There has been a lot of talk about Al Qaeda again lately, and how we are fighting them there (Iraq) so we don't have to fight them here (Richard Clarke called it the lost puppy dog theory of terrorism).
What I'm wondering is what Americans who have totally bought into the idea that the Iraq war is supposed to be making us safer, and we're fighting them there so as not to fight them here will think when the next terrorist attack comes.
Right now, it is a virtual certainty that there is a cell training for an attack in a place OTHER than Iraq or Afghanistan. They are patiently plotting away at their work. Maybe London. Maybe Hamburg. Maybe Buffalo or Miami. Yes, the 9/11 attackers did some of their training in Afghanistan. But where did they learn to fly? Right here, unmolested in the good old US of A. A lot of the logistical work was done in Europe.
The point is, the Administration's assertion that the Iraq war is the "Central Front" on the war on terror is flawed in that it will not stop another Al Qaeda attack on the homeland in any way, shape or form. As we know, the war is actually encouraging more terrorists around the world. And, as a special added bonus, a lot of them are going there and learning how to make car bombs and IED's. Don't be surprised if in the near future one makes an appearance in a city near you.
A lot of Americans who have bought into the Iraq war hook, line and sinker are going to be very shocked when the next attack comes. They are going to scratch their heads, and say, but, but, but, George Bush and Dick Cheney told us we'd be safe now that we took out that bad old Saddam, and that bad old Taliban.
A lot of our leaders know that the words Al Qaeda strike fear into the hearts of a lot of Americans (and, after the horrible day of 9/11, a certain amount of that might be prudent, don't get me wrong).
They count on Americans also being historically ignorant when they say that Al Qaeda is the biggest threat to our freedom in history. This is laughable at best. Yes, Al Qaeda is a threat to freedom only in how many civil liberties we give up after each subsequent attack. They also count on Americans being notorious non-critical thinkers.
Do you really believe Al Qaeda was a greater threat than the times of the civil war when the country was tearing apart and families were fighting families? Do you really believe Al Qaeda is a greater threat than Japan and Germany in world war two? Do you really believe Al Qaeda is a greater threat than the Soviet Union who had enough WMD's to kill every man, woman, child, bird, dog, lizard hundreds of times over (and as a side note do you really believe the Iranians are the biggest threat ever too)?
I'm not saying that Al Qaeda can't still do great harm to our country. I believe they can, and I believe they will. It's been awhile since their last attack here. A lot of that can be attributed to getting a lot of the senior charismatic leadership of Al Qaeda. HOPEFULLY, we've learned as much about them, as they have learned about carrying out terrorist attacks while they were rebuilding their networks - I don't see much evidence of this, but I still hope.
But the real question to be asked is what kind of people are we now? Don't we have any courage? I think about the British during world war two - their cities were bombed by Nazi airplanes virtually every night - these attacks made them more determined to carry on. Will our free economy and free lifestyle live through a few more Al Qaeda bombings?
My magic 8 ball says this is "Doubtful".
On another note, I read today that the Army is crimping down on blogs coming from Iraq due to "security concerns" (I also read that it includes e-mails). My guess is that the real reason is that they probably don't like the opinions coming out of those blogs. Probably "too negative". The senior officers probably feel that honest opinion about the war is too damaging to the morale of the troops. I have no doubt that they can probably produce some blogs where operational security is compromised. But most military folks are pretty cognizant of operational security. They know that if it is found out that they are the ones who told, there will be hell to pay. So most of them will not tell, and most of them are a lot more savvy than their commanders give them credit for. Also the idea that the insurgency will get their information from the blogs is kind of comical. All they need to do is pay some kid or family for all the information they want (or just open their eyes and WATCH). I think this is a dangerous trend (censoring these things) that needs to be watched.