Global War on Terrorism: Wikis


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War on Terror
US 10th Mountain Division soldiers in Afghanistan.jpg
U.S. Soldiers boarding a Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan
Date October 7, 2001-present
Location Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Horn of Africa, United States, Europe
Status War in Afghanistan (2001–present):

Iraq War (2003–present):


NATO participants:

Non-NATO participants:

International missions:

(note: most of contributing nations are included in the international operations)

Main targets:

Other targets:

United States Gen. Tommy Franks (CENTCOM commander 2001–2003),
United States Gen. John Abizaid (ISAF commander 2009–present),
United States Adm. William J. Fallon (CENTCOM commander 2007–2008),
United States Gen. David Petraeus (CENTCOM commander 2008–present),
United States Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal (ISAF commander 2009-present),
Pakistan Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani (Chief of the Army Staff 2007-present)
Pakistan Gen. Tariq Khan (Major General of FC)
Afghanistan Mohammed Omar
Afghanistan Baitullah Mehsud (K.I.A)
Afghanistan Mullah Dadullah (K.I.A.)
Flag of al-Qaeda.svg Osama bin Laden
Flag of al-Qaeda.svg Ayman al-Zawahiri
Flag of al-Qaeda.svg Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (K.I.A.)
Flag of al-Qaeda.svg Abu Ayyub al-Masri
Flag of Hezbollah.svg Imad Mughnieh (K.I.A.)

The War on Terror (also known as the Global War on Terror or the War on Terrorism) is the common term for what the George W. Bush administration perceived or presented as the military, political, legal and ideological conflict against Islamic terrorism, Islamic militants and the regimes and organizations tied to them or that supported them, and was specifically used in reference to operations led by the United States and were supported by separate operations led by the United Kingdom and other countries, since the September 11, 2001 attacks. It has since been expanded beyond the Bush administration, both in its scope and participating nation-states, as well as in the interpretation of the term. The Obama administration has discontinued use of the term "War on Terror" and instead uses the term "Overseas Contingency Operation".[1] However, President Obama has stated that the U.S. is at war with al-Qaeda.[2]

The stated objectives of the war in the US are to protect the citizens of the US and allies, to protect the business interests of the US and allies at home and abroad, break up terrorist cells in the US, and disrupt the activities of the international network of terrorist organizations made up of a number of groups under the umbrella of al-Qaeda.[3][4] Both the term and the policies it denotes have been a source of ongoing controversy, as critics argue it has been used to justify unilateral preventive war (despite Bush's claims for a pre-emptive one),[5] human rights abuses and other violations of international law.[6][7][8][9]


Precursor to the 9/11 attacks

Al-Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden (a radical Islamist trained by the US during the 1980s to conduct guerrilla attacks against the Soviet Army in Afghanistan),[10] formed a large base of operations in Afghanistan, which had been ruled by the Islamist extremist regime of the Taliban since 1996.

Following the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania,[11] U.S. President Bill Clinton launched Operation Infinite Reach, a bombing campaign in Sudan and Afghanistan against targets the U.S. asserted were associated with al-Qaeda.[12][13] Although others have questioned the Sudan plant's use as a chemical warfare plant [14] The strikes failed to kill al-Qaeda'a leaders or their Taliban supporters (targets included a civilian pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that produced much of the region's malaria drugs[15] and around 50% of Sudan's pharmaceutical needs).[16][15]

Next came the 2000 millennium attack plots which included an attempted bombing of Los Angeles International Airport. In October 2000 the USS Cole bombing occurred,[17] followed in 2001 by the September 11 attacks.[18]

Post 9/11 events inside the United States

United States Customs and Border Protection officers.

In addition to military efforts abroad, in the aftermath of 9/11 the Bush Administration increased domestic efforts to prevent future attacks. A new cabinet level agency called the United States Department of Homeland Security was created to lead and coordinate federal counter-terrorism activities.

The Justice Department launched a Special Registration procedure for certain male non-citizens in the U.S., requiring them to register in person at offices of the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

The USA PATRIOT Act removed legal restrictions on information sharing between federal law enforcement and intelligence services and allowed for the investigation of suspected terrorists using means similar to those in place for other types of criminals. A new Terrorist Finance Tracking Program monitored the movements of terrorists' financial resources (discontinued after being revealed by The New York Times newspaper). Telecommunication usage by known and suspected terrorists was studied through the NSA electronic surveillance program.

Political interest groups have alleged that these laws remove important restrictions on governmental authority, and are a dangerous encroachment on civil liberties, possible unconstitutional violations of the Fourth Amendment. On July 30, 2003, the ACLU filed the first legal challenge against Section 215 of the Patriot Act, claiming that it allows the FBI to violate a citizen's 1st Amendment rights, 4th Amendment Rights, and right to due process, by having the ability to search business, bookstore, and library records in a terrorist investigation—without disclosing to the individual that records were being searched.[19] Also, governing bodies in a number of communities have passed symbolic resolutions against the act.

In a speech on June 9, 2005, Bush said that the USA PATRIOT Act had been used to bring charges against more than 400 suspects, more than half of whom had been convicted. Meanwhile the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) quoted Justice Department figures showing that 7,000 people have complained of abuse of the Act.

DARPA began an initiative in early 2002 with the creation of the Total Information Awareness program, designed to promote information technologies that could be used in counter-terrorism. This program, facing criticism, has since been defunded by Congress.

Various government bureaucracies which handled security and military functions were reorganized. Most notably, the Department of Homeland Security was created to coordinate "homeland security" efforts in the largest reorganization of the U.S. federal government since the consolidation of the armed forces into the Department of Defense.

By 2003, 12 major conventions and protocols were designed to combat terrorism. These were as well, adopted and ratified by a number of states to become international law. These conventions require states to co-operate on principal issues regarding unlawful seizure of aircraft for example, the physical protection of nuclear materials and freezing assets of militant networks.[20]

In 2005 the Security Council also adopted resolution 1624 concerning incitement to commit acts of terrorism and the obligations of countries to comply with international human rights laws.[21] Although both resolutions require mandatory annual reports on counter-terrorism activities by adopting nations, the United States and Israel have both declined to submit reports.

On January 9, 2007, the House of Representatives passed a bill, by a vote of 299-128, enacting many of the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, something the Democrats campaigned on as part of their "100 hour plan". The bill passed in the U.S. Senate,[22] by a vote of 60-38, on March 13, 2007 and it was signed into law on August 3, 2007 by President Bush. It became Public Law 110-53.

The Office of Strategic Influence was secretly created after 9/11 for the purpose of coordinating propaganda efforts, but was closed soon after being discovered. The Bush administration implemented the Continuity of Operations Plan (or Continuity of Government) to ensure that U.S. government would be able to continue in catastrophic circumstances.

Since 9/11, Islamic extremists made various attempts to attack the US homeland, with varying levels of organization and skill. For example, in 2001 vigilant passengers aboard a transatlantic flight to Miami prevented Richard Reid from detonating an explosive device.

Other terrorist plots have been stopped by federal agencies using new legal powers and investigative tools, sometimes in cooperation with foreign governments.

Such thwarted attacks include;

The Obama administration has re-focused US involvement in the conflict on the withdrawal of its troops from Iraq, the controversial closing of Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan.


The conflict has also been referred to by other names other than the War on Terror. It has also been known as:

On September 16, 2001, at Camp David, President George W. Bush mentioned the war on terror when he said, "This crusade - this war on terrorism - is going to take a while, [...] And the American people must be patient. I'm going to be patient. But I can assure the American people I am determined." [32] On September 20, 2001, during a televised address to a joint session of congress, President George W. Bush launched the war on terror when he said, "Our 'war on terror' begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated."[33] Bush did not say when he expected this would be achieved. (Previous to this usage, after stepping off the presidential helicopter on Sunday, September 16, 2001, Bush stated in an unscripted and controversial comment: "This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while." Bush later apologized for this remark due to the negative connotations the word crusade has to people of Muslim faith. The word crusade was not used again).[34]

US President Barack Obama has rarely used the term, but in his inaugural address on January 20, 2009, he stated "Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred."[35] It is likely that the phrase will fall into disuse, as one referring to concepts and strategies of his predecessor.[36] In March 2009 the Defense Department officially changed the name of operations from "Global War on Terror" to "Overseas Contingency Operation" (OCO).[37] In March 2009, the Obama administration requested that Pentagon staff members avoid use of the term, instead using "Overseas Contingency Operation".[37]

US objectives

US soldier of the 10th Mountain Division in Nuristan

The George W. Bush administration defined the following objectives in the War on Terror:[38]

  1. Defeat terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and destroy their organizations
  2. Identify, locate and destroy terrorists along with their organizations
  3. Deny sponsorship, support and sanctuary to terrorists
    1. End the state sponsorship of terrorism
    2. Establish and maintain an international standard of accountability with regard to combating terrorism
    3. Strengthen and sustain the international effort to fight terrorism
    4. Work with willing and able states
    5. Enable weak states
    6. Persuade reluctant states
    7. Compel unwilling states
    8. Interdict and disrupt material support for terrorists
    9. Eliminate terrorist sanctuaries and havens
  4. Diminish the underlying conditions that terrorists seek to exploit
    1. Partner with the international community to strengthen weak states and prevent (re)emergence of terrorism
    2. Win the war of ideals
  5. Defend US citizens and interests at home and abroad
    1. Implement the National Strategy for Homeland Security
    2. Attain domain awareness
    3. Enhance measures to ensure the integrity, reliability, and availability of critical physical and information-based infrastructures at home and abroad
    4. Integrate measures to protect US citizens abroad
    5. Ensure an integrated incident management capability

US and NATO-led military operations


Operation Noble Eagle

Operation Noble Eagle (ONE) is the name given to military operations related to homeland security and support to federal, state, and local agencies and the ongoing operation began September 14, 2001, in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks.[39]

Operation Eagle Assist

Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, Operation Eagle Assist began on October 9, 2001[40] after the North Atlantic Council's October 4 decision to operationalize Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, and ended on May 16, 2002.

Operation Active Endeavour

Beginning in October 2001, Operation Active Endeavour is a naval operation of NATO started in response to the 2001 US attacks. It operates in the Mediterranean Sea and is designed to prevent the movement of militants or weapons of mass destruction as well as to enhance the security of shipping in general. The operation has also assisted Greece with its prevention of illegal immigration. Ongoing operations in the Balkans have also been redesignated as part of the War on Terror.[citation needed]

Operation Enduring Freedom

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) is the official name used by the Bush administration for the War in Afghanistan, together with three smaller military actions, under the umbrella of the Global War on Terror (GWOT).

Operation Enduring Freedom - Afghanistan

US soldiers in southeastern Afghanistan check their coordinates during a combat patrol
British ISAF soldier in Helmand Province
US Army Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan

On September 20, 2001, in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States, George W. Bush delivered an ultimatum to the Taliban government of Afghanistan to turn over Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda leaders operating in the country or face attack.[33] The Taliban demanded evidence of bin Laden's link to the September 11 attacks and, if such evidence warranted a trial, they offered to handle such a trial in an Islamic Court.[41] The US refused to provide any evidence.

Subsequently, in October 2001, US forces (with some coalition allies) invaded Afghanistan to oust the Taliban regime which had control of the country. On October 7, 2001 the official invasion began with British and US forces conducting aerial bombing campaigns.[42]

Waging war in Afghanistan had been of a lower priority for the US government than the war in Iraq. Admiral Mike Mullen, Staff Chairman the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that while the situation in Afghanistan is "precarious and urgent," the 10,000 additional troops needed there would be unavailable "in any significant manner" unless withdrawals from Iraq are made. Mullen stated that "my priorities . . . given to me by the commander in chief are: Focus on Iraq first. It's been that way for some time. Focus on Afghanistan second."[43]

Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines

US Special Forces soldier and infantrymen of the Philippine army

In January 2002 the United States Special Operations Command, Pacific deployed to the Philippines to advise and assist the Armed Forces of the Philippines in combating Filipino Islamist groups. The operations were mainly focused on removing the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) from their stronghold on the island of Basilan.

The United States military has reported that they have removed over 80% of the Abu Sayyaf Group members from the region. The second portion of the operation was conducted as a humanitarian program called "Operation Smiles". The goal of the program was to provide medical care and services to the region of Basilan as part of a "Hearts and Minds" program.

Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa

This extension of "Operation Enduring Freedom" was titled OEF-HOA . Unlike other operations contained in Operation Enduring Freedom, OEF-HOA does not have a specific organization as a target.

OEF-HOA instead focuses its efforts to disrupt and detect militant activities in the region and to work with willing governments to prevent the reemergence of militant cells and activities.

In October 2002, the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) was established in Djibouti at Camp Le Monier. It contains approximately 2,000 personnel including US military and special operations forces (SOF) and coalition force members, Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150).

Task Force 150 consists of ships from a shifting group of nations, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Pakistan, New Zealand, Spain and the United Kingdom. The primary goal of the coalition forces is to monitor, inspect, board and stop suspected shipments from entering the Horn of Africa region and affecting the US' "Operation Iraqi Freedom".[44]

Included in the operation is the training of selected armed forces units of the countries of Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia in "counter-terrorism" and counter-insurgency tactics. Humanitarian efforts conducted by CJTF-HOA include rebuilding of schools and medical clinics as well as providing medical services to those countries whose forces are being trained.

The program expands as part of the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative as CJTF personnel also assist in training the armed forces of Chad, Niger, Mauritania and Mali.[44] However, the War on Terror does not include Sudan, where over 400,000 have died in an-ongoing civil war.[45]

On July 1, 2006, a Web-posted message purportedly written by Osama bin Laden urged Somalis to build an Islamic state in the country and warned western governments that the al-Qaeda network would fight against them if they intervened there.[46]

Somalia has been considered a "failed state" because its official central government was weak, dominated by warlords and unable to exert effective control over the country. Beginning in mid-2006, the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), an Islamist faction campaigning on a restoration of "law and order" through Sharia Law, had rapidly taken control of much of southern Somalia.

On December 14, 2006, the US Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer claimed al-Qaeda cell operatives were controlling the Islamic Courts Union, a claim denied by the ICU.[47]

By late 2006, the UN-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia had seen its power effectively limited to Baidoa, while the Islamic Courts Union controlled the majority of Southern Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu. On December 20, the Islamic Courts Union launched an offensive on the government stronghold of Baidoa, and saw early gains before Ethiopia intervened in favor of the government.

By December 26, the Islamic Courts Union went into a "tactical retreat" towards Mogadishu, before again retreating as TFG/Ethiopian troops neared, leading them to take Mogadishu with no resistance. The ICU then fled to Kismayo, where they fought Ethiopian/TFG forces in the Battle of Jilib.

The Prime Minister of Somalia claimed that three "terror suspects" from the 1998 United States embassy bombings are being sheltered in Kismayo.[48] On 30 December 2006, al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called upon Muslims worldwide to fight against Ethiopia and the TFG in Somalia.[49]

On January 8, 2007, the US launched the Battle of Ras Kamboni by bombing Ras Kamboni using AC-130 gunships.[50]

On September 14, 2009, US Special Forces killed two men and wounded and captured two others near the Somali village of Baarawe. Witnesses claim that helicopters used for the operation launched from French-flagged warships, but that could not be confirmed.[51] A Somali based al-Qaida affiliated group, the Al-Shabab, has confirmed the death of "sheik commander" Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan along with an unspecified number of militants.[52] Nabhan, a Kenyan, was wanted in connection with the 2002 Mombasa attacks.[53]

Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara

Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara (OEF-TS) is the name of the military operation conducted by the United States and partner nations in the Sahara/Sahel region of Africa, consisting of counter-terrorism efforts and policing of arms and drug trafficking across central Africa.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

Iraq had been listed as a state sponsor of international terrorism by the United States since 1990[54], when Saddam Hussein fell out of US favor. The regime of Saddam Hussein proved a continuing problem for the UN and Iraq’s neighbors in its use of chemical weapons against Iranians and Kurds.

After the Gulf War, the US, French and British militaries instituted and began patrolling Iraqi no-fly zones, to protect Iraq’s Kurdish minority and Shi’a Arab population—both of which suffered attacks from the Hussein regime before and after the Gulf War—in Iraq’s northern and southern regions, respectively. US forces continued in combat zone deployments through November 1995 and launched Operation Desert Fox against Iraq in 1998 after it failed to meet US demands of "unconditional cooperation" in weapons inspections.[55]

Prior to Operation Desert Fox, US president William Clinton predicted "And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them." Clinton also declared a desire to remove Hussein from power and in the same speech said, "The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world." In the aftermath of Operation Desert Fox, during December 1998, Iraq announced that it would no longer respect the no-fly zones and resumed its attempts to shoot down Coalition aircraft.

Air strikes by the British and US against Iraqi anti-aircraft and military targets continued over the next few years. Also in 1998, Clinton signed the Iraq Liberation Act, which called for regime change in Iraq on the basis of its supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction, oppression of Iraqi citizens and attacks on other Middle Eastern countries.

The George W. Bush administration called for the United Nations Security Council to again send weapons inspectors to Iraq (previous inspectors had been expelled after being caught spying for the US) to find and destroy the alleged weapons of mass destruction and for a UNSC resolution.[56][57] UNSC Resolution 1441 was passed unanimously, which offered Iraq "a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations" or face "serious consequences."

Resolution 1441 did not authorize the use of force by member states. The Iraqi government subsequently allowed UN inspectors to access Iraqi sites, while the US government continued to assert that Iraq was being obstructionist. [3]

In October 2002, a large bipartisan majority in the United States Congress authorized the president to use force if necessary to disarm Iraq in order to "prosecute the war on terrorism."[58] After failing to overcome opposition from France, Russia, and China against a UNSC resolution that would sanction the use of force against Iraq, and before the UN weapons inspectors had completed their inspections (which were claimed to be fruitless by the US because of Iraq's alleged deception), the United States assembled a "Coalition of the Willing" composed of nations who pledged support for its policy of regime change in Iraq.

On March 19, 2003, the Iraq War began and the invasion of Iraq was launched the next day on March 20, 2003. The Bush administration stated the invasion was the "serious consequences" spoken of in UNSC Resolution 1441.

Iraq's government was quickly toppled and on May 1, 2003, Bush announced that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.[59] However, an insurgency arose against the US-led coalition and the newly developing Iraqi military and post-Saddam government. This insurgency led to far more coalition casualties than the invasion.

Elements of the insurgency were led by fugitive members of President Hussein's Ba'ath regime, which included Iraqi nationalists and pan-Arabists. Many insurgency leaders are Islamists and claim to be fighting a religious war to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate of centuries past.[60]

After months of insurgents' brutal violence against Iraqi civilians, in January 2007 President Bush presented a new strategy for Operation Iraqi Freedom based upon counter-insurgency theories and tactics developed by General David Petraeus. The Iraq War troop surge of 2007 was part of this "new way forward" and, along with US backing of Sunni groups it had previously sought to defeat, has been credited with a widely recognized dramatic decrease in violence by up to 80%, and a more controversial possible increase in political and communal reconciliation in Iraq.

International military support

The invasion of Afghanistan is seen as the first action of this war, and initially involved forces from the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Afghan Northern Alliance. Since the initial invasion period, these forces were augmented by troops and aircraft from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand and Norway amongst others. In 2006, there were about 33,000 troops in Afghanistan.

On September 12, 2001, less than 24 hours after the attacks in New York City and Washington, NATO invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty and declared the attacks to be an attack against all 19 NATO member countries. Australian Prime Minister John Howard also declared that Australia would invoke the ANZUS Treaty along similar lines.

In the following months, NATO took a wide range of measures to respond to the threat of terrorism. On November 22, 2002, the member states of the EAPC decided on a Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism which explicitly states that "EAPC States are committed to the protection and promotion of fundamental freedoms and human rights, as well as the rule of law, in combating terrorism."[61] NATO started naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea designed to prevent the movement of terrorists or weapons of mass destruction as well as to enhance the security of shipping in general called Operation Active Endeavour.

Support for the United States cooled when America made clear its determination to invade Iraq in late 2002. Even so, many of the "coalition of the willing" countries that unconditionally supported the U.S.-led military action have sent troops to Afghanistan, particular neighbouring Pakistan, which has disowned its earlier support for the Taliban and contributed tens of thousands of soldiers to the conflict. Pakistan was also engaged in the Waziristan War. Supported by U.S. intelligence, Pakistan was attempting to remove the Taliban insurgency and al-Qaeda element from the northern tribal areas.[62]

Pakistan involvement


President Musharraf with President Bush.

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf sided with the United States against the Taliban government in Afghanistan after an ultimatum by U.S. President George W. Bush. Musharraf agreed to give the United States the use of three airbases for Operation Enduring Freedom. United States Secretary of State Colin Powell and other administration officials met with Musharraf. On 19 September 2001, Musharraf addressed the people of Pakistan and stated that, while he opposed military tactics against the Taliban, Pakistan risked being endangered by an alliance of India and the U.S. if it did not cooperate.[63] In 2006, Musharraf testified that this stance was pressured by threats from the U.S., and revealed in his memoirs that he had "war-gamed" the United States as an adversary and decided that it would end in a loss for Pakistan.[64]

On 12 January 2002, Musharraf gave a landmark speech against Islamic extremism, a few months after September 11. He unequivocally condemned all acts of terrorism and pledged to combat Islamic extremism and lawlessness within Pakistan itself. He vowed, the government was committed to root out extremism and made it clear that the banned militant organizations would not be allowed to resurface under any new name.He stressed, "the recent decision to ban extremist groups promoting militancy was taken in the national interest after thorough consultations. It was not taken under any foreign influence".[65]

In 2002, the Musharraf-led government, took a firm stand against the jihadi organizations and groups promoting extremism, and arrested Maulana Masood Azhar, head of the Jaish-i-Mohammad, and Hafiz Saeed, chief of the Lashkar-i-Taiba, and took dozens of activists into custody. An official ban was imposed on the groups on January 12.[66] Later that year, the Saudi born Zayn al-Abidn Muhammed Hasayn Abu Zubaydah was arrested by Pakistani officials during a series of joint U.S. and Pakistan raids. Zubaydah is said to have been a high-ranking al-Qaeda official with the title of operations chief and in charge of running al-Qaeda training camps. [67] Other prominent al-Qaeda members were arrested in the following two years, namely Ramzi Binalshibh, who is known to have been a financial backer of al-Qaeda operations, and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who at the time of his capture was the third highest ranking official in al-Qaeda and had been directly in charge of the planning for the September 11 attacks.


In 2004 the Pakistani Army launched a campaign in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan's Waziristan region, sending in 80,000 troops. The goal of the conflict was to remove the al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in the region.

After the fall of the Taliban regime many members of the Taliban resistance fled to the Northern border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan where the Pakistani army had previously little control. With the logistics and air support of the United States, the Pakistani Army captured or killed numerous al-Qaeda operatives such as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, wanted for his involvement in the USS Cole bombing, Oplan Bojinka plot and the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

United States has carried out a campaign of Drone attacks on targets all over Federally Administered Tribal Areas. However, the Pakistani Taliban resistance still operates in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The International Security Assistance Force

Current ISAF contributors in dark green, future in light green, and former in cyan.
The United Kingdom is the second largest contributor of ISAF troops in Afghanistan.

December 2001 saw the creation of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to assist the Afghan Transitional Administration and the first post-Taliban elected government. With a renewed Taliban insurgency, it was announced in 2006 that ISAF would replace the U.S troops in the province as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The British 16th Air Assault Brigade (latter reinforced by Royal Marines) formed the core of the force in Southern Afghanistan, along with troops and helicopters from Australia, Canada and the Netherlands. The initial force consisted of roughly 3,300 British, 2,000 Canadian, 1,400 from the Netherlands and 240 from Australia, along with special forces from Denmark and Estonia (and small contingents from other nations).[68][69][70][71]

Summary of major troop contributions (over 400, 1 December 2008)[72]

ISAF total:52,450

US military aid to other countries


In the three years before the attacks of September 11, Pakistan received approximately $9 million in American military aid. In the three years after, the number increased to $4.2 billion, making it the country with the maximum funding post 9/11.[73]

Such a huge inflow of funds has raised concerns that these funds were given without any accountability, as the end uses not being documented, and that large portions were used to suppress civilians' human rights and to purchase weapons to contain domestic problems like the Balochistan unrest Pakistan has stated that India has been supporting terror groups within FATA and Balochistan with the aim of creating unrest within the country which has also been blamed for the diversion of funds.[74][75][76]


In 2007, a conflict began in northern Lebanon after fighting broke out between Fatah al-Islam, an Islamist militant organization, and the Lebanese Armed Forces on May 20, 2007 in Nahr al-Bared, a Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli. The conflict evolved mostly around the Siege of Nahr el-Bared, but minor clashes also occurred in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in southern Lebanon and several bombings took place in and around Lebanon's capital Beirut.

Fatah-al-Islam has been described as a militant jihadist[77] movement that draws inspiration from al-Qaeda.[77] The US provided military aid to the Lebanese government during the conflict. On September 7, 2007 Lebanese government forces captured the camp and declared victory.


There had been a number of attacks against foreign targets in Yemen since the start of the WOT. Yemen has a weak central government and a powerful tribal system that leaves large lawless areas open for militant training and operations. Al-Qaida has a strong presence in the country.

The US, in an effort to support Yemeni counter-terrorism efforts, has increased military aid package to Yemen from less than $11 millions in 2006 to more than $70 millions in 2009, as well as providing up to $121 millions for development over the next three years.[78]


The US has aided Israel against groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad. Former President George W. Bush told the Knesset that America "stands by Israel in the war on terror"[79]

Criticism of the War on Terror

The notion of a "war" against "terror" or "terrorism" has proven highly contentious, with critics charging that it has been exploited by participating governments to pursue long-standing policy objectives, reduce civil liberties, and infringe upon human rights. Some argue that the term war is not appropriate in this context (as in War on Drugs), since they believe there is no identifiable enemy, and that it is unlikely international terrorism can be brought to an end by military means.[80] The Director of Public Prosecutions and head of the Crown Prosecution Service in the United Kingdom, Ken McDonaldBritain's most senior criminal prosecutor—has stated that those responsible for acts of terror such as the 7 July 2005 London bombings are not "soldiers" in a war, but "inadequates" who should be dealt with by the criminal justice system.[81] Other critics, such as Francis Fukuyama, note that "terrorism" is not an enemy, but a tactic; calling it a "war on terror", obscures differences between conflicts. For example, anti-occupation insurgents and international jihadists.

The term "terrorism" itself, has been also been characterized as unacceptably vague. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime stated that there is lack of agreement on a definition of terrorism and that has proven an obstacle to meaningful international countermeasures. It proceeds to declare that "Some have often commented that one state's 'terrorist' is another state's 'freedom fighter'".[82] Opponents critical of this inherent subjectivity point out that governments such as Iran, Lebanon, and Venezuela consistently use the term "terrorism" to describe actions taken by the United States.[83]

Further criticism maintains that the War on Terror provides a framework for perpetual war; that the announcement of such open-ended goals produces a state of endless conflict, since "terrorist groups" can continue to arise indefinitely.[84] President Bush has pledged that the War on Terror "will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped, and defeated".[85] During a July 2007 visit to the United States, newly appointed British Prime Minister Gordon Brown defined the War on Terror, specifically the element involving conflict with Al Qaeda, as "a generational battle".[86]

The War on Terror has also been criticized as inefficient, with a number of security experts, politicians, and policy organizations having claimed that the War on Terror has been counterproductive: that it has consolidated opposition to the U.S., aided terrorist recruitment, and increased the likelihood of attacks against the U.S. and its allies. In a 2005 briefing paper, the Oxford Research Group reported that "Al-Qaida and its affiliates remain active and effective, with a stronger support base and a higher intensity of attacks than before 9/11. ...Far from winning the 'war on terror', the second George W. Bush administration is maintaining policies that are not curbing paramilitary movements and are actually increasing violent anti-Americanism."[87] On September 19, 2008, the RAND Corporation presented the results of a comprehensive study for "Defeating Terrorist Groups" before the United States House Armed Services Committees, which concluded: "By far the most effective strategy against religious groups has been the use of local police and intelligence services, which were responsible for the end of 73 percent of [terrorist] groups since 1968."[88] and recommended "[The U.S. military] should generally resist being drawn into combat operations in Muslim countries where its presence is likely to increase terrorist recruitment." and proceeded stating that "ending the notion of a 'war' on terrorism" and "Moving away from military references would indicate that there was no battlefield solution to countering terrorism."

Others have criticized the U.S. for double standards in its dealings with key allies that are also known to support terrorist groups, such as Pakistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has repeatedly stated that in the "war against terrorism," “the central front is Pakistan"; Pakistan has also been alleged to provide Taliban operatives with covert support via the ISI.[89] These accusations of double dealing regard civil liberties[90] and human rights as well as terrorism. According to the Federation of American Scientists, "[i]n its haste to strengthen the "frontline" states' ability to confront transnational terrorist threats on their soil, and to gain the cooperation of regimes of geostrategic significance to the next phases of the "War on Terrorism", the administration is disregarding normative restrictions on U.S. aid to human rights abusers."[91] Amnesty International has argued that the Patriot Act gives the U.S. government free rein to violate the constitutional rights of citizens.[92] The Bush administration's use of torture and alleged use of extraordinary rendition and secret prisons have all fueled opposition to the War on Terror.[93][94][95] [96]

International support of the War on Terror has also faced a substantial decline, both in public opinion and by foreign state officials. In 2002, strong majorities supported the U.S.-led War on Terror in Britain, France, Germany, Japan, India, and Russia. By 2006, supporters of the effort were in the minority in Britain (49%), France (43%), Germany (47%), and Japan (26%). Although a majority of Russians still supported the War on Terror, that majority had decreased by 21%. Whereas 63% of the Spanish population supported the War on Terror in 2003, only 19% of the population indicated support in 2006. 19% of the Chinese population supports the War on Terror, and less than a fifth of the populations of Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan support the effort. Indian support for the War on Terror has been stable.[97] Andrew Kohut, speaking to the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, noted that, according to the Pew Research Center polls conducted in 2004, "majorities or pluralities in seven of the nine countries surveyed said the U.S.-led war on terror was not really a sincere effort to reduce international terrorism. This was true not only in Muslim countries such as Morocco and Turkey, but in France and Germany as well. The true purpose of the war on terror, according to these skeptics, is American control of Middle East oil and U.S. domination of the world."[98]

Stella Rimington, former head of the British intelligence service MI5 has criticized the war on terror as a "huge overreaction", and had decried the militarization and politicization of the U.S. efforts to be the wrong approach to terrorism.[99] In January 2009, the British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, similarly wrote that "ultimately, the notion is misleading and mistaken" and later said "Historians will judge whether [the notion] has done more harm than good".[100][101][102]

Role of U.S. media

Researchers in the area of communication studies and political science have found that American understanding of the war on terror is directly shaped by how the mainstream news media reports events associated with the war on terror. In Bush’s War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age[103] political communication researcher Jim A. Kuypers illustrated "how the press failed America in its coverage on the War on Terror." In each comparison, Kuypers "detected massive bias on the part of the press." This researcher called the mainstream news media an "anti-democratic institution" in his conclusion. The findings of the research basically suggest that the public is misinformed about government justification and plans concerning the war on terror.

Others have also suggested that press coverage has contributed to a public confused and misinformed on both the nature and level of the threat to the U.S. posed by terrorism. In his book, Trapped in the War on Terror[104] political scientist Ian S. Lustick, claimed, "The media have given constant attention to possible terrorist-initiated catastrophes and to the failures and weaknesses of the government's response." Lustick alleged that the War on Terror is disconnected from the real but remote threat terrorism poses, and that the generalized War on Terror began as part of the justification for invading Iraq, but then took on a life of its own, fueled by media coverage.

Media researcher Stephen D. Cooper’s analysis of media criticism Watching the Watchdog: Bloggers As the Fifth Estate[105] contains many examples of controversies concerning mainstream reporting of the War on Terror. Cooper found that bloggers' criticisms of factual inaccuracies in news stories or bloggers’ discovery of the mainstream press’s failure to adequately check facts before publication caused many news organizations to retract or change news stories.

David Barstow won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting by connecting the Department of Defense to over 75 retired generals supporting the Iraq War on TV and radio networks. The Department of Defense recruited the retired generals to sell the war to the American public. Barstow also discovered undisclosed links between some retired generals and defense contractors. Barstow reported "the Bush administration used its control over access of information in an effort to transform the analysts into a kind of media Trojan horse"


There is no widely agreed on figure for the number of people that have been killed so far in the "War on Terror" as it has been defined by the Bush Administration to include the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and operations elsewhere. Some estimates include the following:

  • Iraq: 62,570 to 1,124,000
  • Opinion Research Business (ORB) poll conducted August 12-19, 2007 estimated 1,033,000 violent deaths due to the Iraq War. The range given was 946,000 to 1,120,000 deaths. A nationally representative sample of approximately 2000 Iraqi adults answered whether any members of their household (living under their roof) were killed due to the Iraq War. 22% of the respondents had lost one or more household members. ORB reported that "48% died from a gunshot wound, 20% from the impact of a car bomb, 9% from aerial bombardment, 6% as a result of an accident and 6% from another blast/ordnance."[106][107][108][109]
  • Between 392,979 and 942,636 estimated Iraqi (655,000 with a confidence interval of 95%), civilian and combatant, according to the second Lancet survey of mortality.[110]
  • A minimum of 62,570 civilian deaths reported in the mass media up to 28 April 2007 according to IraqBodyCount.
  • 4000 U.S. military dead (2008 26 March). 22,401 wounded in action, of which 10,050 were unable to return to duty within 72 hours. 6,640 non-hostile injuries and 18,183 diseases (both requiring medical air transport).[111]
  • Afghanistan: between 10,960 and 49,600
  • According to Marc W. Herold's extensive database, Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States' Aerial Bombing, between 3,100 and 3,600 civilians were directly killed by U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom bombing and Special Forces attacks between October 7, 2001 and June 3, 2003. This estimate counts only "impact deaths"—deaths that occurred in the immediate aftermath of an explosion or shooting—and does not count deaths that occurred later as a result of injuries sustained, or deaths that occurred as an indirect consequence of the U.S. airstrikes and invasion.
  • In a pair of January 2002 studies, Carl Conetta of the Project on Defense Alternatives estimates that, at least 4,200-4,500 civilians were killed by mid-January 2002 as a result of the U.S. war and airstrikes, both directly as casualties of the aerial bombing campaign, and indirectly in the humanitarian crisis that the war and airstrikes contributed to.
  • His first study, "Operation Enduring Freedom: Why a Higher Rate of Civilian Bombing Casualties?", released January 18, 2002, estimates that, at the low end, at least 1,000-1,300 civilians were directly killed in the aerial bombing campaign in just the 3 months between October 7, 2001 to January 1, 2002. The author found it impossible to provide an upper-end estimate to direct civilian casualties from the Operation Enduring Freedom bombing campaign that he noted as having an increased use of cluster bombs[114]. In this lower-end estimate, only Western press sources were used for hard numbers, while heavy "reduction factors" were applied to Afghan government reports so that their estimates were reduced by as much as 75%[115].
  • In similar numbers, a Los Angeles Times review of U.S., British, and Pakistani newspapers and international wire services found that between 1,067 and 1,201 direct civilian deaths were reported by those news organizations during the five months from October 7, 2001 to February 28, 2002. This review excluded all civilian deaths in Afghanistan that did not get reported by U.S., British, or Pakistani news, excluded 497 deaths that did get reported in U.S., British, and Pakistani news but that were not specifically identified as civilian or military, and excluded 754 civilian deaths that were reported by the Taliban but not independently confirmed.[116]
  • Somalia: 7,000+
  • In December 2007, The Elman Peace and Human Rights Organisation said it had verified 6,500 civilian deaths, 8,516 people wounded, and 1.5 million displaced from homes in Mogadishu alone during the year 2007.[118]
  • USA
  • June 01 2009, Pvt. William Andrew Long was shot and murdered by Abdulhakim Muhammad, while standing, unarmed outside a recruiting facility in Little Rock AR; marking the first U.S. casualty on U.S. soil, (as well as), the first attack on U.S. soil, since the War on Terror began.[119][120]

--> Casualty coalition in Iraq, Afghanistan and out of country

 USA: 5161*
 UK: 395
 Canada: 131*
 Spain: 102
 Italy: 54
 Germany: 39
 Poland: 36
 France: 35
 Denmark: 34
 Netherlands: 23
 Ukraine: 18
 Romania: 14
 Australia: 13
 Bulgaria: 13
 Estonia: 8
 Latvia: 6

 El Salvador: 5
 Georgia: 5
 Norway: 5
 Czech Republic: 4
 Slovakia: 4
 South Korea: 3
 Hungary: 3
 Portugal: 2
 Thailand: 2
 Sweden: 2
 Turkey: 2
 Belgium: 1
 Finland: 1
 Fiji: 1
 Kazakhstan: 1
 Azerbaijan: 1
 Lithuania: 1

TOTAL: 6,125

See also

Islam related
U.S. related
UK anti-terror legislation


"Operation Enduring Freedom - Deployments". Retrieved 2008-04-14. 

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Further reading

  • Müller, Sebastian R. Hawala. An Informal Payment System and Its Use to Finance Terrorism, Dec. 2006, ISBN 3-8655-0656-9
  • Kuypers, Jim A. Bush’s War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age, ISBN 0-7425-3653-X
  • Brian Michael Jenkins, Unconquerable Nation, RAND Corporation, Fall 2006, ISBN 0-8330-3893-1 and ISBN 0-8330-3891-5
  • Igmade (Stephan Trüby et al., eds.), 5 Codes: Architecture, Paranoia and Risk in Times of Terror, Birkhäuser; 2006, ISBN 3-7643-7598-1
  • Richard Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror, Free Press; 2004, ISBN 0-7432-6024-4
  • Ira Chernus. Monsters To Destroy: The Neoconservative War on Terror and Sin. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2006 ISBN 1-59451-276-0
  • Michael Scheuer, Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, ISBN 1-57488-849-8
  • Michelle Malkin, In Defense Of Internment: The Case for Racial Profiling in World War II and the War on terror, September, 2004, National Book Network, hardcover, 416 pages, ISBN 0-89526-051-4
  • Steven Emerson (2002), American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us, Free Press; 2003 paperback edition, ISBN 0-7432-3435-9
  • Lyal S. Sunga, (2002) US Anti-Terrorism Policy and Asia’s Options, in Johannen, Smith and Gomez, (eds.) September 11 & Political Freedoms: Asian Perspectives (Select) 242–264, ISBN 981-4022-24-1
  • Marina Ottoway, et al., Democratic Mirage in the Middle East, Carnegie Endowment for Ethics and International Peace, Policy Brief 20, (October 20, 2002). Available online
  • Marina Ottoway and Thomas Carothers, Think Again: Middle East Democracy,Foreign Policy (Nov./Dec. 2004). Available online
  • Chris Zambelis, The Strategic Implications of Political Liberalization and Democratization in the Middle East, Parameters, (Autumn 2005). Available online
  • Adnan M. Hayajneh, The U.S. Strategy: Democracy and Internal Stability in the Arab World,Alternatives (Volume 3, No. 2 & 3, Summer/Fall 2004). Available online
  • Gary Gambill, Jumpstarting Arab Reform: The Bush Administration's Greater Middle East Initiative, Middle East Intelligence Bulletin (Vol. 6, No. 6–7, June/July 2004). Available online
  • Remarks by the President at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, United States Chamber of Commerce, Washington, D.C., President Bush Discusses Freedom in Iraq and Middle East, (November 6, 2003). Available online
  • Hans Köchler, Terrorism and National Liberation. Proceedings of the International Conference on the Question of Terrorism. Frankfurt a. M:/Bern/New York: Peter Lang, 1988, ISBN 3-8204-1217-4
  • Hans Köchler, Manila Lectures 2002. Terrorism and the Quest for a Just World Order. Quezon City (Manila): FSJ Book World, 2002, ISBN 3-211-83091-X
  • Hans Köchler, The War on Terror, its Impact on the Sovereignty of Nations, and its Implications on Human Rights and Civil Liberties, Manila, September 2002
  • Hans Köchler, The United Nations and International Terrorism : Challenges to Collective Security, Shanghai, November 2002
  • Hans Köchler (ed.), The 'Global War on Terror' and the Question of World Order. Vienna: International Progress Organization, 2008. ISBN 9783900704247
  • Robert Blecher, Free People Will Set the Course of History: Intellectuals, Democracy and American Empire, Middle East Report (March 2003). Available online
  • Robert Fisk, What Does Democracy Really Mean In The Middle East? Whatever The West Decides, The London Independent (August 8, 2005). Available online
  • Fawaz Gergez, Is Democracy in the Middle East a Pipedream?,Yale Global Online (April 25, 2005). Available online
  • Donald Rumsfeld, Bureaucracy to Battlefield Speech, (September 10, 2001) Available online
  • Leon Hadar, The Green Peril: Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat, (August 27, 1992) Available online
  • George W. Bush, A Period of Consequences, (September 23, 1999) Available online
  • George W. Bush, A Distinctly American Internationalism, (November 19, 1999) Available online
  • Nicholas Lemann, Dreaming About War, (July 16, 2001) The New Yorker. Available online
  • James Der Derian, The Illusion of a Grand Strategy, (May 25, 2001) The New York Times Available online
  • Paul Wolfowitz, Briefing on the Defense Planning Guidance, (August 16, 2001). Available online
  • Henry Shelton, Change, Troops and Transformation, (August 28, 2001). Available online
  • Project for the New American Century, Rebuilding America's Defenses, (September 2000). Available online
  • Foreign Policy in Focus, The Bush Administration's Strategic Defense Review, (May 2001). Available online
  • Col. Daniel Smith and others, Reforging the Sword: Forces for the 21st Century Security Strategy, Center for Defense Information, (September 2001), Available online
  • BBC News, Stumbling towards Pentagon reform: Ambitious agenda, (August 16, 2001). Available online
  • Philip Gold, Savaging Donald Rumsfeld, The Washington Times, (August 28, 2001). Available online
  • Condoleezza Rice, Life after the Cold War, Council on Foreign Relations, (September 2000).
  • Ashton Carter and William Perry, Preventive Defense, A New Security Strategy for America, Brooking Institution, (1999). Available online
  • Steven Metz, Asymmetry and U.S. Military Strategy: Definition, Background, and Strategic Concepts, U.S. Army War College, (January 2001).
  • Kenneth McKenzie, The Revenge of the Melians: Asymmetric Threats and the next QDR, National Defense University, (November 2000). Available online
  • L. Ali Khan, "A Theory of International Terrorism" (2006) and The Essentialist Terrorist (2006)
  • Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist; 2007, ISBN 978-0241143650
  • Spencer, Robert (2003). Onward Muslim Soldiers. Regnery Publishing, USA. ISBN 0-89526-100-6. 
  • Spencer, Robert (2005). The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (And the Crusades). Regnery Publishing, USA. ISBN 0-89526-013-1. 
  • Spencer, Robert (2006). The Truth About Muhammad. Regnery Publishing, USA. ISBN 978-1596980280. 
  • Malik, S. K. (1986). The Quranic Concept of War. Himalayan Books. ISBN 8170020204. 
  • Swarup, Ram (1982). Understanding Islam through Hadis. Voice of Dharma. ISBN 0-682-49948-X. 
  • Trifkovic, Serge (2006). Defeating Jihad. Regina Orthodox Press, USA. ISBN 192865326X. 
  • Phillips, Melanie (2006). Londonistan: How Britain is Creating a Terror State Within. Encounter books. ISBN 1-59403-144-4. 

External links

Official sites by governments and international organizations
General war on terrorism news
Primary legal documents
Specific articles
Recent Events

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Global War on Terrorism
by Donald Rumsfeld

Can be found at:

DATE: October 16, 2003

TO: Gen. Dick Myers; Paul Wolfowitz; Gen. Pete Pace; Doug Feith

FROM: Donald Rumsfeld

SUBJECT: Global War on Terrorism

The questions I posed to combatant commanders this week were: Are we winning or losing the Global War on Terror? Is DoD changing fast enough to deal with the new 21st century security environment? Can a big institution change fast enough? Is the USG changing fast enough?

DoD has been organized, trained and equipped to fight big armies, navies and air forces. It is not possible to change DoD fast enough to successfully fight the global war on terror; an alternative might be to try to fashion a new institution, either within DoD or elsewhere — one that seamlessly focuses the capabilities of several departments and agencies on this key problem.

With respect to global terrorism, the record since Septermber 11th seems to be:

We are having mixed results with Al Qaida, although we have put considerable pressure on them — nonetheless, a great many remain at large.
USG has made reasonable progress in capturing or killing the top 55 Iraqis.
USG has made somewhat slower progress tracking down the Taliban — Omar, Hekmatyar, etc.
With respect to the Ansar Al-Islam, we are just getting started.

Have we fashioned the right mix of rewards, amnesty, protection and confidence in the US?

Does DoD need to think through new ways to organize, train, equip and focus to deal with the global war on terror?

Are the changes we have and are making too modest and incremental? My impression is that we have not yet made truly bold moves, although we have have made many sensible, logical moves in the right direction, but are they enough?

Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?

Does the US need to fashion a broad, integrated plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? The US is putting relatively little effort into a long-range plan, but we are putting a great deal of effort into trying to stop terrorists. The cost-benefit ratio is against us! Our cost is billions against the terrorists' costs of millions.

Do we need a new organization?
How do we stop those who are financing the radical madrassa schools?
Is our current situation such that "the harder we work, the behinder we get"?

It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog.

Does CIA need a new finding?

Should we create a private foundation to entice radical madradssas to a more moderate course?

What else should we be considering?

Please be prepared to discuss this at our meeting on Saturday or Monday.



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