Same Evil as it Ever Was
Michael Ubaldi, November 21, 2003.
Andrew Sullivan makes the logical observation: it's as if, you know, al Qaeda and kin wanted to stack the deck against themselves. In the wake of horrifying attacks, it's far more likely that Turkish opinion will swing significantly towards committed opposition than towards sympathy for butchers of men. What gives?
If you take away the individual "strategies" necessary to plan and prepare attacks, terrorists haven't got one beyond the broadly stated, fantastical terms of bin Laden. I realized this shortly after Afghanistan was liberated and that tape of bin Laden and al Zawahiri, chuckling at 9/11 as if it were a practical joke, was discovered. What do these men want? They want to see others suffer and die, period. Don't think the absence or incapacitation of bin Laden is the cause of aimlessness; he was responsible for the jet hijackings which will be considered, in a unanimous opinion of history, great strategic blunders.
This vapidity doesn't make Islamists and their dictator patrons any less dangerous, of course - but it should help us understand (and argue) that they are common thugs and murderers. Not freedom fighters, not Poor Misunderstoods, not religious zealots. Our enemies like to kill people, the bastards. It's so simple and intellectually superficial that even poor, foolish old Robert Fisk might eventually realize he's been had. But we can settle with the turning of once-reluctant free nations to our cause in the meantime.