Damn Rumsfield.... never happy with the status quo
October 16, 2003

TO: Gen. Dick Myers
Paul Wolfowitz
Gen. Pete Pace
Doug Feith

FROM: Donald Rumsfeld

SUBJECT: Global War on Terrorism

The questions I posed to combatant commanders this week were: Are we winning or losing the Global War on Terror? Is DoD changing fast enough to deal with the new 21st century security environment? Can a big institution change fast enough? Is the USG changing fast enough?
It’s great to see these questions are being asked. This reminds me of Microsoft’s management... never happy with their progres in the market place and always looking at every situation like they’re the underdog. It’s exactly what you want your leadership to be doing.
DoD has been organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies, navies and air forces. It is not possible to change DoD 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.
Interesting idea... but I think it would cause more bureaucracy, not less.
There's probably a need to bring a number of military and non-military functions together as drivers. One is the money chase, tracking the money flow from the princes and the charities to the ultimate consumer. Breaking up the former is the job of FBI or CIA, while disposing of the latter is a military function. Another is the non-armed fundamentalist structure that directly drives the jihadis — JI, JUI and JUP in Pakistan, the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world, Hezb ut-Tahrir in Europe and Central Asia, and groups like MILF in Southeast Asia. These aren't susceptible to direct military attack because of political and diplomatic considerations, but even if we wiped out every jihadi presently in business, they'd grow back within a few years because of the funnel organizations.
With respect to global terrorism, the record since Septermber 11th seems to be:
We are having mixed results with Al Qaida, although we have put considerable pressure on them — nonetheless, a great many remain at large.
What we've been doing to date has been working. Every time they poke their heads up for an operation, they lose more of their cadre. One thing we might consider doing is provoking them into operations, preferably before they're quite ready...
USG has made reasonable progress in capturing or killing the top 55 Iraqis.
Granted. I expected Sammy to be toast by now. Uday and Qusay stuffed and mounted was a great blow to the Bad Guys. I do believe we should be publicizing some of the information we get out of them, though. The public's in the dark once they disappear into military custody. A bit of carefully released detail would help with public support for the war effort. We need that. People have a short attention span.
USG has made somewhat slower progress tracking down the Taliban — Omar, Hekmatyar, etc.
Hekmatyar's the only one I regard as failure at this point. He should have been dead or in custody long ago. It's my opinion that if the Karzai forces can't manage to catch him or Mullah Omar, elements of the Northern Alliance should be tasked with the job. We tend to approach their capture as a military problem and rely on Karzai's Pashtuns as our tools. The Tadzhiks and Uzbeks and Hazaras have more incentive to take both of them out, as well as to deal with the Taliban resurgence.
With respect to the Ansar Al-Islam, we are just getting started.
It's my impression that Ansar has been dealt with as a military force. The Kurds should be supported in dealing with attempts at resurgence and with its ancillary groups, such as Jamaat Islami, which is Ansar without the guns. What's coming to constitute the "Ansar" in the Sunni triangle is outsiders, which have to be dealt with severely by military and intelligence means. We need to have an Iraqi domestic intelligence service set up under our own control to do collection and first-level reporting on these groups as they form. The other part of Ansar is al-Tawhid, which represents a problem in an of itself. Zarqawi should be at the top of our internal "most wanted" list at this point.
Have we fashioned the right mix of rewards, amnesty, protection and confidence in the US?
We've worked on it, sometimes with good results, sometimes not so good. Keep adjusting as needed, based on the feedback they're getting in the field...
Does DoD need to think through new ways to organize, train, equip and focus to deal with the global war on terror?
We should never stop thinking of new ways to fight wars.
The most effective thing we could do is organize hunter-killer teams, driven by intel, to take out the major terror nodes. The downside of this politically is that the left and the NGOs will describe them as death squads — which is what they have to be. Terror has to be fought with counter-terror in some instances. Close coordination with Israel on this point is advisable, and we can learn from the Soviet experience by recruiting KhAD agents in Afghanistan. We can also learn more from the Indians, who've been fighting the jihadis for longer than we have. They know the structures, the communications methods, and how the controllers and runners work.
Are the changes we have and are making too modest and incremental? My impression is that we have not yet made truly bold moves, although we have have made many sensible, logical moves in the right direction, but are they enough?
Sensible and logical is usually the way to go. We have to go with what works, rather than building something that should work and then taking our chances on whether it does or not.
Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?
Probably not. For one thing, we need detailed intelligence on the madrassahs themselves. Then we need action, both covert and political against them. The covert action should result in the unfortunate accidents that sometimes afflict Saudi princes. The political action should range from shutting down their funding to ridiculing them in their local press. The counter-propaganda campaign is where we're falling down hardest. The movers behind the madrassahs are notably corrupt, and there should be a constant attempt to push the point home to their followers. And if we can't find something — it's there, think Mullah Diesel and Mullah Sandwich — set it up...
Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? 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.
That comes under the propaganda campaign. The jihadis are looking for all the answers. Point out the feet of clay of their leadership and even 72 virgins loses its luster...
Do we need a new organization?
Hunter-killers, integrated collection management, local national intel collection and reporting. That would be a big start in the right direction...
How do we stop those who are financing the radical madrassa schools?
Light of day, in some cases. The princes want to avoid direct confrontation with us because they know they'd lose militarily even though we'd be damaged politically and diplomatically. That will probably call for more declassification than we're currently comfortable with. But even the Paks eventually shut down Al-Rashid Trust. We absolutely have to follow up in a timely manner, though, when they change their names and go back into business a week or a month later...
Is our current situation such that "the harder we work, the behinder we get"?
I don't think so. We have to keep in mind that we're still in the early stages. We took Qaeda and the Taliban as an effectively monolithic organization and broke it into chunks. Now we've got to keep going after each of the chunks until we've broken them into smaller pieces, until they're incapable of coordinating and eventually slink back into the general population. We also have to recognize the unity of terrorism, both as an Islamist phenomenon which include Chechnya and the Takfir wal-Hijra killers as well as Qaeda and the Palestinian structure that's fostered by Iran; and as a mindset that includes everything from the IRA to Colombian drug runners.
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.
I'm not sure we're going to win in Afghanistan until we've neutralized Pakistan's fundamentalist establishment and the ISI. Even when we "win", the end result isn't going to be particularly palatable. The country has problems that transcend its religious base, and we're not going to be able to solve them, short of deporting the population. Iraq is a different story entirely, with the possibility of individual freedom there for its people to take. Our military problem is the jihadis swarming into the country, the left-over Baathists, and Moqtada Sadr. Once we get Saddam things may settle down with the Baathists, and the jihadis offer us the opportunity to kill them without having to go into their home countries after them. Kill enough, and they may stop coming, especially if we've got a counter-propaganda campaign working on the "root causes" (to whit, their preachers). That leaves Moqtada, and the Iraqi police and the legitimate ayatollahs should be encouraged and enabled to deal with him permanently.
Does CIA need a new finding?
Maybe. We're not in a position to say here on Rantburg...
Should we create a private foundation to entice radical madradssas to a more moderate course?
Good idea. One thing we should be doing is to enhance our relationships with non-wahhabi Muslims, staring with Sufis and Ismailis, then with non-Iranian controlled Shiites. Where we put any money into the religious conflicts, it should be for these guys, whom the Sunnis in general and the wahhabi/qutbists in particular are tromping over just as ruthlessly as they're tromping Christians, Jews, Hindus, Zoroastrians and anyone else.
What else should we be considering?
"Private foundations" to deal with things like restructuring Somalia, developing Djibouti and Eritrea into real countries... Enhancing relations with Yemen's secularists... Putting pressure on Syria, which will probably be the next military action if Assad can't be nudged into internal reforms... Cooperation with the Russians on Chechnya... Avoiding a repeat of the money we dumped into Georgia with no return... Recruiting and training units at the battalion level to fight alongside U.S. forces; I'd recommend starting with Afghanistan and probably Iraq, but also looking at places like Taiwan or even southern Sudan. They'd be trained to U.S. standards and used in the same manner the British use the Ghurkas... Give me a few days. I'll think of some more...
Please be prepared to discuss this at our meeting on Saturday or Monday.
Wish I was invited...
The left and the media will try to portray this as we are losing the war on terrorism and it’s all Bush’s fault. The fact is this internal memo makes me even more comfortable with our current leadership. They are showing themselves to be focused, they don’t underestimate their enemies, they view each situation from the perspective of being the underdog and they are always questioning their own policies to determine if they could be doing even better.
Posted by: Damn_Proud_American 2003-10-22