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ENDGAMEThe Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror
Chapter OneGETTING TO THE ENDGAME
Today, America is at war with an enemy every bit as dangerous as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union: We know it as radical Islam. Like enemies of our past, it draws upon the enforcement of a total ideology that rejects all that is "decadent" about Western liberal democracy. Memories of past glories and promises of their restoration as part of a new golden age fuel this movement that demands unflinching loyalty and ruthlessly stamps out all opposition. It excuses mass murder as necessary and extols the murderers. But it only takes a little investigation to reveal that its promises of liberation are a dubious cover for the blood-spattered tyranny that lies beneath.
If radical Islam were confined to a few benighted countries, we could merely denounce its brutality and celebrate when it was reformed, from afar. But radical Islam's ambitions and reach are global. It does not seek accommodation with its perceived enemies, it is bent solely on their destruction. Radical Islam sees itself locked in a war to the death against the West. To achieve the final victory, it has established a Web of Terror. Using countries where it took hold, such as Iran and Afghanistan, as its bases, radical Islam has established, armed, and funded a large number of terrorist organizations-al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Jemaah Islamiah-that have committed atrocities across the globe. Drawing on the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia, radical clerics have established mosques and religious schools around the world that spread a militant, inflexible, and intolerant version of Islam, serve as centers of recruitment for terrorist organizations, and raise financial support for those organizations. The Web of Terror's number-one enemy-and thus its number-one target-is the United States, because without the sword and shield provided by the U.S. military, the rest of the West will have no choice but to submit.
It has been widely reported that Osama bin Laden saw America's tepid reaction to terrorist acts against it in the 1980s and the 1990s as proof that the United States no longer had the will to protect itself. He reasoned that one spectacular blow at the symbols of American power would be enough to bring our country to its knees and make the world capitulate to his dreams of a new Islamic empire. Fortunately, the Bush administration was different from the Clinton administration; it accepted that the United States was in a war and did not try to minimize the terrorist acts as a law enforcement problem. Because President Bush decided to deal with the Web of Terror forthrightly and was unafraid to use American power-in its many forms-within two years of the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States and its allies have overthrown two of the most important regimes within the Web of Terror.
But the war is not over. The prospect of a free and democratic Iraq and Afghanistan is threatened by the Islamists who would return these countries to tyranny. Syria allows jihadists to flow into Iraq to fight the coalition forces and disrupt Iraqi society. The Iranian regime is training and supporting terrorists, including those attacking our soldiers in Iraq, and is working feverishly to develop nuclear weapons. Iran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons has been advanced by Pakistani nuclear scientists and Saudi Arabian petro-dollars as well as support from the ultimate rogue state, North Korea. Iran will probably have a nuclear weapon within six to twelve months.
In North Korea, the dictator Kim Jong Il has impoverished his country and starved his people in order to build nuclear weapons and guided missiles-technologies he will certainly sell to radical Muslims with whom he has made common cause.
Post-September 11, the members of the Web of Terror have realized that America is more resilient than they thought. Therefore, its plans have grown more dramatic. We fear-and that is the correct word-that the next major terrorist attack on the United States will be conducted with weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons. That is why we must act now to destroy the terror masters before they can strike us.
Our book is meant to provide a blueprint for victory, an endgame that will eliminate the Web of Terror. We speak not as armchair generals, but as retired generals of the Air Force and the Army who have devoted the bulk of our lives to defending the United States. We speak also as military analysts for FOX News Channel, positions that have allowed us to keep up-to-the-minute with all that is occurring in the Pentagon, the CIA, and elsewhere in the U.S. government related to the war on terrorism.
We also know the men and women on "the sharp edge" of the war on terror, in the rifle companies, artillery batteries, tank platoons, Special Operating Forces, bomber wings, airlift squadrons, communications detachments, fighter squadrons, aircraft carriers, submarines, cruisers, destroyers, and amphibious warfare ships. These are the people who do the fighting, the "peacekeeping," and, inevitably, the dying. These active-duty National Guard and Reserve soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coast guard are the best this nation has to offer.
During a visit we made to Baghdad in 2003, a young soldier told us that the war on terror cannot be lost on the battlefield; but it can be lost if the will of the American people falters: they must understand why we fight. This book is our attempt to explain not only why we fight, but how we will win.
Lt. General Tom McInerney writes as an expert on high-tech warfare who served for thirty-five years in the U.S. Air Force. Tom was a career fighter pilot who served four tours in Vietnam, commanded a numbered air force during a major strike against a terrorist country, and was a joint force commander (his command was composed of the 6th Infantry Division [Light] and the 11th Air Force and was supported by the Navy's Third Fleet). His final assignment was as the assistant vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force and director of the Defense Performance Review, reporting directly to the secretary of defense. Maj. General Paul Vallely writes as an expert on special operations, psychological/information warfare, and civil-military operations. Like Tom, he is a graduate of West Point. In fact, we were at West Point together-Tom started life as an infantry officer before transferring to the Air Force-but we never crossed paths again, despite serving in Vietnam at the same time, until FOX News Channel brought us together as military analysts after September 11. Paul served in the Army for thirty-two years, seeing two combat tours in Vietnam and duty around the world before retiring as deputy commanding general, U.S. Army, Pacific. As military analysts at FOX News Channel, we developed the network's "war room." More important, we were recognized as the military analysts who got things right more often than anyone else in the popular media. In part that was because of our sources, and in part it was because we based our analysis on fact, not spin, and what we knew of the United States military's capabilities, not on the hopes or fears or on what other commentators were saying. In this book, our intention is to offer the same kind of analysis-factual, doable, realistic.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
The first step in confronting our enemy is to know it, define it, and deal with it. The Web of Terror is made up of eight terror-sponsoring countries. The qualifications to be a Web of Terror nation are that it supports and/or sponsors terrorism and is involved with weapons of mass destruction. Without the support of these countries, terrorist groups like al-Qaeda would not be a serious threat. Our mission is to defeat al-Qaeda by defeating the Web of Terror. In other words, they have a choice to take a path of cooperation or a path of defiance. That means changing, or achieving major policy shifts in, six of the regimes that make up the Web of Terror, and helping guide the other two on a path of political reform. The six are Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Libya. Of these six regimes, the United States has forcibly changed two already. Afghanistan was the nest of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. It no longer is. Saddam Hussein's Iraq was in many ways the center of gravity of the Web of Terror. It was central geographically, bordering Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. It was central in its contempt for the West with its daily violations of UN resolutions, firing on British and American aircraft, and continuation of WMD research and development. It was central in that it had produced and used WMDs in the past. And it was central because it was a way-station for terrorists who could contact scientists working on WMD research, something that America's former weapons inspector David Kay not only affirmed but said was more likely than we ever realized. The Hussein regime had already once tried to assassinate a former American president-George H. W. Bush. Certainly, it would have had few compunctions about giving ricin, anthrax, or some other poisonous agent to a terrorist group for a strike against the United States, if Iraq could maintain plausible deniability.
Of the remaining regimes:
Libya today shows signs of reform, as Muammar Gaddafi has observed America's liberation of Iraq and taken the obvious clue. He has abandoned his quest for nuclear weapons, surrendered his research facilities, and is trying to reach something of an accommodation with the West.
Syria continues its role as a major terrorist sponsor-and according to reliable intelligence, which we have reported on FOX News, may be the hiding place of Iraqi WMDs, along with the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon. But for all the trouble it causes in the region, for all the terrorism it sponsors, Syria is a paper tiger that could fold if enough pressure is applied.
Iran is a great danger because of its rush to build a nuclear weapon and because it is the heart of the Web of Terror. President Jimmy Carter's decision to let the Shah of Iran fall was a monumental one. In a sense, the Ayatollah Khomeini was the spider that spun the Web of Terror. Iran, until 1979, had been a moderately Western-oriented country and an ally to the United States. After the revolution of 1978-1979, it became the nation where a revolutionary Islamic fundamentalist state was first established. As such it provided other radical Islamists with an encouraging example that even the most apparently resilient regime could be overthrown by a dedicated cadre of activists and that a forthrightly Islamic regime could be established in its stead and enjoy broad popular support (for a time, at least). Under the control of those who toppled the Shah, Iran also became a leading exporter of radical Islam and a leading supporter of Islamist terrorism. Some analysts also have stated that the rise of a Shi'ite Islamic state in Iran spurred the House of Saud to expand its efforts to spread its ascetic Wahabbi theology, which has spawned a large number of problems. Now, however, the open and growing domestic opposition to Iran's despotic mullahs is bringing the political situation in Iran to the point where regime change might be easier to accomplish in Iran than it was in Iraq.
The last country is the Web of Terror's one non-Islamic component, North Korea. Too many policymakers take the position that there is very little we can do to reform North Korea, because we can bring no viable military pressure to bear on it, given North Korea's fanatically militarized regime. That argument is false, and later in the book we will show why.
The two regimes that need reforming are Saudi Arabia, whose enormous standing and financial resources in the Islamic world have been used to promote the Web of Terror-often in ways contrary to the kingdom's own interests. The other regime is Pakistan, which has a record of advancing radical Islamist groups through official and quasi-official means. Pakistan's current president, Pervez Musharraf, has shown immense bravery and no lack of nerve in confronting his country's rogue nuclear scientists and trying to tame the Islamists in Pakistan's political and military establishments. More work, however, needs to be done to ensure that Pakistan is a firm partner in the war against terrorism.
Change the regimes in these countries, or reform them, and the Web of Terror withers away-and that includes al-Qaeda and the "subsidiaries" in its terror conglomerate. Countering al-Qaeda's terrorism as a police matter will not end it. Focusing solely on al-Qaeda's amorphous network and not on the rogue states that give it sustenance will not destroy it. The Web of Terror nurtured and supported al-Qaeda and its related organizations. Destroy the Web of Terror and al-Qaeda is destroyed and with it, the chief threat to America's security today: weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists.
Any other solution is incomplete-and, by being incomplete, dangerous. The scenarios if we don't act are frightening, which only underlines why they must be avoided. It's time to consider them now.
Excerpted from ENDGAME by Thomas McInerney Paul Vallely Copyright © 2004 by Paul E. Vallely and Thomas McInerney. Excerpted by permission.
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