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November 24, 2010

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The Qaeda 'philosophy' will not simply wither away as long as we continue to prop up despotic regimes in the Middle East.

Given the current state of international power relations, as long as we continue to foot the bill, Qaeda, or something like it, will be there.

all good points.

but....

we won't.

what's plan B ?

I see no specifics here for what should be done to prevent further attacks or attempted attacks.

Plan B is to get as close to Plan A as possible. Even in little steps.

Forget specifics - how about we go for a nice generality like "don't substitute security theater for security, even when security theater is all we can manage"?

I mean, really, if security theater isn't going to actually make things safer, I hardly see demands for alternatives which do as being a reasonable rebuttal to denouncements of it...

"Plan B is to get as close to Plan A as possible."

OK. But Plan A is fatally flawed.

Now what?

Crikes, reading through this comment thread, I'm not so sure I'm on the same page with respect to what Plans A and B are.

By Plan A, I mean Containment 2.0.

I understand your point BP, and I'm not adjustments, but in the meantime, there is a way to contain al-Qaeda without bankrupting ourselves, and I think it's worth pursuing.

that should say "I'm not opposed to adjustment"...

Meaning, I think we should put real pressure on Egypt to open up the democratic process. Jordan too.

As I was wondering a during the most recent scare: what if the failed bombs was the terrorist attack? It was pretty damn successful.

I see no specifics here for what should be done to prevent further attacks or attempted attacks

It's kind of a non-starter politically to say so, but IMO the first step to a realistic approach to AQ is to recognize that we cannot prevent all attacks or attempted attacks.

We can't.

Some crazy obsessive sob's want to kill Americans. We can do our best to prevent that, and that's all we can do.

Doing our best, plus a bunch of other stuff that is highly unlikely to make a difference, will not improve our odds much.

This is a fine post; what bothers me is the thought that anyone at all needs any of this explained to them, it's so perfectly obvious.

That is, it's clearly not remotely obvious to most people, and that's not just frightening, but terrifying. Why, such ignorance could lead to us invading whole countries, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, the waste of trillions of dollars, and doing exactly the one thing that Osama bin Laden and friends want.

That would be bad.

"I see no specifics here for what should be done to prevent further attacks or attempted attacks."

I have to be short, so this may not be specific enough for you: read up on what the British did as regards IRA terrorism in the past forty years. Learn from their mistakes, as they did, and then notice what got right, and then got better at.

It's rather an understatement to say that British policy in Northern Ireland when the Troubles began was not wise, nor gentle.

But, when you compare cases, they didn't decide to re-invade and reconquer the Republic of Ireland after shock and awe bombing it.

I can't speak for anyone in the Republic of Ireland, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or anyone in the British Isles, or anyone but me, but I have a very strong suspicion that relatively few citizens of Ireland, or Northern Ireland, would have preferred the other approach.

Neither do I think it would have been effective in suppressing the Provo IRA, or any of the other factions, breakaway or independent. But what do you think?

I'm inclined to think it might have actually angered more people and caused them to join the Provo IRA, and created far more terrorism than it prevented, but what do you think?

Setting entirely aside, in any case, the question of whether going to war, dropping endlessly more bombs on other countries in just one of the latest wars than have ever been set off in this country by all the foreign powers and agents and terrorists put together in all of U.S. history is a good idea, and simply addressing the question of what other "preventative" actions are and aren't cost-effective, or effective at all, is a productive approach, I suggest.

Compare the figures on numbers of deaths caused by terrorism/bombs proportional to money spent to prevent such, by, respectively, Britain and the U.S., proportional, of course, to population.

Then come back to us with what conclusions you draw. Then let's talk.

Of course, you've probably already done this, and are familiar with the relevant facts, in which case, you could just let us know immediately what you think of the pros and cons of the two approaches, where the relative strengths and weakness might be, and so on.

Perhaps the place to start is this: some "crazy obsessive sob's want to kill Americans." They are the ones who become (usually would-be) suicide bombers. But they are really just the tools of the real enemy -- the people behind the terrorists. And those people are, as the source article notes, much more interested in economic warefare than in actually killing Americans. (Not that they object to killing Americans. But it's just an occasional bonus.)

So where does tht leave us? First off, turn the current sound-bite on its head:

    "Every time we ratchet up our security theater efforts, the terrorists win."
So we stop wasting resources on that stuff, and put it into two things:
1) better intelligence gathering
2) narrowly targeted attacks onn the planners. Very narrowly targeted, as in single bullet assassinations -- anything more broadbrush is pointless, if not actively counterproductive.

A little effort on nudging our supposed allies towards less tyranical governing methods would also not hurt. But its the first two which will actually do us some good.

Granted, there are now a lot of people who have a strong vested interest in our current security theater approach. Some political, others merely economic. But if we are to succeed, they are just going to have to take one for the team.

"I see no specifics here for what should be done to prevent further attacks or attempted attacks."

Or to come at this from a different angle: I see no specifics here for what should be done to prevent all future further murders or attempted attacks.

What do you think we should do about that, how should we approach this goal of preventing all murders, ever, what's an appropriate amount to budget to do this, and how did you arrive at your figure?

As a sub-issue, feel free to break out mass murders into whatever categories you like, and explain how and why different categories might or should be responded to differently. You have an opportunity here to educate us all. Do feel free to use it.

If you like, I'll present it as a guest post on the front page, if you are willing to respond to reasonable questions in comments in return.

Floor's yours. Go for it.

"Granted, there are now a lot of people who have a strong vested interest in our current security theater approach. Some political, others merely economic."

Oh, that "merely." That's the key part. Pork is king. Really.

Follow the money.

The economic factors drive the political; not vice versa, though of course there's a positive feedback loop.

But this has been the biggest government teat there is since 2001, yet somehow, some folks who say their philosophy is anti-big government, fiscally conservative, can't make social changes, can't change basic human impulses, and believe government is largely ineffective, seem to somehow believe that if we call part of the government "military" or "security," it becomes magically different.

I don't expect perfect consistency from anyone, but occasionally the contradictions seem a bit striking.

I see no specifics here for what should be done to prevent further attacks or attempted attacks.

What have traditionally been the best counterterrorism tools are still the best counterterrorism tools:

1. Intel
2. Law enforcement
3. Targeted, limited military strikes

As someone put it regarding the TSA measures: if the terrorist has reached the airport, it's already too late.

The TSA has not foiled a single plot. Perhaps they've deterred some, but there's no way of knowing.

But then, and this is a real possibility that has been discussed, a terrorist may very well target the security line itself at the airport.

That is why intel is key. Interdicting plots before they manifest. In some instances, targeted military strikes are warranted.

But big, lengthy, muddled military campaigns in every locale that AQ raises its flag? Those are counterproductive in the long run.

1) better intelligence gathering
2) narrowly targeted attacks onn the planners. Very narrowly targeted, as in single bullet assassinations -- anything more broadbrush is pointless, if not actively counterproductive.

1. Intel
2. Law enforcement
3. Targeted, limited military strikes

Fair enough. I see it pretty much the same way. Were I advocating from the progressive left, I'd spend a lot more time aggressively (as in taking an aggressive stance against AQ and the rest) touting specific strategies calculated to attrit and disorient the bad guys. The progressive left doesn't have much in the way of security chops. It's pretty much been ceded to the right.

Not to hijack your thread, but what's your prescription if the NK's aren't just probing?

The progressive left doesn't have much in the way of security chops. It's pretty much been ceded to the right.

I don't know if that's true. Democracy Arsenal is pretty good, as are the rest of the blogs in the Progressive Realist network.

CAP, CNAS and the Century Foundation are solid on the think tank front though, admittedely, CNAS would probably not qualify as "progressive left" as much as left leaning.

As for specific strategies, Thomas Hegghammer's recent piece on Awlaki is a good example of such:

http://bit.ly/gsvP0n

Otherwise, it's hard to rail about specifics beyond advising to do things smarter that will help intel/law enforcement to do their jobs. Because intel and law enforcement specifics are hard to enunciate. It amounts to: find more informants, recruit more assets, penetrate more networks, arrest those that you find, etc.

I mean, what else is there?

But in terms of helping intel/law enforcement, we should not alienate our domestic Muslim population with anti-Muslim propaganda since that population is very, very effective at stopping plots/not spawning terrorists.

We should not score own goals that help recruiters - like torture, Gitmo, endless wars, etc.

We should not construct domestic security theater that doesn't actually make us safter (or only nominally so) at enormous costs.

If you want to disorient al-Qaeda, start by stealing their thunder, robbing them of propaganda and recruiting tools. Then let law enforcement and intel do the rest - with some targeted military strikes where warranted.

As for NK, I think it's important to push China toward reining in NK. They are the best suited for this, and I think Obama is forcing their hand by sending the naval group to the Yellow Sea.

It could backfire, but that's about the only card to play.

If the North doesn't back down, I'm not sure there are any good options.

arrest those that you find, etc.

Why arrest? Then civilian trials? Witness issues, search warrants, etc.

WJ is right. They have to be killed.

I might note that the results of containment today are much the same as Cold War containment. Every Thanksgiving I listen to the story of the Alice's Restaurant Thanksgiving Day Massacree and then I listen to this:

When a Soldier Makes It Home

And then watch The Last Waltz.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Why arrest? Then civilian trials? Witness issues, search warrants, etc.

WJ is right. They have to be killed.

Arrest because, ya know, Rule of Law and quaint, antiquated notions like that. As satisfying as it might be to sit back and call for extrajudicial executions. You're not the ones who you're proposing go out and perform said executions from behind the barrel of an M4 or computer terminal; I'll thank you not to volunteer us to act as assassins hiding behind the legal fig leaf of having militarized the killings.

But hey, don't let me interrupt your delightful fantasy of making martyrs of these monsters...

The progressive left doesn't have much in the way of security chops. It's pretty much been ceded to the right.

Depressing that people still think this, despite the facts that
a) the president when the 9/11 attacks happened - the single worst failure of US national defence policy in half a century - was from the right, not the progressive left; and
b) the president who took the decision to invade Iraq - the single worst failure of US foreign policy in half a century - was also fron the right, not the progressive left.

The progressive left doesn't have much in the way of security chops. It's pretty much been ceded to the right.

Every time I think McK is starting to make sense about one thing or another, he throws some egregious BS like this out there that makes me question his grasp on the real world.

I mean, really? After almost a decade of Republican-driven national security catastrophes, you're actually still capable of the level of cognitive dissonance necessary to believe that?

Astounding.

They have to be killed.

Because all is permitted, and the ends really do justify the means.

Brings a tear to my eye, it does.

"As for NK, I think it's important to push China toward reining in NK."

I think such hopes, which are always voiced, are deeply, deeply, unrealistic save in a very marginal way, and with the crucial caveat that after Kim Jong Il either dies or becomes incapacitated, the cards get thrown in the air in a way that we have essentially no significant ability to predict in any effective way.

I see no way that a combination of America, Europe, the Anglosphere, and, in essence, everyone else whom we can generally persuade to vote our way more than not on either the Security Council or General Assembly is going to have more weight on China than China's own interests.

Which are to keep North Korea causing any more trouble to China than North Korea already has, which is to say, considerable with that whole little police action counter-response.

Which means that, yes, it's absolutely in China's interests to keep North Korea from going to full aware against South Korea, and it's in their interest in keeping the North from collapsing any further than the state it's already in.

Beyond that, China simply is too large and powerful and culturally/historically indifferent, I generalize beyond wildly, of course, to care much about the rest of the world, until such time as the rest of the world takes steps it's never going to take.

If the group I described above decided to cut all trade with China, sure, that would probably do the trick.

If the group decided to cut trade in half -- maybe there's 50% of China deciding it's worth the trouble to accomodate further on North Korea.

Below that, our leverage is marginal.

This is an opinion, which I'm prepared to defend, listen to counter-arguments, and be convinced I'm completely wrong and metaphorically talking with the wrong orifice. And, of course, I'm simplifying to the point where it's easy to pull apart something this simple. But that's what you get at this length and this amount of tiredness. :-)

Don't suppose it's occurred to you that Al Quada is a CIA created boogeyman to furnish ongoing justification for our endless war on terra!

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

"I might note that the results of containment today are much the same as Cold War containment."

Could you clarify what you mean by that, Marty?

I know what I think the results of what was far more Paul Nitze's policy than Kennan and his famous X memo, and then as interpreted by Foster Dulles (whom, surprise, my opinion is low in the extreme), JFK, and onwards, but I haven't read enough of your writing, I'm afraid, having missed pretty much all of 2009 around here, to be clear what you think the results of "Cold War containment" were.

I'm interested enough to ask, though, of course, you're under no obligation to answer, any more than anyone ever is.

"Don't suppose it's occurred to you that Al Quada is a CIA created boogeyman to furnish ongoing justification for our endless war on terra!"

It hasn't occurred to me because the facts don't support your claim.

We can discuss this, if you would like to beyond the depth of seventeen relevant words.

narrowly targeted attacks onn the planners.

Seriously, are you thinking this hasn't been thought of and/or attempted?

This is the Italian President from Jersey strategy. Send Joe Pesci! He'll get it done.

There are about 1,000 reasons -- legal, political, diplomatic, logistical, and simply pragmatic -- why "narrowly targeted attacks on the planners" is not a sufficient strategy for dealing with terrorist organizations.

It's a fantasy. IMVHO.

The progressive left doesn't have much in the way of security chops.

I'm 54. Based on my observation over my lifetime, the right flat-out sucks at security. Big words, lots of chest-thumping, but when the rubber meets the road, nothing but pointless, expensive, counter-productive flailing.

Total and utter crap.

Rhetoric != chops.

what's your prescription if the NK's aren't just probing?

What "prescription"? If they're starting a war, there's gonna be a war, and we're gonna be involved.

"Prescription" doesn't come into it, it'll largely be out of our hands. Events will take their own course.

And it will be nasty.

What's "the right's" prescription? Shoot first? Seoul's toast either way, NK will lose either way, and they'll take as many folks as they can down with them either way, with nukes or otherwise.

And China *for sure* will not be pleased if we initiate a war on the Korean Peninsula.

Screw China? Damn the torpedos and full speed ahead? I don't think we want a war with China right now.

What NK does or doesn't do appears to be largely out of our control. We better hope for the freaking best because it'll be very ugly if it goes down.

Why arrest? Then civilian trials? Witness issues, search warrants, etc.

We actually have a pretty good track record with civilian arrest and trial.

WJ is right. They have to be killed.

Funny, that's what they say about us.

Gary (oh phone, so short)

Containment in both cases leads to expanding engagement due to the ludicrous idea that fighting "there" or "here" are the only two alternatives. It was the justification underlying containment then(Vietnam) and is now.

Just a summary.

Two quick notes:

I think Containment was infected with Rollback, and that you saw a hybrid eventually, which is what Gary was referencing with Nitze.

Further, Containment 2.0 should be less engaged militarily for the reasons that Bob Wright and I put forth: the costs are mostly incurred by one party (us), while not really exhausting the resources of the other (AQ+)

I wasn't really disagreeing with your premise Eric, only the actuality to date.

russell, I don't disagree with you that targeting the planners would be extremely difficult. And probably expensive.

But all I am saying is, consider the amount of lives, treasure, and effort we are otherwise spending -- even not counting distractions like Iraq, just Afghanistan and TSA's security theater. Perhaps there is a more cost-effective approach.

all I am saying is, consider the amount of lives, treasure, and effort we are otherwise spending

I have no disagreement with the argument that broadly targeted attacks are a worse idea than narrowly targeted ones.

Sorry for misreading your general point!

Russell:

[...] There are about 1,000 reasons -- legal, political, diplomatic, logistical, and simply pragmatic -- why "narrowly targeted attacks on the planners" is not a sufficient strategy for dealing with terrorist organizations.
Insufficient, but arguably, done "right," a necessary part of the mix. If "necessary" is insupportable, substitute "conceivable."

I don't endorse violence lightly. I repeat my modifier: "arguably."

(Defining "right" could be done at requested word lengths.)

Eric:

[...] I think Containment was infected with Rollback, and that you saw a hybrid eventually, which is what Gary was referencing with Nitze.
FTW!

(Eric Martin, for the win!)

Russell, on North Korea:

[...] If they're starting a war, there's gonna be a war, and we're gonna be involved.
That.

Marty, thanks, muchly, and let's chat more when we each have more time/bandwidth. Fortunately, we're communicating in a non-synchronous medium.

(More plainly, each of us can respond whenever most convenient for ourselves, rather than having to do so at the same time.)

"russell, I don't disagree with you that targeting the planners would be extremely difficult. And probably expensive."

This isn't hypothetical; it's been ongoing to some degree since the Clinton-era PDD-62 (Presidential Decision Directive), publically released on May 22nd, 1998.

The trend has been upwards in authorized covert acts, and covert killings, ever since.

I'll timeline this in as granular fashion and detail as anyone who seriously asks would like, such as you, Russell, and my time allows, down to at least the day, whenever possible, which on this question is generally possible. The public record is generally detailed enough, and trivially accessible for me to do this within a relatively short order of time, under most circumstances, proportional to which set of escalations, or period of days, weeks, or months, anyone would like to specify.

After almost a decade of Republican-driven national security catastrophes, you're actually still capable of the level of cognitive dissonance necessary to believe that?

Did I say the right is correct in how things have worked out? Think of it this way Right = Overkill, Left = Kumbaya. On balance, Overkill is superior to Kumbaya. Like it or not, that is the ebb and flow of history.

On the terror side, arrest and civilian trials are an awful idea. Simply awful. The steps that one goes through to extend constitutional protections to active terror plotters overseas results in withholding interdiction or capture until we are sure admissible evidence can be preserved. In a traditional civilian situation, the arresting officers are key witnesses, subject to subpoena. Putting special ops people in the news, subject to subpoena, etc. is just the kind of Kumbaya stuff that makes the Left look totally non-serious when it discusses national security.

Defining "right" could be done at requested word lengths

IMO defining "right" is the problematic aspect.

We're talking about entering another country to kill someone who's living there.

Is this with the knowledge of that other country? With their permission (explicit or "look the other way" tacit)?

Who does this? US military? US intelligence actors? Is this a military action, or an assassination? What's the difference between the two?

Is this person a citizen of the country where they live, or of some other country?

At what point does this "targeted" action become an act of war?

Who decides who is, and who is not, a legitimate target for a "targeted action"? What are the criteria for being a target of assassination?

If our folks are captured while roaming around in some other country with the intent of killing somebody there, what is their status? Are they criminals there, subject to prosecution under the local laws?

Those are the issues that occur to me off the top of my head.

I'll timeline this in as granular fashion and detail as anyone who seriously asks would like

Actually, that would be of interest, to me anyway. Maybe it deserves a front-page post.

Don't know if any of you have heard, but there was another terror arrest in Oregon, the FBI nabbed another.

Amazing: intel and law enforcement.

On the terror side, arrest and civilian trials are an awful idea. Simply awful. The steps that one goes through to extend constitutional protections to active terror plotters overseas results in withholding interdiction or capture until we are sure admissible evidence can be preserved.

Out of curiosity, has this ever actually happened?

In a traditional civilian situation, the arresting officers are key witnesses, subject to subpoena. Putting special ops people in the news, subject to subpoena, etc. is just the kind of Kumbaya stuff that makes the Left look totally non-serious when it discusses national security.

Yes and no. We arrested KSM, and if it wasn't for a GOP inspired hissy fit, he would have been tried and convicted in civilian court. Ghailani was just tried and convicted in civilian court. In fact, over 400 terrorists have been tried and convicted in civilian court.

That said, there are some situations where lethal force would be better.

The Ghailani conviction was less impressive than you would have it. As for KSM and a GOP inspired hissy fit, I am pretty sure a lot of Dems and independents were on board from day one. It was an awful idea. The security requirements alone were such that we'd go broke just trying these turkeys.

Out of curiosity, has this ever actually happened?

Not that you or I would know of because the current program, and the program since 9-11 is and has been lethal force. Which has worked very well. AQ isn't a shadow of its former self due to the rule of law.

If you want to look at the "rule of law" success record, start with Lockerbie and work your way up to 9-11. Less than impressive.


In fact, over 400 terrorists have been tried and convicted in civilian court.

I've seen this number mentioned before. Where can I find the detail on what exactly is behind these numbers. My sense is they proves too much.

The Ghailani conviction was less impressive than you would have it.

What does that mean? The kid is going to be in prison the rest of his life, and we convicted in a civilian court DESPITE the fact that he was tortured quite frequnently.

I'd say that was quite impressive.

The security requirements alone were such that we'd go broke just trying these turkeys.

Actually, the costs of trying him pale in comparison to the costs of keeping him at Gitmo. Whither the fiscal hawks?

Not that you or I would know of because the current program, and the program since 9-11 is and has been lethal force. Which has worked very well. AQ isn't a shadow of its former self due to the rule of law.

But we've captured hundreds of terrorists since 9/11, and tried a good many in civilian courts. KSM, for example, was captured post 9/11.

I've seen this number mentioned before. Where can I find the detail on what exactly is behind these numbers. My sense is they proves too much.

This post has helpful links:

http://bit.ly/fDiMqN


The security requirements alone were such that we'd go broke just trying these turkeys.

I'd also like to point out that we have precedent for this. We've tried, again, hundreds of terrorists in civilian courts and the costs just aren't that high.

I'd also point out that, throughout its history, al-Qaeda has attacked a grand total of 0 trials of its members. In fact, attacking a trial is a terrible gambit for a terrorist group that, instead, opts for soft targets, not hard ones.

Costs of keeping Gitmo open:

http://bit.ly/hM0aXZ

The security requirements alone were such that we'd go broke just trying these turkeys.

Eric beat me to it. But the costs for security for a civilian trial, however high, are tiny compared to the costs of running a couple of wars. And yet, we were willing, and at least temporarily able, to spend that kind of money. (And no, I am not trying to go off on a tangent about the merits and costs of those wars.)

On the terror side, arrest and civilian trials are an awful idea. Simply awful.

Why? The benefits of a trial in a civilian court, where anyone can see the evidence, are pretty high. And there is also IMHO some benefit to accused terrorists being found no guilty (or at least "not proven") of some charges. For one, it reinforces the concept that these are fair trials, not kangaroo courts. Without necessarily reducing the punishment that much -- how much real difference is there, after all, between a sentence of life without parole and 6 sentences of life without parole?

But perhaps as important is the fact that, if you know that you are going to be dealing with a trial in a civilian court, there is much less incentive to just rounding up lots of people on little or no evidence, in order to make your numbers look better. Why pay someone to bring you a "terrorist" (who turns out to merely be a member of a tribe that he has a problem with for generations) if you don't have any evidence for a conviction? Not to mention that taking the guy will alienate his whole tribe and generate opponents where none were before. Why torture someone for a "confession", when you won't be able to use it in a trial anyway?

In short, knowing that you are going to end up in a civilian court actually means that the incentives improve to get the right people, rather than wasting time with the wrong ones.

In a traditional civilian situation, the arresting officers are key witnesses, subject to subpoena. Putting special ops people in the news, subject to subpoena, etc. is just the kind of Kumbaya stuff that makes the Left look totally non-serious when it discusses national security.

I'm guessing (correct me if I'm wrong) that your objection is because we don't want the special ops folks subject to retaliation. But we already have some experience dealing with retaliation threats, do we not? We have (civilian) trials for mobsters, where witnesses are threatened.

The main difference here being that the identity of the special ops folks is not automatically known to the accused and his associates. So it is entirely possible for them to testify (and, critically for a civilian trial, be subject to cross-examination) anonymously. Which means that we don't even have to deal with new identities and the other witness-protection stuff; just refrain from splashing out their names and addresses. Yes, there would be some tweaks necessary so that the defense could ask for the numbers of the capture ("arresting officer") team, and call them as witnesses, without knowing their identities. But that doesn't appear to be an insuperable difficulty.

I would say this, adding to what WJ said, such "kumbaya" outfits as the West Point Counterterrorism Center and RAND Corp, not to mention former CIA analyst Marc Sageman and just about every other counterterror expert I've ever come across, mentions two things about how civilian trials are, themselves, useful counterterror tools:

1. By showing would-be and current young jihadists that the USA lives up to its ideals, even when dealing with its enemies, it can help to puncture the "narrative" that they have bought about how evil the US is. I've written about this before "This Constitution Kills Fascists."

2. For jihadists themselves, the most humiliating thing - the thing that tarnishes their reputations and ensures that they will not be celebrated as heroes - is to be tried and convicted in civilian court as a common criminal.

No martyrdom. No victim of US perfidy/injustice. No military commission for the putative "soldier." Just cuffed and stuffed and paraded for all to see.

Now that I think of it, in national security terms, the vast majority of leading counterterror experts prefer this "kumbaya" approach.

If you want to look at the "rule of law" success record, start with Lockerbie and work your way up to 9-11. Less than impressive.

Regarding Lockerbie, that was in 1988, two years after a US military action against Libya that failed to kill Ghadafi, although it did kill his daughter.

So, apparently "overkill" did bugger-all to keep that from happening.

The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 made a big dent in AQ's operational capabilities. That's because they were openly operating a military training base there, with the permission and support of the then-government of Afghanistan.

That's an extremely unusual scenario for terrorist organizations.

"Overkill" is not really going to scale to situations like cells of twenty, or a dozen, or five, people, living in cities like Hamburg, or London, or New York. It is proving to not scale particularly well to bands of tens or low hundreds of people living among demographically similar populations in rural areas like Waziristan.

It basically doesn't work well in any context other than one in which there is something like a military target.

I get that there is something viscerally appealing to the idea of just "tracking these guys down and blowing them away". I just don't see a lot of evidence that it's a particularly practical strategy.

And seriously, you can leave the "kumbaya" thing in the car. The "liberal" administrations of the modern jihadi period have been Clinton and Obama, and both Presidents have been quite aggressive in pursuing terrorism.

It's all well and good to talk like civil rights and the rule of law can be put aside when terror is on the table. It's actually pretty freaking complicated to sort out when that applies, and to whom, and who makes those decisions.

As a self-identified conservative, I would expect those questions to give you pause.

A clickable version of Eric's link -- "Costs of keeping Gitmo open", which goes to a post by Adam Serwer at The American Prospect.

(Some of us regard shortened links as unsafe save in extremely limited circumstances, which may include never clicking on any except when forced to.

I happen to be one, but there are plenty of others, just as we all have our preferences, for good reasons, or bad, as to our internet practices. We all get to decide on our own, of course, what's our best practice; if I can, I'm apt to try to provide what I regard as a safe, clickable, link; this is not a commentary on what anyone else, most especially Eric, should do!)

Pretty much all of what tiny few tags of HTML comes from here, or is covered here: Bare Bones Guide To HTML.

Do a "find" or your preferred method to go down to "Link Something."

The form is

< A HREF="URL" >YOUR WORDS GO HERE < /A >
But I've left spaces between the brackets so they won't activate. Take out the spaces, put your URL between the quotes, your words between the closing bracket after your URL between the quotation marks, and the opening bracket of the slash A.

This is a a far more opaque explanation than I used to boilerplate, but I don't have that document at hand; I'll write better boilerplate on this again Real Soon Now, and repost as might be helpful, only for informational purposes for those inclined to make use. No obligation whatever!

Putting special ops people in the news, subject to subpoena, etc. is just the kind of Kumbaya stuff that makes the Left look totally non-serious when it discusses national security.
Fortunately, nobody whom I take seriously on the left is arguing for what you believe "the Left" thinks.

In short, you're reducing "the Left" to its sillier and more ignorant extremes, just as most leftists and liberals will reduce, or speak, think, and act, as if "the Right" similarly.

I won't debate proportions in this comment; I'm simply observing that you're responding to a generic stereotype. Otherwise, I'll try to respond with more specifics when time allows.

Generalizations are useful when one has granular knowledge to generalize from. When one doesn't, not so much.

Most leftists and liberals know little of conservative history and thinking; most conservatives and libertarians know little of leftist and liberal history and thinking.

The tendency is to not study the other side save through caricature, reductionism, and filters that provide such.

Doesn't work well.

This post has helpful links:

http://bit.ly/fDiMqN

Which seems to go to this post.

The primary problem with shortened links is that unless you're a reasonably sophisticated user of the internet, you have no way of telling what's going to malware; most people get viruses this way; the secondary reason is that, again, without knowing what you're doing, the reader can't see where they're going, which again is a very dangerous practice if you're not very sure you know what you're doing; there are many othe reasons and advice about how to use shortened links with some degree of safety, but it boils down to a small essay, which can be summarized as: unless you really know what you're doing, as a reader and user of the internet, I personally advise against ever clicking a shortened link.

Specifically, you can't trust an email post from your most trusted friend, unless you know how to recognize the signs that it's potentially not actually typed by them, but is script-generated from a hit on their address book. I've had plenty of those, everyone gets them; I know how to never touch one.

Ditto those publically posted by the people you most trust. There are many ways that can go wrong, which have nothing to do with the trust you have in the poster.

If you've never ever accidently picked up a virus or malware, or are a pro, or trained enough, you're safe. A good measure would be years of intense online experience and training, or professional education plus less experience. Less knowledge and experience, you're less safe; more, you're more safe. Everyone makes their own decision as to best practices for them, and trades off time and trouble as they wish.

I prefer to spend mine on preventative knowledge and action, rather than spending time on curing a problem I need not have, and can prevent, which I find, as a general principle, works well for me, but that's for me.

Most of you are probably safe; it's up to you to decide for yourself.

I do suggest that if you've ever once picked up a computer virus or malware, this may be a clue to work off. In fifteen years of being online, I've avoided all infections. Period.

May each of your own practices serve you as well. We all make time/energy trade-offs with only 24 hours in every day.

This post has helpful links:

http://bit.ly/fDiMqN

Which seems to go to this post.

The primary problem with shortened links is that unless you're a reasonably sophisticated user of the internet, you have no way of telling what's going to malware; most people get viruses this way; the secondary reason is that, again, without knowing what you're doing, the reader can't see where they're going, which again is a very dangerous practice if you're not very sure you know what you're doing; there are many other reasons and advice about how to use shortened links with some degree of safety, and most of you doubtless range from knowing what's more than sufficient to being endlessly more expert than I am, which is not at all, but it boils down to a small essay, which can be summarized as: unless you really know what you're doing, as a reader and user of the internet, I personally advise against ever clicking a shortened link.

Specifically, you can't trust an email post from your most trusted friend, unless you know how to recognize the signs that it's potentially not actually typed by them, but is script-generated from a hit on their address book. I've had plenty of those, everyone gets them; I know how to never touch one.

Ditto those publically posted by the people you most trust. There are many ways that can go wrong, which have nothing to do with the trust you have in the poster.

If you've never ever accidently picked up a virus or malware, or are a pro, or trained enough, you're safe. A good measure would be years of intense online experience and training, or professional education plus less experience. Less knowledge and experience, you're less safe; more, you're more safe. Everyone makes their own decision as to best practices for them, and trades off time and trouble as they wish.

I prefer to spend mine on preventative knowledge and action, rather than spending time on curing a problem I need not have, and can prevent, which I find, as a general principle, works well for me, but that's for me.

Most of you are probably safe; it's up to you to decide for yourself.

I do suggest that if you've ever once picked up a computer virus or malware, this may be a clue to work off. In fifteen years of being online, I've avoided all infections. Period.

(I've had alarms where I worried otherwise for a day or three, but the trouble always proved to be either hardware, or a software problem I temporarily self-induced.)

May each of your own practices serve you as well. We all make time/energy trade-offs with only 24 hours in every day. All choices are valid if they're valid for you.

wj:

In short, knowing that you are going to end up in a civilian court actually means that the incentives improve to get the right people, rather than wasting time with the wrong ones.
This has the virtue of being true. wj does this well and often. Listen.

Eric:

[...] I would say this, adding to what WJ said, such "kumbaya" outfits as the West Point Counterterrorism Center and RAND Corp, not to mention former CIA analyst Marc Sageman and just about every other counterterror expert I've ever come across, mentions two things about how civilian trials are, themselves, useful counterterror tools [....]
To put my own over-general spin, it pays to read your counter-terrorism experts directly, know what their biases are, be familiar with the major writers in the field, writing from either or both practical experience or other expertise, with as few politicized filters as possible, but at least being well-equiped to recognize everyone's slant.

Signs that people have done so is when they display sufficient specific references and knowledge to indicate it. When they write in generalities, there's less data for the reader to infer that the writer has a clue.

Witness this comment: I give no specifics. You have to decide the worth of my opinion here purely on your own knowledge, and knowledge of and/or trust in me.

That's not the way anyone, including me, should learn or teach.

To believe me, you want me to give you specifics and cites.

Eric:

[...] 2. For jihadists themselves, the most humiliating thing - the thing that tarnishes their reputations and ensures that they will not be celebrated as heroes - is to be tried and convicted in civilian court as a common criminal.

No martyrdom. No victim of US perfidy/injustice. No military commission for the putative "soldier." Just cuffed and stuffed and paraded for all to see.

Now that I think of it, in national security terms, the vast majority of leading counterterror experts prefer this "kumbaya" approach.

Eric is factually correct. We can cite away and give you the readings, when we have time. That's what we try to do.

But we can't make anyone read anything, whether it's what we write, or most particularly, anything we link.

I can tell you that as a matter of practical fact, as a rough rule of thumb, that only about 10% of blog readers on most blogs click through more than 10% of a given link.

We all have only limited time, but linked cites to reading are usually given... by each according to their style.

Some links are merely useful and optional for those who wish to read more.

Others, if you don't read, you won't know what you're talking about.

We all do what our time and interest allow. But the more we share common knowledge, and actually do what reading we can when people recommend links, the more productively we end up using our time to expand our knowledge, grow wiser, and spend less time talking past each other.

Russell:

I get that there is something viscerally appealing to the idea of just "tracking these guys down and blowing them away".
It's an emotional response, not a rational one. I happen to have personal expertise on distinguishing the two.

Not knowing anything about the military, or very little, and reacting according, would and is equally irrational, and by definition, ignorant.

the single worst failure of US national defence policy in half a century

If you're looking at this as a manifestation of fighting-the-last-war, sure. But it wouldn't have mattered at all who was president, because our national defense policy has been slaved to defending conventional threats since...well, ever.

If you're looking at this as a failure of right-wing policies because they had gobs of very specific warnings, well: whatevs.

Regarding Lockerbie, that was in 1988, two years after a US military action against Libya that failed to kill Ghadafi, although it did kill his daughter
Specifics: Operation El Dorado Canyon. Casualties:
The air strike killed 45 Libyan soldiers and government officials, and 15 civilians. Forewarned by a telephone call from Malta's Prime Minister, Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, that unauthorized aircraft were flying over Maltese airspace heading south towards Tripoli, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and his family rushed out of their residence in the Bab al Aziziya compound moments before the bombs dropped. Gaddafi escaped injury but his 15-month-old adopted daughter Hanna was killed, and two of his sons were injured.
More specifically:
[...] The raid was designed to hit directly at the heart of Gaddafi’s ability to export terrorism with the belief that such a preemptive strike would provide him "incentives and reasons to alter his criminal behavior." The final targets of the raid were selected at the National Security Council level "within the circle of the President’s advisors." Ultimately, five targets were endorsed by the JCS and Secretary of Defense and approved by President Reagan:

■Aziziyah [Tarabulas] Barracks in Tripoli, which was described as the command and control headquarters for Libyan terrorism.
■Jamahiriyah Guard Barracks / Benghazi Military Barracks in Benghazi, which were described as another terrorist command post. Like Aziziyah Barracks, it was a billeting area for Gadhafi’s elite Jamahiriyah Guard. It also contained a warehouse for storage of MiG components.
■Murrat Side Bilal base, which administration officials said was used to train terrorists in underwater sabotage. This combat swimmer and naval commando school, in the Tripoli area, was where PLO and other terrorist organization frogmen were trained.
■military facilities at Tripoli’s main airport. IL-76 Candid transports used to support Gadhafi’s export of terrorism were the primary targets.
■Benina Military Airfield southeast of Benghazi. Although not directly related to terrorism, Benina Military Airfield was selected for attack to ensure that its MiG fighters would not intercept or pursue US strike forces.
All except one of these targets were chosen because of their direct connection to terrorist activity. The single exception was the Benina military airfield which based Libyan fighter aircraft. This target was hit to preempt Libyan interceptors from taking off and attacking the incoming US bombers. It should also be noted that the French Embassy in Tripoli and several of the neighboring residential buildings also were bombed inadvertently during the raid; they were not targeted.

Oopsie, by the way. We've tended to do that minor thing to our "friends" a lot, as well as those we simply sholdn't piss off that way.

If other countries were so oopsie with bombing our embassies, well, you know how we tend to respond. But I digress.

[...] Mission planners decided, as part of the effort to attain tactical surprise, to hit all five targets simultaneously. This decision had crucial impact on nearly every aspect of the operation since it meant that the available US Navy resources could not perform the mission unilaterally. The only two types of aircraft in the US inventory capable of conducting a precision night attack were the Navy’s A-6s and the Air Force’s F-111s. The Navy had two aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean at the time planning for the raid: The America and The Coral Sea. Each had ten A-6 aircraft, but these were not the total of 32 aircraft estimated as required to successfully hit all five targets with one raid. The closest F-111s were based in the United Kingdom (UK); and use of these UK based aircraft dramatically affected the scope and complexity of the operation. Planning was even further compounded when the French refused to grant authority to overfly France. This refusal increased the distance of the flight route from Great Britain to Tripoli by about 1300 nautical miles each way, added 6-7 hours of flight time for the pilots and crews, and forced a tremendous amount of additional refueling support from tanker aircraft.

Concurrent with target selection, the nature and size of the strike force were considered. Concern for collateral casualties and risk to US personnel, a certain desired weight of attack, coupled with availability of assets, quickly narrowed the field to a strike by tactical aircraft… . Mission forces are seldom selected on the basis of a single factor, such as accuracy, but on myriad political and military considerations. Tactical air offered the ability to place the greatest weight of ordnance on the targets in the least amount of time while minimizing collateral damage and providing the greatest opportunity for survival of the entire force.

We can go as granular and specific as people would like to read, down to naming all the published accounts by each involved, be it in a plane, making a political decision on our end, any of our military personnel who have written of their first-hand experience, to accounts from individual Libyan's, etc. How much specificity would you like?

But it wouldn't have mattered at all who was president, because our national defense policy has been slaved to defending conventional threats since...well, ever.
So much for anyone who claims we were winning the Vietnam War?

I recall our past agreements on topics in that neighborhood, and you know where I stand, more or less, on the issue of that War, I think, but in fact I would dispute the notion that your above statement is sufficiently inclusive of U.S. defense tactics, ranging from O.S.S. -- and we can of course discuss all the inspirations, from British experience, previous American experience in what wasn't then called "special warfare," or counter-insurgency, or insurgency) through Green Berets, through the changing strategies and tactics in Vietnam -- to not require some slight expansion to your otherwise true in the largest sense generalization.

More crucially, in quite a few ways I disagree with this statement, though we may find language to agree upon with a few exchanges:

[...] But it wouldn't have mattered at all who was president [....]
It's a perfectly defensible statement, at that length, but that's your job, not mine. :-)

So much for anyone who claims we were winning the Vietnam War?

Point taken. If you were suggesting that Vietnam wasn't a conventional war, and that was one of the various reasons why we failed to prevail in the way that we (ostensibly) intended to, there, you're kind of making my point in chorus with me.

But I don't think Carter did anything to change the way we countered such enemies, nor did Clinton. Reagan, I think, was fighting the Cold War. Dunno what Bush I was all about, other than ramping us down from Cold War excesses.

Point being that Clinton, for instance, wasn't really showing a great deal of polish in countering the terrorist threat that some wholly fictional third term would have his administration preventing 9/11, or some similar catastrophe.

I know: all speculation. But that's what we're engaged in, here, no?

"But I don't think Carter did anything to change the way we countered such enemies, nor did Clinton."

Starting small covert aid to the Mujahideen prior to the Soviet invasion, and dramatically increasing it, doesn't count?

And with much less significance than now granted by many on the left, because the money prior to the actual Soviet invasion, while not necessarily without effect, wasn't itself a major factor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Cyclone

The -- failed, of course, but best effort available, just a helicopter too far -- doesn't count?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Eagle_Claw

I'll go back to Clinton when more time erupts.

Sheesh, forgetting to make an active link is a definite sign I need a nap, or at least not to post.

I blame Facebook. And Obama.

For any interested in doing the research themselves, if you look at the most significant terrorist plots (in terms of training, support, weapons, and targets) over the past 20 years you'll see that intelligence driven operations such as those being run by JTTFs, NYPD, and a few other local law enforcement are the most effective approach we have. In terms of the most typical method for discovering, disrupting, and investigating these plots, it goes something like this:

1) family member or concerned member of community places call to law enforcement 2) law enforcement place informant with suspects 3) informant gathers evidence coupled with technical and physical surveillance 4) law enforcement make arrest 5) suspect prosecuted and sentenced

Most local police departments either lack the political will or conflate the value of community policing programs to run their own informant networks leaving most of this work to the FBI. If we really want to get serious about domestic counterterrorism, we need to encourage police departments in major urban areas to emulate on a smaller scale the investments that NYPD made post 9/11.

The FBI does good work but it is still overly reliant on the CIA and NSA for its domestic leads. Local police in cities such as Detroit, Minneapolis, Chicago and LA would be better served running their own more proactive programs than relying on the FBI to disrupt plots or investigate suspects in their jurisdiction.

Furthermore, the US has an EXCELLENT track record of prosecuting cases involving undercovers and informants. Remember, these tools aren't unique to counterterrorism but have been useful in prosecuting organized crime and drug rings for years. If anyone needs a good reference, you should visit the NYU Center for Law and Security, which has done a TON of research in this area and has studied every major terrorism trial both pre and post 9/11.

You can download the Terrorism Trial Report Card here:

http://www.lawandsecurity.org/pub_newsletter.cfm?id=3

It's an emotional response, not a rational one.

That was kind of my point.

I happen to have personal expertise on distinguishing the two.

As do we all. And, again, distinguishing between the two is more or less my point.

Point being that Clinton, for instance, wasn't really showing a great deal of polish in countering the terrorist threat that some wholly fictional third term would have his administration preventing 9/11, or some similar catastrophe.

This actually pisses me off.

WTF is "polish" about? Under Clinton there was an AQ/Bin Laden seat in the CIA. He freaking bombed the training camps in Afghanstan, and what he believed to an AQ facility in Somalia.

Bush told the guy who briefed him about Bin Laden's plans to attack inside the US that he had "covered his ass".

Clinton did something. Not enough, as it turns out. But something.

Bush did f***-all.

I know: all speculation. But that's what we're engaged in, here, no?

No, it's not.

I would add to russell's post that when Clinton got intel on the millenium bomb plot, his administration took it very seriously, meetings, briefings, got the word out and with some luck were able to foil a real threat.

Compare that to Condi Rice's claptrap about 'who would've thought that they would fly them into buildings?'

Thanks Dolio.

He's worth listening to on all such matters, FWIW.

He freaking bombed the training camps in Afghanstan

To no effect.

and what he believed to an AQ facility in Somalia.

Ok, then. We've all seen the wisdom of taking military action based on beliefs and hunches, haven't we? To Clinton's credit, though, these were screwups on a much smaller scale.

Starting small covert aid to the Mujahideen prior to the Soviet invasion, and dramatically increasing it, doesn't count?

Some didn't think that was such a good idea, though, and blame Reagan for having armed bin Laden.

Not saying that arming the Mujahideen against the Soviets was a bad idea, but we did lots and lots of arming of unconventional forces if they were fighting the Soviets.

Maybe this isn't so favorable to my point, but if your point is that fighting proxy wars is itself unconventional in a way that's relevant, I agree with you.

Anyone care to comment on whether we're involved in killing Iranian nuclear scientists, and/or whether such a thing is prudent/legal/justified/etc.?

Seems rather indefensible to me.

I'd like to think we're not that stupid, Ugh, despite past indications to the contrary.

I'd want to hear more of the story, though. I'm intrigued at the notion that people on motorcycles could attach bombs to cars, detonate them remotely and then escape without anyone doing more than noting those events.

I'm also intrigued by the supervillain United States and its boy wonder Israel backstory. And whether the motorcycle had a sidecar.

All (or most) frivolity aside, though: more information is wanted and needed, which makes me confidant that it's going to be mostly speculation beyond this point.

If one thing has been proven over and over again it's yes, we are that stupid.

He freaking bombed the training camps in Afghanstan

To no effect.

It had effects. So this is wrong.
and what he believed to an AQ facility in Somalia.
Ok, then. We've all seen the wisdom of taking military action based on beliefs and hunches, haven't we?
Cite, please, to support the claim that which decisions were taken unusually based upon which beliefs, by whom, on what date, or other relevant information, please?

What are you specifically isolating about what decision or methodology, compared to that of what other decision and methodology, by whom? Another president? If so, which ones? Etc.

Ugh:

Seems rather indefensible to me.
Goes to the question of covert killing, not special examples.

"Covert" was once a useful concept, and there was an ability to separate, at one time, for most useful purposes, that which was done publically by a government, and that which was not.

That distinction is based upon premises and conditions no longer applicable in the era of the pervasive net. Problems result, because governments, particularly the U.S. have functioned on the basis that they can continue to make a useful distinction that inevitably grows more problematic with the tech curve.

The original question of the morality of killing in war becomes more complex as what is and isn't considered "war" becomes more and more blurry and complex. This happened.

There's a lot more to consider, and none of it can be dealt with in isolation.

Sorry this is probably too opaque and an overly general response, but it's a big question that isn't as usefully answered, in my opinion, by distinguishing between which precise border is involved, or the dates, or some specific President or specific war, because these are, to the important question, trivial details.

The question goes to, as so much, decisions taken during WWW II, and then our national security state reorganization of 1947, and the policies following, in essence, 1941.

Particularly the idea of not just intelligence-gathering, but "covert action."

Ya gotta start there, at least -- going back to the antecedents is interesting, but not necessary -- but starting before at least 1947 is going to leave out where the problem hit permanent institutionalization in the nature of our government.

O.S.S. followed from British SOE, and CIG turned into CIA, CIA went DI and DO, DO is your problem, but DO is now NCS. That's a sentence that's only helpful if you already don't need to know it, I'm afraid.

Otherwise we leave out discussing all the precedents, and how we got here, and the discussion takes place as if the relevant history never happened, and all that comes out of the discussion are conclusions based on unincluded necessary information, i.e., garbage in, garbage out. Or at least, all the nutrition is left out of the discussion, and we wind up with junk food, at best.

One has to start with the basics: whis is and isn't covert? What can and can't be so? What divisions do we make between gathering information, and engaging in "covert" action"? What's crossing the line into unlawful and lawful killing?

Either we include the history, or we reconsider the question from scratch. The latter is possible, but best done with the knowledge of history, rather than purely from scratch.

Shorter me: first you have to define what's defensible to define what's indefensible. This isn't a question, as regards governments, including the U.S. government, killing people in secret, that has suddenly arisen in the past ten, twenty, or thirty, or forty years, and discussing it out of that context requires someone brighter than me. I, at least, need to cover it in historical context.

Meanwhile, y'all carry on.

[...] All (or most) frivolity aside, though: more information is wanted and needed, which makes me confidant that it's going to be mostly speculation beyond this point.
Trivial incidents are trivial.

Would you suggest that the U.S. and Israel are not engaged in covert sabotage and other covert violence in and at Iranian targets?

If you don't so suggest, where do you believe the U.S. government is drawing the line in terms of what it will or will not do, and what documentation are your drawing upon for your conclusions or beliefs?

Discussing a specific recent instance is speculative, to a degree. Discussing the policy and what we know is being done in general, is not so much.

It had effects. So this is wrong.

The intended target was not affected at all. Nor, as far as we know, were any of his important associates.

But: sure, it had effects; you have me there. Explosive effects. Probably some tents and small structures were also destroyed, and at least a half-dozen unidentified people were killed.

Would you suggest that the U.S. and Israel are not engaged in covert sabotage and other covert violence in and at Iranian targets?

No, I wouldn't.

I wouldn't, either, speculate as to where our government refuses to tread, covert-action wise. The story about the planted bomb and motorbike piqued my interest a bit, is all. It sounded like something seen in a movie.

It wasn't so much that I thought the US or Israel might not indulge in any such covert action, just that the description sounded unlikely. Not certainly false, just curious.

Was there an administration before Clinton's that was willing to treat terrorist groups as something other than entirely dependent creatures of hostile states, so that the best way to attack them was by attacking (militarily or otherwise) their state sponsors? It seems to me that was a genuine innovation, one that was both long overdue and largely retracted as soon as he left office.

To unpack a bit further: that these people were killed in such a spectacular, public manner seems, to me, to be contrary to the very idea of covert operation.

But maybe that's what they want us to think.

It's funny how hard it is to convince someone that bombing, invading, and otherwise beating the crap out of other people does not make us safer.

Even "targetted strikes" are easy to screw up. They are superior to full-on invasions, though. There are scenarios in which military action makes sense... it's just uncommon.

This is an intelligence & law enforcement problem. Afganistan should have been a short action - try and catch as much of AQ as possible, smack down the Taliban for aiding/abetting, and leave, informing the Taliban that if we find out they're helping AQ again, we'll be back (admittedly, that probably wouldn't do much, but it's superior to the option we chose).

This is mostly a job for the FBI, but our glorious leaders have handed it to the DoD.

So... yeah, 2014?

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