The Wall Street Journal has an article questioning the “success against Terrorism”, based on an upcoming report from the Congressional Research Service.
A key passage in the article reads, “The report says measures such as the number of terrorist incidents per year and the number of terrorists killed or captured are inadequate. Instead, it urges the use of broader social indicators, like the ability of terrorists to recruit.” On its face, this sounds reasonable, but on closer examination, it not only is not a valid suggestion, but reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the war, in purpose and in effect.
The Wall Street Journal article gives a spotlight, unfortunately, to Ivy League (as in Ivory Tower) professors like Alan Krueger, a Princeton professor (specialty unidentified, most likely Political Science) who states, “We emphasize body counts, without acknowledging the elasticity of al Qaeda's recruiting”. The Journal goes on to state Professor Krueger’s claim that “al Qaeda is able to replace key personnel faster than they are killed or captured”, on no evidence of any kind.
The Journal notes that Raphael Perl wrote the report for the Congressional Research Service, suggesting that the report reflects his individual views, rather than a researched and supported consensus. Perl specifically describes the Terrorist operations in Iraq as “criminal organizations”, which highlights a significant error in his perception.
This is another example of impractical thought taking the place of experience and examination of the facts. This is not a police campiagn in Iraq, but a war. Frankly, Perl and Krueger are doing nothing more than parroting the Liberal arguments from the 1990s, that Terrorism is a criminal matter, rather than a threat to National Security and a violent element of warfare. A brief review of recent history shows the cost of making such assumptions. The trials of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers yielded six convictions, but failed to pursue connections to the people who funded and supplied the bombers, because the prosecutors were seeking convictions ahead of protecting against a future attack, and the Terrorists were allowed to delay the trials for years, providing information on American security measures to anyone interested in studying them. The terrorists were allowed to present themselves as victims, oppressed by the U.S. Government.
Al Qaeda certainly gained valuable information from the cirminal process, whereas the FBI and CIA were forbidden to communicate vital information to each other, because the acts were considered “criminal”. Democrats still refuse to accept responsibility for the results of their errors, the poor strategy employed by the Clinton Administration, allowing Al Qaeda to grow from a small regional group to a truly international threat. This is just a repeated attempt to take the war away from the men best able to win it, and give the terrorists another chance. I believe that Liberals like Perl and Kruger do not openly mean to put the United States in danger; their arrogance simply will not allow them to understand the need for a military solution to a serious threat to the nation. And that error, however honest, cannot be allowed to undo the victories accomplished, or imperil our future course.