Defense: Some are now saying al-Qaida is weak and we overreacted after 9/11. Al-Qaida is weak because of our reaction and a tool that shows that America and its technology is alive and well.
The latest chapter in the mainstream media's revisionist history of the war on terror is the recent claim by Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria that al-Qaida was and "is simply not that deadly a threat," and that after a spectacular success on 9/11 is reduced to recruiting a radicalized young man over the Internet and teaching "him to stuff his underwear with explosives."
In saying we've "overreacted," Zakaria trivializes both the threat and our success. Despite his rhetorical flourish, that man with a bomb in his undies very nearly brought down a civilian airliner over a major American city. If al-Qaida has not duplicated 9/11, it has not been for lack of trying.
No, Mr. Zakaria, we did not overreact to a weak al-Qaida. We made it weak. As President Reagan might say, we are simply winning and they are losing in large part because of a new type of aircraft being built in Southern California, the unmanned drone. There, the Predator and Reaper drones that have decimated al-Qaida's leadership are made by General Atomic Aeronautical Systems in one of the few boom areas of the defense industry.
Conceived before 9/11 as a means of fighting forest fires with some use as a military reconnaissance aircraft, the drone industry has received $20 billion in Pentagon funding since 2001 and billions more from Congress and the CIA. The industry employs some 10,000 people and helps keep the rest of us alive. The Pentagon is spending more than $4 billion this year buying and operating drones, more than 7,000 of which are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It's not that al-Qaida is unable to plan and mount attacks. It's just that Predator strikes have thinned the herd a tad. For example, Rashid Rauf, mastermind of the 2006 trans-Atlantic airline bomb plot, was sent to collect his virgins when a Hellfire missile launched from a Predator drone struck a tribesmen's house in the village of Ali Khel in North Waziristan.
A New Year's Day 2009 missile strike killed two top al-Qaida members long sought for the Aug. 7, 1998, bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. Cross Fahid Mohammed Ali Msalam and Sheikh Ahmed Salem Swedan off the FBI's most-wanted terrorist list. Continue to page 2 of Investors online....