Terrorism & Counter-terrorism

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Not a common global home, but a fine mess

transcript of presentation by Carl Conetta on the “World Security Situation – Russia, Iraq and Syria, and Beyond” panel of the Economists for Peace and Security conference in Washington, DC, 17 November 2014. Full transcipt and video of panel presentations by Richard Kaufman, Carl Conetta, Bill Hartung, Heather Hurlburt and others at the Economic and Security Future Conference.

panel one EPS 1114

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US Policy on Syria: War or Diplomacy?

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta, editor, Project on Defense Alternatives Resource Compilation. Updated: 23 September 2013.    A Selection of Critical Views & Proposals:   ● War or diplomacy?   ● Intelligence   ● International Law   ● International & Domestic Support   ● Congressional War Authorization   ● A broader purpose, a wider war?  ● Military Factors  ● Collateral Effects of War  ● Cost Factors & Budget   ● Alternatives to war  ● General Background
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The Pentagon’s New Mission Set: A Sustainable Choice?

(printable PDF version) by Carl Conetta, 01 August 2011. An updated and expanded excerpt from the Report of the Task Force on a Unified Security Budget (USB) for the United States, August 2011.
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Symposium: The Role of Force & the Armed Forces in US Foreign Policy — What have we learned?

Security Policy Working Group, 10 April 2008.

  • Andrew Bacevich, “The Origins and Demise of the Bush Doctrine of Preventive War”
  • Carl Conetta, “Out from the House of War: A Litmus for New Leadership in Security Policy” (printable .pdf)
  • David Gold, “How Much Defense Can We Afford? (printable .pdf), as republished in Challenge (Sept/Oct 2008)
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US aid to Somalia, counterterrorism in Horn of Africa, results and motivations of terrorism

(HTML version) by Bipasha Ray, Defense Analysis Bulletin #3, 07 March 2007.
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Outside View: How Bush Strategy Failed

(HTML version) David Isenberg. United Press International, 27 September 2006.
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War & Consequences: Global Terrorism has Increased Since 9/11 Attacks

(HTML version) (printable PDF version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Memo #38, 25 September 2006. The memo analyzes the change in the incidence of terrorism since 11 September 2001, finding a distinct increase. It also summarizes the findings of various studies on the relationship between the Iraq war and terrorism which show that in the words of one, the Iraq war “has reinforced the determination of terrorists who were already committed to attacking the West and motivated others who were not.”

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Fighting on Borrowed Time: The Effect on US Military Readiness of America’s post-9/11 Wars

(printable PDF version) (HTML version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Report #19, 11 September 2006. To sustain today’s wars, the Bush administration has adopted a policy of “risk displacement”. High optempo is maintained in Iraq and Afghanistan at the expense of readiness elsewhere and for other missions. The policy also saps future readiness. It may take the US military half a decade to recover.
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Pyrrhus on the Potomac: How America’s post-9/11 wars have undermined US national security

(printable PDF version) (HTML version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Report #18, 05 September 2006.  A net assessment of America’s post-911 security policy shows it to be “pyrrhic” in character: although progress has been made in disrupting Al Qaeda, the broader effect has been to increase the threat to the United States, while weakening the nation’s capacity to respond effectively.
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Dissuading China and Fighting the ‘Long War’

(printable PDF version) by Carl Conetta, World Policy Journal, 01 July 2006. The 2006 US Defense Review advanced two new strategic vectors for the US armed forces – one targets a putative “global Islamic insurgency”; the other puts America on a collison course with China. 

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America’s Long War: U.S. Introduces Radical New Strategy

(HTML version) Simon Tisdall, Ewen MacAskill and Richard Norton-Taylor. The Guardian, 15 February 2006.
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QDR 2006: Do The Forces Match the Missions? DOD Gives Little Reason to Believe

(printable PDF version) (HTML version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Memo #36, February 2006. The 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review sets out ambitious new goals and missions for the US armed forces, but fails to clarify the link between missions, assets, and budgets.
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Agonizing Issue: is torture ever justified in military interrogations of terror suspects?

(HTML version) (printable PDF version) interview with Charles Knight, co-director, Project on Defense Alternatives and Alfred P. Rubin, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Law, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, transcript edited by Jim Cronin, The Boston Globe Magazine, 30 January 2005.  The United States is now training hundreds, maybe thousands, of new interrogators.  Abusive relationships traumatize both the victim and the abuser. We are training and having our own people experience this abuse, and they will be returning home to our communities. We know from studies of domestic abuse that this abusive pattern can be replicated through generations.
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Outsourcing torture and the problems of “quality control”

(HTML version) by Charles Knight, Global Beat Syndicate, 17 May 2004. “…the United States as a state sponsor of torture, perpetrated or exported to foreign stooges, is having a ripple effect globally that will damage our image for a long time to come.”
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The Bush Doctrine: Origins, Evolution, Alternatives

(printable PDF version) by Mark Gerard Mantho, PDA Guest Publication, April 2004. The Bush administration’s national security doctrine represents the most sweeping change in U.S. foreign policy since World War II and was the conceptual underpinning of the President’s decision to invade Iraq. Yet few Americans realize where the policy came from, who crafted it, or even what it is.
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Disappearing the Dead: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Idea of a “New Warfare”

(printable PDF version) (HTML version) (summary)  (summary PDF version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Research Monograph #9, 18 February 2004. Examines the Pentagon’s treatment of the civilian casualty issue in the Iraq and Afghan wars, reviews the “spin” and “news frames” used by defense officials to shape the public debate over casualties, and critiques the concept of a “precision warfare” as misleading. Case studies include the Baghdad bombing campaign. An appendix provides a comprehensive Guide to Surveys and Reporting on Casualties in the Afghan and Iraq Wars.
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The Sources of Terrorism

(printable PDF version) by Charles Knight and Melissa Murphy, correspondence published in International Security, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Fall 2003) pp. 192-195, comment on Michael Mousseau, “Market Civilization and Its Clash with Terror,” International Security, Vol. 27, No. 3 (Winter 2002/03) pp.5- 29.
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Trends in the Incidence of International Terror Attacks on Americans After the Cold War

(printable PDF version) (HTML version) by Charles Knight and Melissa Murphy. PDA Briefing Memo #29, 26 June 2003.

 

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Burning Down the House: How the Iraq War Will Affect the International System

(printable PDF version) (HTML version) by Carl Conetta. PDA Briefing Report #15, 06 May 2003. Nothing could be worse for arms control prospects and international stability than the widespread impression that military activism and unilateralism are on the rise. This puts a premium on re-militarization and discourages de-militarization.
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9/11 and the Meanings of Military Transformation

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta, Project on Defense Alternatives, 06 February 2003. This article examines a ten-year failure to adapt US security policy to post-Cold War realities and assesses how well three different concepts of military transformation correspond to these new realities. Originally published in Security After 9/11: Strategy Choices and Budget Tradeoffs by the Security Policy Working Group, January 2003 (.pdf file). A compilation of eight articles that gauge the cost and effectiveness of post-9/11 US security policy offering assessments of counter-terrorism, homeland security, and military transformation policies in light of alternative options and budget tradeoffs. Executive summaries and author contact information included.
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A Success of Democracy?

(HTML version) by Charles Knight. A response to Elaine Scarry’s Citizenship in Emergency, Boston Review (October/November 2002).
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Terrorism, World Order, and Cooperative Security: A research and policy development agenda

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta. PDA Briefing Memo #24, 9 September 2002. The war on terrorism is transforming US policy and reshaping global politics. But public debate regarding the campaign — its strategy and progress — has been feeble. Likewise, the evaluation of new programs and spending meant to support it has been superficial. This evinces the fact that US policy discourse itself suffered a serious blow on 11 September 2001. The article outlines areas and issues of concern.
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Dislocating Alcyoneus: How to combat al-Qaeda and the new terrorism

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta. PDA Briefing Memo #23, 25 June 2002. The memo outlines a “strategy of dislocation” for defeating the new terrorism. Al Qaeda is analyzed as a “distributed transnational network” that uses terrorism in order to catalyze political-cultural polarization and mobilization. Published in Hegemonie oder Stabilität: Alternativen zur Militarisierung der Politik, edited by Volker Kröning (MdB), Lutz Unterseher, and Günter Verheugen (Hrsg.) Bremen: Edition Temmen, August 2002.
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Cooperative Action Against Terrorism

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Commentary, October 2001.
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Beyond bin Laden: The Temptations of a Wider War

(HTML version) by Carl Conetta, PDA Briefing Memo #22, 28 September 2001. Offering a review of US military options in response to 11 September, this article rejects large-scale attacks on Afghanistan due to their likely negative impact on regional stability and international cooperation. As an alternative it proposes smaller-scale military operations against the bin Laden network combined with multinational law enforcement activities worldwide.
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What Justifies Military Intervention?

(HTML version) commentary by Charles Knight, 27 September 2001. Examines the problems for international security associated with U.S. military intervention abroad. Includes a Postscript on the “war on terrorism” (revised 01 March 2002) and Selected Readings on the doctrines of Just War, Total War, and Strategic Bombing (revised 01 March 2002).
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Fear Itself: Hazards of Massive Retaliation

(HTML version) by Neta C. Crawford, PDA Guest Commentary, 14 September 2001.

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The Coming Transformation of the Muslim World

(HTML version) by Dale F. Eickelman, July 1999. by permission of the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), Philadelphia, PA, USA. This essay provides insight into forces of change in Muslim societies that contain seeds of reconciliation with Western culture and political practice. It is worth taking note of the opportunities therein for relations of respect and peace, and for avoidance of the great ‘clash of civilizations’ famously predicted by Samuel Huntington.
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