“Al Qaeda and the Jihadis”

I have an oped piece in this week’s "America" magazine.


"The Al Qaeda that most Americans imagine does not exist. It is largely a figment of our imaginations and fears, a phantom that never existed in the way that many of us imagine. Al Qaeda is not an "organization" in the Western sense of the word. It is a movement, a historical phenomenon and a set of ideas offered to Muslims across the world. This does not mean that there are not violent and dangerous jihadi terrorists in the world. There are, but they are not members of a sprawling and tightly organized secret "army" of Islamists who operate in obedience to orders from Osama bin Laden. There is no cave in the Pakistan/Afghanistan border country that has a sign in Arabic over the door that reads "Jihadi World Headquarters, Osama bin Laden, Commanding." There is no central command for the jihadis….."

To see the rest you will have to go to "America" magazine.

Pat Lang


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3 Responses to “Al Qaeda and the Jihadis”

  1. Matthew says:

    Col. Lang: We need a release from the echo chamber. I recently attended a speech of former Senator John Edwards. He talked about his trip to Israel this summer. What was remarkable to me was that his idea of visiting the Middle East was to travel around Israel. That’s like flying into Gatwick and taking the Express to London and then proclaiming yourself a “European Traveler.” I tell you this story because it’s a metaphor for our failure in the ME. We want to only interact with those people who reflect our own image back on us. I read this as a trememdous loss of national and cultural self-confidence. Am I alone in this?

  2. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Or is it that Americans and Europeans are not physically safe in many Muslim countries?

  3. Will says:

    Edwards is running for president, therefore he travels to Israel and says the “correct” things vis a vis Israel as they all do. Being a masterful trial lawyer, he can be so sincere and convincing, Even Lebanese origin Congressman Issa (Jesus in Arabic)(R-Ca) has made 12 trips to Israel.
    Edwards is an intereting character. As the Dem precint(sp?) chairman I once escorted him on a “beach” walk on Memorial day. He had his bathing suit on and he was shaking hands with people on the beach. His hair was so perfect I just wanted to reach out and stroke it, seriously (I am not gay). I said Senator, let’s walk a little further to the Dunes Club, there will be a lot of rich people laying on the beach there, he said “No, let’s not do that, they’re not my type.” or words to that effect. I was astounded. This is a really true story.
    There was a ranking in Haaretz, the Israeli paper, of American presidential candidates for Israel friendliness. I think the leading indicator was how readily they would bomb Iran. Guiliani came in No. 1. Edwards wasn’t too hot. Chuck Hagel came in toward the end. Barak Obama came in dead last. There was an another article explaining Obama’s low ranking was due to fear of the unkown.
    Best Wishes

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