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War on terror 101: U Dayton to create rulebook for "new kind of war".

Nearly 2,500 years ago Chinese General Sun Tzu codified military strategy in his Art of War essays. War, he wrote, "is a matter of rife and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected."

Those words ring as true as ever today, but the enemy is different. There's no textbook that outlines the rules of engagement in a war not against a country, but an idea.

That's why University of Dayton (Ohio) students will rethink the rules for the war on terror in a new course that began in January. Mark Ensalaco, director of the International Studies and Human Rights program at the university, chose 15 upper-level political science and human rights majors to think seriously about how a "war on terror rulebook" should read.

"How do you fight the war on terror and stay within the rules of military engagement?" asks Ensalaco. "Are we back to being pirates, and can we pursue them anywhere on the Barbary Coast? There's no literature out there, so we're going to rewrite the rules for this new kind of war."

Students enrolled in the course will break into research teams and examine four areas that Ensalaco believes require clearer guidelines or greater discussion: individual rights vs. domestic surveillance and homeland security needs; permissible interrogation techniques in light of the Abu Ghraib prison controversy; selective assassinations of suspected terrorists; and the use of preventative war.

"We're looking at defeating a global terrorism network. What's the best way to do it?" Ensalaco asks. "Right now, the human rights and security people are not speaking the same language. There's not enough common ground between them."

Terrorism has become a hot focus of college courses around the country since 9/11. According to one report, as many as 1,000 new courses have been introduced on college campuses in the last three years.

"The war in Iraq wasn't a pre-emptive war. Saddam Hussein was not on the verge of attacking us. This was prevention. When do you engage in a war of prevention?" says Ensalaco.

The class will analyze the progress of the ongoing war on terror to foster critical thinking about the two most daunting issues facing the U.S.--terrorism and homeland security.
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Title Annotation:In The News
Publication:University Business
Date:Feb 1, 2005
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