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Terror Networks
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

#21  Why not I have no problem with other races
Posted by: Observer 80   2003-10-23 9:00:01 AM  

#20  Observer said:
About troop numbers there's hundreds of thousands soldiers laid off in the past few years in China,Nepal,Nigeria,Europe,Canada and Central America that can be screened,recruited and re-trained in short time by promising citenzenship after ten years of service

That isn't much different than what the Romans did when they became so ennervated that they wouldn't fight to defend themselves. This isn't a good idea at all.
Posted by: R. McLeod   2003-10-23 1:26:53 AM  

#19  I don't see the memo as damaging at all and I doubt Rummy would care that much that it is on the street. I watched a facinating CSPAN show where the camera person tagged along with different members of Rummy's staff throughout the workday and conducted mini-interviews.

Most of what is in this memo was in the show as well. I liked watching Peter Pace explain what his function was. The camera person hung with Victoria Clark and you got a feeling for how the different meetings were arranged.

Rumsfeld is so active that his desk does not have a chair. I read some criticism in Rantburg the other day that implied that the DOD won the war and then just went status quo until the other day when oversight was handed to Condi Rice. That story didn't jibe with the flavor I got from CSPAN.

As for A'Quedas goals and strategy, someone on Rantsburg recommended this article called Al Qaeda’s Fantasy Ideology By Lee Harris. I found it enlightening and encouraging. Don't let any quagmire dwellers get ahold of this article as it would ruin Christmas.
Posted by: Super Hose   2003-10-22 8:31:52 PM  

#18  About troop numbers there's hundreds of thousands soldiers laid off in the past few years in China,Nepal,Nigeria,Europe,Canada and Central America that can be screened,recruited and re-trained in short time by promising citenzenship after ten years of service. The US does this already but in a limited basis with immigrants.By placing already trained officer and NCOs over them and deploy them like the French Foriegn Legion we can bring most of the overseas troops home
Posted by: Observer 80   2003-10-22 7:00:53 PM  

#17  Rummy is a man among mice. Unfortunately, the mice control the entire Democratic party.
Posted by: someone   2003-10-22 4:33:01 PM  

#16  It is hard to believe that UBL would have chosen to kill 3,000 Americans on Bush's watch instead of Clinton's.

He had no reason to believe Bush would be any different; the previous Bush had left Saddam in power and had not seized control of Kuwait's oil fields.
Posted by: Robert Crawford   2003-10-22 4:21:48 PM  

#15  I am not so sure they are aware of U.S. politics. If they were, then the timing of 9/11 was a major mistake. It would have better served thier purposes if GWB was not in office. Could this be a problem of contracting-out terrorist ideas and plans to cells without direct control?
It is hard to believe that UBL would have chosen to kill 3,000 Americans on Bush's watch instead of Clinton's.
Posted by: Sgt.DT   2003-10-22 3:16:35 PM  

#14  The only problem with this memo is that it misses the most critical premise: do current members of the government, at any level and in any branch, feel comfortable with the status quo? If they do, they need to be fired. There's a lot of work to be done, and the biggest handicap we have are people who are too stubborn, too stupid, or too deeply ingrained in the way things "have always been done" to make the necessary changes to meet the challenges we face. There needs to be a massive firing spree in DC and elsewhere, with new faces willing to do things that need to be done, instead of pissing and moaning about "we've always done it this way". That's what led to the problem in the first place.
Posted by: Old Patriot   2003-10-22 3:03:22 PM  

#13  I guess we know how the memo got to the public now ;)

Yes, and if this memo were supposed to be confidential in any way, I hope it had some sort of "canary" built into it so the leaker can be arrested and slammed in jail.

We're at war; it's time we started acting like it.
Posted by: Robert Crawford   2003-10-22 1:49:47 PM  

#12  AQ is very aware of US politics. They believe that they can weaken our resolve and run us out of the middle east. Their actions in that region are, and have been, calibrated to make it politically painful for US leaders to be there. September 11 hopefully changed this by forcing us to view our presence in the ME as worth the cost in blood, treasure and political capital. But AQ and other islamofascists are still betting they can prevail as they did in Mogadishu.
Posted by: JAB   2003-10-22 12:56:06 PM  

#11  I don't know whether AQ takes into account US politics... I personally think they are far to unorganized now to have strategic focus of that nature. Before our response to 9/11, I think they most likely did view things in that nature but now they strike me as a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. They are killing more muslims with their recent attacks than us infidels... Any attack on the US from now till the election would make a Bush re-election more likely. Most rational people are at the very least unsure of whether the democrats can prosecute the war on terror. The only thing the Democrats can hope for is that enough people forget 9/11 before the election for them to win.
Posted by: Damn_Proud_American   2003-10-22 12:47:23 PM  

#10  The spin has already started, and as predicted here by Dave D. - USA Today is reporting Rumsfeld's "pessimism" on the WOT. If Rummy stays true to form, he'll set the record straight....not that it will stop the spin machine of the leftist media.
Posted by: Rex Mundi   2003-10-22 12:44:11 PM  

#9  Slightly OT : about the pace of the WOT (not an original thought; read it on a forum yesterday. Original thoughts are not my style).
Given the various reports of islamofascists longing for GWB's demise during your next elections (or even "a democrat president that would bring back the US in the UN"), and the hatred he seems to generate among fundamentalists, wouldn't it make sense for AQ & co. to launch attacks now or in the near future. Shortly before the election would be counterproductive (americans would rally behind him); after would be pointless; but acting while the iraqi situation is not yet undercontrol, media coverage is not favorable and legitimacy of the war uncertain, would certainly harm the candidacy of GWB.
Does anybody believe US politics may be taken in account by AQ strategists?
Posted by: A real Anonymous   2003-10-22 12:07:41 PM  

#8  It is so refreshing to see a real person dealing with the issues, instead of pretending the world actually runs on sound bytes and that policies should be carved in stone - so they can bash you with it the instant reality passes them by. I worked for a real person, a thinking and creative person, like this once - and it was challenging and fun. I don't know how this leak will play out, but this memo has renewed my faith in Rummy - and our chances of seeing the WoT to the end and, thus, the survival of the US and our way of life. I hope it gives all of the leaf-eaters a massive case of heartburn.
Posted by: .com   2003-10-22 11:52:53 AM  

#7  "Do we need a new organization?"

Don't think so,we have SOC(Special Operations Command),give them more troops,more/better/state of the art equipment,all the support they want.Give them the authority to go where they need to go,do what needs to be done and let them get on with buisness.

Posted by: Raptor   2003-10-22 11:24:46 AM  

#6  The memo makes clear that Rumsfeld is challenging his subordinates to confront the problem of global terrorism head-on, and come up with solutions even if they entail drastic changes to our way of operating.

Unfortunately, this is being spun (and I'm sure this is just the beginning of the spin) as "pessimism" in some cynical political game to erode public confidence in the Administration's conduct of the WoT.

Forget dismissal or criminal charges against whoever leaked this memo; whoever did it deserves to be shot.
Posted by: Dave D.   2003-10-22 11:22:41 AM  

#5  I don't see how the media will be able to spin this negatively, but I'm sure they will!
Posted by: g wiz   2003-10-22 11:07:35 AM  

#4  From the AP...

"Three members of Congress who met with Rumsfeld Wednesday morning said the defense secretary gave them copies of the memo and discussed it with them. "

I guess we know how the memo got to the public now ;)
Posted by: Damn_Proud_American   2003-10-22 11:02:56 AM  

#3  I agree, at the very least whoever leaked this should be fired immediately. If there is a possiblity of criminal charges then they should be filed as well.
Posted by: Damn_Proud_American   2003-10-22 10:57:19 AM  

#2  How do we stop those who are financing the radical madrassa schools?

Cut all ties between Saudi Arabia and the civilized world?
Posted by: Robert Crawford   2003-10-22 10:56:44 AM  

#1  I agree that this memo shows Rumsfeld in good light as he challenging his people.

But, whoever leaked this should be punished severely.
Posted by: JAB   2003-10-22 10:51:38 AM