Foreign Policy Research Institute A Nation Must Think Before it Acts Teaching 9/11 and the War on Terrorism

Teaching 9/11 and the War on Terrorism

  • Trudy Kuehner
  • March 18, 2006
  • Center for the Study of Terrorism
  • Other History Institute Programs

Presidential Leadership in Times of Crisis

David Eisenhower opened the conference by observing that historical parallels for this new war are inexact: unlike World War II, to which President Bush often compares it, a striking feature of the war on terror is that we are not mobilized in any way that affects us directly. Nor is it like Vietnam, to which others often compare it. That war was fought with draftees, in an area not of vital interest to the U.S. But like the Cold War, which was a 45- to 50-year twilight struggle; the War on Terrorism (WOT) is of indefinite duration.

The best analogy may be Nov. 22, 1963. Sept. 11 can be compared to the assassination of President Kennedy in bringing about a sense of loss and legitimacy concerns that lasted for two decades, until President Reagan’s reelection in 1984. In the 1960s, our answer was also action — e.g., war on poverty — in a nation led by Lyndon Johnson, a Texan who entered with a doubtful political mandate, and who rendered a masterly short-term response but had a tendency to overreach.

It all began with a day that lives in infamy. We all remember where we were on 9/11 as television began to beam reports of the burning towers in New York, the assault on the Pentagon, and 2-3 identified airplanes that were being tracked and reported on making their way eastward. Even that day, many of us were sure the road would soon lead to Iraq.

As a national crisis, 9/11 imposed rhetorical and leadership demands on the White House. President Bush had to acknowledge the loss, ease the loss with a statement to the American people, and reknit the American community. He did so in his address that night, which quoted from Psalm 23 and also included the required call for action. He spoke of the quiet grief and unyielding anger Americans felt, not of hatred for the perpetrators. Anger is an emotion that seeks and is satisfied by redress through retaliation. President Bush used that word as a clear indication that the U.S. would mount military operations in order to seek restitution for the assault on America.

But against whom? Against terrorists, he said, making no distinction between terrorists and the governments that supported them. Yet the absence of a clear threat or power to hold accountable transforms his speech from a war speech into a doctrinal speech. The Bush Doctrine was present already that night. America was targeted for attack because were the brightest beacon of freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.

In a crisis, business as usual is usually suspended. But in his speech that night, the president pledged that America would be open for business the following day. The word crisis is a slippery idea. In the 1960s, that word and memories of the Cuban Missile Crisis spawned an entire cottage industry called crisis management, whereby we studied the interactions of ExComm, the Cabinet, and the Kennedy brothers looking for a formula for managing a crisis. But a crisis can also be a turning point or a moment of danger leading to decisive change. By this definition, Pearl Harbor was not a crisis but rather the culmination of an American effort to mobilize itself for intervention in World War II that had been underway since 1940. It isn’t clear whether President Bush recognized a crisis on the night of 9/11 or thereafter; but where on 9/11 he spoke of returning to business as usual, nine days later, in his Sept. 20 speech, he spoke about the possibilities of a changed world. Only in February 2002, as the immediate threat had receded, was the permanent change that 9/11 had ushered in acknowledged in a presidential speech.

America defines itself as a secular country. We therefore observe a civil religion that coexists with sectarian religions. There is a creed of Americanism that has been present since our founding. In it, the World Trade Center was surely a holy site. The rebuilding of the WTC symbolizes that we will invest in restoring our sacred places. But students need to understand that they are the ones who will be called upon to come up with answers in the future for this new era.

Terrorism in Historical and Comparative Perspective

Michael Radu, co-chair of FPRI’s Center on Terrorism, Counterterrorism, and Homeland Security, noted that while the UN Security Council did swiftly pass two resolutions on Sept. 20, 2001, one condemning terrorism and the other establishing a committee on counterterrorism, it was unable to define terrorism. This raises questions about how effective international institutions can be in dealing with this global problem.

Dr. Radu proposed as a working definition the use or the threatened use of force against noncombatants or property for political reasons. Arab/Muslim states refuse to accept that definition, however, defining some violence as freedom fighting. Arab populations often don’t believe 9/11 was terrorism or that it was done by Muslims. The Western media further confuses matters. The French media, from left to right, has lately been using the term kamikaze for suicide bombers. In fact, the kamikaze weren’t terrorists: they wore uniforms, were under command and control, and attacked military targets. So some 11 years after the first Islamist terror attack in the West, we are still having problems defining the enemy. It took President Bush 49 months to finally put a face on the enemy we are fighting, which is not terrorism but Islamist terrorism.

Since 1994, when Islamist terrorism started in a significant way in the West as a spillover into France of a conflict between Algeria’s Islamists and military, targets of actual or planned attacks have included subways, the Eiffel Tower, and rail service. These plots were largely devised by outside groups operating within Europe, as with 9/11. European Muslims are copying tactics from the Middle East and Indian subcontinent.

Until the emergence of Islamist terrorism in the 1990s, Western terrorism was basically nationalist or anarchist/Marxist-Leninist in origin and ideology. Sometimes it had spectacular reach — the assassination of Tsar Alexander II of Russia in 1881, of French President Sadi Carnot in 1894, of Umberto I of Italy in 1900, of U.S. President William McKinley in 1901, and the 1914 assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary in Sarajevo, which detonated World War I.

Waves of Marxist groups such as the 68ers in Western Europe — the Baader Meinhof gang in Germany, the Red Brigades in Italy, Action Direct in France, etc. –saw themselves as the vanguard of the working class. Others, such as the Basque ETA, were nationalist/separatist. Sometimes these strands combined, as with the IRA. These groups targeted important personalities with a symbolic value, such as Lord Mountbatten; they did not try to kill civilians.

The new type of terrorist has global reach and different goals and methods. The 3/11/04 Madrid bombings were authored by Moroccans, some of them established in Spain for many years with Syrian and Italian support and funding and ties to Saudi Arabia. Thegoal isn’t destroying a symbol of state, but rather has religious, strategic, political, and cultural elements.

While most Muslims aren’t terrorists, most terrorists today are Muslims. German, British, Jordanian, and Pakistani intelligence organizations and governments all conservatively estimate that 2-5 percent of their Muslim populations support or participate in terrorism. With 1.2 billion Muslims in world, even the low-end estimate, 2 percent, would make for 24 million supporters of terrorism.

So this small minority has large numbers, which are growing because of mainstream Muslim communities inability or unwillingness to deal with problem. When asked in a recent interview with Der Spiegel, Why havent any Muslim judges or laws officially expelled bin Laden and his followers from the faith? Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, one of today’s most influential Muslim theologians, replied: We condemn their acts, but [expulsion] would be committing the same sort of sin as these people themselves commit. The day will come when they will have to stand in front of the kadi [Islamic judge], but at this point, we are not so far along.[1] Solidarity with fellow Muslims is evidently more important to them than taking decisive steps to isolate the extremists.

Many in the West deny that there is something called a clash of civilizations, but its hard to deny such a conflict when the other side declares that it exists. One promising sign, however, is that the theory that people join terrorist organizations out of poverty, injustice, etc. is losing ground. Initially this was the prevailing theory, even if bin Laden was far from poor. Most known terrorists in the West have above-average education, some have spouses and children, and none have documented mental health problems. In Europe, the terrorist groups include no Turks, Albanians, or Bosnians, though Turks, for example, are probably the second-largest Muslim immigrant group. But three-quarters of the 7/07 London attackers were of Pakistani background: Pakistan is a country where polls show greater than 50 percent support for bin Laden.

The beginnings of the answer are seen in the new attention European governments are giving to their former policies that were tolerant of the import of Islamist culture. Former recipients of political asylum in Europe are now being exported. Successes in intergovernmental cooperation are taking place every day.

Because its a complicated global phenomenon, high school students poor understanding of geography is an obstacle to learning. Another challenge is the need continually to distinguish between Islamism and Islam. Islamism is an ideology with religious and geopolitical goals, which uses methods sometimes copied from those of previous global ideologies, including the formation of cells. It is a totalitarian ideology with a religious background.

Understanding Terror Networks

Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and FPRI senior fellow, related how he began to apply the principles of evidence-based medicine to terrorism after 9/11, in order to demythologize terrorists. He began with the 9/11 terrorists, then grew his sample by including people with operational links to that group. He now has data on almost 500 individuals, gleaned from trial transcripts, FBIS, and other sources.

It soon became apparent that all his subjects were part of a violent, born-again Islamist social movement. These are young, idealistic, romantic people either from areas where corruption is rampant or from the West, where they faced discrimination. They believe in building a better world approximated on what they consider the only pure community in world history, that of the Prophet and his companions.

Having tried this peacefully but being suppressed, they next tried to overthrow the near enemy, the local regime. After their release from prison, those involved in early plots to kill Egyptian president Anwar Sadat found their way to Afghanistan, where they developed a global view of the problem. Just as San Francisco was once the hippie capital, Afghanistan was then the militant capital, as Iraq is now. They finally concluded that the far enemy — the U.S. and France — was the problem.

Al Qaeda, which captured leadership of this movement, was the most militant of the militant. After the Soviet Union pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, those militants who couldn’t go home for fear of arrest stayed on in Afghanistan or Pakistan, or accepted invitations to Khartoum. From 1996-2001, Al Qaeda controlled the monies coming in and the training camps. Afghanistan being a failed state, they had a free hand. They largely clustered into four clubs: the Al Qaeda central staff were largely Arab Egyptians; the core were generally Saudis and Egyptians from Levant; those from the Maghreb or second-generations in Europe tended to stay together; and finally, so did those from Indonesia and Southeast Asia, the founders of Jemaah Islamiya.

While the madrassa theory of terrorism holds that it was those schools in Pakistan that turned young people into terrorists, in fact few attended madrassas in Pakistan. Most of Dr. Sageman’s sample had gone to college, and 20 percent of the central staff held doctorates (but not in religious studies). These are professionals, underemployed owing to nepotism and/or European discrimination. There was no criminal record among the nineteen 9/11 hijackers: those who are least able to do harm individually are most able to do so collectively. Only four of Dr. Sageman’s sample had hints of any mental health disorder, well below the 1-3 percent rate worldwide. But this is unsurprising: those with antisocial personality disorders are unwilling to sacrifice themselves for a group.

Importantly, over 75 percent of his sample had joined terrorist groups when living in a place where they didn’t grow up. Add the 10 percent who were second-generation, and some 87 percent of his sample was from the diaspora, just as had been the case earlier with Russias Anarchists (who operated from Zurich), the IRA (which started in Boston), the Tamil Tigers (organized in Toronto and London), and the ETA (for whom France was the sanctuary). Key linkages were friendship, kinship, and discipleship. These individuals became radicalized collectively. A French intelligence group found that half of the terrorist suspects they had in custody came from three adjacent high-rises in an Algerian city. Twelve mosques worldwide, most of them Saudi financed, account for half of Dr. Sageman’s sample.

Brought to Western schools, the well-educated militants, homesick and lonely, drifted to mosques not out of religiosity, but to meet similar people over dinner. Its not unlike the kosher theory of how Judaism survived in the diaspora: people talk while they eat. Mobilization, therefore, is spontaneous and self-organizing. There are no sleeper cells, and there’s no need for Al Qaeda to recruit. With a 15-20 percent acceptance rate, Al Qaeda is already highly selective.

Intense small-group dynamics take over as the group develops its collective identity. One sees the same in-group dynamics one would in the military, religions, fraternities, or sports. Unfortunately, with it comes out-group hate and the escalation of complaints and conspiracy theories that sanction crimes against others, including Muslims not in their community.

Western Europe’s problem, which is now being exported to the United States, began after Europe destroyed itself in World War II and needed manpower to rebuild. Once Europe was rebuilt, it got more concerned about its minority population from Algeria, Turkey, and South Asia and began tightening its immigration policies. But under a reunification program, guest workers were permitted to bring their families to Europe. These aren’t countries built on immigration, like America, where everyone remembers their grandparents having come from the old country. Integration was less easy in Europe. There’s no European dream around which newcomers can assimilate, as there is an American dream.

The U.S.-led coalition eliminated the militants’ sanctuary in Afghanistan after 9/11. It turned off its funding, monitored communications, and killed or captured most of the leaders. Now we are seeing home-grown groups who have no adult supervision. Anyone who wants to be a jihadist can be, often with funds raised by drug dealing, and with the Internet for communications. That mass medium bypasses the traditional imam, obviating the need for leaders or training camps. The Internet becomes the virtual invisible hand. The seeming intimacy among anonymous posters leads to self-disclosure; hit reply to all and you have a group. If your chat room shares your views, you have the illusion the views are more universal than they actually are. And the Internet is gender-neutral: it provides space for women to provide logistic support. In short, Dr. Sageman concluded, were moving toward a global, leaderless jihad. There will be more Madrids and Londons, if not a 9/11.

Understanding and Teaching Jihadism

Mary Habeck of Johns Hopkins University’s SAIS addressed the way Wahhabism, or Salafists, reinforce the in-group/out-group dynamics Dr. Sageman identified. The Salafists, whom it is important to remember are a minority within Islam, believe that Islam must have political power. Most scholars agree that the Islamist movement was one of several responses to European colonialism: equally, a number of Muslims became modernists through this exposure. Therefore, today’s militants have the idea that We already tried European notions — nationalism, socialism, separation of church and state, liberalism, democracy — and they failed. But theirs cannot be a return to original Islam. Nobody knows what original Islam was like. It’s a recreated notion.

Jihadists believe that a revived Muslim rule (the caliphate) can only be achieved violently. Their ideology is also differentiated by how they understand two key terms, jihad and tawhid, and their belief that they are the only true believers, or takfiris (from kafir, unbeliever). Takfir means to declare someone an unbeliever, which jihadists have done on large groups of Muslims. If you declare takfir, that person may be killed, their goods seized, and their wife automatically divorced from them.

Jihadists also believe that there are hostile unbelievers in charge of the world who desire the destruction of Islam and who must be destroyed. With the widespread belief in the Islamic world that governments always lie, an imam or the Internet seem more credible, and this claim has gotten a wide hearing.

Tawhid, the original name of Zarkawis group, is the central idea in Islam: that there is one god. Today’s understanding is that, if only He can be worshipped, then anyone who worships any other god is sinning. Jihadis have altered worshipped to worshipped and obeyed. Thus, if you obey the laws of another person, you are committing idolatry. Judgment is shifted from eternity to the here and now. Obeyed assumes political significance, and democracy becomes center of all that is evil in world, because it lets people make up their own laws.

Definitions of jihad, or struggle, also vary. Within the Hadith and Quran, a principal distinction is between jihad as an individual or a communal duty. Those who believe its an individual duty believe everyone must participate, while for those who take it to mean communally, it is sufficient for only a few people to do it. This parallels our distinction between individual duty, when were invaded or occupied and all must help out; vs. communal duty in general.

Early on, the struggle was thought to be internal: making yourself more pious; the external struggle was understood to be a matter of state. Jihadism argues that the development of the internal struggle interpretation was Western-influenced, that jihad is an individual duty for everyone because the Islamic world had been invaded and occupied. Because there is no longer an Islamic caliph to declare a jihad, its a matter for each individual. This can be persuasive to the uneducated. The battle within Islam can be thought of as a Reformation. Reformations arent all about light, they are bloody processes.

The Islamists’ major appeals are (1) We have the authentic Islam, bolstered with seemingly supportive quotations; (2) that they’re sacrificing their lives for the community; and (3) that retribution/retaliation is a natural way to balance the scales and achieve justice.

Jihadists separate over whether to wage war with the near and far enemies in that order or if the greater unbelief has to be targeted first. The first is by far the more popular, grounded as it is in Quranic verse (You should struggle against those enemies who are close to you before you take on those far from you.) The latter, to which Al Qaeda adheres, is rooted in the teachings of Ibn Tamiya, a 13th century scholar who asked, If you have many near enemies, how do you rank them? Take on greater threat first.

When it comes to practice, it is vital to discuss: (1) Mohammed ibn Abdel-Wahab, who founded Wahabism; (2) Hassan al-Banna, who founded the Muslim Brotherhood and gave religious legitimacy to the notion of an Islamic party of God; and (3) Sayyid Qutb of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose 30-volume commentary on the Quran (written while in prison and distilled to Milestones) has had enormous influence.

Operationally, the term occupiers has encompassed the Soviets, Sadat, tourists, Christians, Jews, and the United States. Al Qaeda believed 9/11 would convince the U.S. to leave Saudi Arabia, and that masses of Muslims would then join them, energized by the attack. Not only did it not have the desired effect, but Al Qaeda lost Afghanistan, and the Talibans Mullah Omar, the would-be caliph, is now in hiding. The group remains lethal, but it has suffered real body blows.

The Question of Homeland Security  

Stephen Gale, co-chairman of FPRI’s Center on Terrorism, Counterterrorism, and Homeland Security, gave the keynote address, which stressed the importance of helping students ask questions. Most important, they need to understand that this is a very complex issue, with no answers at back of the chapter. Since 9/11, there has been an avalanche of books and articles, much of it providing more heat than light.

America has been hindered in prosecuting the WOT by adhering to judicial standards of evidence, even just after 9/11, when many of us were afraid of imminent follow-on attacks; and by a shortage of expertise; NSA keyhole satellites are not helping us find bin Laden.

Of course, the WOT is really a war on Islamist terrorism. Bin Laden’s Jihad against Jews and Crusaders makes it clear that he sees this as religious war aimed at repurifying Islam. Nor is he alone. Two years ago, outgoing Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed of Malaysia said that while he did not agree with all of Al Qaeda’s tactics, he thought bin Laden was correct, that Islam is in trouble because it is not Islamic enough. This puts America in a bad position, since it values its status as a land of religious opportunity that respects freedom of religion. So how do we fight a religious war out of the Middle Ages? For bin Laden, the war began in 1924 with the dissolution of the caliphate and signing of the League of Nations covenant that imposed governors on former Ottoman lands. The U.S. didn’t take part in the initial phase of this war, but in this new phase, our conditions of survival might require engaging in a battle that would in some way damage the future of Islam.

We need to understand the actual threat, and that the terrorists aims are not so much about killing Americans as they are about causing disruption.

Dr. Gales own search for an analogy to 9/11 took him to Pearl Harbor Day. The attacks were of roughly the same magnitude, both involved civilians (68 at Pearl Harbor, along with 2,403 servicemen), and both enemies were motivated by a religious objective (in the case of the Japanese, the emperor was God, and wanted to bring the eight corners of the world together under the Greater East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere). The Pearl Harbor attack wasn’t intended to destroy the U.S. but to prevent the U.S fleet from being organized enough to impede Japans plans. The U.S. response on 9/12 was 180 degrees different from 12/ 8, when the military was overwhelmed with enlistees and U.S. industrial production was quickly reorganized. On 12/8, we adapted; on 9/12, we mourned. In 2002, we wondered whom should we indict, but in 1942 no one was trying to indict Admiral Yamamoto.

What shapes our security reaction? This time, we’ve just added another layer to our bureaucracy: the DHS. We interned Japanese Americans in World War II, knowing that we couldn’t process background checks on 175,000 people. Those cleared didn’t turn on the U.S., but became in one notable case members of a highly decorated combat unit. During World War II, we taught every American child how to identify every plane in the world by silhouette; today, we are more worried about not frightening students.

Technology and Terrorism

FPRI senior fellow Lawrence Husick discussed technology, the defining characteristic of modern terrorists. By the late 20th century, technology had leveled the playing field between individuals and small groups and the worlds most powerful nations. Its not just the technology of WMD but of everyday things: as 9/11 proved, it permitted 19 young men to turn airplanes into cruise missiles. Terrorism is about leverage, being able to exert an out-scale force through the use of a long enough lever arm and strong enough fulcrum. Its a tool of the smart.

The military calls terrorism warfare between unmatched adversaries. Asymmetric warfare tactics are used by more than just Al Qaeda: the recent book, Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America (Pan American, 2002), by two colonels in China’s PLA, is the best outline of it yet.

As 9/11 demonstrated, the old-style mutual assured destruction doesn’t work. This war involves what could be called MUD: Multilateral, Unconstrained Disruption. The adversary’s goal is to sufficiently disrupt the U.S. so that it will withdraw from the world. Toward this end, bin Laden has urged more attacks on the joints of the economy: things that are important in a way the Liberty Bell, the value of which is symbolic, is not.

Today’s societal commons include the Internet, the electric power grid, rail systems, and air-traffic control systems, which no one is responsible to protect. In The World is Flat (2005), Friedman notes that in the globalized world there is no way to disentangle ourselves from the rest of the world. Even were we to reduce our reliance on Middle Eastern oil, our trading partners in the Far East such as Japan could never do so. Therefore, we need to protect things outside our own borders and alliances. We cant return to 9/10, and we were vulnerable even then. Our goal can only be security, not immunity.

In and of itself, technology is use-neutral. But students can think about how a given technology can be used, offensively and defensively, and the vulnerabilities it creates. Videohas long been used as tool for communication; Mr. Husick offered the example of the Civil Defense Administrations 1951 Bert the Turtle film (see, which taught children how to duck and cover to survive nuclear attack. But video can also be exploited as it was by Leni Riefenstahl’s films for Adolf Hitler. The Internet is essential to students, but can also be used for stegonography, hidden writing in Internet graphics. The Internet was designed by our military as network that could sustain damage from nuclear attack by Russians and still keep working; today, shutting down one Islamist website has no effect, when the world-wide web represents less than 1 percent of the material flowing through the Internet.

In the U.S., cell phones represent convenience and safety. Elsewhere, with landlines lacking, the hard-to-trace cell phone is the norm. Meanwhile, prepaid cards and disposable numbers permit anonymity and can even be used as remote trigger devices for bombs.

Enterprise software programs now run huge swaths of economy: more than 85 percent of Fortune 2000 companies run SAP R3, designed by a German company. The program runs everything in the company: personnel, ordering, manufacturing, accounts receivable and payable, and as such leaves us highly vulnerable. Mr. Husick urged having students look at any technology this way to recognize the risks it poses.

What’s Iraq Got To Do With It? 

FPRI president Harvey Sicherman outlined how the war on terrorism was basically intended to signal to groups and states that their objectives would not be achieved by targeting civilians. While it is criticized for being a war on a method, at least it attempts to restore the line between combatants and civilians. The Bush administration’s major innovation was stating that the U.S. makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror and those who harbor them, after years of U.S. indecision what to do about terrorism.

Iraq was next after Afghanistan because Saddam had earned it. In fact, we already had been waging low-level war since the 1991 war. But the no-fly zones we patrolled with the British to protect Kurds and Shiites were being fired upon, and the containment sanctions were increasingly corrupted and ineffective. Hence, Bush’s choice was not whether he would face a crisis on Iraq but when.  9/11 made it sooner rather than later.  Presidents cannot be judged on the basis of what they learned only after the event.

The critical missing information wasn’t whether Iraq had WMD but the difficulty of putting the country back together. This was grossly underestimated and we therefore now must pay twice the cost to get half the results.

The “war for Baghdad” has extraordinary significance.  In this struggle, we should be aware of history; the Iraqis certainly are.  Capital of the last significant Arab caliphate, Baghdad is a crucial symbol in the Jihadi struggle for supremacy among the Muslims.

Therefore Iraq has much to do with the WOT, though not necessarily in the way we were led to think about it. It is a test case of whether we can change regimes and lessen regional danger. But the struggle will not be short. In our most successful attempts at democracy building, Germany and Japan, our troops never left.

What Every Student Should Know about the War on Terrorism 

FPRI senior fellow and LaSalle University professor Edward Turzanski addressed what we need to do differently to prepare students to be analysts and operatives in the intelligence community. Three critical elements to the students toolbox are (1) development of a historical consciousness; (2) acquiring foreign language skills beyond Spanish; and (3) as Dr. Radu noted, better knowledge of geography, especially since our adversary is made stronger largely because of its relationship to the supply of oil.

We have an articulation deficit in naming the threat we face. Mr. Turzanski recommended Bernard Lewis The Roots of Muslim Rage (Atlantic Monthly, September 1990) as a start in understanding the WOT, which really began not on 9/11 but with the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979.

Students need to steer clear of the moral equivalency contest that plays itself out in media: there is objective good and evil, unsettling as it may be to call something bad. The Taliban was bad (although it did control the drug trade); 9/11 was an act of war, just as childhood leukemia is a tragedy and Hurricane Katrina was a disaster. Students should recognize that Islamists seek a return to the 7th-century caliphate, and understand what life was like under Taliban, especially for women.

9/11 changed our mindset on terrorism. The job is not yet done in the public sphere, but many in government changed their rules. The first priority is no longer apprehending terrorists in order to prosecute them, but preventing attacks. Prior to being appointed to the 9/11 Commission, Jamie Gorelick in 1995 authored a memo recommending that in order to preserve the integrity of terrorism prosecutions, there had to be a high wall separating counterterrorism work from law enforcement and prosecutorial work. 9/11 made probable cause a more elastic term.

In Fallujah, we set ourselves up for trouble because of our tentative response, which created the impression of weakness. To borrow from Napoleon, if you’re going to make an example of Fallujah, make an example of Fallujah.

Defeatism is a self-fulfilling prophecy. But on university campuses, there are strong voices pointing at problems in our own culture, notwithstanding that the Muslim-authored UN Development Report concludes that problems in the Middle Eastern countries are of their own making. We do need to win this war, since the price of defeat is very high.

To fill future U.S. intelligence needs, students should be encouraged in building language skills and travel experience, and in becoming well-read people who are good writers, able to reduce complex issues to brief papers that reach conclusions.


[1]  Spiegel interview with Al-Jazeera host Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, God Has Disappeared, Sept. 27, 2005.