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al-qaeda

Ten years later.

Dozens of terrorist attacks, including Istanbul, Madrid, London, and last week in Marrakech, later.

2,340 coalition casualties in Afghanistan, including 155 Canadians, later.

Thousands of Afghan civilian casualties – too many for any body or organization to properly count – later.

Osama bin Laden is dead, says the President. It’s been almost ten years since the September 11th attacks, and since the world’s largest manhunt was launched for the man responsible. In those ten years, the world has changed so much that it’s almost unrecognizable.

Ten years ago, bin Laden’s death might have actually struck a body blow at the terrorist infrastructure. Today, it will probably make little more than a dent. After all, they’ve had ten years to reorganize and restructure, to recruit and train. Ten years during which Osama was little more than a figurehead, and the network has decentralized. Ten years for other international terror groups to “step up” and grow up.

(Oh, and ten years for the US to invade Iraq, for there to be civil war – and now reconciliation – in the Palestinian territories, for governments to change hands in western nations and for massive rounds of civilian unrest and protest across the middle east. A lot can happen in ten years.)

At best, this announcement will give Obama a temporary bump in the polls as he kicks off his 2012 re-election campaign. At worst, it will make bin Laden into a martyr among his followers and trigger additional attacks. In all likelihood, it will make very little practical difference.

It does feel like the end of an era, in a way.

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Under Republican control, the House Intelligence committee may have been stubbornly ignorant. But under Democratic control, it appears that they will be just plain ignorant:

Rep. Silvestre Reyes of Texas, who incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped to head the Intelligence Committee when the Democrats take over in January, failed a quiz of basic questions about al Qaeda and Hezbollah, two of the key terrorist organizations the intelligence community has focused on since the September 11, 2001 attacks.

[ . . . ]

While Stein said Reyes is “not a stupid guy,” his lack of knowledge said it could hamper Reyes’ ability to provide effective oversight of the intelligence community, Stein believes.

“If you don’t have the basics, how do you effectively question the administration?” he asked. “You don’t know who is on first.”

Aside from not knowing the difference between Sunni and Shi’ite, there’s no evidence that Reyes is a bad guy or anything . . . but I’m tempted to apply my basic Bush-rule here: if you can’t pronounce nuclear, you shouldn’t be allowed to have your finger on the button.

The intelligence level of elected members of government – from both parties – is frighteningly low. Is anyone else more than a little scared that these are the people making the big decisions?

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5 years later

09.11.2006

Has it really been five years? It seems like just yesterday when I was waking up to the news that a plane had struck the World Trade Center. How could any of us have known, at that moment, that life would forever be defined as “before” and “after” that moment? How could we have realized […]

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But we wanted to attack Israel first!

08.27.2006

Al-Qaeda is whining because it thinks that the Shiite groups are getting to have all the fun: The statement does, however, represent the seething resentment of Sunni al-Qaeda, directed at what it sees as an attempted Shiite takeover of the jihad campaign in the Middle East. In the speech, Rahman espoused anti-Semitic conspiracy theories inspired […]

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Terror strikes Sharm

07.23.2005

Coordinated terrorist attacks in Sharm-el-Shiekh, Egypt yesterday killed at least 83 people and injured hundreds more: At least 83 people were killed and 200 injured when car bombs ripped through shopping and hotel areas in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday in the worst attack in Egypt since 1981. Shaken European tourists […]

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Terrorist attacks in London

07.07.2005

Londoners barely had time to celebrate being awarded the 2012 Olympics before terror struck this morning: Two people have been killed and scores have been injured after three blasts on the Underground network and another on a double-decker bus in London. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was “reasonably clear” there had been a […]

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Bloody Monday

02.14.2005

Three bombings in the Philippines have killed 11 people so far and wounded at least 130: Security forces quickly blamed Abu Sayyaf, a small Muslim rebel group associated with al Qaeda, for the improvised bomb in General Santos and a grenade attack at a bus terminal in Davao that killed a young boy. In Manila, […]

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You just can’t parody this stuff anymore

10.29.2004

Bin Laden Accuses Bush of Deceiving Americans: Osama bin Laden accused President Bush of deceiving the American people and said the Sept. 11 attacks would not have been so severe if the president had been alert. This is too funny to not be an elaborate spoof. Especially since I still believe Bin Laden’s been dead […]

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The Onion does it again

09.21.2004

Organizers fear terrorist attacks on upcoming Al-Quaeda convention Fears of possible terrorist attacks have led organizers of the Sept. 27-30 al-Qaeda International Convention to take unprecedented security measures, sources reported Monday. “There are concerns about a possible attack, and we are responding by heightening security,” al-Qaeda chairman and convention organizer Khalil al-Hamada said. “This year’s […]

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Did Canada negotiate with terrorists?

09.13.2004

I sure as hell hope not. I hope that Canadian journalist Scott Taylor was released without any promises by Canada. I hope that someone in Al Qua’eda just decided to release him, for some strange unexplained reason. But this sounds very fishy: “Turkish intelligence people say I’m the only Westerner ever released by the Al-Qaeda […]

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