Terror Will Be No. 1 Enemy for Decades, Warns Gates

New strategy focuses on 'irregular' conflict
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2008 8:54 AM CDT
Defense Secretary Robert Gates exits after a briefing at the Pentagon, Wednesday, July 9, 2008.    (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson)
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(Newser) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates foresees terrorism remaining the leading threat to America for decades, and calls for the military to prepare for "irregular" warfare rather than conventional conflicts with other nations, reports the Washington Post. While success in Afghanistan and Iraq is crucial, it will not be enough to eliminate the danger posed by al-Qaeda and others, Gates warns a new a new National Defense Strategy document obtained by the Post

"We cannot lose sight of the implications of fighting a long-term, episodic, multi-front and multi-dimensional conflict more complex and diverse than the Cold War confrontation with communism," the document states. Gates' strategy calls for international cooperation to stop extremism at its root, rather than the preemptive military action advocated by his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld. Acknowledging that it comes too late in Bush's tenure to be implemented, Gates calls his document "a blueprint to success" for a future administration.