Friday, October 23, 2009

Al Qaeda doesn't need a home base, does it?

There has been talk about whether or not the war in Afghanistan has disturbed Al Qaeda and prevented them from being as powerful as they could be without a suitable home base in a "lawless" country. Some say that Al Qaeda is still a major threat whether or not we're in Afghanistan - basically nixing the purpose of the war - and others say that it has severely reduced their capability to strike America. Jim Arkedis is one of the latter people, as he explains the following...

I spent five years as a counterterrorism analyst for the Pentagon and rigorously studied plots from Madrid to London to 9/11. The above arguments may have merit in a piecemeal or abstract sense, but fall apart in the specific case of what we all dread: a large-scale, al Qaeda operation aimed at the United States.

It is certainly true, for example, that terrorist groups can accomplish much online. Individuals can maintain contact with groups via chat rooms, money can be transferred over the Web (if done with extreme caution), and plotters can download items like instruction manuals for bomb-making, photographs of potential targets, and even blueprints for particular buildings.

But all the e-mail accounts, chat rooms, and social media available will never account for the human touch. There is simply no substitute for the trust and confidence built by physically meeting, jointly conceiving, and then training together for a large-scale, complex operation on the other side of the world.

Basically, it's a lot easier for you to train to do something very bad when you have an entire country to roam around in. When you have to hide and constantly dodge attacks, getting these large-scale terrorist attacks are much more difficult.

Despite the difficulties in Afghanistan, one would have to say its better to have Al Qaeda on the run rather than having them lining us up in their gun-sights.

No comments:

Post a Comment