Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Long War: A Long View

Short and linky (vs. long and thinky) tonight. From the estimable Counterterrorism Blog comes this presentation on the status and progress and challenges in the Long War, delivered to the Washington Institute by Juan Zarate, deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism.

It is an exceptional and searching overview of the various fronts on which our struggle with Islamic Extremism is being waged, a potent tonic to counteract the tunnel vision which --with and without the "help" of the media-- can characterize our view of that global conflict. The sheer scope and complexity of this endeavor are daunting, and it is most helpful to pull back and examine the multiple, overlapping "fronts" on which it proceeds.

Ranging from descriptions of the nature of our foe(s), to the military, diplomatic, legislative, and financial tools at our disposal, to the considerable challenges which still face us, this presentation manages to strike a hopeful note, even as it provides a sobering perspective on the distance yet to travel. The concluding paragraph --appropriately enough-- sums if up best:
We are attempting to address all of these challenges with the varied tools at our command and by innovating new areas in our counterterrorism approach. We know the War on Terror -- with its embedded struggle against a violent extremist ideology -- is a generational calling that requires the entire U.S. government and the international community to act. There will be challenges and setbacks, but there is no doubt in my mind that we will see victory in this struggle, with markers and key indicators of that success emerging even today. There is also no doubt that we will see al-Qaida defeated, imploding from its own moral hypocrisy and strategic missteps. That said, we must remain focused and committed to ensuring the safety and security of this country against an enemy that remains committed to the destruction of our way of life. That has been the work of this administration, and it will no doubt be the work of administrations to come.

It's longish, but eminently worth the time it will take to read the whole thing.

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