Fight Al Qaeda's Plan, not its Ideas

The Christian Science Monitor

The United States is fighting the "global war on terrorism" in the wrong way. The key to defeating Al Qaeda doesn't lie in trying to undermine its extremist ideology but in defeating its strategy. And right now, Washington has a historic opportunity to do just that.

This isn't an exercise in foreign-policy hairsplitting. It's a vital distinction that helped the US win the cold war against Soviet communism.

It's also is important because Al Qaeda's strategy is vulnerable to internal and external attack in ways that its ideology is not. On top of that, the US government has experience countering strategies and knows how to fight and defeat them. Furthermore, influencing the way that extremists behave is far easier than changing what they believe.

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