Tuesday, January 31, 2006
  Good Advice
Ralph Peters is a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel who now writes on policy issues.Several years ago he wrote a piece titled "When Devils Walk The Earth". I recently reread it and, as always, am amazed at the clear-headed genius of this man. At the close of the paper he gives a list of "Do’s and Don’ts for a Superpower". I have edited it for length, so if you want the whole picture, go the Air War College site and read it.
1. Be feared.
2. Identify the type of terrorists you face, and know your enemy as well as you possibly can. Practical terrorists may have legitimate grievances that deserve consideration ... Apocalyptic terrorists ... seek your destruction and must be killed to the last man. ... Our bloodiest successes will create far fewer terrorists and sympathizers than our failures.
3. Do not be afraid to be powerful. ... Our great strengths are wealth and raw power. ... Our responses to terrorist acts should make the world gasp.
4. Speak bluntly. Euphemisms are interpreted as weakness ... Speak of killing terrorists ... Timid speech leads to timid actions.
5. Concentrate on winning the propaganda war ... Convince hostile populations through victory.
6. Do not be drawn into a public dialog with terrorists ... You legitimize the terrorists by addressing them...
7. Avoid “planning creep.” ... Focus on the basic mission—the destruction of the terrorists ... All other issues ... are secondary.
8. Maintain resolve. ... “experts” ... will always present you with ... reasons for doing nothing, or for doing too little (or for doing exactly the wrong thing). ... prevent diplomats from gaining influence over the strategic campaign.
9. When in doubt, hit harder than you think necessary. Success will be forgiven. ... failure will not. When military force is used against terrorist networks, it should be used with such power that it stuns even our allies. Demonstrate power whenever you can. Show, don’t tell.
10. Whenever legal conditions permit, kill terrorists on the spot (do not give them a chance to surrender, if you can help it). ... This is war, not law enforcement.
11. Never listen to those who warn that ferocity on our part reduces us to the level of the terrorists.
12. Spare and protect innocent civilians whenever possible, but do not let the prospect of civilian casualties interfere with ultimate mission accomplishment. ... In a choice between “us and them,” the choice is always “us.”
13. Do not allow the terrorists to hide behind religion. ... We must establish a consistent reputation for relentless pursuit and destruction of those who kill our citizens.
14. Do not allow third parties to broker a “peace,” a truce, or any pause in operations. ... We must be single-minded.
15. Don’t flinch.
16. Do not worry about alienating already-hostile populations.
17. Whenever possible, humiliate your enemy in the eyes of his own people. ... Shame him publicly, in any way you can.
18. If the terrorists hide, strike what they hold dear... Do not be squeamish. Your enemy is not.
19. Do not allow the terrorists sanctuary in any country, at any time, under any circumstances. Counter-terrorist operations must ... be relentless. ... We must be faster, more resolute, more resourceful, ...more uncompromising than our enemies.
20. Never declare victory. Announce successes and milestones.
21. Impress upon the minds of terrorists ... everywhere ... that American retaliation will be powerful and uncompromising. ... It is folly for charity to precede victory. First win, then unclench your fist.
22. Do everything possible to make terrorists ... live in terror themselves. Do not be distracted by the baggage of the term “assassination.” This is a war. The enemy is by definition a war criminal. On our soil, he is either a spy or a saboteur, and not entitled to the protections of the U.S. Constitution. Those who abet terrorists must grow afraid to turn out the lights to go to sleep.
23. Never accept the consensus of the Washington intelligentsia, which looks backward to past failures, not forward to future successes ...
24. In dealing with Islamic apocalyptic terrorists, remember that their most cherished symbols are fewer and far more vulnerable than are the West’s. ... Worry less about offending foreign sensibilities and more about protecting Americans.
25. Do not look for answers in recent history, which is ... subject to personal emotion. Begin with the study of the classical world—specifically Rome ... Mild with subject peoples ... the Romans in their rise and at their apogee were implacable with their enemies. The utter destruction of Carthage brought centuries of local peace, while the later empire’s attempts to appease barbarians consistently failed.
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Retired from the US Air Force after more than 20 years of service. Now working as a contractor for various government agencies.

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