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Saturday, Feb. 14, 2004 at 10:20 AM
email@example.com 1-800-824-0768 Jane's Information Group, 110 N. Royal Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314
"global war on terrorism as presently defined and conducted is strategically unfocused, promised much more than it can deliver, and threatens to dissipate US military and other resources in an endless and hopeless search for absolute security"
The emperor's new clothes
Jane's Intelligence Digest, 15 January 2004
JID subscribers are unlikely to be in any doubt about our assessment of the Iraq campaign. It has long been our view that the available intelligence did not provide a justification for military intervention by the USA and its allies, no matter how appalling Saddam Hussein may have been as a leader.
Our main concern, however, was that the invasion of Iraq was a dangerous distraction from the very real threat posed by international terrorists, particularly Al-Qaeda and its network.
The recent damning assessment of the global war against terrorism prepared under the auspices of the US Army War College by Dr Jeffrey Record makes for sobering reading. His assessment of the current strategy being pursued by Washington leaves little room for doubt that not only is the global war on terrorism failing in its key objectives, but that the invasion of Iraq is further undermining the USA's homeland security.
As the report observes: "The war against Iraq was a detour from, not an integral component of, the war on terrorism; in fact, Operation 'Iraqi Freedom' may have expanded the terrorist threat by establishing a large new US target set in an Arab heartland." Dr Record also goes on to point out that the mounting costs of the occupation of Iraq are having a serious impact upon the USA's homeland security requirements.
The report assesses the cost of the Iraq campaign at around US0bn in funds already authorised or requested, although the author also observes that there is "no end in sight" - which is true both of the costs and the actual conflict. He then highlights an estimated shortfall of .4bn in federal funding for "emergency response agencies" in the USA over the next five years.
The Record report proposes a fundamental re-evaluation of US aims and objectives in the war against terrorism. It suggests that 'rogue states' need to be handled very differently to terrorist groups and that not all 'terrorist organisations' pose a threat to US security interests. As Dr Record posits: "Terrorism may be a horrendous means to any end, but do the Basque ETA and the Tamil Tigers really threaten the USA?"
Dr Record's conclusion, which is well worth quoting in full, is that the USA's "global war on terrorism as presently defined and conducted is strategically unfocused, promised much more than it can deliver, and threatens to dissipate US military and other resources in an endless and hopeless search for absolute security. The USA may be able to defeat, even destroy, Al-Qaeda, but it cannot rid the world of terrorism, much less evil."
This view is almost identical with those being expressed by the experienced security specialists, intelligence sources and serving military personnel who provide JID with information and analysis.
Founded in 1898, Jane’s Information Group is a world leading provider of intelligence and analysis on national and international defence, security and risk developments. Jane’s is an independent organisation with an unrivalled reputation of accuracy, authority and impartiality.
Jane’s delivers partners and clients a strategic advantage from intelligence acquired by an unique worldwide network of independent analysts. Governments, militaries, business leaders and academics in over 180 countries rely on Jane’s providing timely and insightful information on threat and security issues.
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