Gen. Keane: Enemies Underestimate U.S.
The September 11 attacks were a “tactical victory” for
al Qaeda, but also a “strategic failure, because it will bring
about the complete destruction of their infrastructure,” said
Army Gen. John Keane.
“They believe we are vulnerable as a people, as a government
and as a military, to this kind of incursion, because they believe
we are morally weak,” Keane, the Army’s vice chief of
staff, said in a recent speech. “They have miscalculated about
this, ironically, similar to the same miscalculation that the Japanese
and the Germans made during World War II.”
The Germans, Keane said, “were almost flippant about the
United States military’s capabilities. They were caught up
in their own errors. The Japanese were also very arrogant in their
understanding of America,” he said.
“An unending series of Soviet leaders said the same thing
about America’s people and its resolve, not understanding
our government and our way of life here,” Keane said. The
same is true for “a series of thugs we’ve been dealing
with: Noriega in Panama, Saddam Hussein, and this latest thug Milosevic.
All of them used fear as a weapon, and in every case underestimated
America’s resolve to do something about it.”
Keane noted that the Army lost 75 people on 9/11, “which
is more people that I’ve lost in 36 years in any one fight
that we’ve been in.”
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Czech Republic Cancels Aircraft Procurement
Catastrophic floods throughout Europe—causing extensive property
damage throughout Slovakia, Germany and the Czech Republic—prompted
Czech Minister of Defense Jaroslav Tvrdik, to announce the likely
cancellation of the purchase of 24 Gripen fighters for the Czech
The approximately $3 billion in damages caused by the floods in
the Czech Republic has forced the government to rearrange its budgetary
priorities, said Petr Janousek, press officer at the Czech Embassy
in Washington, D.C.
The Gripen—made by Saab Aerospace, of Sweden and BAE Systems,
of the United Kingdom—would have replaced the Czech air force’s
current fleet of MiG-21s, slated to be retired by 2004, Janousek
said. If the Gripen deal is cancelled, the Czech government may
decide to upgrade the MiG fleet.
BAE and Saab have offered the Czechs a new deal to purchase a smaller
fleet of fighters.
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Directed Energy Viewed as ‘Transforming’
The United States must speed up development of directed-energy weapons,
to stay ahead of potential enemies, said retired Air Force Gen.
“Directed-energy weapons [such as lasers] will be the cornerstone
of America’s arsenal in the 21st century. … [They have]
the potential to become the single most transforming weapon,”
he told a conference sponsored by the Lexington Institute, a public
policy think tank.
He noted that further development is needed to make laser weapons
a reality, however. “We understand the physics; it’s
no longer an issue of technology. Now [the problem] is engineering,”
The ability to get laser weapons to the battlefield “will
be determined by our vision and determination,” he said.
Some non-lethal laser technologies have been tested in battle already,
Fogleman said. Lasers were employed as tactical aids in Somalia,
he said. In one instance, a laser was used as a spotlight to guide
troops in the dark. The laser, invisible to the naked eye, could
only be seen with night-vision goggles, he said.
Potential enemies of the United States are also investing in directed
energy, Fogleman said. “I’m not in the camp of people
who believe China is our enemy, but you can’t ignore their
potential. I am led to believe that the Chinese are very actively
working on these programs,” Fogleman said. Russia also had
an extensive research program in this area, and “they’ve
done a lot of work in the field of high-powered microwave.”
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U.S. Signs Anti-Terrorism Pact
An anti-terrorism agreement signed by Secretary of State Colin Powell
with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), should
be viewed as a “landmark” document, because it is the
first of its kind encompassing the entire region, said Catharin
Dalpino, a foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Institution.
The pact calls for the parties to freeze the assets of terrorist
groups, strengthen intelligence sharing and improve border patrols.
The agreement “has even had a slight proliferation effect,”
said Dalpino. No sooner was it signed that Beijing proposed a similar
arrangement for the “Asean Plus Three group,” which
informally links Southeast Asia to China, South Korea and Japan,
However, Dalpino warned, the agreement is not a “cure-all”
for the region’s efforts in fighting terrorism. Issues of
concern for the U.S. government, she added, range “from porous
borders to leaders who fear that cracking down on extremists will
disturb a delicate balance within Muslim communities.”
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White House Advisor: ‘America’s Complacency Is Risky’
Philip Zelikow, a member of the president’s foreign intelligence
advisory board, said that the United States has become complacent
about al Qaeda, as it focuses on a possible war with Iraq. That
approach is risky, he said. “We are in a race against time,”
he told a symposium sponsored by the Brookings Institution.
Zelikow was a staff member at the National Security Council during
the first Bush administration. He currently is a professor at the
University of Virginia.
It should not take another terrorist attack to create the sense
of urgency that occurred after the 9/11 events, he said. “We
bought some time in our operations in Afghanistan; they don’t
have the same capability now. But I don’t know if we have
weeks or months,” he said.