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Pentagon: Terrorism to be threat for decades

July 31st, 2008 . by TexasFred

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates says that even winning the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will not end the “Long War” against violent extremism and that the fight against al-Qaeda and other terrorists should be the nation’s top military priority over coming decades, according to a new National Defense Strategy he approved last month.

The strategy document, which has not been released, calls for the military to master “irregular” warfare rather than focusing on conventional conflicts against other nations, though Gates also recommends partnering with China and Russia in order to blunt their rise as potential adversaries. The strategy is a culmination of Gates’s work since he took over the Pentagon in late 2006 and spells out his view that the nation must harness both military assets and “soft power” to defeat a complex, transnational foe.

“Iraq and Afghanistan remain the central fronts in the struggle, but we cannot lose sight of the implications of fighting a long-term, episodic, multi-front, and multi-dimensional conflict more complex and diverse than the Cold War confrontation with communism,” according to the 23-page document, provided to The Washington Post by, a defense industry news service. “Success in Iraq and Afghanistan is crucial to winning this conflict, but it alone will not bring victory.”

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Pentagon: Terrorism to be threat for decades

Sec. Gates seems to be a master of *the understatement*, a lot like the eggheads that keep saying that California *could* have a massive quake sometime in the next 30 years. Safe bets, hedged bets, they works pretty well, and the probabilities are in your favor.

Terrorism will not go away, even with a full victory in Afghanistan and Iraq, terrorism won’t go away even if radical Islam is totally wiped out. Timothy McVeigh wasn’t an Islamic terrorist.

But maybe Gates is on to something, fighting terrorism with “irregular” warfare tactics?? What a concept! And verbiage is everything, semantics make it all seem so much better.

Irregular Warfare? Wasn’t that what the U.S. Army Unconventional Warfare Manual covered for years? Isn’t irregular warfare, and the necessity of it’s use one of the really important lessons we supposedly learned in Vietnam?

Let’s face facts, we turned up the heat in Iraq, and to do so we drew down our forces in Afghanistan, and there was a fairly rapid resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan. We turned up the heat and it now appears that many of the insurgents in Iraq, those not Iraqi themselves, have moved on to easier picking so to speak.

When we ramp up our efforts in Afghanistan, and I feel we must, I hope the DoD doesn’t forget that if we make it too tough on the insurgents there, they’ll simply move on to less challenged areas.

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3 Responses to “Pentagon: Terrorism to be threat for decades”

  1. comment number 1 by: rgroland

    I agree that Afghanistan should always ave been our primary objective. Unfortunately Bush’s priority was Iraq. The surge in Iraq worked well, but with a draw down in Afghanistan as TF stated.

    The problem we face is that we are stretching our volunteer armed forces way too thin. We are spread out all over the world. Soldiers are facing unbelievable short turn around times between deployments. You can only push these troops so hard. It comes down to numbers!! We definately need to scale back in Iraq and focus on Afghanistan.
    God bless the troops because they have to carry all the burden!!!

  2. comment number 2 by: BobF

    A threat for decades? Is SecDef Gates making a prediction or stating a historical fact? Islamic terrorism has been a threat for decades going back, let’s say, to 1968.

    1968 Robert Kennedy assassinated
    1972 Munich Olympics Sep-5, 1972 (Black September)
    1976 Entebbe Hostage Crisis, June 27, 1976
    1979 Iran Hostage Crisis, Nov. 4, 1979 444 days
    1979 Grand Mosque Seizure, Nov 20,1979
    1981 Assassination of Egyptian President, Oct 6,1981
    1982 Assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister, Sept 14, 1982
    1983 Bombing of US Embassy in Beirut, April 18,1983
    1983 Bombing of Marine Barracks, Beirut, Oct 23,1983 (Shiite suicide bombers exploded truck near U.S. military barracks at Beirut airport, killing 241 Marines. Minutes later a second bomb killed 58 French paratroopers in their barracks in West Beirut.)

  3. comment number 3 by: TexasFred

    BobF, That’s what I meant about *hedging* the bets…

    If Gates were in the service he’d be *Capt. Obvious*… :P