Over at Winds of Change you can find an excellent article written by the blog author Dan Darling. Holy christ is this guy good. He taught himself Arabic just so he can read the enemies intel. The article discusses the real threat and history of Al-Qaeda, some excerpts below.
“The problem is that most “histories” of al-Qaeda don’t include any definitive break-down of the organization’s role in the following:
Moro Insurgency (southern Philippines)
Sudanese Civil War
Tajik Civil War
Ogaden Insurgency (Ethiopia)
Algerian Civil War
Allied Democratic Forces Insurgency (Uganda)
Second Chechen War
Indonesian Religio-Nationalist Conflicts (Sulawesi, Moluccas, etc.)
Uzbek Islamist Uprising
South Thailand Insurgency
I can probably go on, but you get the point. These are conflicts that few Americans know little if anything about, but they are all conflicts that al-Qaeda has been intimately involved in, either from their onsets or as soon as word of the conflict reached the attention of the network’s ruling council. A lot of people, a majority of them innocent civilians, have died as a result of al-Qaeda’s actions in those conflicts – let’s be conservative and say ~150,000. Especially when one takes into account that comparatively less and less people are dying in military conflicts since the end of the Cold War, that’s quite a lot, entirely apart from the number of our own civilians killed on 9/11. It should also be noted that with respect to the India, the Philippines, southern Sudan, Armenia, Uganda, and Thailand, the group’s actions were almost entirely directed against majority non-Muslim states. Indeed, even in Muslim nations, al-Qaeda has shown no restraint whatsoever with killing those it deems to be insufficiently fanatical.
So is their an expansionist trend here? Hell yeah.”
Just a sneak preview at how are enemies operate.
“Conservative pundits like to draw an analogy between the war on terrorism and World War 2, but I think that it’s an inexact analogy. Perhaps a better one (though still imprecise) might be to say that what we are doing now is what would have happened had the US attacked the Axis Powers shortly after the formation of the German-Italian alliance in October 1936. Ironically, we have Osama bin Laden’s impatience, strategic miscalculations, and meglomania to thank for this – had he not attacked us on 9/11 the network’s agenda would still be more or less on track and its Afghan training infrastructure would likely remain in operation to this day.
So when Armed Liberal asks:
So why is it, exactly, that terrorism deserves such an expensive (in blood, treasure, and goodwill) response?
He points out that infant mortality, even with my revised figures, still kills more people than bin Laden ever will. My short answer would be that I would say that the very fact that al-Qaeda would very much like to kill millions of people (a point often made in the organization’s propaganda) and has shown no qualms whatsoever about killing as many people as possible with whatever is on-hand at the time is more than sufficient cause for investing the following against it. Or to put it another way, bin Laden hasn’t maxed out yet the way that Hitler has – from his perspective, he’s only just getting started. As a result, any delay in dealing with the threat posed by him and his lieutenants is just going to ensure that much higher a body count further down the line.
So if you want to make the argument popular among both paleocons and liberal isolationists alike that if we just pull out of the Middle East and stopped supporting the region’s governments that the whole problem of terrorism would go away. My answer to such a charge would be that’s fine, just understand that in doing so you’re not only basically saying “We don’t give a shit if tens of millions of innocent Arabs, Turks, Kurds, and Pakistanis are enslaved under a theocratic dictatorship” and you understand that while you’re putting an end to the war on terrorism so much as pushing the inevitable bloodbath with bin Laden or his successors that much further down the line.
This is one of the reasons why al-Qaeda is so keen to end Western and in particular US, British, and French presence in the Middle East – as soon as Western support for the local governments are out of the way, who’s going to stop them? Even most of Europe, who would presumably be the first to encounter any theocracies that emerge in the Middle East, does not possess the power to project its military might into the Middle East in enough appreciable force to stop them. And for those of you who don’t think that al-Qaeda in of itself has the power to bring down an Arab government need to take a good long look at what almost happened in Jordan (largely unnoticed by the Western media) back in April.
If we are to take the Jordanian government at its word, Zarqawi tried to murder between 20,000 to 80,000 people, the overwhelming majority of them Muslim civilians, in an act of calculated mass murder. Preventing the people who conceive of that as an acceptable means of expressing a political opinion from gaining any kind of real power is more than worth the sacrifice in blood, money, and goodwill.
And for those who would argue that we can still do business with Middle East nations even if they do become the Greater Caliphate or that even an al-Qaeda theocracy would eventually lose enough of its revolutionary fervor to be less threatening, I would keep in mind that one of the key conflicts of the last century was precisely because a totalitarian regime (the U.S.S.R.) kept more than enough revolutionary fervor into the 1980s to murder tens of millions of innocent people.
You want to argue that bin Laden or his heirs are going to be less doctrinaire in tempering their fanaticism?.”
It boggles my mind sometimes when I hear the left talking about us “just leaving” the middle east and everything will be ok. Can these people be that stupid?
“In conclusion …
Al-Qaeda, or to put it more accurately the International Front, pose an existential threat to the West by virtue of their stated intent and twisted willingness to engage in the most heinous acts of violence with the deadliest tools available to them at the time, whether that’s a butcher’s knife or sarin gas. Disengagement is not an option and the only reason that the threat of terrorism is questioned by members of the punditocracy is because they possess only anecdotal evidence for what al-Qaeda has done in the past that has not involved Americans and intends to do in the future. My hope is that this little walk down memory lane, which I’ll more than readily admit only scratches the surface of what we’re dealing with here, provides more than sufficient remedy for those contemplating either of the two views favored above. ”
Nothing else to say, except to tell you to check his blog often…this guy is good!.