It grows ever clearer that the damage inflicted 16 years ago by al Qaeda pales in comparison with the self-inflicted wounds from which Americans have suffered ever since. Take the burden imposed by the cynical use of 9/11 to justify the speedy doubling of military spending — despite the limited threat posed to Americans by terrorist networks. The country can ill afford this enormous fiscal burden.Osama bin Laden is no longer around to savor the shape of the world he wrought with 9/11. However, his successor, Ayman al-Zawahri, is still on the loose, able to contemplate how he and his colleagues, with a single major attack, were able to provoke the world’s greatest power into a costly set of self-defeating actions that may yet allow the victory of terrorist networks and rogue nations [emphasis added].
Thursday, September 7, 2017
#250 / Rising To The Bait
John Arquilla, a professor and chair of defense analysis at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, may or may not know anything about fly fishing. His recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle, however, demonstrates that he understands how nations can "rise to the bait" of a terrorist provocation, and then get hooked into what amounts to a never ending war. We did it in Vietnam. And we've done it again in Afghanistan, which is what Professor Arquilla discusses in his article, "Trump seems determined to continue America’s ‘strategic drift'."
The way Spain has reacted after the attacks in Barcelona is in stark contrast to how the United States reacted after the (admittedly much more dramatic) terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The scale of the provocation aside, I think Arquilla is correct when he says:
The United States has, repeatedly, "risen to the bait," and all our military interventions, intended to show that we won't countenance terrorism, have only hooked us deeper into endless fights that we can never win, and that will continue to make all things worse, as long as we pursue them.