On 9/11 in the Year 2012 America’s Jihadist Enemies Still Seek Victory

On this, the eleventh anniversary of 9/11, the Administration considers al Qaeda all but defeated, and eagerly anticipates a downsized U.S. military and its reorientation to Asia and the Pacific. But, to paraphrase Mark Twain's famous quip, reports of al Qaeda's death are greatly exaggerated.

Despite President Obama's assertion, made in May of this year in front of hundreds of U.S. troops at Bagram Air Base, that "The goal that I set - to defeat al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild - is now within our reach," overwhelming evidence points to a global terrorist threat composed of al Qaeda and its partners that has not been crippled, but has grown more diverse and decentralized. To a significant extent, this threat is driven by a jihadist ideology and is a strategic challenge to the United States.

Unfortunately, American military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies have been hampered in effectively countering this threat because its ideological underpinnings have been deliberately obfuscated.

The U.S. government is uncomfortable labeling such terrorism as jihadist - a murderous ideology - due to its basis in jihad, an Arabic word associated with the Muslim faith. Denying the jihadist basis of this terrorism muddies the case for countering it via a coherent and unified strategy. Instead, it has been fractured into dozens of small and/or individual causes claimed to be rooted in locality and based upon conflicts related to culture, clan, and criminality....

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