These are my random musings. Hopefully they will be witty, insightful, and frequently updated.
singrdave's Articles In War on Terror
January 31, 2008 by singrdave
The effective use of power matters more in international relations than sheer wealth of a nation. Despite the cliche that money makes the world go around, the promise of wealth (or the withholding thereof) cannot influence hearts and minds as successfully as power can. Both can be helpful, but power can be used more effectively than wealth when it comes to international relations. In considering which is more effective in diplomatic circles, there is a lot to be said for wealth. The promis...
September 5, 2007 by singrdave
As a campaign adviser to one candidate seeking nomination for the 2008 Presidential election, you have been asked to write a brief position paper on the question of whether the United States should redouble its efforts to negotiate a consensus definition of terrorism. What should the US position be and why? In creating a comprehensive, workable look forward for the United States’ (US) counterterrorism effort, it is vital that the US take the lead. It is in America’s best interest to help th...
August 30, 2007 by singrdave
In recent days (and months... and years...) there has been a lot of speculation and judgment regarding accountability for 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other events which were either fueled by or were a result of "faulty" intelligence. "9/11 happened because the President ignored valuable intelligence!" "Colin Powell and George Bush lied to the American people about WMD in Iraq!" "Why haven't we gotten Osama?" The constant speculation as to "What did you know and when did you know it?" and ...
August 27, 2007 by singrdave
The Border Patrol's job is no longer to stop people from sneaking across the border. Its exclusive role is to fight terrorism rather than stopping illegal immigration and the flow of narcotics. Carlos X. Carillo, Chief Patrol Agent of the Laredo Sector for the US Border Patrol, said this in a Laredo town hall meeting. From the Laredo Morning Times: "The Border Patrol is not equipped to stop illegal immigrants," Carrillo said, noting that illegal narcotics are also not on the agents priorit...
August 23, 2007 by singrdave
The preconception regarding terrorism is that it is a poor man’s last hope – that only the dispossessed and desperate cling to violence. However, the demographics of the perpetrators of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 tell a different story: modern, intelligent, educated, and well-off members of society who were attracted to jihad. These men felt such violence was justified because this was part of a larger campaign against the US and the West in the name of Allah. They had been ed...
August 6, 2007 by singrdave
What are the prospects for increasing international cooperation against terrorism? The only way to increase international commitment against terrorism is to understand international needs regarding terror. Since 9/11, America has felt it is sole owner of the moral yardstick for terrorism -- since 9/11 happened to us, we assume (wrongly) that we feel the devastation of terrorism more than anywhere else. That makes our needs seem more important than any other nation's, including those natio...
August 6, 2007 by singrdave
How important is Russia to the global effort to coordinate anti-terror policies and programs? Russia is a key ally in the counter-terror (CT) effort. Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's statements declaring his nation's allegiance with American CT, Russian actions since the events of 11 September have shown that nation's true colors. From the beginning of his presidency in January 2000, Putin pushed the idea of a concerted campaign against terrorism with American and European lea...
August 6, 2007 by singrdave
Reports may be premature, but Osama bin Laden might be dead of typhoid. Pakistani intelligence is reporting this as fact, but the truth remains to be seen. From FirstPost from the UK: Osama bin Laden, charismatic founder of al-Qaeda, died of typhoid earlier this month in Pakistan, according to a highly classified intelligence brief given to the King of Saudi Arabia and President Chirac this week, and leaked to the French newspaper L'Est Republicain. The chief of the terror group ...
August 3, 2007 by singrdave
The State Department has announced a new policy to reward mid-level diplomats for their willingness to serve in war-torn Iraq. This is a spectacular idea and it's about time State made this policy change. From the Post Chronicle: A new U.S. State Department policy will reward diplomats who serve a year in Iraq with jobs later in popular spots such as London and Paris. The Washington Times Friday printed a cable from Foreign Service Director-General George Staples, saying: "The idea beh...
July 26, 2007 by singrdave
What are the most significant effects, both internally and externally, as a result of widespread governmental human rights abuses in dealing with terrorism or insurgency? When a government uses human rights abuses to enforce counterterrorism policy, the government's moral superiority is eroded both at home and abroad. For many outside observers, the United States' continued detainment of unlawful combatants at Guantanamo Bay is a miscarriage of human rights. This undermines American effort...
July 8, 2007 by singrdave
Brute military force is an ineffective measure against terrorism. If anything, military force can only serve to kill the perpetrators of terrorism in retaliation or preemption. There is, according to Pillar, “an inherent difficulty [in] using force in a situation in which the terrorists have the advantage of being able—and willing—to use it immediately against their captives” (99). Whether the strike is retaliatory or preemptive in nature, there are certain risks in starting the bullets to fl...
July 3, 2007 by singrdave
Hawala is the most important money-movement mechanism you've never heard of. Through it, hundreds of millions of dollars move worldwide annually on just a verbal say-so or a handshake. It allows expatriate workers to send money back to their families and terrorists to launder money throughout both the civilized and the uncivilized world. The components of hawala that distinguish it from other remittance systems are trust and the extensive use of connections such as family relationships or reg...
June 22, 2007 by singrdave
‘Strategic influence’ is frequently viewed as a key component of foreign policy efforts against terrorist groups. Strategic influence is the ability to engage dissenters in a meaningful way in order to change thinking. In a counterterrorism context, many enemies are in need of some meaningful engagement. Strategic influencers are those who effectively use persuasion to bring about conformity, compliance, or conversion. According to Cragin and Gehwehr, an influence campaign uses planned o...
June 20, 2007 by singrdave
I think there's a very compelling reason to dub this a "Global War on Terror". There is no one country with which we are at war. 9/11 caused us to go to war with Afghanistan, which at the time was harboring the perpetrators of that horrible crime. Yet al-Qaeda exists in so many other nations that we did not want to restrict our emphasis onto one easily conquerable nation. it wasn't just semantics that made the Bush Administration to dub this a "Global War on Terror". We did not want to ...
June 20, 2007 by singrdave
The four elements of counterterrorism policy -- attacking the roots, capabilities, intentions, and defenses of terrorist groups -- the most important in my mind is capabilities. While not as easy to enact as others, there is something to be said for effectively staving off a terrorist's capability to destroy and kill. Capabilities are the terrorist's abilities to carry out attacks or to conduct them effectively. This is an incredibly difficult facet of terrorism to address but incredibly ef...