Frank Cilluffo And Clifton Watts: Common Sense About Al Qaeda
From a longer rebuttal to Gregory Johnson, who thinks hearts-and-minds stuff should expensively continue wherever there are Muslims behaving badly, so as to somehow change the environment out of which, we are to fondly believe, Al Qaeda recruits -- when all it takes for Al Qaeda, and dozens of other nearly-identical-in-ideology groups to recruit, is to make sure that Islam is inculcated, and taken seriously, and nothing done to shake that faith, to weaken its hold, to expose all the ways that islam itself is responsible for, explains, the political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral failures of Muslim states and societies. [Since there's incessant grandiloquent self-promoting going on at certain websites, I shall offer my own muted version and allow myself to believe that some will not forget to identify me with this strategy, and to remember, even if only dimly, what I have set out in greater detail, and over many years, about how it should be executed] an article in which they [Cilluffo, Watts]note that all that expensive (trillions of dollars now have been spent in Iraq and Afghanistan on the theory, entirely unproven, that making life better for local Muslims will "dry up" support for Al Qaeda) has been a waste, and that the way to weaken Al Qaeda is by attacking and killing its members, and to keep that up indefinitely.
"Ten years of American counterterrorism efforts demonstrate that the best way to defeat al Qaeda is to go directly after al Qaeda. Bin Laden’s personal notes articulate that building schools in Afghanistan didn’t slow down al Qaeda but drone strikes halted many of their operations. Johnsen’s title “The Seduction of Simple Solutions” suggests the only way to deter AQAP in the near term is via a complex solution instituted through a failed Saleh regime or its successor. Pursuing such a solution will fail to stop AQAP’s immediate threat to the United States and is not feasible in light of the current situation in Yemen.
As we noted in our original article, we believe our recommendation is neither comprehensive nor simple, but instead the best option for achieving immediate U.S. national security interests with regards to AQAP. If we’ve learned anything from the past ten years, it is ‘yes’ sometimes simple (as distinguished from simplistic) strategies with clear goals and objectives work far better in achieving our near term interests than costly, complex strategies spread across convoluted bureaucracies. Increased use of drone and SOF forces, when executed as designed, can help eliminate the immediate threat of AQAP and improve U.S. options for pursuing a long-run Yemen strategy less encumbered by counterterrorism concerns."
Posted on 07/31/2011 10:27 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald