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Jewish World Review Jan. 14, 2002 / Rosh Chodesh Shevat, 5762

Dick Morris

Dick Morris
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The Rumsfeld Doctrine -- THE successful military action in Afghanistan raises to public view a new military strategy for U.S. forces to work our will in Third World countries. Gone is the Powell Doctrine which emphasized overwhelming American military power and a viable and quick exit strategy.

Gone is the Clinton Doctrine that kept American military efforts airborne and barred the use of ground troops - or even low-flying aircraft - until after the aerial bombardment had neutralized the enemy.

Now we have the Rumsfeld Doctrine stressing coordination among native ground forces, U.S. Special Forces and commandos, and American air power.

By whipping the ragtag Northern Alliance Army - the gang that had not previously been able to shoot straight - into an effective military force and guiding its often reluctant troops and even more reluctant leaders into combat, Rumsfeld has established the utility of having a small group of highly specialized U.S. advisors on the ground.

The intriguing thing about the style of war in Afghanistan is that it may offer a model for similar engagements in Iraq and other terror-sponsoring nations.

One can imagine sending advisors into northern Iraq to guide and equip the Kurds in an effort to topple Saddam Hussein, who must be our next target in the war on terror.

Turkey will squirm just as Pakistan did at the empowerment of her traditional adversaries across the border, but skilled diplomacy, increased aid, and some ongoing international role in disciplining the Kurdish minority might assuage Ankara's fears.

The Rumsfeld Doctrine succeeded, in part, because the people of Afghanistan supported us and hated the foreign al Qaeda terrorists and their Taliban puppets. In Afghanistan, we met Mao's basic pre-condition for a successful guerrilla action - we were the fish and the people were the sea. It would be hard to see an operation like that succeeding where popular sympathies were against us.

But, the fact is that most terror-sponsoring governments are unpopular with their people. Regimes in Iran, Syria, Libya and Iraq are held in power only by police state tactics and government repression. Each has a substantial base of local opposition that could be mobilized in a battle against the terrorist sympathizers in power.

In a real sense, the Rumsfeld Doctrine is a more ethical and moral way to proceed in foreign policy. Unlike earlier approaches, it does not feature a technologically insulated white, Western force bombing a native army into submission. It builds, instead, on the empowerment of a nation's own insurgent troops to help themselves throw off oppression. In doing so, it offers a decidedly non-colonialist approach to military intervention in other lands.

All now hinges on whether the administration will lead America into action against Saddam Hussein. No war on terror can be complete if he remains in power. No amount of diplomatic or economic pressure will bring him down. Nor will a propaganda offensive against his cruel dictatorship make much difference.

The United States needs to apply the lessons of Afghanistan to Iraq and take Baghdad as it conquered Kabul - by working through the indigenous, local opposition to Saddam's rule.

Will the global coalition hold together in the face of a move against Iraq? That question leads to paralysis. We don't need a global coalition. We need active support from a handful of nations proximate to Iraq - Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait - and at least a passive willingness from Moscow to let the attack begin. It is not particularly important whom else we take into our global coalition.

The United States should do the right thing and let the rest of the world fall in line as we succeed.

It is painfully clear that there will be no progress in the Arab-Israeli dispute until we demonstrate that we are willing to wage war in Iraq and topple Saddam. If Israel knows that America will be sufficiently engaged to protect her while she makes peace and the Hamas sees the handwriting on the wall in both Kabul and Baghdad, peace will be possible. As soon as Hamas realizes that it could be next, peace will be possible.

All roads lead to Baghdad and the Rumsfeld Doctrine shows us how to get there. Dick Morris is a former political consultant to President Clinton, Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and other political figures.

JWR contributor Dick Morris is the author of, among others, The New Prince. Comment by clicking here.


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12/27/01: Terror network grew out of Clinton's inaction, despite warnings
12/24/01: Call 'em back, George
12/18/01: What Bush did right
12/13/01: Libs worry too much
12/11/01: "Open Sesame": Feinstein's proposed bill allows 100,000 non-immigrant students from anti-American countries to our shores
12/07/01: The non-partisan president
12/05/01: Both parties are phony on stimulus debate
11/29/01: When terrorists can enter legally, it's time to change the laws
11/21/01: Go for the jugular!
11/16/01: You are all incumbents
11/14/01: Clinton's failure to mobilize America to confront foreign terror after the 1993 attack led directly to 9-11 disaster
11/12/01: To the generals: Don't worry about losing support
11/08/01: The death of the white liberal
11/07/01: Our leaders are being transformed in a way unprecedented in post-World War II history

© 2001, Dick Morris