"WE JUST CAN'T KILL THEM ALL"
Key quotes and excerpts from this article in The Australian :
WHEN US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld turned to his special operations forces to take the lead in the hunt for Osama bin Laden five years ago, he no doubt had in mind the kind of kill-or-capture operation mounted to go after Pancho Villa or, more recently, the Balkans' war criminals.
The problem was that those manhunts came up empty.
Finding a single individual who is intent on hiding, it turns out, is a tall order, even for a superpower.
The strategy relies increasingly on allies such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and has broadened from that of a basic manhunt to a mission that includes training partner nations in counterterrorism, intelligence and civil affairs, eliminating safe havens and attacking the ideological underpinnings of radical Islamism.
"We will take away bin Laden's base....We will take away his popular support and his regional support through all those indirect methods. And once that's happened, we will kill him."
"We just plain can't kill them all..."
"The war on terror is more like the Cold War in that it is focused on preventing things from happening..."
Other counterterrorism initiatives are proceeding below the radar.
In Asia, special operations forces conduct about 70 training exercises a year.
SOCOM has also set up a 70-man Joint Psychological Operation Support Element to assist commanders across the globe and other US agencies with in-depth analyses of Arab audiences and Islamic sects while producing radio and television spots for their use.
Program deputy director Mike Furlong says its efforts are "akin to a marketing or PR firm. We try to get our message out for the population to see."
The SOCOM budget for equipment has almost tripled, to $US2.7 billion since 9/11, and most resources have gone to the larger white special forces, but it is still proportionately less than the amounts the much smaller black units receive.
The debate over the balance between indirect programs and manhunts has captured attention among legislators and Pentagon officials.
A proposal to create an "unconventional warfare command" was floated in June and the military is investigating it.
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