Sunday, September 6, 2009

A New War Against Radical Islam - Conclusion

This is the conclusion of a multi-part post, Part IV, Part III, Part II, Part I.  Also, see Intro.

In this series of posts I've argued for several methods of taking the war to the enemy. All involve using the CIA as a weapon, not just as an intelligence gathering entity. For the foreseeable future, we face the threat of terrorism driven by radical Islam. Unfortunately, the military is not an ideal tool for dealing with such a threat in many instances. We can't invade and occupy every country that contains anti-American terrorists. As we saw in the 1990s, retaliatory military strikes often miss their targets, kill innocent people, and have a short-term effect anyway -- unless we get lucky and take out critically important leaders. An ability to strike targets anywhere in the world, secretly and deniably, would give us greater options for destroying threats before they come to fruition. 

The U.S. needs to start instilling some terror of our own in our enemies. The current fear faced by Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region -- that they could be killed at any minute by a drone strike -- should be extended to terrorist enemies across the globe. Rather than fear arrest, every member of an Islamic terror organization, their supporters, and the radical Islamic clerics who cheer them on, should be made to live their lives waiting for a bullet in the head from a U.S.-directed assassin.

As I've argued repeatedly, the U.S. needs to take the offensive against radical Islam and its anti-American terror efforts. Sitting on defense by relying on security measures, passive intelligence gathering, and law enforcement is a recipe for another major attack. Asymmetric warfare between the U.S. and non-state terrorist organizations requires new methods of fighting, and new weapons. The CIA can and should be deployed as such a weapon, not chained down with legal restrictions or pilloried for things it did in the past.

Unfortunately there is little hope that anything I've suggested will be done by the current administration, or probably by any administration unless another terrorist attack hits the U.S. If that happens, the first thing we are likely to see are increased security measures which put greater restrictions on our free society. I would like to avoid that possibility.

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