Tuesday, October 15, 2002

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IT'S NOT AN AMERICAN PROBLEM -- IT'S A CIVILIZATIONAL PROBLEM: I don't have much to say about the recent flurry of Al Qaeda attacks that hasn't already been said or highlighted in the Blogosphere. One point worth stressing is that they are against the West writ large rather than America. It was a French tanker that was bombed in Yemen; the Al Qaeda note sent to Al-Jazeera notes, "the attackers struck at the umbilical cord of the Christians." As for the Bali bombing, the New York Times observes:

"The tally of those who have been identified testifies to Bali's international appeal as a gathering spot for young foreigners. It includes victims from Indonesia and Australia as well as from Britain, Sweden, Singapore, Ecuador, Holland, France, Germany, Korea and the United States."

My point? Because Al Qaeda has made it clear that it considers its enemy to be pretty much everyone, the coalition fighting the war on terror will be strengthened and not weakened by the latest attacks. The Bali bombing has already had a salutory effect on the Indonesian government. Furthermore, since these governments are supporting the war on terror for self-interested reasons, it is highly unlikely that an attack on Iraq will reduce multilateral cooperation in this sphere, despite what the editorial and op-ed page of today's New York Times suggests. And, as even the Times editorial admits, "Fighting loosely linked and mobile terror cells is an entirely different operation from invading Iraq"

Finally, Ralph Peters makes a good case that these attacks demonstrate Al Qaeda's growing weakness rather than its growing strength.

posted by Dan on 10.15.02 at 11:59 AM