Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Terrorism after Osama bin Laden

You knew a blog post about bin Laden was coming, if you know me.

Ding, dong, the beast is gone.Terrorism isn't.

Our Seals and the CIA may have taken out the titular leader of Al Qaida, but they didn't take out Al Qaida itself. Networks work differently than hierarchical organizations. It's probably been years since Bin Laden actually planned any activities. We know he planned 9/11, the bombing of several US embassies, and the bombing of the US Cole. He has so many cells around the world it's naive to think taking out the figurehead would take out the network.

It won't.

I see warnings coming from what the Seals did on May 1. First, you can hide, but we will get you. Somewhere, somehow, we will get you. We won't bring you to trial; we will take you out. As George W.Bush said, bin Ladin was "wanted dead or alive." Our team executed a near-perfect mission. They went in, found their man, killed him and brought out his body for confirmation. It was also fitting the Seals and the US Navy buried his body at sea. There will be no martyr memorials where people can trek and pledge further jihad.

Second, we have to be on alert for the next set of attacks. They will come. Too many jihadists and others who hate the United States will continue trying to destroy us. This war on terror has no borders, no fixed battlefields, no end in sight. We can fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the war on terror will be fought anywhere a jihadist or hater of the United States can get his hands on bomb-making materials. We see the small guys all over the place getting arrested and shut down. We see the small guys targeting malls, train stations, large gatherings of people. That's why they call it terrorism. The battle is fought in the shadows, not in the glare of media spotlights. It's fought by children wearing suicide vests, by cowards who strap explosives to women with disabilities, by men on motor scooters who have no problem taking as many lives as possible, dying in the attack.

Another warning. If you are a jihadist or are making headlines promoting violence against the United States and its people, we know who you are, and we will get you. You have targets on your back. We have the stomach to take you out. No warnings. No telling the local government we are coming in. We don't want you warned. We want you dead or neutralized. Make that dead.

There's no room for negotiation here. We don't want to talk about your future. You don't have one. We don't want to offer you life in prison without the possibility of parole. We don't even want you in SuperMax where you will never, ever see sunlight again. We don't want you in Gitmo, outside scrutiny and barely covered by the rule of law. WE. DON'T. WANT. YOU.

You started this war. We will end it.


Miss Piggy said...

Great review on war against terrorism.
It is a shame that America has not identified its enemies and kept them out of our country. It is the link to our biggest threat.

Betsy Ashton said...

I agree with you, but it's almost impossible to identify all of our enemies. I was speaking with a friend yesterday who's in the intelligence community. He too was bemoaning the fact that we don't have consolidated terror watch lists. I reminded him that, until 9/11, the terrorist who killed more people on US soil was a blond militarist named Timothy McVeigh. He wouldn't have appeared on any watch list.

Rhiannon Ellis said...

This is precisely why I'm feeling rather neutral about bin Laden's death. We made a statement by taking him out, but we didn't end the violence. There'd be more cause to celebrate had bin Laden experienced a change of heart during his life and used his influence to stop the jihad. Then, I'd dance in the streets. Now, I know it's a matter of "one down, countless more to go." We've been put into a position of using violence to end violence, which is unsettling and sad, in my opinion. I don't see the light at the end of the tunnel...

Betsy Ashton said...

Very well said, Rhiannon. We will most likely be involved in the war against terror forever. One way or another, there will always be someone who hates us and wants to see us fall.