Newsweek's Adler: 'U.S. Has Killed Another Terrorist, But There Are More Terrorist Plots Than Ever'

Leave it to the liberals at Newsweek to find a way to whine when another terrorist gets his just deserts.

"Does Killing Terrorists Actually Prevent Terrorism?" Ben Adler's June 1 The Gaggle blog headline asked. With the death of al Qaeda's #3 leader Mustafa Abu al-Yazid aka Sheik Saeed al-Masri, "[t]he U.S. has killed another terrorist, but there are more terrorist plots than ever," lamented the subheadline.

Adler went on to suggest that it may be time to start negotiating with al Qaeda and/or the Taliban rather than simply attempting to eradicate them:

[A]s NEWSWEEK recently reported, U.S. law-enforcement officials have seen a recent surge in terrorism plots inside the U.S. In September 2009 three men were arrested for an alleged plot to bomb the New York City subway system. Army Psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is accused of killing 13 fellow soldiers in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, last November. On Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried to ignite a bomb in his underpants on an airplane bound for the U.S. And in May, a car bomb was discovered smoking on the street in Times Square. All of these actors claimed affiliation or inspiration with Al Qaeda or an affiliate such as AQAP or the Taliban.

These terrorist plots suggest that our recent efforts, and even successes, in pursuing the military or ideological leaders of these groups has not stopped, or even reduced, their followers desire to attack American civilians. But perhaps the fact that the overwhelming majority of these plots have been foiled, or failed on their own, should give us comfort, and not just in the sense that we’ve been lucky. Chasing terrorists in Waziristan with missiles clearly is not going to end, or definitively win, the “War on Terrorism,” and whether we should think about a diplomatic rapprochement with these groups instead of fighting an endless war with them is a legitimate question. If the U.S. could avoid war with the Soviet Union, a.k.a. the “Evil Empire,” why not Al Qaeda or the Taliban? But that does not mean we have nothing to show for our efforts in the Middle East since September 11. 

More than eight years after the U.S. successfully invaded Afghanistan, and six months to the day after President Obama announced a troop surge to pacify the country, it doesn’t appear that selectively killing militants eliminates, or even necessarily reduces, the number of people seeking to do us harm. And that should come as no surprise. The logical fallacy underlying the Global War on Terror bears a striking resemblance to the misbegotten logic of the Iraq invasion: neither nuclear proliferation nor terrorism can be eradicated militarily.

Adler did go on to note that the war on terror has significantly degraded the command and training operations of al Qaeda as on-the-run leaders of the terrorist group cannot plan and execute terror strikes with the proficiency they did before 9/11. All the same, he complained that "successful strikes like the one on al-Yazid are indeed victories, but unlike, say, the D-Day invasion you cannot draw a line from them to any realistic point of total victory."

Throughout Adler's piece, the Newsweek staffer neglected another key reason for the war on al Qaeda: punishing those who have committed or are conspiring to commit attacks on American targets. 

Simply put, Sheikh Saeed al-Masri deserved to die. His death, and the deaths and captures of other al Qaeda leaders, are always good things and American journalists should not be afraid to argue as such.

Why is it next to impossible for mainstream media reporters to see the war on terror not merely as a means of prevention of future attacks but of avenging the most deadly one on American soil nine years ago this September?

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.