Good News or Hopeful Thinking?

NPR’s Morning Edition today reported that senior U.S. officials are optimistic about the possibility of a “complete al-Qaida defeat” following air strikes along the Pakistani-Afghanistan border.

Hopefully this is true, but there is also a strong possibility that the al Qaeda leaders have merely gone underground in response to the attacks:

“In the past 7 1/2 years, al-Qaida’s obituary has been written any number of times,” says Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University. “We have to be hesitant in assessing the long-term impact of this kind of damage done to al-Qaida.”

Hoffman and other al-Qaida analysts note that the network has demonstrated many times over its ability to endure attacks and adapt to new pressures.

Chances for success against al Qaeda would have been far greater if George Bush, who recently left the White House in disgrace, had not used the 9/11 attack as an excuse to attack Iraq as opposed to concentrating U.S. forces on destroying al Qaeda. Among  Bush’s many missteps, he allowed bin Laden to escape at Tora Bora after he was surrounded by U.S. troops.

Obama has indicated that he plans to continue the attacks on al Qaeda. Fortunately, unlike Bill Clinton, Obama does not have a Republican-controlled Congress which is interfering with attempts to destroy the terrorist organization.

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