With neither the expertise nor time to do these justice, I offer for others’ thoughts the following three sites which discuss both bin Laden’s and America’s long-term strategy:
A) Bruce Lawrence, having written an introduction to bin Laden’s works, summarizes some of his points – “In bin Laden’s Words” in the Chronicle of Higher Ed. Thanks to A&L Daily.
B) Belmont Club’s discussion of Iran’s threat and of Gingrich’s testimony about American intelligence and the “long war.”
C) Newt Gingrich’s testimony itself before Congress. This is relatively long and in PDF format; includes 4 appendices: Natinal Security Changes; Core Values of the Intelligence Community; Recommendations; and For Inside Assessment of Intelligence Reform.
He contrasts this “Long War” (taking 50-70 years if we are quite lucky) with the defensive alliance that contained the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The fitting comparison, he believes, are to the lengthy, multiple & bloody Reformation-era wars.
He argues “the current intelligence system is too small, too under funded, too bureaucratic, too culturally inbred, and too ineffective.”
He emphasizes the danger: “It is a war against the Irreconcilable Wing of Islam because this enemy believes in a strikingly different world than the one we believe in, a world with which there can be no compromise.” Because of this, it “is a societal war of identity so there are no holds barred, no rules, and no real accomodations (only tactical maneuvers) or potential for compromise solutions on their part that that would be culturally acceptable to us, or to them.”
He describes George Marshall’s trimming of the military between June 1939 & June 1940 (retiring 54 generals & 445 colonels in an Army of 225,000.) Firmly, he advises: “If this subcommittee finds that something about the new Intelligence Community architecture is not working, then it should move the Congress to fix it. Fast.” Then, “If this subcommittee finds the Intelligence Community personnel are not up to the task of rapidy implementing needed reforms, then such personnel should lose this subcommittee’s and the public’s trust and be aked to move on. Fast.”
He is serious & expects to be taken seriously; he discusses the bombings and murders in Europe, including the bombers who were British citizens. This indicates “the Bush Doctrine is only partly right. In other words, spreading democracy may be essential to win this war, but by itself it may not be sufficient.” The nature of “the long war” challenges our intelligence community to rethink itself.
He concludes that good intelligence is its linchpin and what we owe our soldiers. Thus: “Creating an effective intelligence system is going to require real change of a wrenching sort. Yet we have no choice. The very survival of our way of life depends on it.”