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Contemplating Realities and Paradoxes in the Global War on Terror

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Contemplating Realities and Paradoxes in the Global War on Terror
John B. Alexander, Ph.D.

Introduction

The approach of this monograph is to examine paradoxes encountered in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). The intent is to spark debate on disputatious issues. Clearly, many of the existing situations appear intractable given the emotional investment that has been made by the public, and exacerbated by political manipulation of elected officials. Also unavoidable are the fiscal constraints that are becoming increasingly binding.

Examined in Section One are problematic premises related to the four fundamental approaches to countering terrorism; increased security, eliminating the terrorists, attacking the support infrastructure, and altering conditions that breed discontent. Despite trite, albeit politically popular, commentary proposing those methods, execution of those concepts is extremely difficult, often controversial, and sometimes counterproductive.

Section Two of this monograph addresses several other policy decisions that generate problems that are difficult to resolve, but directly impact the forces involved. Among those topics are; roles of contractors, individual loyalties versus national interests, alliances of convenience, foreign response to our policy on preemption of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), the consequences of our stated objective of spreading democracy, the impact of U.S. presence in the Gulf region, and quandary associated with defining winning.

Section Three will offer a few solutions to extremely contentious, often emotional, issues that are strategic in scope. This includes the development of an organization that can predict threat objectives and evolution, thus reducing the probability of continued unanticipated consequences from U.S. actions. Additionally, means of extraction of information from prisoners without...

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