October 23, 2003
Rumsfeld Wakes up to the Bad Dream - The War on Terror May Be Making Things Worse

The US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, has admitted that Washington has no way of knowing whether it is winning or losing its "war on terror" and predicts "a long, hard slog" in Iraq and Afghanistan, in a leaked document published yesterday.

Mr Rumsfeld warns: "The US is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan, but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists. The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' costs of millions."

"We are having mixed results with al-Qaida, although we have put considerable pressure on them - none the less a great many remain at large," Mr Rumsfeld writes.

"USG [the US government] has made reasonable progress in capturing or killing the top 55 Iraqis. USG has made somewhat slower progress tracking down the Taliban ... with respect to the Ansar Al-Islam [the al-Qaida-linked Sunni extremist group operating in Iraq], we are just getting started. It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog," he said.

"Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror," Mr Rumsfeld concludes, demanding more original thinking.

"My impression is that we have not yet made truly bold moves," he writes, and asks whether a private foundation could be set up to "entice" madrassas to a more moderate course.

"It is not possible to change DoD [the department of defence] fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror; an alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere - one that seamlessly focuses the capabilities of several departments and agencies on this key problem," Mr Rumsfeld said.

Posted by tstubbs at October 23, 2003 02:22 PM | Trackback
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