While some people are busy spinning thier wheels "questioning everything", I will state (again) how much I LIKE living in the last Superpower! Lucky me, by chance or divine will, I am glad to be here! No question there. While some people are still trying to get the gay Buddist waiter to seat them in the aready too full "no conflict section" of the reasurant, I have no problem knowing that there will always be conflict. While some people are so self involved that "it's not enough to state reality" I will state it one more time, in a repost that is still as valid as when I recieved it:
Extracted from Ralph Peters' book, "When Devils Walk the Earth"
Fighting Terror: Do's and Don'ts for a Superpower
01. Be feared.
02. 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.
03. 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.
04. 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.
05. Concentrate on winning the propaganda war where it is winnable. Focus
on keeping or enhancing the support from allies and well-disposed clients,
but do not waste an inordinate amount of effort trying to win unwinnable
hearts and minds. Convince hostile populations through victory.
06. Do not be drawn into a public dialog with terrorists, especially not
with apocalyptic terrorists. You cannot win. You legitimize the terrorists
by addressing them even through a third medium, and their extravagant
claims will resound more successfully on their own home ground than
anything you can say. Ignore absurd accusations, and never let the enemy's
claims slow or sidetrack you. The terrorist wants you to react, and your
best means of unbalancing him and his plan is to ignore his accusations.
07. Avoid planning creep. Within our vast bureaucratic system, too many
voices compete for attention and innumerable agendas, often selfish and
personal, intrude on any attempt to act decisively. Focus on the basic
mission: the destruction of the terrorists with all the moral,
intellectual and practical rigor you can bring to bear. All other issues,
from future nation-building, to alliance consensus, to humanitarian
concerns are secondary.
08. Maintain resolve. Especially in the Middle East and Central Asia,
experts and diplomats will always present you with a multitude of good
reasons for doing nothing, or for doing too little (or for doing exactly
the wrong thing). Fight as hard as you can within the system to prevent
diplomats from gaining influence over the strategic campaign. Although
their intentions are often good, our diplomats and their obsolete
strategic views are the terrorist's unwitting allies and diplomats are
extremely jealous of military success and military authority in their
region (where their expertise is never as deep or subtle as they believe
it to be). Beyond the problem with our diplomats, the broader forces of
bureaucratic entropy are an internal threat. The counter-terrorist
campaign must be not only resolute, but constantly self-rejuvenating in
ideas, techniques, military and inter-agency combinations, and sheer
energy. Old hands must be stimulated constantly by new ideas.
09. When in doubt, hit harder than you think necessary. Success will be
forgiven. Even the best-intentioned failure will not. When military force
is used against terrorist networks, it should be used with such power that
it stuns even our allies. We must get over our cowardice in means. While
small-scale raids and other knife-point operations are useful against
individual targets, broader operations should be overwhelming. Of course,
targeting limitations may inhibit some efforts but, whenever possible,
maximum force should be used in simultaneous operations at the very
beginning of a campaign. Do not hesitate to supplement initial target
lists with extensive bombing attacks on nothing if they can increase the
initial psychological impact. Demonstrate power whenever you can. Show,
10. Whenever legal conditions permit, kill terrorists on the spot (do not
give them a chance to surrender, if you can help it). Contrary to academic
wisdom, the surest way to make a martyr of a terrorist is to capture,
convict and imprison him, leading to endless efforts by sympathizers to
stage kidnappings, hijacking and other events intended to liberate the
imprisoned terrorist(s). This is war, not law enforcement.
11. Never listen to those who warn that ferocity on our part reduces us to
the level of the terrorists. That is the argument of the campus, not of
the battlefield, and it insults America's service members and the American
people. Historically, we have proven, time after time, that we can do a
tough, dirty job for our country without any damage to our nation's moral
fabric (Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not interfere with American democracy,
values or behavior).
12. Spare and protect innocent civilians whenever possible, but do not let
the prospect of civilian casualties interfere with ultimate mission
accomplishment. This is a fight to protect the American people, and we
must do so whatever the cost, or the price in American lives may be
devastating. In a choice between us and them, the choice is always us.
13. Do not allow the terrorists to hide behind religion. Apocalyptic
terrorists cite religion as a justification for attacking us; in turn, we
cannot let them hide behind religious holidays, taboos, strictures or even
sacred terrain. We must establish a consistent reputation for relentless
pursuit and destruction of those who kill our citizens. Until we do this,
our hesitation will continue to strengthen our enemy's ranks and his
14. Do not allow third parties to broker a peace, a truce, or any pause in operations. One of the most difficult challenges in fighting terrorism on a global scale is the drag produced by nervous allies. We must be single-minded. The best thing we can do for our allies in the long-term is to be so resolute and so strong that they value their alliance with us all the more. We must recognize the innate strength of our position and stop allowing regional leaders with counterproductive local agendas to subdue or dilute our efforts. 15. Don't flinch. If an operation goes awry and friendly casualties are unexpectedly high, immediately bolster morale and the military's image by striking back swiftly in a manner that inflicts the maximum possible number of casualties on the enemy and his supporters. Hit back as graphically as possible, to impress upon the local and regional players that you weren't badly hurt or deterred in the least. 16. Do not worry about alienating already-hostile populations. 17. Whenever possible, humiliate your enemy in the eyes of his own people. Do not try to use reasonable arguments against him. Shame him publicly, in any way you can. Create doubt where you cannot excite support. Most apocalyptic terrorists, especially, come from cultures of male vanity. Disgrace them at every opportunity. Done successfully, this both degrades them in the eyes of their followers and supporters, and provokes the terrorist to respond, increasing his vulnerability. 18. If the terrorists hide, strike what they hold dear, using clandestine means and, whenever possible, foreign agents to provoke them to break cover and react. Do not be squeamish. Your enemy is not. Subtlety is not a superpower strength but the raw power to do that which is necessary is our great advantage. We forget that, while the world may happily chide or accuse us -or complain of our inhumanity- no one can stop us if we maintain our strength of will. Much of the world will complain no matter what we do. Hatred of America is the default position of failed individuals and failing states around the world, in every civilization, and there is nothing we can do to change their minds. We refuse to understand how much of humanity will find excuses for evil, so long as the evil strikes those who are more successful than the apologists themselves. This is as true of American academics, whose eagerness to declare our military efforts a failure is unflagging, or European clerics, who still cannot forgive America's magnanimity at the end of World War II, as it is of unemployed Egyptians or Pakistanis. The psychologically marginalized are at least as dangerous as the physically deprived. 19. Do not allow the terrorists sanctuary in any country, at any time, under any circumstances. Counter- terrorist operations must, above all, be relentless. This does not necessarily mean that military operations will be constantly underway sometimes it will be surveillance efforts, or deception plans, or operations by other agencies. But the overall effort must never pause for breath. We must be faster, more resolute, more resourceful and, ultimately, even more uncompromising than our enemies. 20. Never declare victory. Announce successes and milestones. But never give the terrorists a chance to embarrass you after a public pronouncement that the war is over. 21. Impress upon the minds of terrorists and potential terrorists everywhere, and upon the populations and governments inclined to support them, that American retaliation will be powerful and uncompromising. You will never deter fanatics, but you can frighten those who might support, harbor or attempt to use terrorists for their own ends. Our basic task in the world today is to restore a sense of American power, capabilities and resolve. We must be hard, or we will be struck wherever we are soft. It is folly for charity to precede victory. First win, then unclench your fist. 22. Do everything possible to make terrorists and their active supporters live in terror themselves. Turn the tide psychologically and practically. While this will not deter hardcore apocalyptic terrorists, it will dissipate their energies as they try to defend themselves and fear will deter many less-committed supporters of terror. Do not be distracted by the baggage of the term assassination. This is a war. The enemy, whether a hijacker or a financier, violates the laws of war by his refusal to wear a uniform and by purposely targeting civilians. He is by definition a war criminal. On our soil, he is either a spy or a saboteur, and not entitled to the protections of the U.S. Constitution. Those who abet terrorists must grow afraid to turn out the lights to go to sleep. 23. Never accept the consensus of the Washington intelligentsia, which looks backward to past failures, not forward to future successes.. 24. In dealing with Islamic apocalyptic terrorists, remember that their most cherished symbols are fewer and far more vulnerable than are the West's. Ultimately, no potential target can be regarded as off-limits when the United States is threatened with mass casualties. Worry less about offending foreign sensibilities and more about protecting Americans. 25. Do not look for answers in recent history, which is still unclear and subject to personal emotion. Begin with the study of the classical world specifically Rome, which is the nearest model to the present-day United States. Mild with subject peoples, to whom they brought the rule of ethical law, the Romans in their rise and at their apogee were implacable with their enemies. The utter destruction of Carthage brought centuries of local peace, while the later empire's attempts to appease barbarians consistently failed. Note: The author does not claim to be an expert on terrorism or on any other subject. He is simply a former soldier who saw something of the world and then thought about what he saw
I, too, have ZERO problem with America being the only superpower on Earth, and consider it a BLESSING that I am here!