The probability of WMD being deployed successfully by an Islamic terrorist organization is almost a certainty. For only the 2nd time in all of recorded history, we are witnessing repeated suicide attack as a weapon of war. The previous check that held back others who were able to use nuclear weapons was the ability of the other side to utterly destroy them in retaliation. (MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction)
This check is not present when dealing with Islamic terrorist organizations. If they ever obtain WMD, it is almost a certainty that they will deploy them, probably immediately. With the endurance of Islamic terrorist organizations and their ability to adapt and mutate, this can only be a matter of time. When this event occurs, the response will probably depend upon how many WMD were deployed. If this were to be a singular event, the response can probably be restrained to conventional warfare methodology. If many were deployed, a nuclear response becomes much more likely, closely followed by massive conventional warfare. The trick is how the hell do we prevent this from happening?
Some points to keep in mind:
1) Time is limited. We may have years, but probably not decades. We probably do not have the time to pursue each terrorist organization individually. We need to study the ideology that is behind their actions. This will allow us to address the ideology that is present within the population that supports them.
2) This is a classic guerrilla war. The war is basically pitting irregular troops against multiple enemies: a) civilian police b) military of various governments. We need to recognize that in guerrilla war, conventional forces have the advantages of: a) number of troops b) better training c) much better resources, both in quality and quantity. This is in reference to the military, not the civilian police.
3) Greater amount of combat is to the advantage of the conventional side. Better weapons and firepower along with greater numbers and resources are used to the best effect if combat is more frequent than the guerrilla side can maintain. In this case, they will be limited in their ability to initiate additional combat that would be more to their advantage. This can be accomplished in several ways: a) strategic initiative. Part 1 is by placing the conventional forces into a position where the irregular forces MUST attack them; frequency of combat will then be increased. Part 2 is by engaging the guerrilla forces in an uneven match to draw their forces away from where the ideology is established and supportive of the guerrilla forces. The ideology can then be effectively changed. In other words, the guerrilla side can’t be everywhere. They are outnumbered, so the base of support can be attacked. Militarily and culturally. b) Operational initiative. Changing the governments that are active supporters of the ideology that supports the guerrilla side. In this process, the educational and economic systems of that area are also changed. c) Tactically. This means killing and capturing them, both in defense whenever they attack and by intelligence that leads to our ability to launch attacks of our own.
4) The worst enemy of the occupied is not the occupier. It is the population of the occupied that is working with the occupier. In Iraq, this is the population that is working with us. They are Apostates and will be killed when the ‘enemy’ gets their hands upon them. We must help them be effective. We must enable them to both defend themselves and attack the ‘enemy’ within.
Historically, warfare tends to speed up change. This is particularly true of modern warfare. The ebb and flow of armies tends to speed up the interchange of cultures. The stress on the economies tends to force change within means of production. This applies to all aspects of production, not just weapons and munitions. Food, communication and transportation are all are impacted. Occupation tends to force the different cultures to interact, even if not on favorable terms. Changing the economic and educational systems will enable the changes to become much more long term.
Many people will disagree, but we are winning the war. The cultural changes going on in Gaza and the Palestinian territories are nothing short of huge. The Arabs themselves will tell us that if you can resolve the Palestinian-Israeli problem, Islamic global terrorism will end. We are seeing an erosion of the classic Islamic electoral policy of ‘One man (Men only) One vote, once’. We are also seeing self-criticism growing, and the individuals are not being killed. The Arab world has great difficulty with this concept. Overcoming this is a major cultural step. We are seeing the beginnings of responsible self-government. ‘Authentic’ Islam is losing its hold. True, we have and will be creating new enemies. This is common to all wars. The point is that the civil war IS deciding which ‘authentic’ Islamic laws must be ignored. Western influence is helping to point the way. Unfortunately, much remains.
It is imperative that conventional warfare continues in Iraq and Afghanistan. The match up favors the conventional side in an environment that is idea for conventional forces. (Desert in Iraq) The ‘occupation’ must continue until all Islam accepts that other factors are more important in triggering the killing of ‘occupiers’ than the fact that the ‘occupier’ is non-Muslim. The people who are willing to kill our soldiers must continue to be drawn into an environment of our choosing and our advantage. It is unlikely that just continuing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be enough. Eventually, the governments of Syria and Iran must go. This will trigger new wars and create new ‘enemies’. The nukes in Pakistan must be watched. If the Musharraf government is toppled and an Islamic government takes over, a full-scale attack on the nuclear facilities will likely become a necessity. In any case, state-sponsored terrorism must end. And it must end sooner than later. We don’t have time on our side.
It is unlikely that the U.S. has enough political will to obtain regime change in Iran and Syria. The problem of Pakistan will most likely get worse before it gets better. Two Red flags to watch for:
1) The fall of the Musharraf government followed by installation of an Islamic government.
2) The fall of Baghdad. Change of Iraqi government to Islamic ‘authentic’ governance.
If these two events come to pass (It may only take event #1) then WATCH OUT. The war will most likely take a major step up in the level of violence. This may not occur immediately. More time than we might otherwise expect may pass before the violence of the war goes up. (The calm before the storm)
In any case, it is most likely that this war will increase in violence before it ends. This is common in warfare and I don’t see any reasons why this one may be any different. In the case of eventual U.S. success, it will increase because of U.S. actions. Taking out additional governments and/or the nukes in Pakistan will necessitate additional conventional ‘fronts’ or theaters in this war. This will mean additional combat, above the current rate. How the U.S. will be able to sustain this remains a question. This is unlikely.
More likely is the case of U.S. failure to change enough of the culture in time. In this case, the enemy will up the ante with the successful deployment of WMD. It will then become impossible to contain the war at its current level. The overall point is that we had better get used to the idea that this war is going to become larger. We can choose to do so on our terms, or we can have the terms dictated to us by our enemy. This is a feature that is common in warfare.