Does anyone else not find it amazing that there have been no terrorist attacks on U.S. soil in 2 years? After 9/11, would you have put down $100 saying there would not be?
As much as I dislike Ashcroft, Ridge, et.al. and as shitty of a job as we do in protecting our Mexican and Canadian borders, someone is doing something right. We hear about a possible terrorist group captured or ferreted out now and again, but there must be a lot going on behind the scenes that we do not hear about. The CIA, FBI, or Special Task Force for Getting Baddies (STFGB) needs a little pat on the back, IMO.
Truth be told, I think it’s because we brought the fight to them. It’s far easier to strike the soldiers in Afganistan and Iraq than it is to do it on US soil, even if the shock value of the latter is greater.
But that’s my theory. Perhaps the intelligence agencies really have prevented some attacks, and it’s one of those things that the general public will never know how close they got to. That is a possiibility too.
I did not want another “The wars have helped/Yeah, but look at what cost” thread started, but hitting them at their origins has, obviously, disrupted their worldwide operations. That along with our operatives and those of other countries abroad. I still would have guessed something would have been pulled off or at least a failed attempt would have come to light by now.
I’m not convinced of this. The people we killed in Iraq were not terrorists. Despite what Bush would have you believe, there is a difference. While I do think that the Afghan and Iraqi regimes were helping to fund terrorism, they certainly aren’t the only source. I’m sure there are still many terrorists still in the U.S., but the feds are doing a pretty good job so far to stop them. I honestly expected we start seeing car bombs and such and the U.S. would start looking somewhat like Israel. I’m very impressed by what the feds have done so far to keep this from happening.
Of course, your main point, which is that our soldiers are easier targets, is certainly correct. But I think you are also right that the shock value is greater if they attack here. I think a lot of people attacking those soldiers in Iraq are soldiers themselves, not terrorists. They are more interested in getting us out of their country than hurting the U.S. itself. If foreign soldiers were in the U.S. we could imagine our citizens doing similar things to them. That’s just partisan forces.
There will still be more terrorists attacks on U.S. soil in the future, but I really expected to see them already.
D-d-d-d-dd-d-d-d! No partisan bullshit, let’s keep this sane.
Yes, the soldiers and civilians that died in Iraq were not members of the same terrorist entity which has been waging war on the Infidel States of America for a decade.
However, now that there is a presence smack dab in the middle of a region full of young, malleable men raised on the lies of the “Arab Street,” they are serving as a much more tempting target than embassies and home-soil targets. The terrorists and wannabes are staging their attacks and assisting the Iraqi guerilla movement, which will make their elimination proceed much quicker than if we were hunting them down out in BFE.
The blow against Saddam’s regime itself sure as hell didnt effect terrorism one bit, but our very presence there WILL have an effect, and I believe it’ll be a positive one.
As Jason and others have pointed out, there is no doubt that our actions in Afghanistan have had a major impact. We destroyed Al Qaeda’s infrastructure and captured or killed many of their leaders. I should also point out that I and many other “liberals” supported US actions in Afghanistan. Overall I think the administration did a good job there. We did make a few mistakes – for example, our unwillingness to commit large numbers of ground troops and our dependence on our Afghan allies may have allowed Osama to escape. Nevertheless, I have no major complaints about the Afghan campaign. The Bush administration waited until intelligence properly confirmed the culpability of Al Qaeda in 9/11. They garnered international support and built an international coalition. They went in and did a good job.
The question isn’t whether or not our attack on Afghanistan has made a difference in the war on terror. It has. The question is how much of what we gained in Afghanistan has been lost by our attack in Iraq.
The way the Bush administration has gone about the Iraq war has resulted in the loss of a tremendous amount of international goodwill. International support is critical in fighting terrorism, as terrorism has global scope. That loss of goodwill has reduced our overall ability to wage war against Al Qaeda and others. Countries which had begun to cooperate with us on the war on terror, such as Russia and China, are now far less likely to act on our behalf. Public opinion in even some of our traditional allies has radically shifted against us. Moreover, we shifted resources away from Afghanistan before the job was completed. The US has a very limited number of Arab-language Special Forces. These forces originally in Afghanistan were moved to Iraq – in their place we’ve moved our Latin-American Special Forces to Afghanistan (hardly the most effective way of tracking down Osama). There are also a limited number of remote-control Predators available. Again these were moved from Afghanistan to Iraq. Here’s a quote from Newsweek
We have opened up a new front against radical Islam in Iraq. If the number of militant radical Islamics was stable, we could argue that this has reduced the risks of an attack at home. However, I think it’s self-evident that attacking Iraq has actually increased the number of potential terrorists (at least temporarily). Potential terrorists include the friends and relatives of everyone we’ve killed in Iraq (accidently or on purpose, justified or not). But it also includes lots of people in other Arab countries who see us as bullies, who are sick of the US’ unqualified support of Israel, and see our attack on Iraq as the last straw.
If we actually manage to turn Iraq into a stable democracy, the attack Iraq may in the end reduce our overall risk of terrorist attack. However, if Al Qaeda is able to recover itself because of the resources we’ve moved away from Afghanistan to Iraq, we have made a huge mistake.
I think at this point it is very clear that Iraq posed no immediate and imminent danger to the United States. There was no need for us to attack Iraq beforing finishing up with Al Qaeda. There was no need for us to throw away the tremendous amount of international goodwill we had been granted after 9/11.
Edit: Added link and quote from Newsweek to support comment on Predators and Special Forces.
On a more domestic level, I think a lot can be said for Ashcroft and company paying only lip service to political correctness; despite all of the failures on a terms of structure, I believe it is this disregard for political propriety, that has been largely responsible for the defense against terrorism. Whether the price we are paying in the long run for this security is worth it, I don’t know.
I think there is a significant difference between the sort of international terrorism encountered in, say, WTC 1 & 2 and the bombing of abortion clinics. Your results may vary depending on how dire your need is to muddy the waters of any discussion with favoured liberal talking points.
As for Ashcroft, anyone else think it was funny how Librarians and the ACLU were throwing a hissy-fit over the section about gathering information from libraries and businesses, demanding the the DOJ disclose how many times it had been used, and it turned out it had never been used? Which was exactly what I figured would be the case, because let’s face it, if the American Association of Librarians couldn’t come up with any numbers on their own, it probably wasn’t a common occurance.
I understand the concern over the thought police, but it’s not like they set up an elaborate automated computer system seaching for people who checked out Mein Kapmf or the Qoran. But I think there is a legitimate application regarding suspected terrorists obtaining building records, blueprints and that kind of thing.
The way the Bush administration has gone about the Iraq war has resulted in the loss of a tremendous amount of international goodwill…But it also includes lots of people in other Arab countries who see us as bullies, who are sick of the US’ unqualified support of Israel, and see our attack on Iraq as the last straw.
Yes, the mantra. The supposed ‘goodwill’ has been destroyed in the countries that hated us in the first place. Big loss there. And the arabs and Europeans who have always thought we were bullies, still do. And the terrorists who thought out last troop movement into Saudia Arabia was the last straw 12 years ago.
Using the invasion of Iraq as the ‘last straw’ for haterd of America is becoming tiresome. The imminent threat argument lends much more credence to the opposition instead of the ‘now they really hate us’ argument.
Nonsense – thanks to short-sighted US policy, we have created hundreds of Bin Ladens, each of whom has conducted a catastrophic terrorist event on US soil; caused fundamentalists to violently overthrow the moderate governments of Egypt and Jordan; caused Musharraf to be deposed in Pakistan (and now that country is a nuclear-armed Islamist camp); and forced North Korea to start a nuclear war that devastated the Korean peninsula and the California coast.