Analysis of the captured files from Osama bin Laden’s compound reveals an Al-Qaeda struggling with less to do, more to fear and feeling the bite of defeat. This isn’t the right occasion to unfurl George Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” banner, but perhaps a national tweet along the lines of “Keep it up guys, we got em’ on the ropes” is in order.
Good news from the CFKATGWOT (the presently anonymous Conflict Formerly Known as the Global War on Terror) has sometimes been slow in coming, but according to David Ignatius, that’s not necessarily bad news:
“Bin Laden was suffering badly from drone attacks on al-Qaeda’s base in the tribal areas of Pakistan. [Osama] called this the “intelligence war,” and said it was “the only weapon that’s hurting us…. And it’s clear he was paranoid about being found and killed….
Bin Laden also worried that al-Qaeda’s status among Muslims was dwindling, and that the West had at least partially succeeded in distancing al-Qaeda’s message from core Islamic values.”
Not only are we winning, we’re winning on many fronts. Al-Qaeda now faces a litany of woes: they’ve lost Osama, Kashmiri and Zawahiri are gone; there have been no successful attacks on the US, few to no viable plans for the future and they have lost respect and standing across the Muslim world.
Wars are unpredictable and anything can still happen but at the moment this one is going our way. Both the Bush and the Obama administrations have contributed to this success; both presidents deserve more credit than they are getting for the progress we’ve made.
Top U.S. officials now view Al-Qeada as down but not out. In Yemen in particular it remains a serious concern, and there is a nasty sting in the tail of the Iraqi affiliate. Nevertheless, ten years after 9/11, Al Qaeda is no longer the kind of threat it once was.
When exactly ‘down’ counts as ‘out’ is a worthwhile question – a multi billion dollar question. But keeping up proportionate pressure is part of the solution: we don’t want any Osama Bin-Lazarus emerging from the caves.