It’s the Jihadists, Stupid

Steven Taylor discusses WaPo’s analysis of the 9/11 Commission report, “The 567-Page Story Of a Humbled America,” especially citing this passage:

It begins with a view of the enemy larger than just Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda operation. “The problem is that al Qaeda represents an ideological movement, not a finite group of people. It initiates and inspires, even if it no longer directs,” the commissioners found. “Killing or capturing [bin Laden], while extremely important, would not end terror.”

Quite right. For a more detailed examination of this point, see my TCS piece Saddam and al Qaeda and, if you’re really a glutton for punishment, my Strategic Insights article Iraq and Jihadist Terrorists: A Review Essay. Or, you can just take my word for it: It ain’t just al Qaeda.

FILED UNDER: Intelligence, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Joseph Marshall says:

    You know, so many people seem impervious to the fact that Islamic hostility towards us goes back a lot further than 9/11/01.

    The real difference Al Queada has made is in the quality and intelligence of its leadership, particularly in terms of coordinating resources for attacks and of tactical acumen in carrying those attacks out.

    Leadership and planning on that level is scarce. (For example, all the reports coming out now about our “intelligence failures” indicate that we don’t have a whole lot of it either.) We have always had much more to fear from Osama than, say, Zaccarias Moussoui. That is WHY it is so vitally important to interdict the known and proven leaders and worry less about the dispersal of the followers.