Gen­eral

The Washington Times Weekly - - From Page One -

“But that’s not enough to stop it. We’ve got to break the chain, and that’s [. . . ] the ide­ol­ogy. We re­ally need to show the er­rors in Is­lamist ex­trem­ist think­ing.”

Gen. Schissler said he is con­cerned that Wash­ing­ton pol­i­tics is weak­en­ing the will of the na­tion.

“I don’t care about the pol­i­tics. I care about peo­ple un­der­stand- ing the facts of what’s our en­emy is think­ing about, what’s our strat­egy to de­feat them, and for [Amer­i­cans] to un­der­stand that it will take a long fight, mostly be­cause our en­emy is com­mit­ted to the long fight,” he said. “They’re ab­so­lutely com­mit­ted to the 50-, 100-year plan.”

“One of my con­cerns is how to main­tain the Amer­i­can will, the pub­lic will over that du­ra­tion,” he said.

Amer­ica’s past wars lasted three to four years and sus­tain­ing sup­port for longer wars “is very dif­fi­cult,” he said.

A Joint Staff brief­ing on the long war against ter­ror­ism states that since 2001, more than 3,000 al Qaeda ter­ror­ists are held in more than 100 na­tions, in­clud­ing 500 in Pak­istan, while two-thirds of al Qaeda lead­ers are dead or in prison.

More than 17 ter­ror­ist at­tacks were dis­rupted since 2001, in­clud­ing three in the United States and two in Europe.

Al Qaeda’s ul­ti­mate goal, the gen­eral said, is to set up an ex­trem­ist “caliphate” stretch­ing from west­ern North Africa through south­ern Europe and along a path through the Mid­dle East to Cen­tral and South­east Asia.

“We’re pretty con­vinced that the ex­trem­ists are not ever go­ing to give up the fight,” Gen. Schissler said, not­ing that they are driven by the con­cept of ji­had that makes it a re­li­gious duty to wage ter­ror­ist war.

The cur­rent war on ter­ror­ism re­quires fight­ing with ideas. In the Cold War, “we didn’t beat [. . . ]the com­mu­nists by mil­i­tar­ily tak­ing them­tothe­bat­tle­field,”he­said.“We took them to the in­tel­lec­tual bat­tle­field and beat them against their ideas, the ide­ol­ogy of com­mu­nism.”

One goal is to dis­rupt al Qaeda ef­forts to “rad­i­cal­ize” young peo­ple ages 19 to 25 through ed­u­ca­tional ef­forts. An­other ob­jec­tive is to as­sist mod­er­ate Mus­lims who see ex­trem­ism as un­ac­cept­able.

Ul­ti­mately, Mus­lim schol­ars, cler­ics and other re­li­gious and gov­ern­ment lead­ers will have to “take a stand,” al­beit one that car­ries grave risks be­cause of the ex­trem­ists’ harsh meth­ods, Gen. Schissler said.

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