Thursday, July 25, 2002

Where Is Al Qaeda?

What has happened to the thousands of killers bent on murdering Americans? I normally distrust, if not outright disregard, statements put out by bureaucrats, because their agenda, justifying their own existence, CYA, runs so strongly in anything they say or do. But I just finished reading a book, Inside Al Qaeda, by Rohan Gunaratna, which is widely considered to be authoritative, about the details of the organization behind 911, The Cole, Khobar Towers, Beirut, and many other bombings and terror attacks worldwide. It reveals a network of organizations that just boggles the mind. The sheer number of murderers, would-be murderers, and sychophantic followers is enormous. Why have they been unable to complete even one itty bitty attack here in the last 10 months?

If you're waiting for the answer, I don't have one. I have ideas, but the idea that the FBI, CIA, and the rest of American alphabetland have become, all of a sudden, competent, seems ridiculous, given their past, keystone kops, antics. I'll never forget the video of the Reagan assasination attack, where the secret service agent didn't even know how to deploy the Uzi he was carrying. So competence is out as an explanation, at least for me. That leaves incompetence. Not ours, but theirs.

Without resorting to stereotyping the enemy, is it possible that these massive efforts to disrupt a technological state are simply beyond their ability? Could Ashcroft's approach (arrest 'em all, let God sort 'em out) have stilted their C&C (command & control) apparatus sufficiently to hobble them? Surely so, at least for a while. But as we have seen in Israel lately, while killing and bottling up their leaders slows things down a bit but, like any criminal organization, there are always others waiting in the wings ta assume the mantle of power. Maybe not people as talented as the ones they are replacing, but talented enough to pull triggers, give orders, and get a decentralized network to function somewhat.

Clearly some combination of the above, plus European alphabet people, Interpol, plus Israeli Shin Bet and Mossad intelligence, are keeping the enemy off balance. They also want to make their next attack a really big show, which is more difficult by an order of magnitude than getting a single lunatic to light his shoes on fire, and doubly so when the fuses refuse to light due to incompetence in shoe-bomb assembly. But I wouldn't write them off. What they lack in competence, they make up for in numbers and the sheer level of hatred they have for us.

And we need to give ourselves a little bit of credit. Osama(RIP) and his goons were too successful for their own good when the WTC collapsed. They awakened a sleeping giant: the American People. We know that they are out there. We know that we can't rely on the police anymore. We now take direct action. We keep our eyes open, We are no longer afraid to speak up when we see something that looks wrong. We don't need a T.I.P.S. bureaucracy to organize us. The enemy is disorganized, our defense must be similar. Everywhere. Vigilant. Ubiquitous. We don't dare to call 911 and wait for the nanny state to take care of us.

This is where America is so great. We should all be so proud. The last 30 years were a peaceful time. We thought, some of us, that history itself had been repealed. We know better now. What is ours, is ours again.

But, if you want to sleep soundly, or enjoy your next vacation, don't read that book!