Terror Warfare

This is a partial transcript of The Big Story With John Gibson, November 10, 2003, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: General John Abizaid (search) is promising to get tough, and then dropping a few hundred-pound bombs in Fallujah. Meanwhile, Saudi King Fahd is vowing that his country will strike against Islamic militants with an iron fist.

William Lind is director of the Center for Cultural Conservativism at the Free Congress Foundation. He predicted the type of fourth generation warfare we are seeing today. Today's big question -- does conventional warfare work against unconventional enemies?

WILLIAM LIND, DIRECTOR, CULTURAL CONSERVATISM CENTER: The answer, of course, as we've seen so often in history from Napoleon's struggle with the guerrillas in Spain on forward is no.

GIBSON: You describe this as fourth generation warfare. What does that mean? What is fourth generation?

LIND: It is the fourth major change in the conduct of war since the modern era began with the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, and it is the largest such change. What happened with the Peace of Westphalia is that the state established a monopoly over war.

Wars were fought between states, using state armies and navies, fighting forces pretty much like themselves. In the fourth generation, what we see going on today around the world, the state is losing that monopoly, increasingly states are fighting non-state forces, such as Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, the FARC and so on, and everywhere the state is losing.

GIBSON: Well, what is it one does to fight a fourth generation enemy?

LIND: Nobody knows. As I said, so far no state forces have really won. There are a few that haven't lost, such as the British in Northern Ireland. But nobody's won. We know a lot of things that don't work, but so far we don't know anything that does.

GIBSON: Is this the question that one of the questions that Donald Rumsfeld posed about whether, gee, is it best to go at these people with a department of defense, a Pentagon, a massive United States army military, or do we need some other method?

LIND: I think that the secretary of defense was at least hinting at something in that direction. I think he is at least beginning to figure out that what we're doing thus far is not working.

GIBSON: Let me just stop you there. It's worked to this point. I mean, there is no Al Qaeda to speak of in Afghanistan. There is no Taliban running Afghanistan. And that was a state that gave haven to those kind of terrorists. Now they are on the loose moving around. You would agree, wouldn't you, that it's work to this point, but things are different now?

LIND: It works to the point where you're fighting a state. When we went into Afghanistan, the Taliban was the state. And so long as it was the state, we could fight it. When it seized to be the state, then we lost our ability to fight it. And now in Afghanistan, the Taliban is coming back strong.

GIBSON: So, is this the same kind of counterinsurgency war that we fought in Vietnam?

LIND: The techniques are similar, but there are other things that are vastly different. In Vietnam, we fought one opponent and that opponent's goal was to create a state or to incorporate South Vietnam into North Vietnam. Many of the fourth generation opponents have completely different motives. They're fighting for, among other things, God. And this fundamentally changes the nature of the war itself.

GIBSON: Are we overstating the size of these forces? Are we making them into a 30-foot giant when they're really midgets, hiding behind a curtain like the Wizard of Oz?

LIND: They are the same midgets that drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan.

GIBSON: No, the CIA helped them and the Saudi government helped them.

LIND: Well, the Saudi government may be helping these, too, or at least there's plenty of help from Saudi Arabia. But the fact of the matter is that they don't have to be numerous, they don't have to have fancy gear. They don't have to be sophisticated. Our commander in Iraq, according to what we heard earlier, said these people are not sophisticated. They may not be. But they're nonetheless, very effective.

GIBSON: All right. Let's just say that instead of looking at these scenes in Iraq, that we're seeing on the air here, we were looking at these scenes in Los Angeles. I mean, do you think for a moment that the LAPD wouldn't know where to go and how to find people that were shooting RPG's at them or were downing LAPD helicopters? Isn't there a kind of police/paramilitary force model that works much better than what we're doing now with our military?

LIND: Yes, that is definitely true. But in LA, of course, we would be on our home turf as the British are in Northern Ireland, which means we would know a great deal more.

GIBSON: Aha. Wouldn't then the answer here in Iraq be the Iraqi police and army backed up by the American military, turned loose to find these people?

LIND: But why should they find those people on our behalf? We are an invader and an occupier.

GIBSON: No, it's on their behalf. They wouldn't join the Iraqi police if they didn't want to do this. They wouldn't join the Iraqi military as of today if they didn't want to do this. And you said yourself, these are Al Qaeda people who are running in from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, they're not Iraqis.

LIND: No. That's not true.

GIBSON: And most of these people supported Saddam Hussein.

LIND: That's not true. Most of the people who are fighting us in Iraq today are Iraqis, the overwhelming majority. And the reason that Iraqis are take jobs in the police force and the army we are creating is they need the money.

GIBSON: Isn't it obviously true that these people who are shooting at us now, even if they are Iraqis in Iraq, are the ones that have been defeated? They are the one ran the country. They are the ones that ran the torture chambers. They are the ones who oppressed everybody else. Why would everybody else care about them?

LIND: There are three different things going on in Iraq at the moment. And you're really only talking about one and the three all overlap and interrelate. The first is chaos, which ebbs and flows and includes crime. The second is a war of national liberation, largely led by the Ba'ath, and that's most of the resistance we're facing now.

But the third element is growing fourth generation forces, particularly in the Shiite community, including Shiites fighting Shiites. And that is where the war is going and that bears no relationship to Saddam Hussein.

GIBSON: William Lind, thank you very much. Appreciate you coming in today.

LIND: Thank you.

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