Thursday, August 10, 2006

Today's Terror Plot

Take it away, Ivo Daalder:
"At the core of the administrations’ war on terror are two strategies, neither of which appear to be particularly relevant in this particular case. One is the notion that we can best win the war on the offense — that should 'fight them over there so we don’t need to fight them over here.' That’s what the Iraq War, and Bush’s support for Israel’s fight against Hizbollah, are all about.

"But as far as we know, the plotters in the UK were homegrown — all were British citizens. Taking the offense in this war — by which the administration means using military force — is worse then useless. For who are you going to bomb? Safe houses in High Wycombe or Birmingham?

"What appears to have cracked this case is not a war strategy or military offensive, but good intelligence, skilled detective work, and months of careful surveillance — the kind of traditional law enforcement strategies and defensive measures that Bush and his administration have always shunned."

This really brings us back to whether rogue states represent the root cause of terrorism. The only two governments convincingly linked to al-Qaeda were the Taliban in Afghanistan and Charles Taylor in Liberia, and at least in the former case, the administration doesn't seem that upset about the resumption of Pakistan's relationship with the ousted rulers.

UPDATE: See also Matthew Yglesias:
"Nevertheless, under the circumstances I can only take this as a good sign. Perhaps people will remember that al-Qaeda is the enemy that hit us on 9/11 and, presumably, is the enemy we ought to be targeting in our post-9/11 policies. Not Iran, not Hezbollah, not any old Muslim who says something we don't like, but al-Qaeda and those inspired by it -- the actual terrorist menace to the United States."


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