The Center for Security Policy just published “Are We Safer? An Online Symposium on the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.” My response follows:
In order to decide whether we are safer today, a decade after the events of 9/11, we must first establish who “we” are.
If “we” means the immediate us, you and me, this particular generation, then the situation is slightly improved: Osama bin Laden, who came to personify al-Qaeda, is dead, as are other reportedly high level terrorists. According to White House counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, al-Qaeda is “On a steady slide. On the ropes. Taking shots to the body and head.”
Conversely, if “we” means Western civilization, including future generations, then the situation is dire, gone from bad to worse. The fact is, from a macro perspective, even if al-Qaeda were totally eradicated tomorrow, the threat to the West would hardly recede, for al-Qaeda was never the source of the threat, but simply one of its multitudinous manifestations (other threats include the stealth jihad to overthrow Western civilization from within).
Even the Obama administration is inadvertently beginning to acknowledge the existential nature of the conflict (though of course without articulating it as such): it recently declared that lone wolf terrorists””jihadists who have no connection to al-Qaeda other than that they share the same Islamist-inspired worldview, people like the Fort Hood jihadist, the Christmas Day Bomber, the Shoe Bomber, ad infinitum””are a greater threat than al-Qaeda. That is, jihad metastasized….