Iraq War "a strategic error of the first order"

jbone at place.org jbone at place.org
Tue Jan 13 13:54:44 PST 2004


(Via DDD)

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  "Bounding the Global War on Terrorism" -- 
http://www.carlisle.army.mil/ssi/pubs/2003/bounding/bounding.htm - was 
issued in December 2003 by the Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) of the 
Army War College. The SSI is the U.S. Army's think tank for the 
analysis of national security policy and military strategy. SSI 
provides direct analysis for Army and Department of Defense leadership, 
and serves as a bridge to the wider strategic community. The report was 
written by Dr. Jeffrey Record, professor at the Air War College and 
long-time defense expert who is a visiting research professor at SSI. 
In his summary of the report, Dr. Record writes:

"Of particular concern has been the conflation of al-Qaeda and Saddam 
Hussein's Iraq as a single, undifferentiated terrorist threat. This was 
a strategic error of the first order because it ignored critical 
differences between the two in character, threat level, and 
susceptibility to U.S. deterrence and military action. The result has 
been an unnecessary preventive war of choice against a deterred Iraq 
that has created a new front in the Middle East for Islamic terrorism 
and diverted attention and resources away from securing the American 
homeland against further assault by an undeterrable al-Qaeda. The war 
against Iraq was not integral to the [Global War on Terror], but rather 
a detour from it."

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SUMMARY

The author examines three features of the war on terrorism as currently 
defined and conducted: (1) the administration's postulation of the 
terrorist threat, (2) the scope and feasibility of U.S. war aims, and 
(3) the war's political, fiscal, and military sustainability. He 
believes that the war on terrorism--as opposed to the campaign against 
al-Qaeda--lacks strategic clarity, embraces unrealistic objectives, and 
may not be sustainable over the long haul. He calls for downsizing the 
scope of the war on terrorism to reflect concrete U.S. security 
interests and the limits of American military power.

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jb



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