- The Washington Times - Monday, December 26, 2005


By Frank J. Gaffney, Jr

Naval Institute, $27.95, 320 pages

Winning the global war on terror is our stated national priority, and it has dominated our collective thoughts for over four years. That said, we still lack an officially articulated strategy for victory. As this review is being written, the president has finished a series of four speeches in which he has outlined his strategy for victory in Iraq, which he sees as the critical front in the GWOT. However, he has yet to do the same thing for the greater global war. In “War Footing” the editor/writer and his colleagues outline their suggestions for a strategic approach to the president in 10 steps.

The book addresses grand strategy, not merely military strategy for winning militarily. In describing their strategy, the authors talk in terms of the application of all elements of military power to include diplomacy, information operations and economic tools as well as military power; the acronym that the military uses for this melding is DIME.

The first step that the authors describe is to “know the enemy.” Here, the enemy is described not as radical Islam, but as fascism disguised as Islam or Islamofascism, which the authors see as a political movement attempting to legitimize itself through religion. The book portrays the main villains here as the Wahhabist sect of Islam, primarily centered in Saudi Arabia. Although they do not go so far as to claim that the Saudi government formally sponsors al Qaeda and its offshoots, the authors clearly see the Saudi government as an enabler, and they fully feel that Saudi oil money is the root cause of the evil.

The book then goes on to address a holistic approach for defeating the enemy abroad, at home and in the area of world perceptions. Some of the suggestions put forward in this volume include such commonsense economic advice as diversifying our oil reserves and changing our policies for resourcing homeland-defense assets on the basis of real need, not political factionalism. That particular argument comes at a time when many in Congress are attacking the Patriot Act without suggesting positive alternative approaches.

The authors cut across the political spectrum. Mr. Gaffney was an official with the Reagan Defense Department; he serves as chief voice and editor. He is ably assisted by R. James Woolsey, a Democrat served as head of the CIA. Victor Davis Hanson and Daniel Goure are noted scholars with solid national-security credentials.

The book is not equally strong in all areas. The chapter on purely military considerations is light. This is acceptable, as plenty has been written on the subject of military reform, whereas sections that deal with the other elements of DIME have not been adequately addressed elsewhere. The book also makes some useful suggestions on winning the war of ideas, a victory critical to success in beating the Islamofascists, and that includes unmasking the criminal actions of the terrorists as the un-Islamic heresy that they really are.

Mr. Gaffney and company also suggest launching regional initiatives in Africa, South Asia and South America to shore up our diplomatic position in those regions and build allies. I disagree with their suggestion to further marginalize the United Nations. I’d personally favor building on its strong points. We may come in for a lot of flack on the U.N. floor, but the barbs are words, not bombs and bullets.

The book could have also benefited from a chapter on measures of effectiveness. There will be no surrender on the deck of a battleship in this war, nor will there be a march on Richmond such as the one that finally ended the Civil War. In a long war, the American people need to see clear benchmarks. We currently lack them.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, recently called for the administration to be more open to new ideas and inclusive of innovative views. Perhaps the president might find this book and its authors a good place to start in expanding its horizons. It is a good place to start an informed dialogue. I don’t agree with all of its recommendations, but it is a good launching point for a long-delayed informed discussion. This war will not be won until we focus all elements of national power in a coherent manner. In World War II, even Popeye and Daffy Duck got involved. So far, we haven’t even seen Sponge Bob at the front.

Gary Anderson is a retired Marine Corps officer. He teaches a course titled “The Revolution in Military Affairs” at George Washington University.

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