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Dick Cheney And Al-Qaeda’s Operational Cycle

I can’t resist. One more from Cheney’s Fox News interview:

The thing I keep coming back to time and time again, Chris, is the fact that we’ve gone for eight years without another attack. Now, how do you explain that?

The critics don’t have any solution for that. They can criticize our policies, our way of doing business, but the results speak for themselves. And, as well as the efforts that we went to with the Justice Department and so forth to make certain what we were doing was legal, was consistent with our international treaty obligations.

Critics have “no answer” for it because no one has an answer for it. The truth is that the U.S. does not have a clear sense of al-Qaeda’s strategy for attacking the U.S. at home or abroad. Why no attack in eight years? Well, it took eight years between the 1993 and the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. Perhaps al-Qaeda is biding its time. Or, perhaps, al-Qaeda is choosing other paths of opportunity, as senior al-Qaeda strategist Mustafa Abu al-Yazid recently told al-Jazeera:

[N]ow we have open fronts in many countries and in it the meanings of big operations that we used to carry out against the enemies of Allah occur there, and everyone saw and heard what happened to the Americans of big defeats including Iraq and Afghanistan and other places. So, many of the purposes of big operations actualized in open fronts. Also, we did not and will not leave these big operations, and we were preparing for some operations that reached the final stages but for some conditions these operations did not complete, and the enemy knows that very well. And, as we said, we will continue preparing for these kinds of operations and will carry them out that which will make the Muslims happy, and make the Kafirin angry, Allah-willing. And, also we demanded and still demanding all the Al-Qaida branches to carry out these great operations.

The point isn’t that we know for sure Cheney’s wrong. It’s that there’s a lot we still don’t know about al-Qaeda’s operational planning, and so it’s deceptive, and self-deceptive, to say that no attacks in the U.S. since 2001 indicate that the Bush torture methods succeeded. Indeed, during Bush and Cheney’s tenure, the United States suffered more attacks on U.S. troops and Iraqi, Afghan and European civilians than before they took office. They’d probably say that such a statistic is misleading. But Cheney has a unique idea of what constitutes grounds for certainty.

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