Is Al Qaeda losing?

Chris Hitchens argues “yes”:

I once hypothesized that Osama Bin Laden might be dead. The induction went like this: Proof of life is easy to furnish, but some of the tapes allegedly showing him could easily have been cobbled from earlier releases. Ergo, it mattered to al-Qaida to demonstrate that he was alive. Yet they lacked the ability to demonstrate it. Furthermore, Bin Laden used to be a highly loquacious man, pronouncing on everything from East Timor to Iraq, and seemed at a crucial juncture to have gone quiet.

This reasoning proved inadequate when he popped up during the last U.S. election and made a series of contemporary references, mainly (and ill-advisedly) drawn from Michael Moore’s dreadful Fahrenheit 9/11. And we are now assured that the latest audiotape delivered to Al Jazeera has been authenticated also. If we suppose this to be true, then it nonetheless seems to be further evidence that al-Qaida is, as I argued last week, facing a very serious crisis.

Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, there were arrogant and megalomaniac statements from men like Suleiman Abu-Ghaith, spokesman for al-Qaida, saying that this “storm” of violence would not cease falling, and warning all Muslims living in the West to avoid air travel and tall buildings. Then there came all kinds of bluster about how Iraq would be turned into a sea of fire if one coalition foot was allowed across the border. Then there was a long silence. And then the truce offers began, of which the second, delivered in a somewhat thin and reedy voice, was last week’s. (The first was a truce offer to Europeans only, offering a separate peace, and went nowhere, as might easily have been predicted.)

Make sure to read the whole thing.

Two guest opinion writers at the New York Times (authors Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon), on the other hand, argue that Al Qaeda is getting stronger.

I believe AQ is losing and will continue to lose (that’s not to say that I no longer believe they are extremely dangerous), as long as we don’t lose sight of exactly who the enemy is that we face and as long as we don’t forget the cruel lessons learned from September 11th. Unfortunately, some people have either forgotten those lessons or tucked them way in the back of their memories in favor of taking cheap political shots at the President in an attempt to undermine his generally good standing in the polls when it comes to questions about fighting and winning the war on terror. Fortunately, the President and his administration are going on the offensive in laying out their case for why warrantless wiretaps of phone calls made here in the US to or from suspected AQ terrorists in a time of war are essential to prevailing. It’s good that he’s launched this counter-offensive to the war underminers , considering the calls for impeachment are growing louder amongst the usual suspects.

Yes, let’s impeach a man for using the legal powers at his disposal during a time of war in order to do his job in terms of protecting the American people.

Read more commentary on the status of Al Qaeda at QandO, Rantingprofs, In The Bullpen, Decision ’08

Related Toldjah So posts:

Comments are closed.