August 4, 2008
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that even if the United States wins the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the “long war” against violent extremism won’t be over.
A new national defense strategy document, which has not yet been released, calls for the military to master “irregular warfare” rather than focusing on conventional conflicts against other nations.
There is much to be said in favor of such a strategy, but China remains perhaps the nation that poses the greatest threat to the U.S. in years to come.
Still, Gates is right, so long as it is not an either/or choice, but both irregular warfare and the conventional kind.
A newspaper picture last week says it all. It showed two young Palestinian girls caressing a missile. These are the new generation of female homicide bombers and fanatics that Gates is talking about. As long as schools continue to train girls and boys for death, we can expect terrorism to continue. The tragedy is that we allow these schools and mosques to flourish here and in free societies around the world. We will come to regret this.
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.