Terrorism: June 11, 2002


: Grand Strategy For America's War On Terror - Objectives and Priorities: The only feasible means of protecting America's homeland from foreign terrorist attack is to eliminate all terrorist-supporting states. We opposed some foreign terrorism before 9/11, but weren't at "war" with terrorism in general. 9/11 forced us to recognize that most foreign terrorists and their state sponsors cooperate to a greater or lesser degree, and that our security requires rooting out what has grown into a connected system of world terrorism and the state sponsors of its disparate parts.

President Bush indicated in a recent speech that all governments which continue to use terrorism as instruments of state policy, if only to deflect their own people's anger away from themselves towards us, will be forcibly replaced. He did not, however, mention what will happen when replacing a government won't improve the situation, which will usually be the case with failed/failing states.

Their fate will be extinction. I.e., failed and failing states which have served as terrorist sanctuaries will be conquered and occupied by a friendly country (us if necessary) with the means and ruthlessness to root out terrorist infrastructure.

This is a fundamental change in the post World War II order. Borders will change and whole countries cease to exist. The world will be rearranged to further our domestic security, and we will act preemptively rather than waiting for attack. These are logical and necessary implications of America's new policy, i.e., we'll get there eventually despite claiming the contrary now. Great events and major policy changes by Great Powers are dynamic instead of static. They create new environments which foster further changes. 

Elimination of terrorist states appears to be our middle-term goal. President Bush's long-term goals identified in the same speech show no change in America's overall objective since 1945 slow integration of the world into a web of successful, prosperous, democratic societies. Getting there now seems to require, however, that America operate as an empire in areas which potentially threaten our homeland.

Our short-term goal must be protection of the homeland from terrorist weapons of mass destruction (WMD) because, among other things, such attack might so enrage the American people that they would require the immediate nuclear annihilation of active and likely threats. That might create a far more dangerous world in the long run, and would at least markedly impede America's long-term goals.

We must rely on internal and foreign intelligence services to protect against WMD improvised from our domestic resources, as on 9/11. Protection from WMD produced elsewhere requires recognizing and prioritizing the potential threats. The WMD of foreign origin which most threaten our homeland are of two types. One is biological most likely anthrax of Iraqi origin (those who still deny that have bright futures in today's FBI - many already work there), but possibly smallpox too. The second is nuclear, including radiological devices as well as weapons.

The two most likely foreign nuclear devices/weapons which terrorists could use here are fizzly ex Soviet tactical nukes used as radiological devices, and Pakistani nuclear weapons. Al Qaeda likely has the former. It, or its successors, will probably get the latter. It is highly likely that any terrorist nuke detonated anywhere in the next ten years will be of Pakistani origin.

The extent of Iraq's biological weapons threat cannot be known until after its conquest, but Iraqi intelligence agents with quasi-mythical abilities, using anthrax spores of the quality used last fall, could theoretically kill several million Americans. A Pakistani nuke in terrorist hands could kill 80,000 - 100,000 Americans, while a fizzly ex Soviet nuke might kill several thousand.

This huge disparity in potential harm dictates the magnitude and order of action. Iraq's immediate conquest has the highest priority. Elimination of Pakistan's nuclear threat need not take a military form. We should, however, immediately start formulating strategies towards that end.

Threat elimination next in priority starts with terrorist-supporting states possessing chemical weapons - Iran, Syria-Lebanon and Libya. Iran's regime might not last the year even if we do nothing, and will almost certainly be overthrown by its pro-American people when we conquer Iraq. Libya recently offered a billion dollars compensation for the Lockerbie bombing to buy its way off this list. Syria's regime continues to support Lebanese terrorists so it must be destroyed, possibly with Turkish and/or Israeli proxies.

Then we must eliminate Saudi Arabia's regime as it is the chief source of Islamic terrorist funding. That might not be enough, though, as Saudi culture has an Islamic extremist base of several centuries' standing. Elimination of Saudi terrorist funding will likely require that its people be denied the physical means, i.e., the U.S. will control Saudi oil-producing areas and use the revenue to fund America's new empire. -- Thomas M. Holsinger


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