Does this mean that all the troops can go home now? From what some very intelligent (just ask them) people say, maybe they can. And should:
- Osama bin Laden is really important
- He's the one to blame for 9/11
- Anything not obviously focused on serving Osama bin Laden with an arrest warrant is a mistake
- And the fault of George W. Bush
Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the War on Terror: It's Not Over YetMy guess is that we're still closer to the beginning of the War on Terror, than its end.
I'm not being pessimistic: but this conflict is not like the major global wars of the 20th century, where there American and other nations were facing an enemy with a well-defined territory, combatants who were, by and large, readily identifiable, and headquarters that could be seized.
The War on Terror is going to take time.
Here's a bit of what CIA Director Michael Hayden said about Osama bin Laden, as reported on CNN:
- " 'He is putting a lot of energy into his own survival -- a lot of energy into his own security,' ...
" 'In fact, he appears to be largely isolated from the day-to-day operations of the organization he nominally heads....'"
- "...'Al Qaeda has suffered serious setbacks, but it remains a determined, adaptive enemy unlike any our nation has ever faced,' Hayden said. 'The war is far from over.' "
- " 'This is an organization that has never been through a change at the top,' he said. 'For 20 years, bin Laden has been the visionary, the inspiration or harmonizing force behind al Qaeda....' "
Is Osama bin Laden the only target in the War on Terror? Definitely not.
Am I disheartened at how long the War on Terror has been going on?
No: but then, I'm a historian. I recognize that the War on Terror isn't a matter of one nation attacking another, or even a war between many nations. Al Qaeda and its affiliates are going to be very, very, difficult to overcome.
But, I think that the strange vision of Islam that bin Laden and some others have will not win. As I've written before, there are Muslims who do not see eye-to-eye with the likes of Al Qaeda. And, even in the Middle East, some Muslims are starting to question their more enthusiastic leaders (see "Chief Saudi Judge: Death to Network Owners!" (September 19, 2008)).
In the news:
- "CIA head says bin Laden isolated, fighting to survive"
CNN (November 13, 2008)