OSAMA BIN LADEN’S messages from the wilderness get little attention nowadays. Al-Qaeda has been unable to land a blow on Western soil since the 2005 London bombings. Its leaders lurk in Pakistan’s tribal belt, hiding from regular lethal attacks by America’s unmanned Predator aircraft. Their Pushtun hosts are tiring of their troublesome guests. Perhaps most damaging, former supporters publicly denounce its ideology.
The resultant bickering and low morale do not mean that al-Qaeda and its followers cannot still mount spectacular attacks. Western intelligence services are convinced the group tried to blow up several transatlantic airliners in 2006. It can still pose a menace in, say, parts of Asia. But for now, Mr bin Laden has to try to exploit the news, rather than to make it.
Bush’s plan for al-Qaeda wasn’t much different than Reagan’s plan for the Soviets: since war is basically a case of who can outspend the other, why not use the threat of war as a weapon to force your enemy into outspending themselves?
Al-Qaeda could afford to run an organization when they didn’t need to hide every single detail of what they did. Now, they must have layers of additional protocol, and carefully hide their funds. All this adds up to a lot of money, and now they’re broke and ineffective.
History will probably eventually note that G.W. Bush did this to them. Even while 78% of the American people whine like sofa-bound brats about him, he achieved what he set out to do: defeat the enemy and protect the homeland. Whether he did it for Jesus, alcoholics anonymous, or the goodness of his heart is probably irrelevant.