From US News & World Report.
...over the past year, U.S. intelligence agencies have completely revised their assessment of al Qaeda and reached an alarming conclusion: Bin Laden already has a safe haven-in Pakistan-and may be stronger than ever.
I am frequently amused when Bush apologists attempt to justify his failure to capture the mass murderer of 3,000 of our fellow Americans (including my cousin) by claiming either that bin Laden is "smeared on the walls of a cave in Tora Bora" or he's "on the run". According to the head of the DIA, bin Laden is safe in Pakistan and whatever ground we gained by invading Afghanistan has been lost:
When the current head of DIA, Lt. Gen. Michael Maples, visited Capitol Hill this year, he warned that the group's leaders are resilient and are actively plotting from their new base in Pakistan. "Al Qaeda retains the ability to organize complex, mass-casualty attacks and inspire others," Maples said. "Al Qaeda has consistently recovered from losses of senior leadership."
Now, we learn that the much ballyhooed captures of important Al Qaeda leaders at best amount to nothing more than a temporary interruption in the organization's operations:
The captures of successive operational commanders, including 9/11 planner Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, amounted only to temporary setbacks; they were replaced with disturbing ease.
The US News & World Report article goes on to explain that Al Qaeda has reconstituted training facilities in the northwest area of Pakistan that borders Afghanistan. In addition, there's mounting evidence that the aborted liquid explosives airliner plot and the July 2005 London subway bombings were directed by a resurgent Al Qaeda organization based in Pakistan.
To make matters worse, we are now seeing increasing numbers of freelance terrorists, like the Fort Dix Six, who are undertaking operations on their own without any connection to the Al Qaeda organization. Al Qaeda has essentially metastasized from a terrorist organization to a worldwide movement similar to the Communist movement of the second half of the twentieth century. And what is the fuel propelling this worldwide jihad? Stories like this:
Airstrikes called in by U.S. Special Forces soldiers fighting with insurgents in southern Afghanistan killed at least 21 civilians, officials said Wednesday. One coalition soldier was also killed.
These are dark days for the war on terror. Al Qaeda has reconstituted operations in Pakistan and is stronger than ever. The Taliban are resurgent in Afghanistan where the Karzai regime looks increasingly shaky. Al Qaeda has established a new base of operations in Iraq thanks to the chaos and instability created in that country by the fall of the Hussein regime. Bin Laden's strategy of drawing the US into unwinnable wars in the Muslim world has worked perfectly. We find ourselves bogged down in both Iraq and Afghanistan as Al Qaeda portrays our efforts in both countries as a war against Islam inspiring young Muslim men around the world (and in this country) to take up the cause.
In summary, it's time for plan B in the war on terror.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!