Why No Major Attacks Since 9/11

The official reason given for our not having suffered a major terrorist attack since 9/11 is that our Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have destroyed Al Qaeda’s training camps, cut off their supply lines, and demoralized their fanatical fighters. But that doesn’t seem likely. Al Qaeda, you see, is not a national army with fixed headquarters and a single chain of command. Much like the Russian Mafia, it operates as small, mobile cells, ideological united but strategically disconnected from each other. Capture members of one cell and no amount of torture can extract from them reliable information about the other cells. Destroy a training camp here and another one crops up there. Cut off supply lines and others immediately open up. And because their weaponry and methods of combat are so simple, their fighters and suicide bombers can be readily trained anywhere in the world, like right here in America. Recall how the 9/11 hijackers got the scant training they needed in commercial flight schools in California, Florida and Arizona, right under our noses. Recall also how in 2002 two misfits armed with nothing but an old car and a hunting rifle terrorized the DC area for weeks.

So Al Qaeda could easily have followed up on 9/11 had they wanted to, but refrained because they had nothing to gain and much to lose by it. For all intent and purposes, they are winning the war against us. They have made air travel in this country and the civilized world an unpleasant ordeal. They have sown suspicion and divisiveness among our people, the time-proven divide and conquer ploy. Another 9/11 would have reunited the nation under a common cause, the last thing they want. Moreover, they have caused us to squander trillions of dollars by suckering us into two mindless nation-building wars—Osama bin Laden’s strategy to bankrupt America the same way he claims to have done the Soviet Union. Our killing him won’t change the game plan. His successors will adhere to it religiously, and will continue to enjoy the upperhand.

Now it’s true that some home-grown terrorists linked to Al Qaeda have been planning attacks, but their uncharacteristic ineptitude, their apparent stupidity, the ease which their attempts have been thwarted by the FBI and local law-enforcement agencies suggest that this might be a ruse to keep us on edge and further lure us into bankruptcy at a trifle cost to Al Qaeda. And that, too, might be the reasoning behind the hyperbolic threats of revenge for bin Laden’s assassination. Maybe Al Qaeda and fellow Jihadists will eventually make good on their threats, but for now the threats alone would suffice to keep us terrorized and wasting yet more of our dwindling wealth on needless security. Only when we start calling the terrorist’s bluff can we begin to win the war on terror.

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