Intentions, outcomes, and rejustifications

2017-01-24

in Bombs and rockets, History, Politics, Psychology, Security

This [claim by Al Qaeda military commander Saif al-Adel that Osama bin Laden deliberately provoked the United States into attacking Afghanistan] was a post facto rationalization of Al-Qaeda’s strategic failure. The whole point of the 9/11 attacks had been to get the United States out of the Muslim world, not to provoke it into invading and occupying Afghanistan and overthrowing al-Qaeda’s closest ideological ally, the Taliban. September 11, in fact, resembled Pearl Harbor. Just as the Japanese scored a tremendous tactical victory on December 7, 1941, they also set in motion a chain of events that led to the eventual collapse of Imperial Japan. So, too, the 9/11 attacks set in motion a chain of events that would lead to the destruction of much of al-Qaeda and, eventually, the death of its leader.

Bergen, Peter L. Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad. Crown Publishers; New York. 2012. p. 58-9. Emphasis in original.

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Milan January 24, 2017 at 6:51 pm

In an internal “after-action” report about the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, an anonymous al-Qaeda writer applauded the strategic wisdom of the attacks: “Targeting America was a very smart choice strategically because the conflict with America’s followers in the Islamic world showed that these followers cannot stay on top of their tyrant regimes without America’s support. So why keep fighting the body when you can kill the head.” The after-action report also celebrated the media attention that the 9/11 attacks had generated: “The giant American media machine was defeated in a judo-like strike from Shiekh bin Laden. CNN cameras and other media dinosaurs took part in framing the attacks and spreading the fear, without costing al-Qaeda a dime.”

Bergen, Peter L. Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad. Crown Publishers; New York. 2012. p. 58.

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