"Since 2001, al Qaeda has conducted a greater number of attacks across a larger geographic area than at any time in its history. "We find it hard to agree that al Qaeda has been significantly weakened since Sept. 11, 2001," says Seth Jones, coauthor with Martin Libicki of the report titled "How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qaeda."
The authors evaluate al Qaeda since 2001 as being both "strong" and "competent."
What’s needed, the report suggests, is a "fundamental rethinking of U.S. strategy" to focus on minimizing overt military action and increasing intelligence collection and partnerships with law enforcement agencies around the world." Rand Corporation
RAND is a "federally funded research and development corporation." In other words it is essentially a research arm of the government.
The Republicans and the McBush crowd love to talk about the poor, deluded souls who think that the takfiri jihadi enemy is not the equivalent of the Nazi or Soviet enemies. The McBushies insist that the activists and their passive supporters are apt to find a nuclear weapon somewhere, or build one in someone’s garage and therewith destroy America. Someone I went to college with insisted to me that there might be a just handful (thousands) of active takfiri jihadis now but "Hitler started with just a handful of followers." Today, the northwest frontier of Pakistan, tomorrow the world!!. (irony alert). This all sounds a bit "yellow peril-ish" or maybe like the crazed devotee of Kali in the ’30s movie, "Gunga Din."
In fact, although there are counter-terrorist situations that call for a lot of military force, it has always been true that covert organizations like Al-Qa’ida are better attacked using the somewhat symmetrical methods of our side’s intelligence and covert action arms. It should not be hard to make this case. Look at the mess in Iraq. Think of the costs in money, blood and political damage. In the end the Iraq War has been won, not by the sheer muscle of of our force but by the indirect methods used in helping the awakening among the Sunni Arabs
Now, we have this RAND study which says that quite clearly. This is worth discussing. pl