November 5, 2001 | WebMemo on National Security and Defense
1. Don't let political objectives
confuse or constrain the military campaign.
2. Don't let the coalition drive the military
Coalition partners should add to the war effort, not subtract from it. While their political demands are a diplomatic reality, they have no right to constrain us in such a way as to guarantee military defeat. No coalition members should be permitted to dictate the terms, conditions, or nature of our military response; or who should be part of the coalition; or what kind of foreign policies America should pursue. Our coalitions should be revolving, depending on the goals and circumstances of the operation, and the coalition strategy should be sequential in targeting other terrorist-supporting states after Afghanistan.
3. Make the U.S. response to terrorism as broad as the threat
Since the threat is global, the response must be global as well. We must go where the threat is. That is why, as President Bush has repeatedly said, we must hold all states that harbor terrorists accountable. The strategy must be as deep as it is broad; deep in the sense of focusing on intelligence, law enforcement, and homeland defense; but broad as well as in the sense of focusing at some point on all the countries that harbor terrorists. We must, therefore, at some point come to terms with Iraq, Iran, Syria and other terrorist-supporting states.
4. Maximum military pressure and success against terrorism in
the short run will produce maximum political benefits and success
in the long run.
The best way to stop Iran, Syria and other states from supporting terrorism is to be successful in Afghanistan and Iraq. This means changing the regimes in those countries. All the countries in the region-including terrorist-supporting ones like Iran and Syria-are watching and waiting to see if the U.S. war on terrorism will be successful. The more successful we are against Taliban, al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, the less likely states like Iran and Syria will believe that terrorism has a future as an instrument of revolutionary political change. We need to create the impression that our victory over terrorism is certain and inevitable. Moreover, we should not be making diplomatic statements that imply that these countries are part of our anti-terrorism coalition.
5. Don't give into the self-defeating double standards
created by our enemies or by reluctant allies.
The Taliban and the Northern Alliance have not and will not stop their military operations during Ramadan, so why should we? The history of warfare in the Middle East, Gulf and Central Asia is replete with instances where Islamic armies fought through Ramadan. It would be militarily self-defeating for us to stop or slow military operations during Ramadan. Moreover, no military force on earth has the will or technology to keep civilian casualties as low as ours; we should not allow other countries, some of which have terrible human rights records, hold us up to a mythical high standard of zero casualties that exists for no other military force.
6. Terrorists will attack us wherever we are vulnerable and
in ways that will take maximum advantage of any asymmetries that
exist between their capabilities and our vulnerability.
The attacks of September 11 show that the terrorists are aiming for mass casualties against soft targets. They struck where we were completely vulnerable and with means that were a total surprise. There is a lesson here: We should expect this pattern to be repeated in the future with ballistic and cruise missiles. These weapons can inflict mass casualties with little or no warning, and we are totally vulnerable to them. We should expect that terrorist networks and terrorist-supporting states would resort to acquiring missiles first as a deterrent against retaliation. They could then use missiles in classic asymmetrical mode of attack that will inflict mass casualties quickly and with near certainty. Also they may attack in ways that will reduce our capability and willingness to retaliate against them-namely, from sea, in a suicide-mission, or from the territory of a state that itself possesses nuclear retaliatory capability. That is why active defenses are imperative.
Ph.D. is Vice President of Foreign and Defense Policy
Studies and Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis
Institute for International Studies at The Heritage