Al Qaeda, Where Are Ya?

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One of these dangerous, but interesting, bits of lengthy analysis posing the question: if Al Qaeda is so lethal, and so out to get us, why have there been no verifiable terrorist attacks, or even convincing evidence of specific plans for them, in America since 9/11? These sorts of articles can raise accusations of giving the bad guys ideas–like walking across the Mexican border with shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles and going airplane hunting–and can also seem quite foolish in an instant if another awful attack does happen. Still, Ashraf Fahim in the Asia Times both takes and assesses the risks. An excerpt, from his conclusion:

Part of the explanation for the paucity of tangible threats on US soil may be that the scope of the threat the US was facing was exaggerated in the months after September 11. Originally, says [John] Pike [of globalsecurity.org], "the president spoke in terms of 100,000 trained terrorists. I always thought that number was just way too high." Even if the number was as high as 20,000, he says, "you figure that the average career span of a terrorist is 20 years, and that none of them want to die by natural causes. Well, that would mean that 1,000 of them ought to be embracing martyrdom every year. So where are they?"

It is a question no one has been able to answer. "My working hypothesis," says Pike, "would be that the longer we go without a domestic spectacular attack, the greater the presumption that they aren't here." Burgess says that, in any event, the sheer numbers aren't important. "It doesn't really matter if there are only two or three sleeper cells if they manage to carry out two or three 9-11s," he says.

Both the Bush administration and al-Qaeda have arguably had an interest in overstating the capacity of terrorists to strike the US homeland. The reasons for the administration's exaggeration may not have been entirely selfish or political—the challenge of motivating preparedness on the vast US soil is staggering. If, however, al-Qaeda hasn't attempted an operation by the time the presidential election rolls around on November 2—an opportunity "too good to pass up" in the words of Condoleezza Rice—real questions may be asked about the actual size and nature of the terrorist threat the US is facing.

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  1. Uh oh, a circular logic topic. I’ll come back when the spinning is over. ;>

  2. I really do think that a large part of it is the invasion of Iraq. We’re keeping them engaged on a different front. And as Al Qaeda leaders become involved there, it gives us more opportunities to take them out before they can attack the mainland US again.

  3. you figure that the average career span of a terrorist is 20 years, and that none of them want to die by natural causes

    That seems unlikely on both counts.

    First of all, there’s an awful lot of *talk* about martyrdom, but few people have actually seemed willing to do it. For every Palestinian willing to strap on a bomb-vest and go blow up some Jewish kids there are hundreds, or thousands, or tens of thousands of others who lack the balls to actually kill themselves but who are nevertheless perfectly willing to help somebody *else* do it. A terrorist organization may consist of a thousand members — ten who carry out attacks, and 990 support personnel. Nevertheless all of the thousand are properly labelled “terrorists”, just as an enlisted man in the Army is called a “soldier” even if his actual job consists of polishing officers’ boots in the Pentagon.

    In short — there’s no reason to suspect most terrorists are serious about the whole “die for Allah” thing. Hell, do we actually need any further proof of that then the fact that Osama bin Laden wasn’t actually IN one of the 9/11 airplanes?

    Secondly, there is little reason to suspect that most terrorists remain so for decades. Terrorists are almost entirely drawn from the ranks of disgruntled young men. Most disgruntled young men eventually grow up, get laid, and get a life. That’s why today’s anti-globalization “anarchist” is tomorrow’s aluminum siding salesman.

  4. Perhaps some of our efforts to disrupt Al Qaeda operations have been successful. The removal of the Taliban from power must have had some impact on Al Qaeda?s command structure. Who gives orders to sleeper cells now and how are such orders communicated? Also, I suspect that our scrutiny of financial transactions may have hurt Al Qaeda?s ability to support sleeper cells. Who?s paying the bills and how are they being paid? I wouldn?t expect such questions to go unanswered forever, but chasing Al Qaeda?s leadership underground and slowing down the flow of money must have had some impact on their ability to operate.

  5. But surely they can spare one guy with a couple stingers, right? I doubt Al Queda is too worried about maintaining mulitiple fronts. It’s not like they’re the Red Army.

  6. Most disgruntled young men eventually grow up, get laid, and get a life.

    …Or, go to work for Reason. ;-p

  7. I’m with Andrew.
    But we may be waiting awhile…

  8. I’m sure they’d love to do what they can, but they’re on the run. Most of their top guys have been killed or captured, and everyone everywhere throughout the world is under suspicion. They can still do damage, as in Iraq, but it’s a lot harder than it used to be.

    Before September 11, they used to hold press conferences. Now they know anywhere they show their face they can be killed, or picked up. It’s hard to organize when you spend 90% of your time looking behind you.

    The trouble is, obviously, they still might be able to put it together and killed a few hundred thousand Americans, so you can never get too cocky.

  9. Andrew Lynch put the right taint on this thread.

    The war on terror is like the war on drugs. It will continue until drugs and terror are legalized.

    “Terror legalized”?

    Terrorists should be pulverized, but concurrent with someone, somewhere in some government, seriously listening to and understanding their issues.

    Before midnite, Eastern, of 9-11, Baghdad should have been nuked. First thing 9-12, every US troop in Saudi Arabia and all the MiddleEast, should have had orders to pull out–vacate holy sites.

    “Terror legalized”?

    Terror is just another “substance” for mood-alteration… another excuse for governments to incite hysteria.

  10. Well, I for one have no idea which parts of Ruthless’ post were jokes, which parts were serious, and which parts were sarcastic. It all just sounded insane.

  11. I’m hoping the reference to “al Queda” is simply a case of spell-checker-gone-bad.

  12. Raymond the hawk writes: “I really do think that a large part of it is the invasion of Iraq. We’re keeping them engaged on a different front. ”

    Sending people to Iraq who could pull off operations in the US would be a complete waste. They’d want to save educated, English-speaking recruits for operations in the US and England. They’d want people who could blend in to some degree, and not attract scrutiny.

    The ideal would probably be recruits educated at universities in the US or Western Europe, or who’ve spent significant time in that environment.

  13. This theory was covered last year at LRC:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/vancleave4.html

    “Having primed America with the carnage of 9-11, the most savvy terrorists of all would carry out no additional attacks whatsoever. Instead, they would send one another communications, intending that these be intercepted, talking about big plans for big devastation. Then they’d sit back and watch as we changed our own behavior in ways that seriously damage sectors of the American economy, and as our government wastes billions of dollars chasing after imaginary threats while reducing a once free America to a full-fledged police state.

    Once in a while, these ultra-savvy terrorists would include in their ‘chatter’ a few comments about having to cancel or delay plans because of interference by Homeland Security efforts, providing an explanation of why no attacks actually occur, and giving the government their justification to continue their repression of liberty unabated.

    Naturally they’d pump up the rhetorical volume for this holiday season ? partly because it’s just expected, but also so we will depress retail sales at a most crucial time for American businesses ? again letting us do all the damage by our own hand.”

  14. OK, so we’ve been mired in Monday-morning quarterbacking and Official Congressional Preening — sorry, “hearings” — about Why wasn’t 9/11 prevented, dammit, and who was responsible for failing to prevent it?

    Simultaneously, we now sit here every day as 9/11 doesn’t happen, yet it’s not because someone is preventing it, but because of … well, take your choice: the terrorists aren’t really that powerful, there aren’t many of them, etc.

    Look, it’s one or the other: 9/11’s are possible but preventable, or they’re hard to pull off and not preventable.

    This, I presume, is what Andrew meant by the “circular logic” thing, with a bit of the old “shifting goalposts” thing tossed in. And that’s what makes it all so frustrating to talk about.

  15. Let’s assume for a moment that Fahim is correct. Let’s say that there are 100 Al Qaeda operatives world wide.

    Does the number of hidden participants change in any material way how we have to fight them, given the destructive capacity they have shown? If so, what should we be doing different?

    The use of military force to cut off avenues of retreat and dissuade governments from hiding terrorists doesn’t seem any less prudent from my pov …

  16. This guy seems to forget it was 8 years between the two WTC attacks.

  17. re: the lewrockwell theory

    As always, the point is missed. Why would this plan work? Because it is 100% rational to assume that you can be hit again once you have been hit the first time.

    I am tired of the doves that tell us that the terrorists are getting what they want when we send the military after them or otherwise kill them. Don’t tell me that we are fighting the wrong way until you can tell me an alternative. Under the lewrockwell analysis, we could show them good by doing nothing. HA! Take that! You can bomb us at will and we will do absolutely 0 so that you don’t ‘get what you want’. Every 10,000 people you kill just makes us more secure in the justice of our position!

  18. Jason, did you bother to read the whole article?

    Addressing your point:

    “Naturally they’d pump up the rhetorical volume for this holiday season ? partly because it’s just expected, but also so we will depress retail sales at a most crucial time for American businesses ? again letting us do all the damage by our own hand.

    All this comes at virtually no cost or risk to the terrorists. It’s the perfect revenge for whatever insults may have motivated their enmity: arranging for us to both dream up and implement our own punishment, indefinitely! So, if I’m right, there’s good news and bad news.

    The good news is that we’re not dealing with the kind of smart, motivated terrorists that could easily run rampant in America as I’ve just described.

    More good news is that it certainly looks like we’re dealing with the ultra-savvy terrorists instead, and all we need to do to stop the pain is to stay our own hand!

    The bad news is that a motivated ultra-savvy terrorist, once deprived of our cooperation in punishing ourselves, may well turn to the relatively simple, safe, and inexpensive kinds of destruction that we will never be able to prevent altogether (if at all).”

  19. My speculation is that our opponents, unbeholden as we are to election cycles, are very patient. Religious fervor is very patient. They don’t care if Clinton or Bush or whoever is president, they will attack nonetheless. It might not be that they are unwilling or incapable of AN attack, but that they are waiting to put together THE attack, one that will cause a 9/11 scale of damage. If they had the capability to take out some bridges, explode some trains, blow up a dirty bomb, why waste your operatives with that small fry? Save up, bide your time, even if it takes 5 or 10 years, and do something really huge. That seems like a more likely scenario to me. The affiliated wanna-bes will continue causing havoc around the world, but my suspicion is that the real good operatives would be working on a long term, large scale plan.

  20. joe: why isn’t Bush driving a Humvee in Najaf?

    You think Bush is afraid to die?

    You realize what a giant bull?s eye that man has on his back?

    Are you trying to assert that Bush has never been to Iraq since the War began?

    I see Bush out and about all of the time. He doesn?t seem to be hiding to me.

    Bin Laden manipulates his followers to commit suicide as a weapon (the cult of death). Are you claiming that Bush behaves in an analogous fashion?

    joe: I’d take your comment at face value, but that would insult your intelligence.

    Since you seem to be rooting for the bad guys, don?t be too certain you?d offend me with your ?insults?.

  21. “If he really believed in the Cause then he would commit suicide. That would be the fastest and most efficient way for him to be with Allah.”

    That’s absurd on its face. The “cause” is not to commit suicide, it’s to institute (extreme interpretations of) Sharia law throughout the world, or at least to get the West out of the Islamic world by whatever means are necessary. If that involves having some pawns blow themselves up for the cause, so be it, in OBL’s view. OBL’s cause does not require all its adherents to suicide, and in fact requires none to suicide. It just so happens, however, that OBL is using the rhetoric of martyrdom to convince others to take part in a classic guerrilla terrorist campaign.

    One of the things makes it so appalling is that they’re doing repugnant things (as if murder of innocents weren’t enough) in the name of “religon” and “god.”

  22. Aren’t serpants supposed to be cunning?

    Look Einstein, the answer to “why isn’t Bush driving a Humvee” is exactly the same as “why hasn’t Bin Laden carried out a suicide operation.” Because they better serve their causes as commanders. Bush is 50 years old, and would make a terrible combat soldier. Bin Laden is one of the most recognizable people in the world, and is in ill health. Plus, thy can both generate huge amounts of money for their political movements by staying “back home.” Finally, they both believe they were chosen by God to lead a political movement, not personally fight for it. Note that none of these answers involves charges of cowardice.

    I only “seem to be rooting for the bad guys” because you have trouble distinguishing friends from enemies. Hint: those of us saying “let’s do this better” do not want to see it fail.

  23. I’d imagine that (almost) all of you are somewhat right.

    I’m sure The Enemy (“TE”, including AQ and other groups) is quite happy we’re spending all this money on Homeland Security. 9/11 has changed the way most Americans live or at least the way they think, and it’s cost billions of dollars. Quite a payoff for a $100,000 or so investment.

    I’m sure TE is also patient and has something catastrophic planned. Which is why we should establish a policy of MAD with those in the Middle East who don’t want to die.

    TE, as defined above, cannot be reasoned with. Their goal is to eliminate or subjugate non-Muslims. There’s nothing to bargain about.

  24. The Serpent (previously): If he really believed in the Cause then he would commit suicide. That would be the fastest and most efficient way for him to be with Allah?

    db: That’s absurd on its face. The “cause” is not to commit suicide, it’s to institute (extreme interpretations of) Sharia law throughout the world, or at least to get the West out of the Islamic world by whatever means are necessary.

    Actions speak louder than words.

    db: If that involves having some pawns blow themselves up for the cause, so be it, in OBL’s view.

    That tells me the pawns must take ?the Cause? far more seriously than Bin Laden does.

    db: OBL’s cause does not require all its adherents to suicide, and in fact requires none to suicide.

    I?d say that OBL?s Cause does not require OBL to commit suicide. He doesn?t seem to be very concerned with anyone else committing suicide though.

    db: It just so happens, however, that OBL is using the rhetoric of martyrdom to convince others to take part in a classic guerrilla terrorist campaign.

    In other words, he isn?t interested in committing suicide or greeting Allah as a martyr himself, he is more interested in the final outcome ? ?the Effect?.

    db: One of the things makes it so appalling is that they’re doing repugnant things (as if murder of innocents weren’t enough) in the name of “religon” and “god.”

    You honestly believe that Osama Bin Laden is a devoutly religious person in reality? Do You honestly believe that his actions are those of an individual who genuinely believes in a Benevolent God?

    Are you in the habit of taking homicidal, mass-murdering, terrorists at their Word?

  25. joe: Aren’t serpents supposed to be cunning?

    The Architect made me subtil, but I?m not sure if that is the same thing as cunning?

    joe: Look Einstein, the answer to “why isn’t Bush driving a Humvee” is exactly the same as “why hasn’t Bin Laden carried out a suicide operation.” Because they better serve their causes as commanders.

    Except Bin Laden advocates suicide for his minions whereas Bush does not.

    Apparently you consider this bit of data insignificant to the equation?

    joe: Bush is 50 years old, and would make a terrible combat soldier. Bin Laden is one of the most recognizable people in the world, and is in ill health. Plus, thy can both generate huge amounts of money for their political movements by staying “back home.” Finally, they both believe they were chosen by God to lead a political movement, not personally fight for it. Note that none of these answers involves charges of cowardice.

    I don?t even consider the two in the same league.

    Bush is no coward. Whereas Osama Bin Laden is the epitome of cowardice.

    Osama Bin Laden is the kind of guy that orders his lackies to fly airplanes into buildings full of innocent civilians.

    But I can see that you are enamored with Bin Laden. I guess some people just prefer Chocolate to Vanilla?

    BTW ? The odds that Bush is killed or wounded as President of the U.S. are greater than had he served a tour of duty in Viet Nam as a combat soldier.

    joe: I only “seem to be rooting for the bad guys” because you have trouble distinguishing friends from enemies. Hint: those of us saying “let’s do this better” do not want to see it fail.

    Better?

    You mean as in ? the recent prisoner abuse at Abu Gharaib under U.S. control was ?better? than what use to go on there when Hussein was in control?

    Or do you mean like ? it is “better” for Al Qaeda to attack our all volunteer military in a foreign country than for Al Qaeda to attack our innocent women and children (civilians) back home in the U.S.?

  26. Serpent, you didn’t even come close to answering any of the points I made, only responded with more of your brand of strained retort.

    Hence, I call “Troll” on you. If you want to take part in the discussion, please take the effort to converse with the others involved, not just yourself.

  27. “We’re keeping them engaged on a different front.”

    Which of course explains the bombings in Spain, and the attempts in the UK, France and Germany. No, they are still quite active outside of Iraq.

  28. “I call “Troll” on you.”

    Good call, db.
    Having someone masturbate in front of you quickly gets really boring. I wonder how those prison guards at Abu Gharaib could stand it.

  29. db & TJ,

    “excellent” retort “gentlemen”.

  30. See also this old post: Some 9/11 conspirators entered via Mexico? I never got a response to my email, but perhaps a reasoner might have better luck.

  31. I hate to spoil the fun, but terrorists may have already hit the mainland since Sept. 11. I’m not convinced that the New York oil terminal explosion was not terrorism, or that plane crash in Queens, or, especially the Houston oil port explosion just weeks after a specific warning, and maybe another one in New Mexico. How can we be sure we’re not getting hit, and stopping some that we never hear about? Gotta maintain consumer confidence, you know.

  32. Mr. L. Blog…

    “TE, as defined above, cannot be reasoned with. Their goal is to eliminate or subjugate non-Muslims. There’s nothing to bargain about.”

    Although this idea is quite widespread, it’s not exactly the case. The middle east terrorism is sponsored principally by Arab businessmen (like Mr. bin Laden) who want to free themselves from the Western-placed oligarquis (sp) which oppress them financially. Islam is only the tool for recruitment of followers. Their goal is not to kill all non-muslims, but to get richer.

    …Sounds familiar, no?

  33. i guess we can lighten up on efforts to vaccinate kids for measles, mumps, rubella, etc. oh, sure, there’s the occasional college outbreak of measles, but really don’t you think the threat’s been hyped? dontcha? rubella epidemics, here in the u.s.?

  34. Awesome guesswork and mind-reading!

    no one knows for certain
    some have argued
    fears have peaked
    public seems to agree
    thought an attack was likely
    explaining the hiatus is difficult
    Terrorism analyst believes
    may not have struck US soil
    Burgess believes
    possible factors
    may have given pause
    another possible reason

  35. This is an invitation for all here to join a new discussion group started yesterday.

    Call For Justice 911

    http://www.yahoogroups.com/groups/callforjustice911

    A place where 911 issues and the War on Terrorism can be discussed.

    All are invited, even those Al Qaeda terrorists.

    Let’s have it out.

  36. I think it’s likely that AQ is going to let us sit here and think about 9/11 for quite some time. What would have made sense — to me at least — would be to pursue those associated with al-Qaeda and punish any govt that was harboring or supporting them.

    On the home front, like in sports, you don’t let them beat you the same way again; intensify airline security, encourage the public to keep their eyes open for suspicious activity, etc. There’s no way to prepare for every imaginable type of attack.

    However, AQ knows that in 00s America, people want to be assured of security above all else. How many people do you know who avoided large crowds and airports after 9/11, even though the attacks didn’t target those types of places? And how many who avoided flying and tall buildings thereafter, despite the fact that like .001% of the people who flew or worked in tall buildings died that day?

    Imagine if Bush said in his address on 9/13/01, “Hey, stuff like this happens; it’s the price of freedom. We’ll do what we can to keep it from happening again, but it’s impossible to prevent any and all attacks, and trying to do so would wreck our economy and our freedoms.” Even though it’s hard to argue with any of that, Democrats and even some Republicans would accuse him of being negligent, coldhearted, and callous to the victims of 9/11, and his poll numbers would drop below 30%. He’d be lucky to escape impeachment.

    In a democracy, people get the government they deserve. ‘Tis both a blessing and a curse, and AQ is wise enough to play it for a curse.

  37. Andy,

    The dude lived in a cave with mujahadeen fighting the Soviets. He’s on dialysis, and moved to Afghanistan/Western Pakistan anyway. It’s a pretty safe bet he’s motivated by ideology, not wealth.

  38. Al-Qaeda carried out a total of two attacks (1993 & 2001) and a foiled attack (2000) in the US soil (the mainland as raymond the hawk says). Shouldn’t we wait at least 4 more years until we can claim success in stopping Al-Qaeda from carrying out another attack in the US?

    Also, Fahim seems to ignore the Bali Bombing, the Madrid bombing, and the attacks in Saudi Arabia.

  39. joe: It’s a pretty safe bet he’s motivated by ideology, not wealth.

    If that were True then why hasn?t he strapped a bomb on his chest yet?

  40. Now you’ve gone over the limit. If there’s a terrorist attack, Bush failed. If there’s not a terrorist attack, Bush lied. If we do anything to preempt a terrorist attack, Bush is unilateral and lied. If there is a terrorist attack anyway, Bush lied. If there isn’t a terrorist attack, there never were any terrorists.

    Did someone leave the Chomskybot on?

    This is brilliant double speak and you are letting the mask fall. I see you:

    NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, IT IS BECAUSE BUSH LIED, IS A COWBOY, IS EVIL.

    Yes, your only goal is to remove Bush from office. That’s great. Nothing in the world more important than that, is there. Worth any amount of lies, deceptions, and destruction to accomplish that.

    If there is any justice in the world, the next terrorist strike will be on your ass. If it is on my ass, I intend to go down swinging or shooting, not begging for mercy.

  41. “If that were True then why hasn?t he strapped a bomb on his chest yet?”

    Because he’s obviously more valuable as a commander than as hamburger.

  42. Jason Ligon,

    You’re right, of course the terrorists don’t want us to kill them. But they may very well want us to kill other Muslims and Arabs, which helps them recruit more terrorists and motivates “martyrs.” Those of us who criticize the attack attack attack mode have no problem with actually attacking the actual terrorists themselves. We’re just against attacking those not involved in terrorist crimes, for both moral and practical reasons. That may seem like a subtle distinction to you, but it’s a huge one to me, and it’s likely a huge one to people actually living on that side of the world.

    Also, showing the terrorists that nothing they do has any effect on furthering their goal of destroying America will do more than poorly aimed retribution to deflate their cause. May take a while, but then that’s what the attack attack attack side says anyway, right?

  43. Would a new major terrorist strike be in the interest of the Bush campaign?
    Yes, but only for a couple of weeks, after an initial serge in support, it would go south, just like after 9-11.
    Where would the best place for a strike to occur?
    Not in North America, that would show Bush as unable to defend America. Far better for it to occur overseas, preferably in a country hostile to Bush’s Iraq policy, that would show the error of not backing Bush.
    So, how about the Eiffel Tower getting destroyed a week or two before the election? Perfect! Remember that you heard it here first.

  44. Doherty says: “if Al Qaeda is so lethal, and so out to get us, why have there been no verifiable terrorist attacks, or even convincing evidence of specific plans for them, in America since 9/11?”

    It probably wasn’t al Qaeda, but do that shoot-’em-up at the El Al counter at LAX and the month-long anthrax direct mail campaign count as verifiable terrorist attacks? Sure, they weren’t as deadly as the average bombing, but still…

  45. I think a lot of credit has to go to the Bush administration. First, a top al-Qaida man in custody is on record as saying that Osama and crew were caught off-guard by the speed of the U.S. response in Afghanistan. Some people may have forgotten this, but Bush launched the first attacks in Afghanistan a mere THREE WEEKS after 9/11, despite massive protests around the world and in the U.S., by many of the same people who protested the Iraq invasion. Hundreds of thousands marched in Europe against the attack on the Taliban, and lots of fence-sitters at home wanted Bush to engage in more negotiation and wait for more support from the Arab world and international community. He didn’t, and he caught al-Qaida napping. That put them on the run, and he hasn’t let up since.

    In the meantime, the hated John Ashcroft may in fact be the most important figure in the war on terror. After 9/11 there was a wave of arrests in the U.S. (remember the “Lackawanna Five”?). The Patriot act broke down the informational walls between FBI and CIA that everyone was critical of. And now the war in Iraq is tying up serious al-Qaida resources, and the removal of Saddam has caused Libya to stop supporting terrorists and probably caused other countries to back off overt support as well. Saudi Arabia is also cracking down on its terrorists and funding.

    A surprising number of terrorist attacks have been thwarted in the past two years, in Europe, the Middle East, and the U.S. So another possibility is that western intelligence services have been more successful since 9/11 in penetrating these organizations.

    In the meantime, something like 2/3’s of al Qaida’s leadership is dead or in jail. It may be that the organization has been fractured and no longer has the logistical capability to launch huge attacks.

    Or, it may just be a lull, or long preparations for a spectacular attack. If one is coming, I would expect it before the election. If we don’t see an attack before November, I think that’s a sign that al-Qaida has seriously diminished capability.

  46. mike, I’m pretty sure that’s not what Doherty is saying. By my oh my, aren’t we the brave warrior when typing into a comment box! Get thee to Iraq, young man!

    Overlord, when did Bush’s support go down post-9-11? I don’t remember any such thing happening.

    Serpant, why isn’t Bush driving a Humvee in Najaf? I’d take your comment at face value, but that would insult your intelligence.

  47. db: Because he’s obviously more valuable as a commander than as hamburger.

    So you consider an individual that manipulates young boys into committing suicide for his own personal cause as an ideologue?

    If he really believed in the Cause then he would commit suicide. That would be the fastest and most efficient way for him to be with Allah.

    But OBL doesn?t believe in the Cause, he just wants the Effect.

  48. “So you consider an individual that manipulates young boys into committing suicide for his own personal cause as an ideologue?”

    Ever hear of the Jugend Division?

  49. Serpant, you didn’t answer any of my points, either. You declared them to be wrong, and called me names, that’s about it.

    Troll.

  50. You mean this post you ignored?
    joe: Aren’t serpents supposed to be cunning?

    The Architect made me subtil, but I?m not sure if that is the same thing as cunning?

    joe: Look Einstein, the answer to “why isn’t Bush driving a Humvee” is exactly the same as “why hasn’t Bin Laden carried out a suicide operation.” Because they better serve their causes as commanders.

    Except Bin Laden advocates suicide for his minions whereas Bush does not.

    Apparently you consider this bit of data insignificant to the equation?

    joe: Bush is 50 years old, and would make a terrible combat soldier. Bin Laden is one of the most recognizable people in the world, and is in ill health. Plus, thy can both generate huge amounts of money for their political movements by staying “back home.” Finally, they both believe they were chosen by God to lead a political movement, not personally fight for it. Note that none of these answers involves charges of cowardice.

    I don?t even consider the two in the same league.

    Bush is no coward. Whereas Osama Bin Laden is the epitome of cowardice.

    Osama Bin Laden is the kind of guy that orders his lackies to fly airplanes into buildings full of innocent civilians.

    But I can see that you are enamored with Bin Laden. I guess some people just prefer Chocolate to Vanilla?

    BTW ? The odds that Bush is killed or wounded as President of the U.S. are greater than had he served a tour of duty in Viet Nam as a combat soldier.

    joe: I only “seem to be rooting for the bad guys” because you have trouble distinguishing friends from enemies. Hint: those of us saying “let’s do this better” do not want to see it fail.

    Better?

    You mean as in ? the recent prisoner abuse at Abu Gharaib under U.S. control was ?better? than what use to go on there when Hussein was in control?

    Or do you mean like ? it is “better” for Al Qaeda to attack our all volunteer military in a foreign country than for Al Qaeda to attack our innocent women and children (civilians) back home in the U.S.?

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