The Long War Against Extremism in Afghanistan

Cipher Brief Expert View

Nearly two and a half years ago, General David Petraeus (US Army, Ret.) wrote an opinion piece published in The Washington Post, titled, ‘5 ‘big ideas’ to guide us in the Long War against Islamic extremism’.

His fundamental point was that the U.S. had to get the ‘big ideas’ right in order to establish a framework for the comprehensive civil-military effort required to make progress against the Islamist extremists the US has fought in unending war since late 2001.  The Surge in Iraq, which Petraeus commanded from February 2007 to September 2008, had impressed upon him that determining the right big ideas was the most important task of a strategic leader.  In fact, he has frequently observed since then that the surge of ideas mattered much more than the surge of forces

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