Chapter 1: The Origins of the Fourth Global War
The U.S. war with Al Qaeda grew out of the Cold War. Specifically, it grew out of the decision by Jimmy Carter to use Saudi money and Pakistani intelligence to create a cadre of Islamist warriors to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda developed out of that decision.
Chapter 2: Al Qaeda's Strategy and Operational Principles
Al Qaeda's greatest asset is its ability to wage covert operations on a global scale. Its goal is not random violence. Its goal is to recreate the ancient Muslim empire, the Caliphate, by creating a mass Islamic uprising against corrupt regimes. It has no interest in the United States except that attacking it helps it move toward its goal.
Chapter 3: American Strategy and the Rule of Unintended Consequences
The United States was more surprised by the collapse of the Soviet Union than anyone else. It wound up the world's only superpower with more power than it had appetite for. During the 1990s, it was careless in the use of that power because there seemed to be no risks. It didn't realize that the actions it was taking were fueling the Jihadist movement.
Chapter 4: The Anatomy of Intelligence Failures
Over and over again, U.S. intelligence has failed to guide American policy makers. Failure is hardwired into the U.S. intelligence system. It is not only institutional confusion and inertia, but a system that penalizes brilliant insights and rewards the conventional wisdom. This led to September 11 and the failures that followed.
Chapter 5: The American Way of War: Planning for Everything Except What Happened
The U.S. has the most complex military planning process in the world. Almost invariably, it makes enormous plans for the wrong war. Clinton's people thought that the only wars they would have to fight would be small operations in places like Kosovo. They never planned on having to invade Afghanistan.
Chapter 6: September 11 From a purely professional point of view, September 11 was carried out like a ballet by the hijackers. From the planning to the deployment to execution, the operation was superbly crafted and executed. Al Qaeda understood so much about how U.S. intelligence worked, that they knew exactly how to operate right under our noses. They learned the craft directly from the U.S. in Afghanistan, or from America's Saudi and Pakistani allies.
Chapter 7: Defending the Homeland: Crisis and Irrelevance
It is impossible to win a war on the defense and in this war, defending America is truly impossible. It is made even harder by the fact that the United States is intellectually incapable of dealing with conspiracies. Ever since Joseph McCarthy, the U.S. lost its ability to deal with small groups of people secretly plotting harm to the United States. Since that is exactly what Al Qaeda is, helplessness is built into the system, as 80 year old women from Norway are searched at airports at the same rate as 30 year old men from Saudi Arabia.
Chapter 8: Preparing for the Counter-Attack
The United States decided it had to counter-attack before the winter, to boost public morale and surprise the enemy. The target was Afghanistan. The U.S. had no troops to invade Afghanistan so through the Russians and Iranians, they rented an army. They sent in CIA agents carrying millions of dollars in cash to pay for that army, and in thirty days, it was ready to go.
Chapter 9: The War in Afghanistan The United States never defeated the Taliban. It hammered the fighters from the air, so the Taliban decided to abandon the cities, disperse, and regroup as guerrillas. The world saw a rout. The reality was one of the most difficult maneuvers in war-retreat under fire. The U.S. dislodged Taliban. It never destroyed it.
Chapter 10: Tora Bora and Nuclear Nightmares The battle of Tora Bora was a major defeat for the United States. Osama bin Laden and his team escaped into Pakistan from there, ready to fight another day. This involved a major crisis with Pakistan that threatened nuclear war on two levels. One was an Indian-Pakistani confrontation. The other, intelligence reporting that Al Qaeda had gotten hold of a nuclear weapon.
Chapter 11: Searching for a Strategy: Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq
After Tora Bora, the United States tried to mount a global covert offensive against al Qaeda. It realized that it didn't have the ability to do so. It also recognized that unless Saudi Arabia cooperated with the United States in shutting down money flows, there was no chance of success. Saudi Arabia was not cooperative. The road to controlling Saudi Arabia seemed to run through Baghdad, by way of Teheran. It was never about WMD. It was always about the Saudis.
Chapter 12: The Iraq Campaign The campaign opened with psychological warfare, staging an attack on Saddam and claiming that he might be dead, hoping that the generals in Baghdad would surrender. It didn't work but the war was well executed, until the day it ended. That was when the biggest intelligence blunder was discovered-the fact that the Iraqis had planned a guerrilla war against the United States.
Chapter 13: The Great Reversal The basic American strategy was to work with the Iraqi Shiites and the Iranian intelligence services to contain the Sunnis. That worked until April, 2004 when a Shiite uprising coinciding with the battle of Fallujah caused the United States to reverse its policy. It signed a treaty with Jihadist fighters in Fallujah and turned on the Iranians. Instead of getting control of Iraq, the Iranians were left with nothing but anger.
The United States is winning the war. Al Qaeda has failed to achieve any of its strategic goals. There has been no uprising in the Islamic world, no regimes toppled. In fact, most Islamic governments have increased their cooperation with the United States. Al Qaeda has been backed against a wall. The game is far from over, but the U.S. certainly has the lead -- in spite of an extraordinary array of blunders, some inexplicable.
Q. What is the main point of your book?
A. The United States is winning the war that began on September 11, 2001. At this point, Al Qaeda and the Islamist extremists are on the ropes.
Q. How can you say that when warnings of terror are everywhere and the situation in Iraq looks so grim?
A. We have to remember the goal of Al Qaeda is to create an uprising in the Islamic world and overthrow what they consider to be corrupt, secular Islamic governments. Not a single Islamic government has fallen or sided with Al Qaeda. In fact, almost all are actively cooperating with the United States in fighting Al Qaeda.
Q. But the situation is still so dangerous.
A. I am not saying that the war is won. I am saying that the United States is winning. Al Qaeda doesn't intend to lose. It intends to reverse the trend. So, the situation is extremely dangerous. But the trajectory favors the United States.
Q. How has the United States done this?
A. By creating a situation in which it has proven too dangerous for Islamic governments to work with Al Qaeda or remain neutral. A range of actions has forced these governments to confront Al Qaeda. The result has been increased instability in many countries, such as Saudi Arabia-the more pressure there is, the more instability.
Q. Doesn't this risk resentment among the Islamic masses?
A. The resentment against the United States is enormous. Nothing can be done about anti-American feeling in the Islamic world beyond shifting the burden of containment to local governments.
Q. You must think that George W. Bush has done a good job.
A. The Bush Administration played a bad hand moderately well. But it still committed enormous errors, some of which are threatening the success of the war.
Q. What are some of these errors?
A. The failure to force the military and intelligence communities to go to wartime footing immediately after September 11th has left both organizations undermanned and in disarray. Not a single major reform of the military or intelligence structure has taken place since the war began. This has resulted in both military and intelligence failures that leave the U.S. open to major reversals. Bush and his team appear to have been paralyzed by events.
Q. Was the invasion of Iraq one of these errors?
A. Lying about why we were invading Iraq was a massive error. The invasion itself helped generate the forces that have Al Qaeda on the defensive now. Iraq is the most strategic country in the Middle East and following the invasion of Iraq, key countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran began to change their policies to support the U.S. against Al Qaeda. The invasion was a good idea and the administration had good reasons for doing it. But they had nothing to do with WMD or Al Qaeda.
Q. Why did we go into Iraq?
A. We went into Iraq to isolate and frighten the Saudi government into cracking down on the flow of money to Al Qaeda. Bush never answered the question for fear of the international consequences. Early in the war, the President said that the key was shutting down Al Qaeda's financing. Most of the financing came from Saudi Arabia, but the Saudi government was refusing to cooperate. After the invasion of Iraq, they completely changed their position. We did not invade Saudi Arabia directly because of fear that the fall of the Saudi government would disrupt oil supplies: a global disaster.
Q. What is the situation in Iraq now?
A. The situation is manageable even though violence will continue for years. Like Northern Ireland, it will be a generation before it calms down. At the same time, it doesn't effect the strategic situation.
Q. What happens next?
A. Al Qaeda has got to try to get some points on the board. If it doesn't, its credibility in the Islamic world will dissipate. If it can, it will attack. The United States is now engaged in a global counter-offensive designed to block them. It's not clear what will happen. In addition, Al Qaeda will try to bring down Saudi Arabia.
Q. What will the United States do?
A. It will play defense against Al Qaeda in the United States and Saudi Arabia. It will threaten Iran with war if Iran aids Al Qaeda. Most important, the United States will have to invade northwestern Pakistan. There are plans for this already. In addition, if Pakistan collapses due to an invasion, the United States and India will have to jointly occupy Pakistan. The end game is in Pakistan.
Q. Why are we going into Pakistan?
A. Stratfor said in December 2003 that the campaign is being planned. In February 2004 a spokesman for the Pentagon said they were going in to Pakistan. Since then we have been carrying out small scale incursions for months. The war cannot end until the command cell of Al Qaeda is destroyed and that is located in Northwestern Pakistan, but it has been delayed by manpower shortages.
Q. Is victory for the United States guaranteed?
A. Not at all. Japan was winning World War II, until the United States fought back. Al Qaeda struck the first blow, and the United States has counter-attacked successfully. Al Qaeda will try to recover.
Q. Can it recover?
A. Yes, but in my view, Al Qaeda is far more likely to lose than to win.
Q. If the Bush adminstration mishandled things so badly, how can victory be possible?
A. The United States had a lot more room for error than Al Qaeda did. When you are big and powerful, you can afford mistakes.
In "America's Secret War", George Friedman, the chairman of Stratfor, a private intelligence and information service, guides us through the intricacies of the origins and consequences of what he calls the `Fourth Global War'.
He starts by comparing the war to a game of chess where, to the unknowledgeable, there are many possible opening moves, but to the initiated there are only a few. This is a book of current events and recent history. It is, by design, more informative than inspirational. Friedman has an opinion, not always expressed in his Stratfor reports, but it is not obvious. He claims, in the foreword that he is trying to be cold and objective, rather than passionate, and while he is successful in maintaining objectivity, his passion or intensity comes through.
He challenges conventional wisdom with his allegations that Desert Storm was not about Iraq, but about Iran and her challenge to Saudi Arabia over who will be the leader of the Moslem world. In the West, he says the war was seen as a perfect example of modern statecraft with proper objectives and an exit strategy'. It had something for everyone. It appealed to three different groups, and to each within their own geopolitical constructs. For the `cold-warrior' perception of global politics the war was the proper defense of a Cold-War ally. For those who have a more Kissingerian realpolitik interpretation of the world saw the war as the proper containment of Iraq and of Saddam in balance of power terms. Finally the `End of History' post-modernists viewed the war as an expression of the multi-lateral `new world' working together against a rogue state. All of these views combined to make this a popular war in the West. Friedman says that what was not appreciated in this view was that the perception in the Moslem world was wholly different. In his opinion, the Islamic world saw this intervention as anti-Islamic rather than anti-Saddam and by supporting this use of `infidel' troops to pursue war against other Moslems the Saudis pushed the anti-Saudi fundamentalist factions over-the-top. These factions recruited disaffected, newly trained, mujahedin empowered by their successful pursuit of the anti-Soviet Afghan war to create the anti-western Al Qaeda organization. Al Qaeda is a working intelligence organization that pursues the goals of toppling the current Islamic regimes that they see as illegitimate, creating an uprising in the Moslem world and reestablishing the Caliphate. Friedman says that in spite of the errors we have made in the war, Al Qaeda has still failed to meet any of these objectives.
According to Friedman, in the Clinton administration foreign policy was more about doing good things to help deserving people, than about pursuing America's national interests. As the worlds only superpower, war was now optional, to be pursued or declined at our option, since no enemy had the power, it was assumed, to force us into war. The attack on 9/11 showed otherwise. Although the earlier attacks; in 1993 on the World Trade Center, and on the US Embassy and Marine Barracks in Beirut, the Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the USS Cole in Yemen were mostly declined by the Clinton Administration, the audience for the attacks was not the US, but the Moslem world. By failing to respond the US showed weakness and impotence while highlighting Al Qaeda's effectiveness. These attacks vanquished the hopelessness and powerless feeling in the `Arab street' and helped to create the current resurgence of aggressive militant Islam. Friedman compares this war to WWII. Although the traditional idea of war with a competing nation-state is diluted by the non-local or pan-Islamic nature of the Al Qaeda Islamo-fascism, it is still a war. The current conflict has many similarities to the ideological wars of national liberation against Marxism-Leninism, but the historical comparison and precedents in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 are, to him, obvious. The legalistic interpretation that war is simply crime, and the perpetrators of war, criminals is, to Friedman at least with historical perspective, nonsense. He posits that this view would have led FDR on December 7, 1941, to declare that we would hunt down the Japanese pilots who participated in the attack and subject them to judicial proceedings to determine their proportionate guilt and subsequent punishment. This is, as he maintains, absurd. It was, however, the position supported by the Clinton administration in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the current view of Harold Koh, dean of the Yale Law School among others. This view helped to justify the separation between the US Justice Department and the US intelligence gathering organizations In the US, the FBI is a police organization entrusted with the prosecution of crime. Intelligence organizations are involved in the collection of information in anticipation of and to prevent future action. According to Friedman, these functions are not compatible and many of our intelligence failures are the result of this misalignment of resources.
In Friedman's opinion, the only response for a nation who has received a surprise attack is to quickly go on the offensive. Political considerations are, at that time, more important than military ones and more modest goals are to be eschewed in favor of more robust ones even if less than ideal conditions are present for this action. This view resulted in the attack on Afghanistan that caught Al Qaeda and the Taliban by surprise since they didn't think we could respond quickly with more than limited air attacks. This show of force was also necessary to gain the allegiance or at least the attention of the various Afghan warlords whom we had largely abandoned after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 and who had now made accommodation with or had direct ties to the Taliban. Although the Afghan campaign worked well and has resulted in the installation of Hamid Karzai as Afghan President, who is now a US ally rather than a Pakistani surrogate, it has not been so great a defeat for Al Qaeda that they lost standing or credibility in the Islamic world. To do this, and to further erase our image of weakness, we needed a greater show of force and determination. This had to be the invasion of Iraq.
The need for invasion was not unrelated to nuclear proliferation. We were worried about the control of the Pakistani nuclear weapons program as well as those in Iran and Iraq. While the State Department favored supporting centralized state control in Pakistan and Iran, they were opposed by the Defense Department which said that nuclear weapons or facilities in control of governments in whom we had no confidence was an intolerable situation. Defense said that 9/11 had created a situation where compromise was unacceptable and a military response was necessary. State was focused on the limits of our capability, Defense was focused on the threat, Defense won.
Friedman says our putative allies were torn. They understood that the US had to wage war on Al Qaeda and they were willing to help us track down Al Qaeda operatives. They were not willing, however, to help us invade Iraq and thereby (at least in their minds) shift the global balance of power. They opposed the Iraq invasion for the same reason we wanted it: it would make the US the preeminent power in the Middle East. That, combined with our control of the seas, would give us a global empire that was not in the interests of the so-called `Great Powers'. These nations feared that with Saudi Arabia and Iran surrounded, America would have more influence on oil production denying Russia the oil pricing advantage she currently enjoyed. France had been pursuing an essentially anti-American foreign policy since WWII seeing America as a threat to her national interests and her attempts to dominate Europe through her collaboration with a psychologically subordinate and submissive Germany. Friedman says that France thought 2003 was the perfect time to create a unified European foreign policy under guidance from Paris and Berlin with the help of Moscow. What they underestimated was the historical collective memory of Eastern Europe who remembered past treatment by Moscow, Paris, and Berlin and welcomed Rumsfeld's categorization of `New Europe'. The result was an increased influence in Europe for the US and embarrassment for France that some may call a victory for the Bush Administration.
Friedman ends the book with a scorecard of gains and failures. He regards the lack of understanding of how completely Iran had built political and administrative control in the Shiite community and through the efforts of Ahmed Chalibi as major failures, as well as the underestimation of the depth and quality of planning in Saddam's guerrilla war. On the success side, he says there has been no `toppling of regimes', no rising of the `Arab street', and virtually all Islamic regimes have increased their support for anti-Al Qaeda activity and are using their own intelligence services to achieve US anti-terrorist goals. The war has also succeeded in the Machiavellian objective of making the US hated and feared in the Arab world instead of hated and held in contempt, which Friedman calls a positive. In summation he says that the American people understand and can endure war, it is the American elite that project their own timidity and self-doubts onto the national character. He says that this is indeed a war, and probably a war `to the finish'. Friedman's book adds some specific new information along with focus and clarity to the continuing debate. It also reads easily and with Steven Coll's "Ghost Wars" provides a continuous detailed history of the latest chapter in the conduct of the `Great Game'. .
According to Friedman, in the Clinton administration foreign policy was more about doing good things to help deserving people, than about pursuing America's national interests. As the worlds only superpower, war was now optional, to be pursued or declined at our option, since no enemy had the power, it was assumed, to force us into war. The attack on 9/11 showed otherwise. Although the earlier attacks; in 1993 on the World Trade Center, and on the US Embassy and Marine Barracks in Beirut, the Kobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the USS Cole in Yemen were mostly declined by the Clinton Administration, the audience for the attacks was not the US, but the Moslem world.
Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were not the lone conspirators in the Oklahoma City bombing-the attack that killed nearly 170 people in a few short seconds. They were part of a greater scheme, one which involved Islamic terrorists and at least one provable link to Iraq. This book, written by the relentless reporter who first broke the story of the Mideast connection, is filled with new revelations about the case and explains in full detail the complete, and so far untold, story behind the failed investigation-why the FBI closed the door, what further evidence exists to prove the Iraqi connection, why it has been ignored, and what makes it more relevant now than ever. Told with a gripping narrative style and rock-solid investigative journalism and vetted by men such as former CIA director James Woolsey, Davis's piercing account is the first book to set the record straight about what really happened April 19, 1995.
Originally posted by syrinx high priestwhats the secret ? that you can re-package old facts as news and make money on amazon ?
"Chapter 6: September 11 From a purely professional point of view, September 11 was carried out like a ballet by the hijackers. From the planning to the deployment to execution, the operation was superbly crafted and executed. Al Qaeda understood so much about how U.S. intelligence worked, that they knew exactly how to operate right under our noses. They learned the craft directly from the U.S. in Afghanistan, or from America's Saudi and Pakistani allies. "
Originally posted by edsinger
Originally posted by syrinx high priestwhats the secret ? that you can re-package old facts as news and make money on amazon ?
Its not a repackaging at all, its the explanation as to why the peace nick crowd of sympathizers and Bush haters just don't get it. Did you actually READ the post? The last chapter?
Originally posted by TheShroudOfMemphisDoes the book address the Herion export boom in Afghanistan after the US invasion which is a major contributor to Wall Streets liquid cash source, CIA funding, black ops etc?? The taliban were destroying the herion crops which was draining billions from wall street and CIA budgets and wars are expensive, Bush had promised tax cuts, what to do? 9/11 was timed for more than just the 'al-qaedas' benefit.