|Israel Resource Review
||5th June, 2005
U.S. Opens Office in Israel to
Middle East News Line Special Report
WASHINGTON [MENL] -- The United States has
opened an office to track those who kill Americans abroad in
what was deemed terrorist attacks.
The Justice Department has established the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism to monitor investigations and prosecute killers of Americans in terrorist strikes. The office was part of a bill passed by Congress in 2004 to pursue terrorists who target Americans.
A department statement said the office would be responsible for "monitoring the investigation and prosecution of terrorists who attack Americans abroad." The office would work with other agencies in the Justice Department as well as the FBI.
Officials said the office would compile data on terrorist attacks and
respond to congressional inquiries regarding the killing of Americans
overseas. The office would also file reports with Congress regarding
prosecution of alleged terrorists.
"This new office guarantees a voice for victims and their families in
the investigation and prosecution of terrorists who prey on Americans
overseas," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said. "Our commitment to these
victims is as strong as our dedication to bringing their terrorist attackers
The new office would also establish a joint task force with the State Department. The task force would be activated should Americans come under terrorist attack abroad.
In December 2004, as part of the 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Act, Congress passed the Koby Mandell Act, named after a 13-year-old American killed by Palestinians outside his home in community of Tekoa.
The Zionist Organization of America, which lobbied for the legislation, said 52 a.m.ericans have been killed in Palestinian attacks in Israel since 1993.
In 2003, three U.S. embassy security guards were killed in a Palestinian ambush north of Gaza City. Officials said that despite several appeals, the Palestinian Authority has failed to capture and prosecute the attackers.
"We hope this office can begin to rectify the disappointing lack of U.S. pursuit of Palestinian Arab killers compared to the pursuit of non-Palestinian Arab killers of American citizens," ZOA president Morton Klein said.
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US Administration Appears to
Shift on the Hamas
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - The Bush administration is showing signs of easing its hard-line approach toward Hamas, in response to the militant group's rising political clout in the Palestinian territories and appeals for flexibility from European allies, officials and diplomats said.
The White House acceded to Hamas running candidates in Palestinian elections, even though it has refused to disarm and Washington lists it as a major terrorist organization.
Officials said they may be open to contacts with some Hamas political affiliates and left open the possibility of dealing with the group if it gave up weapons and ended violence, in contrast to past calls for its total dismantlement.
U.S. officials and diplomats cast any shift as pragmatic: Hamas-funded social services are popular with many Palestinians; it is winning local races and was expected to make a strong showing in newly postponed parliamentary elections, and some Hamas-backed politicians and affiliates are seen as moderates.
The shift also follows a behind-the-scenes push by European allies, including Britain and France, for Washington to drop its call to dismantle Hamas completely. European officials warned Washington that doing so would be a "disaster" for Palestinians who benefit from Hamas aid, sources said.
"There is now a realization that they (Hamas) do have a role to play . . . that if you can bring them into the political fold, then you'll be marginalizing the military elements of those groups," said a European diplomat.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan said President Bush has not changed his view of Hamas as a terrorist group that must be disarmed.
"We have great confidence in democracy and elections, McClellan said. "When people are given the chance to express themselves they tend to choose those who seek peace and those who seek to improve their quality of life, not terrorists."
A senior administration official said: "We're not acquiescing. We do not deal with . . . terrorists." But he added: "How do you pursue this without limiting democratic choices?"
Another senior official called it a shift in emphasis, not policy. It could be reversed if Hamas-sponsored violence escalated, experts said.
Trans-Atlantic discussions are expected to continue this week with visits by British and German officials. British Prime Minister Tony Blair will meet with Bush on Tuesday.
European diplomats said a strong election showing by Hamas and a cease-fire deal could prompt reconsideration of the EU's decision to put Hamas on its terrorist blacklist. It did so in 2003 after heavy lobbying by the United States and Israel.
'A very complicated problem'
American officials acknowledge that Hamas' electoral rise poses a dilemma in defining "terrorists," and deciding what to do about millions of dollars in U.S. aid for projects in towns run by elected officials from Hamas or affiliates.
"It's a very complicated problem. What do you do about these groups when they are both terrorist groups and entering into politics?" the senior administration official said.
Increased flexibility might put the Bush administration at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
Though officials insist there is no change in the U.S. policy against drawing distinctions -- as Europe does -- between Hamas' political and military operations, the administration may be moving in that direction, diplomats and experts say.
While asserting that the United States will not deal directly with Hamas "terrorists," a senior Bush administration official said it may be willing to have contact with politicians "affiliated with the group."
There is "a big difference" between people who "may be members of organizations but are not terrorists, versus terrorists, people who have blood on their hands," McClellan said in March.
After meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Bush did not publicly repeat demands the Palestinian Authority dismantle militant groups, although aides said his position was unchanged.
Supporters of engagement said it fits with Bush's call for spreading democracy. But critics said Hamas' political role should be curbed until it disarms and renounces terrorism.
Abbas' announcement that he is postponing July 17 legislative elections could buy time for Washington to settle on its Hamas policy. No new date has been set for the vote. While the White House declined comment on the merits of the delay, diplomatic sources said the mood was one of quiet relief to "elation."
This piece ran on the Reuters Wire on June 5th, 2005
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PA Media Today:
Official Abbas Announcement on PA Media:
Postponing PA elections
Dr. Michael Widlanski
the Palestinian Media
June 5 2005---Sunday
Palestinian television led its news broadcasts Sunday with the news that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas had issued a decree on Saturday (June 4) delaying the legislative elections indefinitely. Dr. Abbas, who heads the Fatah Movement, the PLO, as well as the Palestinian Authority (PA), said a decision on a day for the elections, originally set for July, would come after talks with HAMAS and others.
Both PA leader Abbas and Deputy PA Prime Minister Nabil Sha'ath indicated that Fatah was prepared to agree to having half the legislature chosen on a district level with the other half chosen on a proportional basis of at-large seats.
"The Hamas movement completely rejects the postponement of the elections, which is contrary to the Cairo Agreement," asserted Sami Abu-Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman interviewed on PBC television. He refered to the agreements between Abbas, Hamas and Islamic Jihad regarding elections and a "cooling-off" period in attacking Israelis.
The Hamas spokesman said Abbas's decision was based on internal Fatah difficulties, he hinted it was due to a Fatah desire to gain more time to get ready for the elections at a time when there are strong indications that Hamas may be stronger than Fatah believed.
"This came because of the internal situation inside Fatah, and it has nothing to do with national Palestinian considerations," declared Abu-Zuhri.
But Fatah officials in the legislature echoed Abbas's comments yesterday that the postponement was based on logistical difficulties in getting the election law passed-so that there would be at least two months between passage and voting.
"We just need more time to get through the bnecessary proceedings," said Abdul-Karim Abu-Salah, chairman of the PA Legislature's Legal Committee.
From Palestinian Newspapers:
Al-Ayyam led its coverage with news of the election postponement as well as a picture of Palestinian and foreign demonstrators pushing and shoving with Israeli soldiers in the village of Salfit, protesting Israeli fence-building operations.
Al-Quds showed an almost identical lay-out and coverage. It featured a picture of Israeli soldiers linking arms in front of flag-waving demonstrators (some with Hebrew banners) near the city of Nablus. This newspaper's cartoon made fun of the election postponement, showing a man trying to hold back the hands of a clock.
A somewhat similar theme was shown in a cartoon in Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, where a member of the current legislature is seen dancing for joy at the thought of election delays.
Al-Hayat June 5, 2005
Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda provided almost identical news coverage and pictures at the top of its front page, and its lead headline was "THE PRESIDENT DELAYS THE ELEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS UNTIL LEGAL PROCEDURES AND NATIONAL PROGRAMS ARE COMPLETED."
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Statement of Palestinian Prime
Minister Ahmad Qurei on Eve of Jerusalem Day
38 Years on of Israeli
Occupation, Qurei Warns of 'Explosion'
Press Release of Palestine Media Center - PMC
Jerusalem at the Center of Palestinian - Israeli Conflict"
On the 38th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza
Strip Sunday, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei warned of "an
explosion" in occupied territories, anti-occupation factions pledged to
continue their struggle until liberation, and the PLO parliament-in-exile
called for the return of refugees, as the Israeli President Moshe Katsav led
a provocative Jerusalem Day parade to mark the unilateral and unrecognized
annexation of the Holy City by the occupying power.
On June 5, 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank, including east Jerusalem,
the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian Sinai and the Syrian Golan Heights in a
"preventive" war of aggression.
Thirty-eight years on, the Israeli-occupied Jerusalem was again on Sunday at
the center of the Palestinian - Israeli conflict.
Protected by the troops of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), at least 70
Jewish extremists entered Al- Haram Al-Sharif sanctuary early Monday to mark
the 38th Israeli occupation of the Old City and east Jerusalem in 1967. Soon
clashes erupted with Muslim worshippers.
Haaretz reported that security control was maintained within an hour, with
officials of the Waqf Islamic trust working to minimize tensions. The
occupation police used stun grenades against the Palestinians throwing
stones near the entrance gate to the compound, said police spokesman Shmuel
Police do not believe the events were planned in advance by the
Palestinians, Haaretz said. However the ultra-fundamentalist Jewish group
Revava, linked to the Kach terrorist group that was banned by Israel, has
been trying since three months to storm the Islamic compound with a
Yesterday, the Palestinian Chief Islamic Justice Tayseer al-Tamimi called on
the world`s Muslims to observe a day of fasting on Monday in solidarity with
Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest shrine.
He warned that extremist Jews planned to storm the mosque on the 38th
anniversary of the Israeli occupation of east Jerusalem.
Israel on Sunday was provocative in Jerusalem.
Days after the Israeli 1967 invasion, Israel annexed east Jerusalem. On July
30, 1980, the Knesset passed a bill unilaterally declaring Jerusalem the
"unified and eternal capital" of the Hebrew state. The Israeli annexation
has not been recognized by any other nation.
Sunday and Monday mark the 38th anniversary, according to the Hebrew
calendar, since Israel occupied east Jerusalem on June 7, 1967.
Protected by 3 500 occupation police, the Israeli President Moshe Katsav on
Sunday led a provocative Jerusalem Day Jewish parade to mark the unilateral
and unrecognized annexation of the Holy City.
"The city of Jerusalem is not just the capital of the state of Israel, it is
the heart of the Jewish people," Israeli tourism minister Avraham Hirschson
said on the sidelines of the parade.
Qurei Warns Soto of 'Explosion'
During a meeting with Alvaro de Soto, the new special peace envoy of the UN
Secretary- General, in Ramallah, West Bank, Sunday, Palestinian premier
Qurei emphasized the importance of the role of the Untied Nations, which
embodies international legitimacy, in assuming its responsibility and
securing and protecting the Palestinian people's rights, WAFA reported.
Expressing deep concern over Israel's unilateral measures, Qurei warned of
the possibility of an explosion of the situation in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory (OPT) as a result of the current Israeli expansion of the illegal
Jewish settlements in Jerusalem, the continuing construction of the Israeli
Wall of Annexation and Expansion to isolate the city from the rest of the
West Bank, the ongoing expropriation of Palestinian land, demolition of
homes, and the threats of the Jewish terrorists to Islam's third holiest
site in Al-Haram al-Sharif that houses the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa
The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) was promised by the United States
that "any changes related to the armistice line of 1949--it should come as a
part of a mutual agreement between the two sides," President Mahmoud Abbas
cited President George W. Bush as telling him during their summit meeting at
the White House late May
Denouncing the Israeli unilateral measured in occupied Jerusalem, Abbas told
the US Council on Foreign Relations on May 27: "You cannot have a viable
(Palestinian) state without east Jerusalem . What I'm asking for is east
Jerusalem, not all of Jerusalem," he said, adding: "There is an isolation
between Jerusalem and various Palestinian towns. I don't think this will be
helpful to peace."
Meanwhile the Palestinian parliament-in-exile on Sunday marked the
anniversary with a renewed call for the return of Palestinian refugees who
were forced out of their ancestral homeland by the Zionist paramilitary
gangs in 1948.
The National Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said in
a statement that Palestinian refugees should be granted the right to return
to the homes they were forced out from when the Jewish state was
established, in accordance with the U.N. Resolution 194 of 1949.
The statement urged the international community to bear its responsibilities
and assume its role in achieving the aspired peace by pressuring the Israeli
government to implement the accords reached with the Palestinians, the
Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported.
In the OPT the anti-occupation factions marked the anniversary with pledges
in separate statements to continue their resistance to the Israeli
occupation until liberation.
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Long before 9/11, the US
military was warned about low-tech warfare, but it didn't
Stephen J. Hedges
Washington - Nearly 16 years ago, a group of four military
officers and a civilian predicted the rise of terrorism and
anti-American insurgencies with chilling accuracy.
The group said U.S. military technology was so advanced that foreign forces would be unlikely to challenge it directly, and it forecast that future foes would be non-state insurgents and terrorists whose weapons would be suicide car bombs, not precision-guided weapons.
"Today, the United States is spending $500 million apiece for stealth bombers," the group wrote in a 1989 article that appeared in a professional military journal. "A terrorist stealth bomber is a car with a bomb in the trunk--a car that looks like every other car."
The five men dubbed their theory "Fourth Generation Warfare" and warned that the U.S. military had to adapt. In the years since, the original group of officers, joined by a growing number of officers and scholars within the military, has pressed Pentagon leaders to acknowledge this emerging threat.
But rather than adopting a new strategy, the generals and civilian leaders in the Defense Department have continued to support conventional, high-intensity conflict and the expensive weapons that go with it. That is happening, critics say, despite lethal insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"They don't understand this kind of warfare," said Greg Wilcox, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, Vietnam veteran and critic of Pentagon policies. "They want to return to war as they envision it. That's not going to happen."
Wilcox is just one of a number of maverick officers, active and retired, who have been agitating for change. Others include Marine Col. T.X. Hammes, whose recent book on the subject is required reading in some units, as well as Marine Col. G.I. Wilson, currently serving in Iraq, and H. John Poole, a retired Marine who has written extensively on insurgencies.
Together they make up the public face of a much larger debate within the U.S. military over whether the Defense Department is doing enough to train troops to fight insurgents.
It is a debate with enormous consequences. Though most of the more than 1,350 a.m.erican combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan have been caused by low-tech insurgent weaponry such as roadside bombs, the Army plans to spend more than $120 billion in the next decade on a future combat system of digitally linked vehicles, weapons and unmanned aircraft. It is based largely on conventional warfare theory.
The Army also is reorganizing its 10 divisions into 43 more flexible, 5,000-soldier brigades that can be plunked down in a war zone. But the weapons and training those forces receive still will lean heavily toward the traditional view of conflict, with heavy tanks, helicopters, close air support and terrain-holding troops.
Soldiers Take Initiative
The mavericks' Fourth Generation Warfare theory is about as far as one can get from current Pentagon doctrine. But many of the captains, corporals and privates fighting today have adopted the mavericks' theories and tactics.
"So much of it was validated that it's theoretically right on the money," said Jim Roussell, a chief warrant officer in the Marine Reserves who focuses on gang crime in Chicago as a sergeant in the city's Police Department. He recently returned from Iraq after leading a Marine unit against insurgents.
Army and Marine Corps officials in Washington declined to answer questions on the changes suggested by the mavericks.
But in November, the Army issued a revised field manual on fighting insurgencies that had not been updated in more than a decade. It has received a mixed reception.
"We really have a lot of institutional friction right now," said Lt. Col. January Horvath, the Army manual's primary author. "There are a number of junior officers who understand this." Senior officers, Horvath said, have been less accepting.
Still, some units are adapting. The Army's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, for instance, last month began its second tour of Iraq after months of innovative training, including a requirement that all officers and soldiers receive basic Arabic language and culture training.
"It's working," said Col. H.R. McMaster, the regiment's commander, who has lectured at U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., and written a book about the failures of the Vietnam War. "It's a hard problem. Nothing is easy over here. But I'm telling you we're getting after it, we're pursuing the enemy, we are totally on the offensive right now."
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's office has given irregular warfare a "higher priority" in the upcoming 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, according to an excerpt of the document. But the report will not be completed until next year. Real war, the mavericks point out, is happening now.
Chinese war philosopher "Sun Tzu had it right," said one Army lieutenant colonel who spent a year fighting insurgents in Iraq and who requested anonymity. "If you know your enemy and if you know yourself, you'll never lose. We know about half of what we should about the enemy, and we don't know ourselves. We can't figure out what kind of Army we want to be."
The 1989 article that broached the rise of terrorism and insurgencies sprang from a group of officers who met regularly to discuss tactics and strategy. The group gathered in the Alexandria, Va., home of William Lind, a military analyst and former Senate aide who is director of the Free Congress Foundation's Center for Cultural Conservatism.
Lind already had written about the first three generations of modern warfare: Napoleonic-style lines of battle, World War I trench conflict and the swift-moving "maneuver" warfare that the German army displayed in World War II. In the 1980s, the Marine Corps adopted maneuver warfare as its official doctrine.
What, the group wondered, would be the next generation of war?
The group -- Lind, Wilson, John Schmitt of the Marines, and Keith Nightengale and Joseph Sutton of the Army -- put its collective answer in a short article in the October 1989 issue of the Marine Corps Gazette. As the Soviet Union faltered, they wrote, new insurgencies and terrorist groups could erupt in countries with an "Islamic or Asiatic tradition."
"Mass, of men or fire power, will no longer be an overwhelming factor," they wrote. "In fact, mass may become a disadvantage, as it will be easy to target. Small, highly maneuverable, agile forces will tend to dominate."
The article marked a radical departure from military thinking. Until then, the word "insurgency" had been virtually banned inside the Pentagon.
In his 1986 book, "The Army and Vietnam," military analyst and Army veteran Andrew Krepinevich details just how reviled a fight against insurgents is among U.S. military leaders. Top Army commanders in Washington, Krepinevich found, brushed aside orders from President John Kennedy in the early 1960s to build a counterinsurgent capability in Vietnam.
And after the war, he said, counterinsurgency theory was purged from the Pentagon. Instead, the military returned to preparing for a conventional war with the Soviet Union.
"In a way, the lesson of Vietnam for the American people and the Army was `No more Vietnams,'" Krepinevich said. "Vietnam was a searing personal experience for the Army, incredibly negative."
After the 1991 Persian Gulf war, the mavericks argued that it was less a victory than it appeared. The war was "a throwback to World War II in Europe with updated weapons," they wrote in a 1994 Marine Corps Gazette article. U.S. claims of success, they suggested, masked the vulnerabilities of lumbering, heavy armor, a notion borne out in 1993 during the U.S. military's misadventure in Somalia.
The Pentagon, though, continued to equip for battlefield warfare, encouraged by a Congress that was more than willing to back big weapons, ships and aircraft programs and the jobs they create.
"There's no money in counterinsurgency," said Hammes, the Marine colonel, who served in Iraq and whose recent book, "The Sling and the Stone," has stirred more debate within the military. "It's about language skills. It's about people. It's about a lot of soft money moving over to [the Departments of] State, Commerce, Treasury, and there's no F-22 [fighter jet] in this program."
A 9/11 Realization
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Schmitt, a former Marine and a co-author of the 1989 article, was at O'Hare International Airport on his way to Pittsburgh. Minutes before boarding his flight, he saw a television report that an airliner had hit New York's World Trade Center. He kept watching as the second plane hit.
"I was thinking, `We're at war here,'" said Schmitt, a military consultant based in Champaign, Ill. "This is the new warfare."
The September 11 attacks, Schmitt and others hoped, would bring change within the Pentagon. Even an Al Qaeda terrorist Web site referred to the 1989 article, noting that "some American military experts predict a fundamental change in the future form of warfare" and that "this new type of war presents significant difficulties for the Western war machine."
But little changed. The U.S. forces that flowed into Afghanistan in late 2001 and into Iraq in March 2003 were largely conventional.
The U.S. military quickly toppled the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. But after those successes, both the Afghan extremists and Hussein's sympathizers transformed into effective insurgencies.
The mavericks contend that the U.S. response has been a string of classic military mistakes, especially in Iraq.
U.S. forces took over Hussein's palaces and military bases, secluding themselves from ordinary Iraqis and cutting off lines of intelligence. Thousands of innocent Iraqis were wrongfully imprisoned in a ham-handed search for insurgents, breeding contempt for the American occupiers.
Training to fight insurgents lagged. Emphasis instead was put on finding technical solutions--another echo of Vietnam. They include devices that detect roadside explosives placed by insurgents, surveillance drones and the belated armoring of vehicles, which so far has cost more than $600 million.
"Here's an army that went into Iraq in 2003 with exactly the same set of equipment it had in 1991, with very few modifications," said Douglas Macgregor, a tank commander in the first Iraq war who wrote several books about reforming the Army before retiring as a colonel a year ago. "It hasn't produced anything new at all in 20 years."
Still, the mavericks argue that, even today, changes could have an impact on the way soldiers are fighting.
First, the mavericks call for ground forces to reorganize into distinct, small units--not large, lumbering divisions or expeditionary forces--that will live among Iraqis.
"Why are we still riding around in Humvees?" asks Poole, the retired Marine, whose Posterity Press has published books on counterinsurgent tactics. "In a war like this, you've got to get off the vehicle and into the neighborhood."
Second, more needs to be done to give soldiers language and cultural training, they say, something that officers in the Army and Marine Corps say has recently begun.
A third reform would prescribe a more judicious use of powerful weapons, such as tank rounds and 2,000-pound precision aerial bombs, especially in cities. Insurgencies exploit the deaths of civilians, the mavericks argue.
They say that the most important change would be a new command system, one that bases promotions on initiative rather than obedience and encourages taking risks, recognizing that mistakes will happen.
"One of the things we found in our experiments was the idea of strategic corporals," said Roussell, the Marine reservist and Chicago policeman. "The corporals are capable of doing it. We just need to empower them."
The military has taken some small steps toward change, and it is promising more.
Other units are following the lead of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and offering more language and cultural training, as well as a review of tactics.
Units rotating to Iraq now get several weeks of specialized training at the Army's two national training centers; tactics simulate life among Iraqis, including the use of Iraqi-American role players.
Additional focus has been put on running road checkpoints, detecting roadside explosives and protecting convoys.
But those efforts give new troops just a brief taste of the challenges they will be facing, and they put a heavy emphasis on defensive measures. According to officers who have been involved in counterinsurgent operations, there still is a reluctance among top commanders to acknowledge the nature of the enemy and what skills American soldiers need to fight.
"There's definitely the sensation that the Army's holding its breath," said one officer who recently took command of deploying forces, "that this will all blow over, and they can go back to what they want to do."
Changes in the Field
At the same time, said the officer, who requested anonymity, younger officers with command of fighting units are making the changes they need to, whether the Pentagon approves or not.
"There's a way the institution does things," he said, "and then there's the way that things are actually done."
Receiving little notice inside the Pentagon, the maverick officers have continued to post their theories, criticisms and extensive PowerPoint briefings on unofficial military Web sites.
One notable article last year, written by Marine Col. Wilson, was titled "Iraq--Fourth Generation Warfare Swamp." The Marines denied permission for Wilson, who is in Iraq, to be interviewed for this article.
Although they differ on the particulars of changing the military, the mavericks agree that the U.S. effort in Afghanistan and Iraq has been a lost opportunity. At best, they say, the outcome of both conflicts is uncertain. Some say they are doomed.
"There's nothing that you can do in Iraq today that will work," said Lind, one of the original Fourth Generation Warfare authors. "That situation is irretrievably lost."
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