Terrorists Go Postal: The Terrorism Threat Reexamined
Previously published on Nov 12, 2010
Already the causalities of the prolonged Great Recession for Main Street and the continued corruption of our legislative process, a situation which they helped create, Democrats could have easily seen greater losses in the Midterm Election had several mail bombs successfully reached their targets in the United States and Greece throughout the early fall. For a number of political reasons, Democrats are often perceived in the eyes of voters to be weak in terms of National Security, thus Americans tend to turn to Republicans in the face of security threats. Unfortunately, the threat associated with the perpetrators of this latest attack on Western nations by terrorists cannot be stopped by either Democrats or Republicans.
When Al Qaeda attacked the United States on September 11th 2001, their actions were far more than simple acts of terrorism. Al Qaeda lead by Osama Bin Laden and many of the organizations waving its banner seek legitimate power in the Middle East. In other words, where the Islamic world has never been unified under one cause or dogma, Al Qaeda seeks to create a united front against the West. While mistakes of the US lead formal War on Terror did much to help establish the credibly of Al Qaeda as an actual power in the eyes of many Middle Easterners, the main Al Qaeda group needed to play politics and concern itself with diplomacy.
Consequently, Al Qaeda tended to chose dramatic, "deserving" targets. As the group has evolved, it has largely played the role of a paramilitary force in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In terms of terrorist acts, Al Qaeda has also tried to minimize collateral damage by justifying civilian deaths and limiting the number of Western attacks to well-planned, high profile scenarios with a high probability of success. In other words, the leadership of Al Qaeda is trying to act more like a formal power, rather than, a cohort of violent criminals with a political message. In many respects, this has helped restrain Al Qaeda from engaging in one random terrorist attack after another.
In 2010, Americans came to the realization that a new kind of terrorist attack would originate from places like Yemen. The problem with Yemeni terrorists is that they are willing to indiscriminately launch poorly planned attacks with easily constructed explosives. In fact, the latest round of terrorist attacks occurred primarily for the simple goal of trying to find the weaknesses in our security systems. Quite frankly, they will find them and exploit them eventually. This means defensive measures in the next phase of the war on terrorism may not be as effective, albeit still necessary, as offensive measures that require better relations in the Middle East and quicker, more flexible police interventions by international forces will take center stage.