From the Editor

From Parameters, Spring 2004, pp. 2-3.

In This Issue . . .

Following the events of 9/11, America and its military dedicated their very being and untold resources to the war on terror. In this issue we examine that war and attempt to provide a perspective and context with which to better understand the continuing threats to our national security. The feature “Waging War on Terror” presents four distinct and enlightening views related to the recognition and countering of these asymmetrical threats. Sean Maloney analyzes America’s efforts in Afghanistan and determines we cannot afford to let the situation devolve. “Afghanistan: From Here to Eternity?” recounts two years’ worth of American-led successes, including the destruction of al Qaeda’s base and its Taliban shield. He cautions America to strengthen its resolve in support of the Afghan people if we are to avoid the dire predictions of pundits voicing erroneous Vietnam analogies. Robert Tomes admonishes us not to neglect the lessons of history in his “Relearning Counterinsurgency Warfare.” The author revisits a number of classical works on counterinsurgency warfare to reveal common lessons and themes applicable to the current situation in Iraq. He does warn, however, that America’s experience in Vietnam offers little for those planning or engaged in counterinsurgency operations. Tomes concludes it will require more than just dusting off the classics if America’s military is to fully understand and inculcate the lessons-learned, insights, and perspectives required for successful counterinsurgency operations. Matthew Morgan takes us inside the mind of the terrorist to distinguish between the “pragmatic” terrorist of the past and a new generation of fanatic. In “The Origins of the New Terrorism” the author analyzes a number of recent attacks to conclude that a deadly combination of cultural, political, and technological factors have come together to spawn a “new terrorism.” In our final article in the feature, Robert Pratt examines “Invasive Threats to the American Homeland.” Pratt warns that low-cost attacks by non-state entities such as those that occurred on 9/11 will inspire other adversaries to employ even more asymmetrical methods against the United States. These attacks may come in the form of an invasive species, a disease pathogen, or some other biological threat. The author explores the history of invasive attacks and determines that the United States is ill-prepared to counter the intentional and hostile introduction of such a threat.

Bruce Fleming takes to task those who would expound the virtues and dictums of Carl von Clausewitz in his “Can Reading Clausewitz Save Us from Future Mistakes?” The author’s analysis of theorists and strategists utilizing Clausewitz to justify their motivations and actions provides an enlightening and entertaining interpretation of the master’s utility. Fleming, a professor of English at the Naval Academy, closes with a recommendation that because of its


many intrinsic contradictions Clausewitz’s On War should be taught “as poetry” at service schools.

Brendan McLane evaluates our recent success at embedding representatives of the media with military units during the initial stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In his article “Reporting from the Sandstorm: An Appraisal of Embedding,” he determines that this success is the outgrowth of a continuing trend toward greater media-military cooperation. McLane is quick to point out, however, that the future of such relationships is yet to be determined. He concludes that the trend for greater military-media cooperation and information transparency is a harbinger of the necessary next step: including media representatives in the operational planning and execution phases of the next war.

Peter Zwack advocates the establishment of a combined NATO and Russian military force to meet the challenges of the post-9/11 world. Zwack cites the continuing threat of transnational terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to call for a NATO-Russian force based on the “NATO-Russia Contingency Command” first suggested in 1996. The author analyzes and refutes each of the many arguments against the establishment of such a force and determines that now is the time for NATO and Russia to take the next major military step in their maturing relationship: the establishment of a NATO-Russia Contingency Command based in Russia.

Our concluding article in this issue is Matthew LeRiche’s “Unintended Alliance: The Co-option of Humanitarian Aid in Conflicts.” In a riveting exposť the author reveals the exploitation of the logistical infrastructure of various aid organizations by militaries and paramilitaries during international humanitarian interventions. LeRiche highlights the fact that despite being one of the better-known threats to aid organizations during humanitarian operations, the magnitude of such corruption is almost unknown to the general public. The author’s investigation reveals that well-intentioned relief organizations will continue to funnel aid into an area regardless of the political and military realities. Such actions often result in organizations being only marginally successful in reaching the people who are being controlled, manipulated, and bullied by the forces involved. LeRiche concludes that the humanitarian aid system, particularly in the form of food and medical aid and the refugee system, has unfortunately become a major source of logistical support for protagonists during conflicts.

Book Reviews in this issue provide a truly eclectic view of the military genre. Headlined by Richard Halloran’s insightful review of Beyond Baghdad: Postmodern War and Peace by Ralph Peters, the feature examines a number of recent additions to the market. General Richard Trefry’s look at Henry Gole’s masterpiece on the preparation for World War II, The Road to Rainbow: Army Planning for Global War, 1934-1940; Martin Cook’s views on Donald Kagan’s The Peloponnesian War; and Gregory Fontenot’s consideration of Yellow Smoke: The Future of Land Warfare for America’s Military by General Robert H. Scales are but a few of the quality reviews presented in this edition. — RHT 

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Reviewed 23 February 2004. Please send comments or corrections to