From the Editor

From Parameters,  Autumn 2005, pp. 2-3.

In This Issue . . .

Andrew S. Natsios, Administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), introduces and analyzes “The Nine Principles of Reconstruction and Development.” Patterned after the Nine Principles of War, Natsios’s principles are designed to provide agencies with greater opportunities for success, and are required for greater cooperation between the military and development agencies. The author uses the paradigm of Afghanistan to demonstrate the utility of his principles and concludes that they do in fact overlap with military doctrinal principles. When applied in concert with military objectives, they are key to the success of any reconstruction and development effort.

Sean M. Maloney examines the history and future of America’s recent involvement in Afghanistan in “Afghanistan Four Years On: An Assessment.” The article was developed in an effort to expand a rather pessimistic assessment of the US role in Afghanistan that appeared in the Spring 2004 issue of Parameters. Maloney postulates that success in Afghanistan hinges on “four moving parts.” First is the continuing success of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs), supported by the American-led Coalition of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). The second factor is what the author terms the “main cog,” the development and expansion of the Afghan National Army (ANA). Complementing the first two factors is the continuing expansion of the role of the 4,500-strong, European-led, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The final “moving part” is the institution-building and coordination efforts of the OEF, ISAF, the Afghan Ministry of Defense, the National Directorate of Security, and police forces in Kabul. The author says that in 2005 the situation in Afghanistan has progressed to a point where guarded optimism is justified.

Our first thematic presentation addresses an issue that has garnered the interest of activists on a global scale, “The Processing and Treatment of Illegal Combatants.” Thomas E. Ayres uses a metaphor reminiscent of General Charles C. Krulak’s “three-block-war” to pen “‘Six Floors’ of Detainee Operations in the Post-9/11 World.” Ayres, a member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, defines six specific categories of detainee operations. The author distinguishes between categories (floors) of detainees in an effort to define specific and unequivocal guidance for forces at the operational and tactical levels related to the treatment and protection of detainees. Ayres concludes that even though the “gloves came off” after 9/11, the international community needs stringent and understandable measures related to the treatment of terrorists and unlawful combatants so as not to legitimize inhumane measures that debase our own humanity. Our second article in this feature is Australian Brigadier Gerard P. Fogarty’s “Is Guantanamo Bay Undermining the Global War on Terror?” The author provides insight into the turmoil surrounding the operation of the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay,


Cuba. Fogarty examines the questions of lawful or unlawful combatants and due process (tribunals) to conclude that America is losing the battle for world opinion. He suggests that if the United States is to regain the moral high ground, it should move detainee trials into the international arena by means of UN-authorized tribunals, established under specific statute, agreed to by the United States and the UN.

Andrew Harvey, Ian Sullivan, and Ralph Groves contribute “A Clash of Systems: An Analytical Framework to Demystify the Radical Islamist Threat,” the first of two articles under the rubric “Religion and Political Change.” Glancing back at a Winter 2004-05 Parameters article by Philip Seib that examined Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” theory, the authors provide an alternative framework for analyzing global conflict. They analyze a series of “rules” that have characterized the interaction between a system of state and non-state actors throughout history and conclude that when it comes to understanding current events in the Middle East, one must appreciate that it is “not about oil, but ideas.” Chris Zambelis provides our second article in this feature, “The Strategic Implications of Political Liberalization and Democratization in the Middle East.” Zambelis bases his thesis on the differentiation between democratization and liberalization. He examines the long-term strategic implications of a democratic Middle East and its impact on US interests, concluding that dramatic changes in the political and foreign policy orientation of many of our Middle Eastern allies may not result in what America really wants or needs.

Our final thematic offering in this issue is a departure from our tendency to forego manuscripts that are mostly historical in nature. “Decisionmaking in Vietnam: Two Cases” provides readers with an opportunity to appreciate how decisions affecting America’s national security interests were formulated and to draw analogies where appropriate. Frank L. Jones examines the relationship between President Lyndon Johnson and Robert Komer, Johnson’s choice to oversee the winning of “the other war” in Vietnam. “Blowtorch: Robert Komer and the Making of Vietnam Pacification Policy” is an examination of presidential determination, bureaucratic failure, and one man’s ability to influence a nation’s future. Jones analyzes Robert Komer’s role as the strategic architect of America’s pacification policy during the Vietnam War and determines that his intellect and force of personality contributed greatly to America’s successes in that effort. Our final article in this issue is Mark Amidon’s “Groupthink, Politics, and the Decision to Attempt the Son Tay Rescue.” The background of this attempt to rescue American prisoners of war during the final stages of the Vietnam War provides rich lessons in group decision dynamics and political maneuvering.

The Book Reviews section offers stimulating looks at new titles. Richard Halloran leads with his review of Thomas X. Hammes’ The Sling and the Stone: On War in the 21st Century. Andrew Bacevich considers Who Killed the Canadian Military? by J. L. Granatstein. Robert Killebrew reviews Stephen A. Duncan’s A War of a Different Kind: Military Force and America’s Search for Homeland Security. And many more also will whet our readers’ appetites. — RHT

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Reviewed 15 August 2005. Please send comments or corrections to