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Ending the war with Al Qaeda?
 
A Soldier of Co. B, 2-502 Infantry, blindfolds suspected al-Qaeda conspirators during Operation Patriot Strike in Ubaydi (Photo: DOD)  

 

CAN THE UNITED STATES 'DEFEAT' AL QAEDA?

Colonel Steven R. Watt
US Army Reserve

USAWC Class of 2010

The views expressed in the document are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army War College, the U.S. Department of the Army, the U.S. Department of the Air Force, the U.S. Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.

 

SUMMARY

America wins its wars by clearly 'defeating' its enemies. Yet the 'defeat' of an enemy has had a particularly context related to the American way of conducting and concluding wars. Historically, American wars have been wars fought against nation-states and the U.S. wins such wars by destroying the adversary's military power and thereby both its ability and its will to continue fighting. The war is concluded with a cessation of hostilities, followed by a negotiated peace.

Today's war with Al Qaeda is an irregular war, a
new form of warfare where the enemy is a non-state actor with global reach. As such, the war is absent many factors playing to America's military strengths and its capacity for 'defeating' an enemy.

This AY-10 USAWC Resident Student author explores the question 'Given this
new brand of war, is the defeat of Al Qaeda even possible?'




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This page last updated on 30 November 2010.

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