Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Americans Must Understand U. S. Is at War, General Says

The American people must remind themselves every day that the United States is at war, a top Army general said today.

Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, speaking at the American Enterprise Institute here, said that 21st century warfare is more about "will and perception, than taking territory or enemies killed.”

The will of the American people and people around the world to confront the terrorists and defeat them is the center of gravity in what Pentagon officials are calling "the long war," Odierno, assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said.

The enemy realizes this, he said. "Ultimately, they believe they will be more patient than Western states and they will, over time, win out," he said.

Information is just as critical as firepower in the long war, Odierno said, and this, too, the enemy understands.

The enemy in the long war is not a traditional foe. Terror networks are "violent, elusive, global in nature and loosely connected," Odierno said. The only tie is the tie of ideology, and that ideology is to make a "caliphate" -- a land in which political, social and religious aspects of life are solidified and led by a single supreme ruler.

"The (terrorist) propaganda on the Internet is clear, they want to re-establish the caliphate," Odierno said. "The center of the caliphate was initially going to be Afghanistan and was supported by the Taliban. Once the Taliban was defeated and overthrown, they shifted. And now in all their writings they say the center of the caliphate will be in the 'Land of Two Rivers' -- Iraq. "

Their goal is to start in Iraq, expand the caliphate throughout the Middle East and then ultimately across the entire world, Odierno said. "Will they do this? No," he said. "But that's their intent.”

Americans need to talk about these terror goals, he said. Americans need to understand the way the terrorists think and understand the threat they pose, because this may help Americans foster the will to combat these groups, he said.

(Above courtesy of DoD - American Forces Press Service and written by Jim Garamone)

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