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Home Front: WoT
The Damage to al-Qaeda

Originally published at the American Thinker

Recently I wrote about a newly released study from the West Point Combating Terrorism Center. The CTC just released documents associated with a study on al-Qaeda. One of them was a letter described here.
As I read the letter, I couldn’t help but remember the comments bemoaning President Bush and his war on terror from the likes of Richard Clarke,
“I think he’s done a terrible job on the war against terrorism.”
Michael Scheuer wrote an entire book called Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror. Hillary Clinton derided the President at Berkeley last month, making a joke about missing the tallest guy in Afghanistan, and attacking his management of the war on terror.
To his credit, Paul Pillar gets it right:
“Al Qaeda, although still a danger, has been badly damaged by the measures taken over the past two and a half years.”
Although as Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard points out in his article “Paul Pillar Speaks, Again,” Mr. Pillar seems to be completely against the possibility of state sponsored terrorism.
So what was it about the letter that made me think of this esteemed crowd? Here is the description of the letter dated June 13th, 2002:
Synopsis: ‘Abd-al-Halim Adl vigoroulsy challenges the leadership of Osama Bin Laden and accuses him of being close-minded and oblivious to the great harm suffered by Al-Qa’ida in recent months. He writes to Mukhtar both to confront him for his complicity in these ill-conceived plans and to change Mukhtar’s thinking.
Key Themes: ‘Abd-al-Halim Adl writes a letter to his dear friend Mukhtar to challenge him for his role in the defeats that have befallen al-Qa’ida in the last six months, and to encourage him in his challenge to the management of Osama Bin Laden. The recent time period is one in which the movement has gone from “misfortune to disaster” with serious setbacks encountered in East Asia, Europe, America, the Horn of Africa, Yemen, the Gulf, and Morocco.
Excerpts from the letter:
…consider all the fatal and successive disasters that have afflicted us during a period of no more than six months.
…but today we are experiencing one setback after another and have gone from misfortune to disaster…
My beloved brother, stop all foreign actions, stop sending people to captivity, stop devising new operations, regardless of whether orders come or do not come from Abu-Abdallah (translator notes this is Bin Laden). Our adherents have lost confidence in us…
And my personal favorite:
…we only lost what we built in years…
No, this is not Michael Moore talking about the United States. It is apparently a senior member of al-Qaeda telling another that Bin Laden has ruined them.
Read it and thank the great Americans who are making this happen. Now to be clear, I don’t think this means the threat has gone away, but to say that President Bush’s war on terror has failed overlooks the facts at a fundamental level. The United States has had major successes in the disruption, destruction, and denial of al-Qaeda operations and this letter proves it. Clarke, Scheuer, and Senator Clinton are wrong.
Posted by:Ray Robison

#1 and other Blog posters are arguing that AL QAEDA [AS AN ORGANZ] NO LONGER EXISTS, and that many of those orgs claiming to be part of AQ are actually unassociated or independ groups of young men-boys looking for their 15 minutes of fame/glory, at least for now.
The latter proclaim to attack US-Allied interests in the ME but typically end up killing mostly innocent Muslims and themselves without putting a dent in US efforts at local democracy- or nation-building. Most agree that Osama, Zawi, and Zarq-ey, and a few other notables, however, are still out there bent on inducing as much anarchy and mayhem as possible.
Posted by: JosephMendiola   2006-03-05 20:53