The first thing I'd like to establish is that I don't think the ideas of radical Islam will not die as a result of the War on Terror. I think that can only be achieved by better cultural integration and greater understanding between the West and the Middle East over a very long period of time. Even then there will always be pockets of extremists.
But America's War on Terror intends to focus only on Al Qaeda. As we have seen, we end up fighting not only Al Qaeda but countless other factions and subfactions that get grouped as either terrorists or insurgents.
I think we now have the strategy for winning this war, or at the very least making America much safer.
From the noticeable drop in violence in Iraq we can make the inference that a combination of 1. Massive miltiary force or "the Surge" as it was called and perhaps more importantly, 2. Making alliances and distinguishing the factions in what we had previous placed in a box and labeled insurgents is the formula for winning the war on terror.
The second portion is what I'd like to focus on. This is the subject of a new book How to Win a Cosmic War ( featured on the Daily Show w/ JS). I haven't read it, but in the interview the autor says the gist of the story is that there are 2 kinds of terrorists. Radicals, who's goal is to eradicate the infidels, and who can be met only with force, and extremists with realistic political goals, with whom we should try to negotiate whenever possible.
( Reza Aslan's How to win a cosmic war http://www.rezaaslan.com/cosmicwar.html)
Trying to divide the extremists from everybody else and dealing with them individually worked in Iraq and that is why it has recently started to be done in earnest in afghanistan. http://www.boston.com/news/nation/wa...aliban/?page=2
Obama is also sending in 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan it appears he is following the Iraq template formula I mentioned before.
I think that ultimately we will be able to use this strategy to isolate the extremists, and that we will eventually defeat the factions that threaten us the most.
What do you think could be potential stumbling blocks for this plan? Will it work? Is it our best option?