In its ideological struggle against Al-Qaeda, American anti-terrorist strategy too often overlooks the basic tenets of the infamous Chinese warlord Sun Tzu, namely: know your enemy.
That is the fixed view of leading analysts, who conclude that through ignorance of the enemy it faces, ignorance of its nature, its goals, its strengths and its weaknesses, the United States is condemned to failure.
“The attention of the US military and intelligence community is directed almost uniformly towards hunting down militant leaders or protecting US forces, (and) not towards understanding the enemy we now face,” said Bruce Hoffman, a professor at Georgetown University, Washington DC.
“This is a monumental failing not only because decapitation strategies have rarely worked in countering mass-mobilisation terrorist or insurgent campaigns, but also because Al-Qaeda’s ability to continue this struggle is based absolutely on its capacity to attract new recruits and replenish its resources.
“Without knowing our enemy, we cannot fulfill the most basic requirements of an effective counter-terrorist strategy: pre-empting and preventing terrorist operations and deterring their attacks,” Hoffman added.
As Bob pointed out, Hoffman’s comments were made long before the surge began, long before Patraeus was even confirmed:
What AFP neglected to mention is that the quotes from Professor Hoffman were issued in written testimony to The House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities in February of 2006. The testimony can be found in a PDF document published at the RAND Corporation web site on page 5 and a “dowdified” quote from the bottom of page 5 and the top of page 6.
This written testimony was issued eleven months before President Bush proposed the “surge” of American troops into Iraq, almost eleven months before General David Petraeus was confirmed as the new Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq, and a full year prior to the beginning of the buildup of American forces beginning in February of 2007 as part of the new Strategy for Iraq.
Sure, the AFP doesn’t have an agenda.