Rand gets the case for lawfare wrong

Richard Fernandez examines the recent Ran report critical of waging war against al Qaeda and suggesting that the lawfare approach is the most likely way to destroy al Qaeda.

They come to this conclusion by using lawfare metrics to measure warfare. They also overlook the abject failure of lawfare in dealing with al Qaeda before 2001. Lawfare by necessity puts you on the strategic defensive. It is reactive. The indictments against bin Laden troubled him not at all. He continued to build his organization and continued to make war against us. Lawfare did provide him with certain advantages such as pretrial discovery in the Embassy Bombing cases which let al Qaeda know our sources and methods of gathering intelligence so they could avoid them in executing the 9-11 attacks.

Rand's over reliance on the violence metric is a mistake in a war where both sides are initiating attacks. It devalues the importance of who controls the real estate and who has the support of the people. As Richard points out al Qaeda dramatically lost support as it increased its violence against non combatants.

Andrew McCarthy who was on the front lines of the lawfare battle points out the deficiencies of the lawfare model in his book Willful Blindness.

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