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US preparing for ten-year war
By Michael Evans

America and Britain are producing secret plans to launch a ten-year war on terrorism Operation Noble Eagle involving a completely new military and diplomatic strategy to eliminate terrorist networks and cells around the world.

Despite the mass build-up of American forces in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, there will be no D-Day invasion of Afghanistan and no repeat of the US-led Operation Desert Storm against Iraq in 1991, defence sources say. The notion that a US-led multinational coalition would attack Afghanistan from all sides for harbouring Osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi dissident leader and prime suspect for the terrorist outrages in New York and Washington, has been rejected in Washington and London. The sources also say that the planned campaign is not being focused on just bringing bin Laden to justice.
The build-up of firepower by the Americans in the region, notably the two aircraft carrier battle groups that are to be joined by a third carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt, is seen as a major display of available military capability. While it is important for these assets to be in the right place in case of a political decision to launch a strike, there are no plans for a short-term fix.

The dramatically different anti-terrorism campaign is being planned to meet what is now regarded as the most dangerous threat to global security, known as asymmetric warfare. We are expecting it to last from five to ten years, one source said.

New ideas are needed to counter small groups armed with the minimum of weaponry, whether conventional or non-conventional. Such groups have the capability to attack a nation as powerful as the United States, which is equipped with the full range of modern weapons and professional Armed Forces.

Old doctrines for fighting wars, based on lining up tanks and artillery and layers of troops, are being thrown out and replaced by a more subtle and wide-ranging doctrine which seeks to defeat the enemy at its own game. The aim is not to go for the enemys strengths, but its weaknesses, one source said. American and British planners are working on the basis that military strikes will take place only as part of a broader global counter-terrorist operation, embracing every other type of international action diplomatic, economic and political.

Most of the focus of the ten-year campaign plan, the sources say, is on using military action as a potent back-up to all the other strands of Operation Noble Eagle. However, President Bush, conscious of the demand for revenge from the American public, might sanction shorter-term military operation by special forces, or airstrikes, but only if there is sufficient intelligence to guarantee a sucessful outcome. There is no point in firing a lot of missiles at bin Laden if they miss their target, or launching Tomahawks at bin Laden training camps if they are empty, one source said.

Donald Rumsfeld, the American Defence Secretary, also gave the strongest hint of what Operation Noble Eagle is all about. I think what you will see evolve over the next six, eight, ten, 12 months, probably over a period of years, is a coalition to help battle terrorists.

He added: This is a very new type of conflict or battle or campaign or war or effort, for the United States. We are moving in a measured manner. As we gather information, we are preparing appropriate courses of action, and they run across the political and economic and financial, military, intelligence spectrum.

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