CTX Journal Vol. 3, No. 4 - November 2013

From the Editor


This issue brings you many different perspectives on terrorist activity, beginning with a highly critical discussion by COL Steve Miska and Roslyn Warren of the United States' general failure to protect its "soft" human networks of host-nation contractors, interpreters, and others who regularly put their lives at risk in service of U.S. forces and interests. Dr. Brian Nussbaum returns to the journal (see vol. 2, no. 1) with a hard look at the increasing danger to information networks from anti-technology violence. The paradox, as he points out, is that both the scientists who are developing new forms of technology and those who are willing to resort to violence to stop them believe they are working in the service of humankind.

LTC Rehan Mushtaq delves directly into the question of why Muslim youth in Great Britain become susceptible to the Islamist message, with implications for diaspora youth elsewhere. He describes several of the messaging techniques that Islamist recruiters exploit to attract vulnerable youth, and offers some novel, even counter-intuitive, but simple and accessible methods to counteract their insidious influence.

The next two articles consider the results of violence—the casualties of war and conflict. War, we all know, has been the catalyst for many of the extraordinary medical breakthroughs of the past century. In this issue, LTC Ramey Wilson, MD, expands on ideas he discussed in the CTAP interview that appeared in the August issue (vol. 3, no. 3) of CTX: swift, reliable medical care for injured military personnel is vital not only to the operational well-being of the armed forces, but also for effectiveness, retention, and security. This idea is reinforced by MAJ Cesar Rolon Villamizar and MAJ Andrés Fernández Osorio, who describe a program they helped set up for Colombia's army to ensure that injured personnel, civilians, and even enemy fighters will be given appropriate medical care within the "golden hour" of maximum survivability.

COL Imre Porkoláb (vol. 3, no. 3) explores the ways in which both NATO and the U.S. Special Operations Command are developing online education tools to enhance readiness and interoperability at all levels of SOF. COL Porkoláb warns that while such methods can be useful to disseminate specialized education across scattered forces, too much reliance on distance learning comes at the expense of the collaborative experience officers gain in a traditional classroom.

The Haqqani Network, a family-based jihadist enterprise that operates on both sides of the porous Afghan-Pakistani border, has come to resemble a mafia crime network more than an insurgency, according to MAJ Lars Lilleby (vol. 2, no. 1). He makes the case that going after their finances is the best 1 November 2013 way to end the Haqqanis' depredations. In the final feature article, MAJ Mike Loconsolo offers us an alternative way to evaluate the choices Mexican business owners must make when faced with the constant threats of extortion and violence posed by another terrorist network, the drug cartels.

For this issue's CTAP interview, Dr. Doug Borer of the Naval Postgraduate School spoke with COL Billy Shaw, an American Special Forces officer whose job was to train Afghan Special Forces commandos in Afghanistan. With the support of a forward-looking Afghan general and a dedicated staff, and with fortuitous help from a British journalist, COL Shaw developed a values-based training program drawn from the ethics of the Qur'an.

We welcome Dr. Pauline Kaurin of Pacific Lutheran University to this issue's Ethics and Insights column. Dr. Kaurin explores the timely question of "kill or capture" in an essay that weighs issues of courage and community, and calls into question our deep assumption that preservation of life is always preferable to death.

The first review in this issue, by MAJ Donald Reed, offers a new look at an old book, The Deceptive American (1977), by William Lederer and Eugene Burdick. Set in a fictional Southeast Asian country in the 1950s, this sequel to The Ugly American was suppressed for 22 years, apparently by the U.S. government. It is shocking, writes Reed, "how the main themes of the novel still resonate." CPT Edval Zoto (vol. 3, no. 3) then reviews a work of historical non-fiction, The Wildest Province: SOE in the Land of the Eagle (2008), by Roderick Bailey. Bailey's topic is another of those fascinating but little-known operations that took place during WW II: the efforts of 100 British Special Operations Executive troops to prevent the Axis takeover of Albania.

Our publications announcements include a new book by Dr. Douglas Porch of the Naval Postgraduate School, Counterinsurgency: Exposing the Myths of the New Way of War (Cambridge, 2013), plus a number of new essays from our friends at JSOU.

The upcoming issue of CTX (vol. 4, no. 1 February 2014) will be another special issue, guest edited this time by Dr. David Tucker of the Naval Postgraduate School. Dr. Tucker's theme is the evolution of intelligence gathering post-9/11, and the uses and sharing of information to counter terrorism around the world. Until then, keep on reading, thinking, and learning.

Elizabeth Skinner
Managing Editor
CTXEditor@GlobalEcco.org