TITLE

A Flawed Masterpiece

AUTHOR(S)
O'Hanlon, Michael E.
PUB. DATE
May 2002
SOURCE
Foreign Affairs;May/Jun2002, Vol. 81 Issue 3, p47
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Operation Enduring Freedom has been, for the most part, a masterpiece of military creativity and finesse. Despite its success, mistakes have been made. Two of them have been US handling of al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at Guatanamo Bay, Cuba, and the failure to capture or kill Osama bin Laden and other top al Qaeda officials. A number of important military innovations appeared in Operation Enduring Freedom, among them advanced targeting, reconnaissance, and communications capabilities. Broad lessons that have been learned from this conflict include: 1) military progress does not always depend on highly expensive weapons platforms 2) human skills remain important in war 3) military mobility and deployability should continue to be improved, and 4) more joint-service experimentation and innovation are highly desirable. Critics contend that the Bush administration's defense budget protects the traditional weapons priorities of the military services without seeking a radical enough transformation of the armed forces. But the real problem is the unwillingness to set priorities and challenge the military services to do so as well. A more prudent modernization agenda would begin by canceling at least one or two major weapons and modernize more selectively in general. A final assessment of Operation Enduring Freedom depends on whether bin Laden and his top lieutenants have escaped Afghanistan. To prevent a blow to US image, and prevent civil war in Afghanistan, the US needs to work hard with other donors to make reconstruction and aid programs succeed in Afghanistan.
ACCESSION #
6489865

 

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