From the Editor

From Parameters,  Spring 2007, pp. 2-3.

In this Issue . . .

Americans just do not get it! While we are mentally and emotionally captured by the political side-bar related to the President’s announced “surge” strategy for Iraq and Afghanistan we have forgotten the reality of the Long War. Not in our lifetime will that struggle be concluded. Even those charged with executing our national security strategy do not adequately comprehend the magnitude of the threat or its duration. If America’s military is to achieve any modicum of success in countering this insidious threat it requires an enhanced understanding of the cultural and ideological elements of power exercised by terrorist and insurgent groups. Along with this enhanced appreciation of our enemies’ culture and capabilities is an equally important requirement for America’s senior leaders to justly apply the tenets of military power. Senior leaders need not only demonstrate to the world the ethical norms required in the proper execution of their duties, they must ensure that those in their charge are equally cognizant of how to perform in a just and ethical manner. To that end, our first two articles examine the state of the “military ethic” in today’s armed forces. We follow our examination of the military ethic with four articles related to current trends, policies, and strategies impacting the Middle East. We conclude this issue with an enlightened analysis of what for decades was the primary focus of American foreign policy and defense strategy during the Cold War, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Readers are exposed to the issues and tensions associated with being a member of today’s NATO.

Richard Swain provides our first of two articles in the thematic feature, “Today’s Military Ethic.” His “Reflection on an Ethic of Officership” highlights the fact that America’s Army has operated for over 200 years without an “officer’s creed” to govern the actions of its leaders. He cautions, however, that for those who might not fully comprehend or appreciate the duties and responsibilities inherent in an “ethic of officership” the details are implicitly outlined in any number of documents, beginning with the Constitution. “Ethics Training and Development in the Military” is Paul Robinson’s insightful analysis of contributions to the workshop by the same name held at the University of Hull in the United Kingdom during 2006. The author recognizes the fact that formal training programs for ethics are fairly recent events for the majority of the world’s armed forces. Robinson, however, goes on to conclude that even though such programs may be relatively new, they have produced a number of common virtues that the author suggests might provide a basis for a universal (military) code or ethic.

Professor Louis René Beres and his “Project Daniel” study group provide an assessment of current threats to Israel’s survival along with recommendations for an end to its policy of “nuclear ambiguity.” “Israel’s Uncertain Strategic Future” is the first of four articles focused on “Lessons from the Middle East.” The article is derived from the work of “The Group” which analyzed the legal and strategic precedents underpinning a recommendation that Israel adopt a new national security strategy based on the concept of “anticipatory self-defense.” This new strategic posture calls for an end to Israel’s policy of merely acknowl-


edging its nuclear capability and advocates its replacement with a strategy based on multi-layered active defenses backed by a credible, secure, and decisive nuclear deterrent.

Anthony J. Schwarz continues our examination of the factors precipitating violence and unrest in the region with “Iraq’s Militias: The True Threat to Coalition Success in Iraq.” The author analyzes the historical, political, and religious roots underlying the growth of extremism in Iraq to determine that it is not the jihadist or insurgent that poses the greatest threat to American and Coalition objectives, but rather the growing number of armed and active militias. Schwarz surmises that it is their ability to organize, train, and recruit that makes militias the greatest threat to stability and security. It is these organizational skills combined with political power on the local level that provide militias with the ability to undermine legitimate governments. Schwarz concludes with recommendations for a state-sponsored Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration initiative whereby Coalition forces might develop an effective counterstrategy for Iraq’s militias.

Sarah E. Kreps assesses the implications of Israel’s unexpected challenges encountered during the recent war with Hezbollah in “The 2006 Lebanon War: Lessons Learned.” The author finds three primary faults with how the war was conducted: Israeli leadership relied too heavily on airpower; the leadership suffered from the classic syndrome of “fighting the last war;” and failure to recognize the fact that airpower is almost always counterproductive in fighting asymmetric adversaries. Kreps concludes that if Israel and its supporters are to find a road to peace in the region they must first press their public diplomacy efforts to bridge ideological divides that exist between Western and Middle Eastern states.

Dale E. Eikmeier concludes this feature with his insightful, sobering, and timely analysis “Qutbism: An Ideology of Islamic-Fascism.” The author provides readers with an understanding that if we are to know our enemy in the war on terrorism we must first recognize his “center of gravity.” Eikmeier has determined that regardless of the vintage or variety of militant Islam it is the “ideology” of the group or sect that serves as its center of gravity. The author readily admits that labels, such as “Islamic-Fascism,” are primarily public relations tools, but they do serve the purpose of drawing the reader’s attention. It is therefore critical that those charged with the defeat of militant Islam comprehend the basic principles underpinning a particular ideology.

Our final article is Ryan C. Hendrickson’s assessment of the future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In “The Miscalculation of NATO’s Death,” the author dismisses NATO’s skeptics for inaccurately portraying the alliance’s current condition. The author examines NATO’s history, its ability to overcome crises, an analysis of NATO expansion, its institutional flexibility, and evidence of renewed interest in the alliance by many of the world’s great powers to determine that there is indeed basis for optimism within the alliance. Hendrickson concludes that skeptics have failed to consider the growing multilateral cooperation within the alliance, especially during the second Bush administration. A more centrist and multilateral American foreign policy bodes well for the alliance; reflecting more accurately current missions and future prospects for transatlantic security. — RHT

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Reviewed 26 February 2007. Please send comments or corrections to