?

I caught Ollie North on Hannity's radio show this afternoon, as he was considered to be the expert on Al Qaeda. He claimed that the cell who perpetrated the attacks (calling themselves "Al Qaeda Europe") was an indepedent group with no real contact to the greater Al Qaeda group. If indeed that is the case - and it certainly seems plausible - then how does this impact the WoT?

Certainly, if we're dealing with splinter cells that are setting their own goals and planning attacks without outside support, then indeed this whole thing does start looking like a local law-enforcement problem and not a international military problem, which is a statement that would have seemed foolish after the Sept. 11th attacks (and even the 3/11 Madrid attacks were immediately attributed to international terrorism). Certainly it's a statement that someone like Bill Quick (who I respect) would disagree with.

But I have to ask - if this is a search-and-destroy military mission, where does one start? Flattening a terrorist-sponsoring country in the Middle East isn't going to help - North said there's little/no connection, remember? Leveling London or Seattle or Detroit probably isn't the solution that anyone's looking for. So where does that leave things? Send in SEAL and Delta Force teams into Muslim neighborhoods? JDAM attacks on suspected terrorist strongholds/suburbs?

I don't think that's going to work, nor do I think that traditional law enforcement activities hold the solution. Obviously, since they didn't do much good in London despite the fact it's one of the most-surveiled (1 camera for every 14 residents) and thoroughly-disarmed cities in the world. How about civilian defense squads? I'm all about that idea, but it's kinda hard to understand how a civvie armed with a concealed pistol will be of much use against someone wearing a suicide bomb belt. What about "tough new laws"? Well, England already has a law allowing the government to confine suspected terrorists for up to 12 months without pressing charges, if the Home Secretary feels that they are more likely than not to be involved with terrorist activities. That's a pretty low standard, and yet didn't do anything to stop today's tragedy.

Former Sec. of State Lawrence Eagleburger is on Fox News right now and seems to be suggesting attacks against Syria and Iran. Gibson jumped into to add Saudi Arabia to the list, and then asked "what if these bombers were home-grown?" Eagleburger simply didn't have any suggestions to deal with that scenario, and then jumped right back on the concept of sticking it to Syria. That type of thinking isn't likely to help in this case, given the (extremely sparse) facts so far.

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