Join Date: Dec 2005
The Long War
Concept summarized by Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Conway:
"The Long War"
"Many in our country routinely characterize what is taking place in
the Gulf as the "War with Iraq." I would ask you to think of it
differently. I believe we are seeing the first real battles against
the field forces of terrorism, both in Afghanistan and Iraq, in what
will be a generational struggle. Instead of the "War with Iraq," it
is more correctly said, the "Battle in Iraq" or the "Battle in
Afghanistan." Words and phrases are important in terms of how we
understand critical decisions that this Nation will face and how we
frame our thinking as we go about dealing with them."
"In any military brief, you will first have the intelligence
situation followed by the operational situation. I'd like to follow
that format as we talk here about the Long War. We think we know
what the al Qaeda strategy is. We intercepted it first and it's
become more public as they get on TV and provide their messages to
an open public.
We believe that strategy consists of five steps. The first step is
to declare jihad; they've done that. They've had some of
the "brothers" respond. Fortunately for us, many, many more
millions have not. The second step is to exorcise Western influence
out of the Middle East, and we think that's the phase that we're in
now. We think that they're trying to return to the old Caliphate of
The third phase is to attempt to bring the West to bankruptcy, and
they think they can do that through control of the oil supplies.
They know that we're dependent. In all of our economies really ¬–
we're dependent on oil well past 2025, 2030, and they think if they
can get control, either through destruction or outright control,
that's a way to bring us to our knees, cause us to be unable to
react to their overtures, and perhaps go about the defeat of the
Western world. By the way, in that phase, they also talk about
gaining the strength necessary to turn to and destroy Israel. So
that's a vital part of their thinking as well.
I think in phase four and really probably during all of this, if
they can manage it, you would see attacks in the United States by
extremists and in Western Europe. Some of that again has already
occurred, targeting the economic structure and attempting to bring
us to our knees.
And then in the final phase – and they say this may take 100 years –
they're looking at a world-domination type of effort. Their map
shows a world that's all green, and so we understand that to be
their strategy. And actually, you hear references to that from time
to time when you hear Zawahiri or even bin Laden on the wire.
My personal belief – and that's all it is at this point. I can't
give you an intelligence expert that will say this is accurate. I
have had this conversation with certain other commanders who do
believe the same way, but my personal belief is that the al Qaeda
has shifted focus. I think, in ten years, we'll discover that they
have decided that they cannot win in Iraq, but that they can
possibly be successful in Pakistan or Afghanistan. I think that's
where the preponderance of their effort is right now."