Author(s)Chan, Wing K.
Contributor(s)ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
KeywordsHumanities and History
CENTER OF GRAVITY
UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
BATTLE OF IDEAS
WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS
UNITY OF PURPOSE
UNITY OF EFFORT
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AbstractWar is fought in the dual realm of a physical and psychological battleground. In the global war on terrorism, victory entails winning both the battle of arms and the battle of ideas. Physical destruction of the terrorist organization is an essential but insufficient condition to defeat the Islamist terrorist ideology. The war must be waged at the level where it matters, by attacking the logic of Islamist terrorism, by exposing its religious pretensions, and by undermining its popular appeal, recognizing that terrorism as a method of choice is a double-edged sword for the extremists. This internal struggle would have to be waged by moderate Muslims. While non-Muslims have no real standing in this debate, adjustments to the U.S. approach to foreign policy in the Middle East would be an important enabler for moderate Muslims. A change in foreign policy would improve the United States' image and bring about tangible changes to Muslim societies in the region. The battle of ideas is concurrently a battle of will and resolve. The current partisan disharmony in the United States must be reconciled. In the marathon to defeat the logic of Islamist terrorism, unity of purpose and effort are the prerequisites for success.
USAWC Strategy Research Project.