Yet another article from the Boston Globe asking the question: Are we really at war with “Terror”?

As always, I appreciate your comments . . .

“Eleven suspects were brought to court in London this week, charged with involvement in the plot to blow up several airliners over the Atlantic. The foiling of their alleged conspiracy will inevitably be scrutinized for what it reveals about the terrorist threat five years after Sept. 11.

It should be reassuring that the plotters were not as well organized or as successful at keeping their plans secret as the Sept. 11 masterminds and the terrorists who did their bidding. If British and Pakistani officials are correct, knowledge of the airline plot was disseminated among scores of people. The conspirators failed to prevent a mole from infiltrating their network. And they were careless enough to permit U.S. agencies to intercept their communications.

If the scheme to use liquid explosives to blow up the airliners was conceived or directed by top Qaeda figures, as Pakistani intelligence has claimed, then it seems obvious that Osama bin Laden’s lieutenants are less capable of carrying out a complex terrorist spectacular than they were before they lost their sanctuary and training camps in Afghanistan.

If Al Qaeda was not orchestrating the airline scheme, or if Qaeda figures were involved only tangentially, the thwarting of the plot suggests that local terrorists and jihadists are best fought with sound intelligence”

They may be capable of mass killing, as the London train bombings last summer showed, but the threat they represent is very different from that of Stalin’s Soviet Union or Hitler’s Germany.

Inflating the danger from jihadi terrorists into an existential threat and invoking a grandiose third world war, as President George W. Bush and his advisers have been doing, only plays into the hands of bin Laden and the other deluded megalomaniacs hiding out with him in the mountains of South Waziristan.

– The Boston Globe

Posted at 06:27 am by DC Offline

Posted by Johnny @ 08/26/2006 09:49 AM PDT
Ok, so if this is directed by Al Qaeda, they are less effective because they don’t have Afghanistan as a base. So invading Afghanistan was the right thing to do?

If Al Qaeda is only tangentially involved, then sound intelligence is all that is necessary. So does the risk of listening to a few phone calls and e-mails between suspected terrorists outweigh the benefits of a “totally free society” in which the FBI/CIA and Scotland Yard wait for us to get attacked before doing anything? At any rate, the article is plainly evidence contradicting the earlier post that says we are less safe than we were pre-9/11.

Posted by Eric @ 08/27/2006 09:43 AM PDT
Johnny,

Thanks for the comment – but I think you’re seeking to discredit two posts at the same time by using points from one against the other, which logically can’t be done. I believe you’ll have to accept one as making a point you wish to agree with in order to use that point to discredit the other.

I believe the two articles are both valid. The contention being that policies that the administration utilizes do not make us safer – our frontal military assault as if Terrorists occupy some piece of land merely exacerbate the problem and create more terrorists. Therefore, more police-like intelligence-oriented operations should be used (as in the London op) to take out these cells one by one.

The President and VP like to say that people who embrace a police/law-enforcement approach have a “pre-9/11 mindset” and “don’t get it”, but I believe the point of both articles is that perhaps it is the Administration that “doesn’t get it” and may need to re-examine its approach.

Of course this contention can be debated. Especially if their motivation was to unify the domestic population around their political party by pointing at an outside evil. Leaders through history tend to need a bogeyman to unify the country against.

No one can debate that it’s worked for them politically here at home up to this point. Fear (like sex) Sells . . .

Posted by Johnny @ 08/28/2006 07:36 AM PDT
E,

Sorry I my brevity led to confusion. I was not trying to use both posts against one another. I was trying to point out the contradiction between the premises of this post and it’s conclusion, and use the premises of this post to contradict the statement, “Foiled plot does not make us safer”. The headline of the previous post is categorically wrong, as a foiled plot makes us safer than an un-foiled plot. The article makes two points: an aggressive push to destabilize the base of operations of Al-Qaeda and better intelligence could have thwarted this plot. Both policies are results of “post-9-11” thinking. The Globe author says that because this plot was foiled we do not face an existential crisis, and that Bush is making too big a deal about terrorists for political gain. The fact that there was a plot to be foiled is evidence that we should remain vigilant against those who could be plotting now in our country as well as in other countries.

Lessons on Terrorism

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