Friday, December 23, 2005

The Truth About The Terror Threat

It would appear that some pretty smart folks honestly believe that the terror threat is not very substantial. They would argue that the very substantial acts of terror that have killed hundreds or even thousands in various places around the world are pulled off by rogue gangs of really bad guys. One friend compared them to the drug gangs in East Los Angeles or Chicago's South Side. To oustiders the motivation of these thugs might appear to be Islamic fundamentalism, but if we were to take a close look at the individuals you might find the same kind of social and psychological profiles that induce young men into inner city gangs: Need for strong leadership, desire for action, need to belong, low sense of self worth, even self loathing.

Others would point to pictures of cheering mobs in various Middle Eastern Cities after 911 or Sharon's stroke. This viewpoint would hold that that a substantial part of the Islamic population (especially in some countries) would be easily induced to participate in the Jihad if they thought it was succeeding. Thus, any evidence of weakness on our part would result in big gains for Al Qaeda, first in prestige, then in money and actual participating soldiers, and ultimately in nations under their control. We might call this the tipping point theory.

The vast majority of experts seem to believe that Al Qaeda already has, or at least did have, and will have again the assets in place to do real mahem. They also believe that there is an almost limitless supply of antisocial shock troops that can be employed to carry out actions against Jewish and Western culture and people.

If the threat is lower today than it was from 1992-2002, it could only be because of the efforts of the Bush administration with help from Blair and a few others. If that is true, then it would seem we should stay the course, and not become complacent until the job is done. Otherwise we will likely have to go spend money and lives a second time, which would be sad indeed.

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