Ethics & International Affairs Volume 23.2 (Summer 2009): Essays: The Global War on Terror: A Narrative in Need of a Rewrite [Full Text]

Jun 24, 2009

Much of the legal and ideological infrastructure that would later constitute the war on terror was introduced onto the U.S. political scene in the 1990s. Osama bin Laden was on President Clinton's intelligence and law enforcement radar screens; antiterrorism legislation that would significantly expand presidential and police powers was debated in Congress; and conservative advocacy groups such as the Project for a New American Century urged a more assertive projection of American power, including forcible regime change in Iraq.

But it was the George W. Bush administration that provided these diverse events with a holistic superstructure in the form of the "global war on terror." Almost overnight, following the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, this narrative became the prevailing organizing principle of U.S. foreign policy, taking the attacks as its starting point and scripting the final act as an American victory in some undetermined future. The global war on terror acted as what, in the language of semiotics, is called a "floating signifier," able to be attached at will to a wide range of actions and policies. Thus, the al-Qaeda perpetrators of September 11 and Saddam Hussein were organized into seamless and coherent chapters in the same account. The war on terror narrative led directly to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, to the establishment of an archipelago of detention camps, and to a vast expansion of surveillance systems inside the United States.

The costs of the war have been staggering. Politically, the United States has forfeited its reputation as an icon for democracy and justice, even among its closest allies. Ethically, as a recent report from the International Commission of Jurists sets out, it has undermined its moral authority by having flouted the internationally accepted rules of war.1 Economically, total external costs for the global war on terror as of the end of 2008 approached $900 billion (not including spending on homeland security).2

In the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Barack Obama signaled his intention to review policies introduced in the name of the war on terror. Within a week of taking power his administration took concrete steps to roll back certain practices of the Bush administration, ordering the phase-out of the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp and announcing the country's re-adherence to the third Geneva Convention. However, it remains an open question how far the new administration will be able to achieve real and substantial change. A principal reason for the durability of the global war on terror is that it represents an extraordinarily powerful narrative, which Obama will need to rewrite if he is to change the policy dynamics in this area. At the time of this writing, liberal commentators are expressing concern—and conservatives expressing satisfaction—that despite his initial moves Obama is basically adhering to Bush-era policies.3

In this essay we focus on how the global war on terror was constructed and how it has set down deep institutional roots both in government and popular culture. We take aim at those who would weave this narrative into the nation's identity by assigning it an iconographic status on par with national myths of manifest destiny and the frontier nation. And we conclude that, if we are to develop a new conceptual framework that is both operationally effective and consistent with democratic values and ideals, we must first revisit the assumptions of the war on terror narrative.

The Clinton Administration: The Prequel

The bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the attack on the USS Cole in 2000 brought Osama bin Laden into the U.S. line of sight, after which Clinton proved willing to employ a range of tools, including military strikes, against this self-declared enemy of the United States. Many provisions of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act, rushed into law in October 2001, had also been put forward in early drafts of the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, passed following the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. These included the expansion of presidential and police powers; a widening of the definition of "terrorist" to include foreigners with tangential connections to groups identified as terrorists by the president; indefinite detention of noncitizens; modifications in the application of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act standards in cases of alien deportation; and an enhanced ability to use roving wiretaps. While some of these provisions were ultimately stripped from the 1996 act, this piece of Clinton-era legislation provided the first clue as to how the growing centrality of counterterrorism in U.S. domestic and external policy would lead Congress to lower its guard, and the public to tolerate reductions in their rights and liberties.

The Bush Administration: The Plot Unfolds

For Bush, the new narrative literally fell from the sky on September 11, 2001. This "new threat" of "sudden terror"4 was presented by the administration as existing outside any historical or geopolitical context, and simply as an abiding clash between inevitably opposed forces. Like many durable narratives, it contained easily identifiable archetypal figures of good and evil, an epic battle, and the promise of a triumphal end for the forces of virtue. Indeed, in subsequent years many supporters of this new war would compare it to the earlier struggle against communism. Further, the story had a hyperbolic dramatic force: these were not just villains but supervillains, whose intentions both terrified and titillated. And if the exact nature or number of the enemy was unknown, other details were in all too easy supply: they were "trained in the tactics of terror" and spent their days plotting "evil and destruction" against the United States.5

Facing this threat, Americans were cast as superheroes, their government empowered by the Justice Department to leap over both national and international law and, in the process, the country's respect for human dignity and the rule of law. The narrative embedded itself deeply into U.S. government decision-making, notably in the defense and intelligence communities, where it lent powerful conceptual underpinning to major U.S. actions. It was unquestioningly absorbed by the U.S. media, whose need for dramatic, easy-to-understand stories was well-served, as well as by industries that support the U.S. defense community, whose dedication to the narrative had the advantage of being both patriotic and profitable.

Indeed, other countries also told their own versions of the global war on terror story, even while referencing longstanding conflicts with specific local explanations, whether involving national identity, political franchise, or resources. The world's citizens also took up the narrative, although for many it referred to a war against the world's Muslims started by the United States and visited upon Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Global War on Terror as Military Strategy

On October 7, 2001, the U.S. and British militaries began air and missile strikes against Afghanistan, giving the new foreign-policy narrative its first expression as a conventional war. Within several years the field of military and support operations had widened to include the Philippines, the Horn of Africa, and North and Trans-Saharan Africa, in addition to Iraq. Although Bush presented military action as only one thrust of the new war, which also entailed diplomacy, intelligence, and law enforcement efforts, the war would nonetheless be most deeply associated with the military for both of the administration's terms. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld helped support the tendency to conflate the symbolic war with actual warfare. Rumsfeld was typical of those who posited hordes of radicalized madrasa students spilling out of Asia, and for whom the difference between nuanced gradations of radical beliefs, on the one hand, and violent actions, on the other, had no place in time of war. The terms of victory were the numbers of al-Qaeda members or other terrorist suspects killed. The 2006 U.S. Quadrennial Defense Review, produced during Rumsfeld's tenure at the Defense Department, took the global war on terror as its central theme, characterizing the enemy as "dispersed, global terrorist networks that exploit Islam...[to] subjugate the Muslim world under a radical theocratic tyranny while seeking to perpetuate conflict with the United States and its allies and partners."6

Instability and rising violence in Iraq in the autumn of 2003 set the stage for a reassessment of the war on terror model. Rather than spreading democracy, the United States and its partners in Iraq found themselves applying counterinsurgency tactics in an effort to separate violent and doctrinaire members of jihadi or sectarian groups in Iraq from the civilians the coalition forces were pledged to liberate. The turn toward counterinsurgency in Iraq helped produce a new way of thinking about the global war on terror as a whole.

In 2004, ex-CIA analyst Michael Scheuer advanced the idea that al-Qaeda should not be understood as a conventional terrorist group, but as an insurgent or paramilitary organization preparing for war.7 This premise soon received intellectual elaboration from a new group of theorists with experience in Iraq, who posited the existence of a global insurgency. Writing in confident and quasi-scientific terms, David Kilcullen, a former Australian army officer who acted as an advisor to General David Petraeus on the Iraq war, proposed the existence of an organized global jihad "seeking to overturn the existing Western dominated world order."8 With its claims of "nine principal Islamist theaters," "a greater than 85 percent correlation between Islamist insurgency and terrorist a given theater,'" and a literal reading of the allegorical Islamic caliphate (a staple of the Islamist political imagination, but generally recognized as unachievable), Kilcullen's article created grounds for an equally concrete military strategy designed to "disaggregate" local insurgencies from Islamist middlemen seeking to draw them into the global jihad.

The increasingly elaborate claims regarding global insurgency leave the narrative of a struggle between good and evil intact, but potentially justify the need for military oversight of every armed conflict in which Muslims are engaged, lest they fall to the jihadists. Over the last several years the U.S. military establishment has granted greater credence to a world as seen through the eyes of the "jihadologists," or those analysts with a strong self-interest in the concept of violent jihad as the defining aspect of Islam. In 2008 the RAND Corporation issued the results of a two-year review, commissioned by the Defense Department, that looked at 89 insurgencies. While the study's authors acknowledge that "not all violence against the political status quo in the Muslim world is energized, much less controlled, by global jihadism," they nevertheless make the case for "interpreting organized Islamic violence as insurgency," thus opening the door to considering any such violence a target of counterinsurgency operations.9 The report also suggests the need to broaden information acquisition and dissemination capabilities globally through ID cards and improved population registries.

The War and the Intelligence Community

The dramatic scope of the 2001 attacks heightened fears that additional attacks might follow, and quickly helped transform U.S. intelligence agencies into agencies aimed overwhelmingly at preventing another September 11. Analysts dedicated to a wide range of specialty areas were put on terrorism detail; and, fueled by a budget expansion, the intelligence workforce grew rapidly through direct hiring and outsourcing. Further structural modifications expanded the scope of domestic data collection at state and national levels and encouraged greater information sharing. As we now know, commitment to preventing further attacks led to departures from legal and ethical norms in the detention and interrogation of individuals both inside and beyond the United States, as well as to the lowering of standards for the treatment of the personal information of U.S. citizens. The tremendous patriotic resonance of the global war on terror narrative made it easier for the intelligence community to justify their excesses as legitimate and necessary.

Moreover, the prevailing narrative, as promoted by the Bush administration, arguably overwhelmed the capacity of the intelligence community to bring to bear its normal standards of discrimination. Narrative itself plays a special role in the intelligence profession for, despite efforts to make it a science, intelligence is in large part the art of creating a compelling story by connecting disparate pieces of data in a logical sequence. To do so well requires the capacity to see data dispassionately, knowledgeably, and with an awareness of one's own frames of reference. The narrative power of the global war on terror, however, was so great that it promoted the ordering of data in its own terms. Without meaningful historical, socioeconomic, or even geographical context for Islam—apart from a fetishistic focus on Islamic precepts, whether jihad or caliphate or hiraba—analysts were poorly equipped to discern any story other than the one they had already been handed, which cast terrorism as an outgrowth of extremist theology.

The War as Homeland Security Accelerator

While the war on terror is most prominently associated with shifting U.S. foreign relations, it also reorganized domestic politics around the concepts of terrorism and security, and yoked new practices to vivid symbols such as the color-coded scale of the Homeland Security Advisory System. Perhaps the most potent symbol was the new language of "homeland security" itself, which perpetuated the motif of an "us-against-them" battle through its subtly nativist connotations and its constant reminder that nefarious plans are afoot. The concept was dramatically embodied by the federal Department of Homeland Security and in divisions and departments at the state and local level around the country. Although the federal-level department coordinates preparedness for and responses to natural as well as political disasters, its primary mandate, as laid out in the 2002 Act that created it, is to prevent terrorism, reduce the country's vulnerability to terrorism, and to help in the recovery from terrorist attack. In the several years since the establishment of the department, a new subfield of policy studies has grown up around it. There is now a Homeland Security Institute as well as related journals, degree programs, and conferences, all of which continue to develop approaches and procedures rooted in the idea of a United States in a perpetually defensive mode against a hostile world.10

Inscribing the War

If the exact scope or object of the war remained abstract, the fact of the war was rapidly concretized for audiences across the political, professional, and cultural spectrum. Distinguished academics from the country's most prestigious universities provided intellectual grounding; Washington think tanks supplied the administration with a perpetual flow of policy assessments that, while often decrying tactical mistakes, played the overall role of confirming the larger effort; and the mainstream media either cheered the war or muted its criticism in the face of caustic charges from senior administration officials (and such related figures as Lynne Cheney, the wife of the vice president) that the press was unpatriotic. Whether standing with or against the administration, however, the media's intense focus on the war on terror helped to enlarge and reinforce the emerging foreign policy narrative.

The War and Academia

The global war on terror has been a boon for publishing. Of the scores of books written from the sidelines by proselytizers, pundits, and professors, and from the front by reporters and the military, a few stand out as lending intellectual gravitas andmoral weight to the dominant narrative. Princeton University's Bernard Lewis put an Ivy League stamp of approval on the war as a literal unfolding of the "clash of civilizations"—a term which Lewis had earlier coined (though it is most often associated with Harvard's Samuel Huntington). Lewis went on to legitimize the rhetorical question, "Why do they hate us?" with an answer in the form of The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror, published in 2003. In his subsequent addresses at various think tanks, Lewis would repeatedly treat the West and Islam as opposing monoliths while playing on latent fears that Islam might be on the verge of undermining a presumably autonomous Western and European identity.

While Lewis chronicled the war's prehistory, drawing up rich details from the past to provide a segue into the inevitable conflict between the atavistic East and themodernWest, Philip Bobbitt of Columbia University embedded the war firmly and eloquently in the present. Bobbitt narrated his 2008 book, Terror and Consent: The Wars of the Twenty-First Century, in the prophetic tense: The global war on terror is described as a phenomenon that will inevitably take place in a century in which the battle against al-Qaeda is merely the "First Terrorist War" of many.11 The vision of the coming "wars of terror," moreover, is given an air of inevitability as a symptom of current shifts in the international order wrought by globalization, rather than as a consequence of political decision-making. By thus presenting the war on terror narrative as part of the broad sweep of history, scholars such as Lewis and Bobbitt elevated it above the daily fray of politics and policy, and transformed it into part of a predetermined history.

The War and Think Tanks

The attacks of September 11, 2001, instantly energized conservative think tanks, which mobilized to create a policy framework equal to the unfolding story. The neoconservative-influenced American Enterprise Institute (AEI) maintained a close relationship with the Bush administration throughout its tenure, and today accommodates former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, one of the core architects of thewar on terror framework. In addition to hundreds of specific policy commentaries supporting aspects of the war, including the military action in Iraq and the investments in robust domestic defense capabilities, AEI also authored a reinvigorated cultural narrative of an exceptional United States of America. Three days after the first attacks on Afghanistan, resident AEI scholar Michael Ledeen wrote stirringly that:

"We have rediscovered the roots of our national character, which are an unshakeable confidence in the rightness of our mission, deep religious conviction, and a unique ability to come together to prevail against frightening obstacles... Next time, we must dismiss those who tell us that all people are the same, all cultures are of equal worth, all values are relative, and all judgments are to be avoided."12

Part of the rightness of that mission, as it is expressed in many AEI documents, lies in the ability to restore the country's lost national virility. The actual events and relations entailed in the 2001 attacks on the homeland are, in AEI's telling, merely one of many plot turns in the larger tale of a rugged nation and its ability to project its power at will onto an awestruck world.

The conservative Heritage Foundation, which had since the mid-1990s warned that bin Laden and the Taliban would prove a toxic mix, provided steady and optimistic support to the Bush administration for both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Commentaries such as "Radical Islam vs. Islam" and "U.S. Functions as World's Strongest Defender of Islam" championed the United States as a heroic figure fighting to save not only itself but Islamic civilization as well.13 The Foundation's unfaltering defense of the practices at Guantánamo Bay further painted the United States as a flawless combatant pitted against an evil embodied by the detainees. In the first days of the Obama administration, Heritage Foundation commentaries suggested the organization's intention to continue treating the war on terror as the ongoing story of a war declared by al-Qaeda against the United States.

The War and the Media

News outlets, both print and electronic, played a crucial role in developing the global war on terror narrative. Long after the 2001 attacks, and especially in the run-up to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, terror-related news dominated the front page of the New York Times and Washington Post as well as the political news of the Wall Street Journal. Through such reporting, as well as through incessant television coverage of the attacks and their aftermath, the evolution of homeland security, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and policies and statements issuing from Washington, the media helped create the atmosphere of an ever-breaking story. Sheer repetition helped to weave the war on terror into the collective imagination. News organizations predisposed to positive coverage of the Bush administration, such as Fox, shielded Americans from viewing the negative fallout of U.S. actions throughout the rest of the world by heeding Rumsfeld's calls for good news about the efforts overseas. Rarely a good medium for presenting complexity, television tended to promote the image of "us vs. them."14

The Obama Administration: A New Paradigm?

Before taking office, candidate Obama signaled his intention to revise the prevailing narrative. If, as mentioned earlier, the global war on terror functioned during the Bush years as a floating signifier that could be attached to any policy, practice, or adversary, Obama made it clear he would seek to use language more precisely and to bring actions in line with intentions. But this did not mean the end of the global war (rephrased in his inaugural address as a war "against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred"), despite an outbreak of media chatter in the following days about whether the death of a slogan meant the end of the war itself. Rather, it signaled a new approach.

Within hours of taking office the new president ordered the closure of the Guantánamo detention facility, and in the following days he outlawed detainee torture (in most circumstances) and re-established the binding force of the Geneva Conventions on the United States.15 The new president also went on Arab television to begin reversing the perception that the United States is engaged in a conflict against all Muslims or Islam, and announced that the country has "a stake in the well-being of the Muslim world." He declared, too, that his administration would refrain from using the familiar Bush phrase, but maintained that it "is very important for us to recognize that we have a battle or a war against some terrorist organizations."16 Obama's words and actions aimed to puncture the inflated drama that has characterized the narrative. Rather than a battle to the death between the forces of good and evil, the war was to become a human-sized conflict between a state pledged to act in accordance with agreed rules of warfare and a reasonably well-defined adversary.

A Premature Obituary?

While we applaud these steps, we find the pronouncements of the global war on terror's demise to be premature. The basic contours of the original narrative, in which the United States conducts a worldwide campaign against a diverse collection of actors presumed to be united by a commitment to Islamic extremism, remains intact in key branches of the U.S. government. While the public spotlight is on dismantling Guantánamo and the narrowing objectives of the Afghanistan war, counterterrorism remains the chief focus of U.S. military and intelligence structures. In his confirmation statement before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on February 5, 2009, CIA Director Leon Panetta made it clear that fighting terrorism was his highest priority.17

The war on terror narrative also endures at the Pentagon. In his first testimony to Congress under the Obama administration, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates began with a discussion of Afghanistan and Pakistan as the epicenter of a military battle, the importance of which was immediately justified based on its central place in the U.S. foreign-policy narrative. Said Gates:

President Obama has made it clear that the Afghanistan theater should be our top overseas military priority. The ideology we face was incubated there when Afghanistan became a failed state, and the extremists have largely returned their attention to that region in the wake of their reversals in Iraq. As we have seen from attacks across the globe—on 9/11 and afterwards—the danger reaches far beyond the borders of Afghanistan or Pakistan.18

The global war on terror is also symbolically alive and well in the military. Regardless of how the war is renamed in the media or in political spheres, every serviceman or woman who performs active duty in one of the geographic areas considered to be part of the war on terrorism will be eligible for a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, established by President Bush in March 2003. There are currently 67 distinct geographic areas in which war-on-terrorism service qualifies for this medal, and they extend substantially beyond the initial Middle Eastern and Central Asian combat theaters in every direction—from Algeria and Azerbaijan, to Colombia and Crete, to Uzbekistan and Yemen. Burkina Faso and Morocco were added to the list of eligible areas in October 2008. Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service medals also continue to be awarded to civilians who have provided support services inmilitary theaters, including Iraq and Afghanistan, following September 11, 2001.

Challenging the Narrative

Given the power of the global war on terror foreign-policy narrative, from the first years of the Bush administration to the early days of the Obama administration, the road to reform will be difficult. Neither the rhetorical nor the technical, incremental change of the sort the Obama administration has embarked on will be sufficient to undo the prevailing narrative or the intellectual and operational climate it breeds. Just as U.S. cold war policies in Southeast Asia and Latin America found firm footing only once we pulled back from seeing the hand of Moscow behind every revolutionary, so too we need a more radical rethinking of the global war on terror story.

The central fallacy at the heart of the current narrative is that it employs a single prism to view a complex world. We have already noted the baleful conflation of al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Today, something of the same mistake threatens in Afghanistan, where—contrary to the underlying facts—the Taliban is depicted as being cast from the same mold as al-Qaeda, which justifies an expanded U.S. military presence in that country.19 Seen through the global war on terror lens, this makes sense. By any other measure, it is a gross distortion. Despite the Taliban's status as an indigenous Afghan nationalist movement, top U.S. military officials still mention it alongside al-Qaeda in the same sentence.20 And both al-Qaeda and the Taliban are spoken of as cohesive groups containing similarly minded individuals, rather than the more complex, shifting, and multiple groupings that they really are.

A further concern is the conflation of two separate countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, into a single theater of U.S. operations now called AFPAK.21 While there are some arguments in favor of taking a regional view, it will be important to keep in mind Pakistan's other national security obsessions, Kashmir and India, while pursuing this approach. Removing the war on terror lens from this landscape could provide an opportunity to examine anew the social, political, and ideological affiliations andmotivations of actors on the ground, as well as the distinct regional, as opposed to global, objectives pursued by militant Islamists. This is not only the case in central Asia and the Levant, but in the myriad other locations designated as potential or existing arenas of global war on terror operations.

In a similar fashion, the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah are often folded into the war on terror paradigm, as well as treated as though they were identical organizations. True, they share common aspects, such as support from Iran and a fiercely anti-Israel posture, but their differences—most importantly Hezbollah's essentially normal participation in the Lebanese government as compared to Hamas's posture as an insurgent movement—are crucial. Some have also jammed the November 2008 attack in Mumbai into the global war on terror format, and interpreted it as a precursor to similar attacks in the United States. A more persuasive analysis indicates that this attack was wholly unrelated to the United States, launched by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba militant movement for reasons to do with Kashmir. In all these cases we see the problem of an overly simple narrative: it may save time and analytic sweat, but the price is that even radically different phenomena get lumped together. Encouragingly, in his February 2009 threat assessment, Admiral Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, spoke of "extremist groups that use terrorism," thereby opening the door to a more nuanced consideration of problems in their local context with due attention to the cause for which a particular group is operating.22

The war on terror narrative as it plays out in the foreign arena has domestic implications as well. Terrorism is no longer at the top of the list of what most concerns U.S. citizens. Nevertheless, Americans are surrounded by a media that consistently narrates foreign events (such as in Mumbai) as elements in the global war on terror story, as well as by symbols and practices that suggest a country at risk. The last eight years have provided ample evidence that a fearful citizenry will not only permit but also support violations of its own best ideals. A further attack, or the perception that an attack is probable or imminent, will make it easy for authorities to mobilize the symbols and practices established in the name of the global war on terrorism, and for us to once again surrender to our fears.

There is no easy answer to this problem. But fear finds its most fertile breeding ground in conditions of ignorance and inadequate information. Thus, the more the American public is made aware of the phenomenology of terrorism, the better it will be able to resist succumbing to panic. As part of its softer and smarter approach toward a potentially adversarial world, the United States has demonstrated a renewed interest in public diplomacy and global dialogue. The United States should extend the same interest in its own citizens, so they can bring context and nuance to their understanding of world events. This learning process cannot begin early enough, and we therefore favor expanded efforts to encourage primary education in world geography and history, as well as in foreign languages. The ultimate antidote to fear is knowledge.


1 International Commission of Jurists, "Assessing Damage, Urging Action," Report of the Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-terrorism and Human Rights (2009).
2 Steven M. Kosiak, "The Global War on Terror (GWOT): Costs, Cost Growth and Estimating Funding Requirements," Testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget, February 6, 2007.
3 "Obama's Antiterror Progress," Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2009; David Cole, "Obama Backslides on 'State Secrets,'" The Nation, February 11, 2009.
4 George W. Bush, "Statement on U.S. Strikes in Afghanistan," October 7, 2001.
5 George W. Bush, Address to a Joint Session of Congress, September 20, 2001.
6 U.S. Department of Defense, "Quadrennial Defense Review Report," February 6, 2006, p. 1.
7 Michael Scheuer, Imperial Hubris: How the West is Losing the War on Terror (Dulles, Va.: Potomac Books, 2004)
8 David J. Kilcullen, "Countering Global Insurgency," Journal of Strategic Studies 28, no. 4 (2005), pp. 599–600.
9 David C. Gompert et al, War by Other Means—Building Complete and Balanced Capabilities for Counterinsurgency (Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, 2008), p. xxv.
10 See, for instance, Homeland Security Affairs (founded 2005) and Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (founded 2003), self-described as "one of the most established titles in the critical new field of homeland security."
11 Philip Bobbitt, Terror and Consent: The Wars of the Twenty-First Century (New York: Knopf, 2008).
12 Michael Ledeen, "Rediscovering American Character," National Review Online, October 10, 2001.
13 David F. Forte, "Radical Islam vs. Islam," September 19, 2001; Joseph Loconte, "US Functions as World's Strongest Defender of Islam," May 28, 2003.
14 A fuller discussion of the media's role may be found in Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke, The Silence of the Rational Center: Why American Foreign Policy is Failing (New York: Basic Books, 2007).
15 On January 22, 2009, Obama issued an Executive Order directing that all interrogations of those detained in armed conflict be conducted according to Army Field Manual 2–22.3, and revoking all executive orders issued between September 11, 2001 and January 20, 2009 that contradicted its directives. These included Executive Order 13440 of July 20, 2007, which established the "authority of the President to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions" as they applied to CIA detentions and interrogations.
16 Lolita C. Baldor, "Obama: U.S. Choosing Words Carefully in Terror War," Associated Press, February 3, 2009.
17 Open Hearing: Nomination of Leon Panetta to be Director of Central Intelligence, February 5, 2009.
18 Robert M. Gates, "Submitted Statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee," January 27, 2009.
19 President Obama made this point in an interview on CBS's "60 Minutes" on March 20, 2009.
20 Mike Mullen, "Building Our Best Weapon," Washington Post, February 14, 2009.
21 Richard C. Holbrooke, Speech delivered at the 45th Munich Security Conference, February 8, 2009.
22 Dennis C. Blair, "Annual Threat Assessment of the Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence," February 12, 2009.

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