Comment: Who’s the World’s Most Dangerous Terrorist?
Al Qaeda has, since its inception, been an umbrella organization for differently motivated Islamist terrorists. There have been many al-Zarqawi’s; only one bin Laden. Al Qaeda is sufficiently established that getting rid of bin Laden wouldn’t cripple it at this stage–but the impact would be felt. Zarqawi is simply more replacable than bin Laden. That makes him less dangerous.
While heÃ¢€™s right on all counts, I wanted to add that the question itself is a bit bogus. It is true that Zarqawi is more of a tactician and bin Laden is the charismatic inspiration for the movement, but any attempts to focus on individuals at this point is counterproductive to our overall strategy. Perhaps my biggest complaint about the Bush reelection campaign was that they did not pounce on John KerryÃ¢€™s continued ignorance in saying that the real target of the War on Terror should be bin Laden.
If bin Laden has laid the proper foundation for his organization, which I believe he has, the personal charisma that he embodies will be transferred to the movement once he is killed. Thus his removal or death will likely mean very little toward bringing about an end to al Qaeda. Remember, bin Laden himself is the heir to the ideology of Abdullah Azzam (known as the Ã¢€œGodfather of JihadÃ¢€), and Azzam was a student of Sayyid Qutb. When bin Laden goes, another will take his place and the jihad movement will continue.
My fear here is that most Americans subscribe to the Kerry mindset, and once bin Laden has departed they will believe that the War on Terror is over and things can go Ã¢€œback to normal.Ã¢€ Rest (un)assured, there is no going back.