Terrorism: August 13, 2002


Yes, the war against terrorism is being won. But most of the battles are taking place in the shadows, and the US participants are under orders not to talk about what they are doing. Terrorists, to be successful, must operate out of view. They did this successfully enough to pull off the September 11, 2001 attacks, and are even more concerned with their stealthiness now that they have so many more people looking for them. The most useful and reliable communications system al Qaeda has left is the mass media. Not just the Internet, but also international radio and TV news outlets. Thus if the FBI, CIA or Army Special Forces openly discuss what they are doing, the terrorists obtain valuable information on how they are being hunted and how successful these operations are. This is tough on journalists, but you can tell how successful the operations have been by the large number of al Qaeda suspects arrested, and the small number of attacks they have been able to carry out since September 11, 2001. The anti-terrorist forces can't even talk about many of the terrorist operations they have thwarted, for that would tell everyone in al Qaeda that a particular operation failed, and perhaps why. Apparently, most of the largest al Qaeda cells in Europe and North America have been broken up, or forced to disperse. The only places where al Qaeda can still operate are in parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Most other parts of the Islamic world are getting a lot of attention from the FBI, CIA and State Department. While many of the leaders in these nations are reluctant to crack down on local Islamic militants, they are well aware that al Qaeda's original target was them. Attacks against non-believers has caught the popular imagination among many Moslems, but al Qaeda has not renounced it's desire to remove the "corrupt" leadership in Islamic nations. Obviously, making too much of the cooperation received from these Islamic governments would be embarrassing for Islamic officials, but that's the kind of war we are in. The complete story of how this war was fought won't be known until it is over.


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