Saturday, July 23, 2005

Fighting Terrorism: My Nonexpert Speculations

Let me be upfront: I have no expertise in this area, so I'm speculating . . . or maybe doing some of that brainstorming that I refer to above.

We're aiming our weapons at the terrorists, but they're a moving target. I see three stages to their organization:

1. Pyramid:

This was Al-Qaeda prior to 9/11. Bin Laden and a few others at the top headed a structure that was organized in a hierarchy controlled by its 'executives,' who made plans, gave orders, and distributed funds.

The U.S. military devastated this organization.

2. Network:

With the loss of hierarchical control, Al-Qaeda devolved into a network of cells that coordinated to make plans, give orders, and distribute funds.

International intelligence work has made this kind of organization difficult.

3. Freelance:

With the pressure put on terrorist networks, 'Al-Qaeda' has further devolved such that it is no longer Al-Qaeda but small, self-organized cells of terrorists who make their own plans, take no direct orders from anyone, and need little money to carry out their plans.

Detecting such cells in advance of their attacks will be very difficult, somewhat like trying to stop petty criminals in advance.

So . . . how do we now fight terrorism?

We could begin by openly acknowledging the ideological sources -- Islamist networks that use madrassas, mosques, and media to teach and incite hatred of non-Muslims and moderate Muslims. We need to study Islamist texts and teachings and subject these to critical scrutiny -- and use our knowledge to undermine Islamism's intellectual credibility.

Will this work? I don't know, but at least we'll understand what we're confronted with.


Post a Comment

<< Home