WASHINGTON: As terrorist groups increasingly work with drug gangs and other international criminals, they pose new threats to the United States – but they also create new vulnerabilities that savvy Americans can use to attack them, said the Pentagon’s top drug war expert, William Wechsler.
The US needs to go beyond thinking of terrorist groups purely as terrorists and attack them “as business enterprises and criminal enterprises,” said Wechsler, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats, addressing a small audience at the annual irregular warfare conference hosted by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement, IDGA. Tactically, Wechsler said, that approach offers new ways to target terrorist finances and logistics. Strategically, it opens the possibility of a moral judo in which the terrorists discredit themselves. When the US exposes terrorists’ ties to crime, said Wechsler, “it undermines their support within their own populations because most people in the world don’t like this kind of activity. There aren’t a lot of people in the world who love drug trafficking and think it would be great if their son or daughter was hooked on drugs.” Keep reading →