Sunday, March 12, 2006
Over at American Footprints, I've taken a look at some of the conclusions of the Madrid bombing investigation. I'll let those interested go read for themselves, but what stood out for me the most is how no conventional military action could have prevented this attack. There was apparently some communication with senior al-Qaeda leaders, but this was entirely at the level of instructions, and the willingness and capacity to carry out the attack was all there with the attackers. Furthermore, the funding came not from bin Laden's famous wealth, but from drug smuggling. I've been attuned to the connections between terrorism and organized crime since attending a William Olson lecture a couple of years ago, and have maintained a persistent interest in al-Qaeda's involvement in the African conflict diamond market. While military efforts can deny terrorists safe havens and training camps where they can network and become even more dangerous, the front lines remain in the area of intelligence and law enforcement, even if that doesn't seem muscular enough for some people.