Friday, September 24, 2010

Fighting Terror: Do's and Don'ts for a Superpower:

Excerpt: This essay is extracted from Ralph Peters' new book, "When Devils Walk the Earth." It is a must-read. The man is prescient. If you focus on nothing else, peruse the last point; Number 25.

1. Be feared!

2. Identify the type of terrorists you face, and know your enemy as well as you possibly can. Although tactics may be similar, strategies for dealing with practical vs. apocalyptic terrorists can differ widely. Practical terrorists may have legitimate grievances that deserve consideration, although their methods cannot be tolerated. Apocalyptic terrorists, no matter their rhetoric, seek your destruction and must be killed to the last man. The apt metaphor is cancer: you cannot hope for success if you only cut out part of the tumor. For the apocalyptic terrorist, evading your efforts can easily be turned into a public triumph. Our bloodiest successes will create far fewer terrorists and sympathizers than our failures.

3. Do not be afraid to be powerful. Cold War-era gambits of proportionate response and dialog may have some utility in dealing with practical terrorists, but they are counter-productive in dealing with apocalyptic terrorists. Our great strengths are wealth and raw power. When we fail to bring those strengths to bear, we contribute to our own defeat. For a superpower to think small, which has been our habit across the last decade, at least, is self-defeating folly. Our responses to terrorist acts should make the world gasp!

4. Speak bluntly. Euphemisms are interpreted as weakness by our enemies and mislead the American people. Speak of killing terrorists and destroying their organizations. Timid speech leads to timid actions. Explain when necessary, but do not apologize. Expressions of regret are never seen as a mark of decency by terrorists or their supporters, but only as a sign that our will is faltering. Blame the terrorists as the root cause whenever operations have unintended negative consequences. Never go on the rhetorical defensive.

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