Sunday, January 30, 2005


whether the campaign of terror and violence led by al-Zarqawi et al. A statement allegedly made by al-Zarqawi tries to put the most positive (from his warped perspective) spin on election day:
"We have spoiled their party. We have struck them with grievous attacks... Before this statement was published, 13 lions from the martyrs brigade of the Al-Qaeda Group of Jihad in the Land of the Two Rivers attacked centres of the infidel in various regions of Iraq," said a statement posted on the Internet.
But 13 suicides to kill perhaps three times that number and not appreciably diminish the determination of the Iraqi people to line up for hours to vote doesn't seem to be a very sustainable long-term strategy.

Thinking about the War on Terror more generally, one wonders about the long-term viability of al Qaeda-style terror tactics. It has been more than 3 years since 9/11. There have been no follow-up attacks on American soil. One would think that al Qaeda would have sought to press its advantage in the days, weeks, and months after 9/11 by precipitating a steady stream of attacks in the U.S. in an effort to diminish American resolve and speed up an American withdrawal from the Middle East. Such attacks need not be as big and dramatic as 9/11. I would think that a suicide bombing in a shopping mall in Des Moines would probably be as effective in sowing doubt, anxiety, and terror as would an attack on the Presidential inauguration (if it can happen in Des Moines, it can happen anywhere; nowhere is safe). And yet the attacks have not come. Whether this is due to a lack of resolve, resources, and understanding on the part of the terrorists or whether it is due to heightened security efforts on the part of the U.S., or whether it is due to the fact that the U.S. has aggressively attacked and killed many terrorist leaders and bases (or some combination of all three) is not clear. But what seems to be clear is that the ability of terrorists to completely disrupt Americans' way of life is perhaps not as great as some have feared. And that, too, is a good thing.

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