Along the Tracks

Friday, January 20, 2006

So Osama wants a truce, eh?

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Osama bin Laden wants a truce.

That’s right, al Qaeda’s uncompromising, “Death to the Great Satan!”-repeating leader would like a break in the action. Well, at least the action in his own backyard.

According to Osama, there are massive attacks planned on the American homeland which will kill thousands of us infidels, cripple our brutal economy, send us whimpering home from Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait … blah, blah, blah. Nevertheless, he’s offering us a truce.

Look, I don’t doubt al Qaeda is bent on delivering another terrible blow within our shores. I am beginning to doubt they have the capability to do so any longer.

Now, that’s not to say they won’t succeed – blind squirrels and nuts and all that. But the likelihood of a successful, “spectacular” assault like on 9/11 has been seriously degraded by the War on Terrorism and, yes, the Iraq phase of that war.

How so?

For starters, thousands of terrorists are dead. Kaput. Jackal-food. While more may have replaced them, these “originals” were the ones who were highly trained in camps in the arts of brutality. These were the ones living in a day when trust within al Qaeda still remained. These were the most capable of its killers.

Secondly, the new recruits are all tied up with battles in Afghanistan and Iraq. For them to slip from the challenge in their own back yard would be an embarrassment. So instead of infiltrating the U.S., they are off fighting the U.S. military and attacking defenseless fellow Muslims in southwest Asia.

Third, despite some notable lapses, U.S. homeland security is far stronger today than it was five years ago. In particular, intelligence capabilities (though still inadequate to the task) have made strides. Among these is rapid identification of terrorist communication streams, which are then intercepted, interpreted and studied for clues.

Finally, the strongest sign of al Qaeda’s withering is the offer of truce itself. Cornered and bloodied, al Qaeda is beginning to grasp at straws. Among these is the desperate hope that some anti-war politicians will begin a campaign to accept Osama’s offer. This tactic was first seen in bin Laden’s address on the eve of the 2004 election, where the al Qaeda leader practically endorsed John Kerry by repeating all the liberal accusations against Bush and urging voters to pick a more sensible leader who would withdraw from the Muslim world. Last week’s truce offer was an attempt to further the divide within the U.S. and between the U.S. and Europe. If it were to succeed, Osama and crew might get a much-needed breather and have a chance to regroup for future aggression.

It won’t, of course. Americans aren’t fooled by a disingenuous terrorist any more than by shockingly short-sighted politicians.

We’ll see this through, and when we do, we’ll have a safer, better world.

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