Bin Laden, Ineffectual

This FoxNews story about Osama Bin Laden is enough to make me re-evaluate almost everything I had thought about terrorism. Here is OBL, safely ensconced with his journal, watching the BBC, or watching videos of himself. He writes down ideas for plots, none of which seem to have been in any stage of operation. He kept tabs with people and tried to micromanage the plots that toher AQ affiliates might convince themselves they are hatching.

“He was like a prisoner at the compound,” the official said.

How odd, no?

The 9/11 terrorist attacks were utterly spectacular successes for Bin Laden and his terrorists. And the train and bus bombings in Europe, while smaller were also successful. But are we really supposed to be afraid of this anymore?

It is actually relatively easy for any one of us to imagine a campaign of terrorist attacks that would be cheap and easy to execute, and utterly devastating to life in the U.S. All ¬†you need are people willing to die for their trouble, and maybe a few guns. I find it unlikely that Islamic terrorists haven’t thought of these themselves. After all, terrorists have occasionally blown up cafes and pizza shops in Europe.

And yet after nearly a decade of the Great Satan’s depredations in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Pakistan and now Libya, this hasn’t happened. Isn’t that remarkable? For all the worries about winning hearts and minds over there, and the Peter King-style fantasies of radical Muslims near Detroit or whatever: nothing. It is as ginned up as the threats of German-American sabotage during the Great War.

For a while I wanted to argue with the apologists for “regional transformation” that we weren’t fighting the Soviets, who had nukes they could deliver by the bushel, we were fighting people living in caves. Well, it’s more pathetic than that: we were fighting someone living in his man-cave. You can almost respect an enemy flinty enough to live in caves. But we were fighting a cable-news fanatic. And who got especially lucky to meet Khalid Sheik Mohammed a man with enough kinetic energy to pull of a major disaster. Whereas Bin Laden had gone after soft targets in rather crude way in the 90′s, KSM was able to organize crude tactics into a kind of masterpiece of destruction and chaos.

Even though our wars haven’t produced a wave of blowback attacks, I still believe that provoking these people is a fantastic waste of our resources and the lives of our servicemen. Does anyone really think Iraq is so utterly changed that it has reduced the chance of terrorism in the United States? I didn’t think so.

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