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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The GWOT has bounds!

Jeffrey Record made news in late 2003 and early 2004 when his monograph "Bounding the Global War on Terror" was published by the Army War College.

Record argued that the Bush administration had conflated all sorts of threats -- terrorism, WMD proliferation, rogue states, non-democracies, etc. -- and had thus created an enormous enemy in the GWOT that the US could not reasonably fight. Record concluded that "the war on terrorism--as opposed to the campaign against al-Qaeda--lacks strategic clarity, embraces unrealistic objectives, and may not be sustainable over the long haul."

As Juliette Kayyem pointed out yesterday, the Bali attacks this past weekend demonstrate that the GWOT now has clearer boundaries:
So, the fact that what is likely the same terrorist group (Jemaah Islamiyah), targetting the same area, against likely Western tourists, almost exactly two years after a previous attack would seem significant, in many respects. And it is. But not because it tells us anything new about terrorism. It really doesn't; it is, as we have known, alive and well. But, because it suggests that this Administration's capacity to embrace all terror, all the time may be spent. There is simply no political or public support to make the Bali attacks our own (as Bush did two years ago).
She says that Iraq has, of course, changed the context for the US.

Record argued that Iraq demonstrated the folly of the administration's GWOT.

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