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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

bin Laden and al-Qaida’s power to cause terror waning

Just days before the presidential election, the United States was reminded of the adversary who is committed to the destruction of as many Americans as possible. In a videotaped message, Osama bin Laden proclaimed al-Qaida’s intentions to continue using terrorism to influence the policies and actions of the United States.
Interpretation of bin Laden’s reemergence promptly followed. Individuals favoring a Sen. John Kerry presidency explained the videotape as a failure of President Bush’s administration to successfully rid the world of the man responsible for the attacks of 9/11.
Supporters of a second term for Bush were quick to remind likely voters that the al-Qaida leader was still a threat and as a nation at war, it was important to retain the current leadership to secure victory.
While these explanations fulfill a need to understand the political implications of the war on terror, what the terrorist’s videotape really underscores is a much simpler fact: bin Laden is losing.
In the past three years, there have been no terrorist attacks in the United States. Virtually no one could have predicted such an accomplishment in the days and weeks following 9/11. It is important to note that those responsible for the United States’ defense have to be on watch every day while the terrorists need to be accurate only once to be successful.
Despite his best attempts as the fanatical ringleader to permanently harm the United States, bin Laden simply was not up for the task. He is on the run, unable to do much more than create what amounts to a video postcard.
The effectiveness of al-Qaida has waned even since March of this year, when the terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the attack in Madrid, Spain, that affected the elections there. However, thanks to the American military, a man dedicated to the use of violence now finds himself relegated to issuing a recorded rant.
Another accomplishment needs to be recognized. Bin Laden has found no refuge from the onslaught of U.S. and coalition forces. Today, there exists no country under the leadership of terrorists such as the Taliban which ran Afghanistan, no new haven for him to flee and receive comfort or aid. While his exact location is unknown, one can conclude that his life was much easier before he ever instigated hostilities against the United States.
The fact that bin Laden is on the ropes should not usher in complacency on the part of citizens or policy makers. Building on recent achievements, efforts need to focus on attaining total victory. Seeing the direction of his fortunes, the unvanquished enemy is likely to be more desperate than ever. Bin Laden cannot afford to lose and will not surrender even in the face of insurmountable odds.
The liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq severely dampens the future of al-Qaida. Recent elections in Afghanistan and media reports state that more than 80 percent of Iraq is peaceful and under control. This means fewer terrorists are located in dwindling areas. And when they amass in cities such as Fallujah, it becomes evident that they are greatly out matched by coalition forces.
The United States is winning, but much remains to be done. The search for terrorists such as bin Laden and his ilk will continue for the foreseeable future. Immigration needs to be viewed as a security issue.
Current immigration policy and the border with Mexico has been unable to stem the tide of illegal aliens gaining access to the United States. Time magazine reported that every day 4,000 people cross the border into Arizona from Mexico. Last year, Border Patrol detained more than 5,000 illegal immigrants who originated from a country other than Mexico, some who were unable to speak Spanish.
The success of the U.S. military will be seriously undermined if terrorists carry out an attack after entering the United States unhindered. But even if a terrorist group is successful at some point, the fact remains that bin Laden couldn’t do anything when it might have made the most difference. The men and women responsible for that deserve sincere appreciation and unyielding support.

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