Kids love him, too “” a tiny minority of kids, of course
This story is an AP version (thanks to Jake) of the Reuters piece below. This one is far more concerned than the Reuters piece with portraying these findings as showing that the war on terror has failed.
1. Doesn’t the fact that half of Al-Qaeda’s leadership has been killed or captured indicate that the war on terror thus far may not have been as dismal a failure as the lead paragraph suggests?
2. Estimates of the number of people who went through Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan have ranged as high as 120,000. Low-end estimates are still in the 70,000-80,000 range. If only 18,000 of them are still active, doesn’t that indicate some success? Of course, these 18,000 could inflict tremendous damage, but I’d still rather have 18,000 to deal with than 100,000.
3. The idea that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have boosted Al-Qaeda is dear to the hearts of people like Ted Kennedy, but where would we be now if there had been no response to 9/11, or if that response had amounted to just a few cruise missiles lobbed into Waziristan? Would the Al-Qaeda members who already existed before 9/11 have folded up shop and stopped attacking Westerners?
4. Also, if Muslims joined Al-Qaeda because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, doesn’t that indicate that they didn’t have any serious objection to Al-Qaeda’s activity even before joining? After all, if they considered Osama and Co. to be heretics who were defaming Islam by using it to justify terrorism, that wouldn’t change because the Americans invaded, would it? Surely in that event it would have been possible to create a non-terrorist force that was not allied with Al-Qaeda, that would have really constituted the indigenous militiamen that Ted Rall and his ilk imagine the terrorists to be? But doesn’t the fact that this didn’t happen indicate that the ideological divide between Al-Qaeda and the rest of the Islamic world wasn’t as large as most analysts continue to believe?
LONDON – Far from being crippled by the U.S.-led war on terror, al-Qaida has more than 18,000 potential terrorists scattered around the world and the war in Iraq is swelling its ranks, a report said Tuesday.