The United States is now in the third year of the global war on terrorism. That war began as a fight against the organization that perpetrated the heinous attacks of September 11, 2001, but soon became a much more ambitious enterprise, encompassing, among other things, an invasion and occupation of Iraq. As part of the war on terrorism, the United States has committed not only to ridding the world of terrorism as a means of violence but also to transforming Iraq into a prosperous democratic beacon for the rest of the autocratically ruled and economically stagnant Middle East to follow. Dr. Jeffrey Record examines three features of the war on terrorism as currently defined and conducted: (1) the administration's postulation of the terrorist threat, (2) the scope and feasibility of U.S. war aims, and (3) the war's political, fiscal, and military sustainability. He finds that the war on terrorism-as opposed to the campaign against al-Qaeda-lacks strategic clarity, embraces unrealistic objectives, and may not be sustainable over the long haul. He calls for down-sizing the scope of the war on terrorism to reflect concrete U.S. security interests and the limits of American military power.
The Strategic Studies Institute is pleased to offer this monograph as a contribution to the national security debate over the aims and course of the war on terrorism. Douglas C. Lovelace, Jr. Director, Strategic Studies Institute