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‘Know Your Enemy’

‘Know Your Enemy’A new book by The Fletcher School’s Richard Shultz, Jr., and Andrea Dew sheds light on the realities of war in the 21 st century.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [07.24.06] The face of warfare has changed over the past few decades, The Fletcher School’s Richard Shultz, Jr., and Andrea Dew point out in their new book, Insurgents, Terrorists, and Militias: The Warriors of Contemporary Combat. The authors say that the United States needs to adapt its military strategies to deal with enemies who practice “irregular” warfare tactics.

“War since the end of the Cold War has changed,” Dew, a PhD student at The Fletcher School, said on NECN’s NewsNight With Jim Braude. “It is about non-state actors. It’s about irregular warfare and asymmetric warfare.”

In a review of the book, the Wall Street Journal wrote that Shultz and Dew “have produced a wise and cogent briefing book about who our enemies are and how to anticipate their field tactics.”

According to the newspaper, Shultz—who is a professor of international politics and director of International Security Studies Program at The Fletcher School—and Dew identify a key issue early in the book: “the Pentagon – the product of a rational, science-based Western culture – relies on objective quantification for its analysis.”

This type of analysis does not work, the authors point out, against enemies of the United States who are “merely an organic part of the landscape, revealing [their] features only at the moment of attack,” the Journal reported. “All we can do is study these ‘idiosyncratic’ human landscapes and use anthropology to improve our intelligence assessments.”

Shultz and Dew use case studies of groups, such as the Somali warriors and Chechen guerrillas, throughout the book to illustrate their point.

“The whole point of this book is that, because each tribal culture is unique, each will fight in its own way; it is a matter of knowing what a culture is truly capable of once it feels itself threatened,” the Journal reported.

The authors also discuss the conflict in Iraq – which they say “could have turned out differently,” according to the newspaper. They wrote in the book, “The traditional Iraqi way of war, and how Iraq fits into the larger global jihad, could have been deduced by U.S. planners,” the Journal reported.

Dew added during her interview with NECN, “We argue that the insurgency was predictable and in some ways preventable. It should never have reached the fever pitch that it reached…if we had understood the motivations of these groups.”

It’s not too late, however, for the United States to “catch up,” she explained on the news program.

“I think the key in Iraq is to pick off these groups one by one to figure out the individual motivations and then neutralize them one by one – whether it’s by conversation, by debate, or, in some cases, it’s a question of these groups [going] away because all the members have been killed.”

Still, what motivates groups like Hezbollah, Hamas and al-Qaeda and influences their war tactics can be difficult for Americans to understand, the Journal reported.

“Our progressive global culture – with its emphasis on convenience and instant gratification – finds it difficult to cope with such warriors, for whom war is a first resort rather than a last one,” the Journal reported.

Nonetheless, it’s essential for United States government and military officials to learn what makes modern-day warriors tick. “Know your enemy,” Shultz and Dew write in the book, quoting an ancient Chinese military strategist.




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