Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Al-Qaida's next generation

Face it. What we're doing isn't going to stop terrorists. They're like the Hydra.
The news is alarming. U.S. and French intelligence agencies are convinced that terrorist network al-Qaida has reorganized and, what's more, developed new training camps in both Afghanistan and the remote tribal regions of northern Pakistan. They believe that a new generation of terrorists has come of age, and some are suspected of planning attacks in the West.

Five and a half years have passed since Sept. 11, 2001, and the beginning of the war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The physical presence of Osama bin Laden's network was largely destroyed at the time -- the terrorist camps, which had trained an estimated 20,000 men, quickly reduced to rubble. Two years ago, the White House crowed that two-thirds of al-Qaida's leadership had been eliminated. "We're winning," President Bush claimed recently. "Al-Qaida is on the run."

But are those terrorists really on the run? Of course, there can be no doubt that the network no longer has nearly the capacity it had when it organized the 9/11 attacks. But the attempts to reorganize are obvious, and the new camps are an indication that the efforts have been successful. According to Time magazine, each of the camps has the capacity to train between 10 and 300 jihadists. "We know they exist, but it's like finding a needle in a haystack," the magazine quotes a U.S. military official in Afghanistan as saying.

If you can't kill all terrorists in 5-6 years, the 9-11 year olds will have come of age and have been indoctrinated in that time. That means the only way to stop terrorists is to kill all of them within a year which is ludicrous. It will never happen.

The only sensible thing to do is win hearts and minds (gawd I hate that cliché, but it works) which is what the Taleban and al-Qaeda do as well as Hizballah.

(via Salon - sponsor click required)

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Blogger Jeb said...

Excellent point. I think you're right about this one: a military response has proven completely ineffective. A better approach would be a bit more nuanced, involving selective police action as well as attempts to change the minds of people who might be inclined towards Islamic extremism.

4/18/2007 03:51:00 AM  
Blogger spiiderweb™ said...

But we all know Bush doesn't "do" nuance.

We have to engage the people. I've known severely violent people and dealt with them one on one with no fear for my safety. Its how civilized people deal with others.

4/18/2007 07:19:00 AM  

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