Hearts, Minds, and Hydras: Fighting Terrorism in Afghanistan, Pakistan, America, and Beyond--Dilemmas and Lessons

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Potomac Books, Inc., Sep 30, 2012 - History - 320 pages
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Insurgencies are like the hydra, the many-headed beast of Greek mythology. Once one begins, the measures a government takes to eliminate militants¨to cut off the insurgencyĂs head¨can provoke countless others to join the enemy ranks. Tactical victories often breed strategic de╝feats. Traditional ˘search, destroy, and withdraw÷ missions that rely on firepower to wipe out reb╝els frequently destroy the livelihoods and loved ones of innocent people caught in the cross fire. U.S. troops have seen the pattern repeated as their initially successful offensives toppled en╝emy regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, but soon transformed into grueling guerrilla wars. Hearts, Minds, and Hydras outlines the reasons for these worsening situations. The most cru╝cial were self-defeating decisions made by the George W. Bush administration, whose neocon╝servatism and hubris rather than careful analy╝sis of genuine threats, national interests, and reasonable options shaped its policies. Although the Americans were eventually able to contain and diminish the insurgency in Iraq, the one in Afghanistan not only steadily intensified but also spread into neighboring Pakistan. The near abandonment of the war in Afghanistan and the neoconservative campaign in Iraq were godsends for al Qaeda and all other enemies of the United States. Then, as AmericaĂs position deteriorated in both wars, the neoconservatives became even more determined to stay the course. William Nester analyzes some of the more prom╝inent dilemmas haunting American policymak╝ers now struggling to win in Afghanistan, fight terrorism in the United States, and reshape their relationship with Pakistan. In doing so, he reveals the nature of that all-too-real monster of insur╝gency, what feeds it, and how to starve it.
 

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Contents

1 September 11 2001
1
Al Qaeda versus Its Enemies
5
Terrorism versus Counterterrorism
23
4 Clinton and Bush versus al Qaeda before September 11
51
5 The Post911 Neoconservative War on Terror and Tyranny
73
Round One
85
7 The War on Terror at Home
115
8 The Global War on Terror
153
10 The War for International Hearts and Minds
193
Round Two
213
12 The War in Pakistan
235
13 Consequences
257
Notes
269
Index
297
About the Author
307
Copyright

9 The War for American Hearts and Minds
183

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About the author (2012)

WILLIAM NESTER is a professor at St. John's University in New York City and the author of more than twenty books on various aspects of international relations, including The Revolutionary Years, 1775–1789: The Art of American Power during the Early Republic (Potomac Books, 2011) and The Hamiltonian Vision, 1789–1800 (Potomac Books, 2012). He lives in New York City.

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