No matter who perpetrated the terror attack in Boston, Americans have probably been underestimating the extent of the terror war against them and what has been its overwhelming point of origin. This fact is not altered by the staging of at least two major attacks — on the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta and the 1995 attack on the Oklahoma federal building — by right-wing extremists.
The official stance seems to be that Americans seem to believe that they are generally safe from terror attacks but that once in a while, almost at random, something bad happens. The relative success of law enforcement and intelligence agencies is clear, yet the intensity of any terrorist war is measured not by successful attacks but by the number of attacks. One should always remember, as an Israeli official working on this issue once told me in private conversation, that counterterrorism was the only profession where succeeding 99 percent of the time was to fail.
Remember, too, that the reported number of terrorist attacks — the murderous assault on passengers at the El Al airline counter in Los Angeles and the Fort Hood massacre are examples — is reduced because some are redefined for political reasons as criminal or the result of mental instability. The attacks that are discounted are always radical Islamist ones, not left- or right-wing attacks due to purely domestic issues.
Ironically, these forces are quite close to those the U.S. government policy is supporting in Syria and Egypt, and seeking good relations with in Lebanon and elsewhere.
The line is drawn, of course, with al-Qaida. The difference between al-Qaida and the other revolutionary Islamist groups is that al-Qaida has an active strategy of targeting the United States for direct attack.
It should be no mystery why the Obama administration has a pro-Islamist policy. It is based on the belief that these forces can be won over, convinced that America is not their enemy, or appeased so that they will continue their strategy of not launching terror attacks on the United States. So all groups outside of al-Qaida (and perhaps part of the Taliban) are redefined into being moderate Islamists. This is not fully done with Hamas, but Hamas is often defined as somewhat good in that it is supposedly restraining even more radical Salafists. Since al-Qaida has no serious presence in Egypt (except to a limited degree in the Sinai), Egypt’s Islamist regime is also backed in large part on the rationale that it, too, is restraining scarier Salafists. The United States, however, has put no restrictions on supporting the supply of weapons for similar Salafist groups in Syria or, previously, in Libya.
Such a strategy, as narrowly defined, can possibly work. That is, it can encourage revolutionary Islamists not to launch violent attacks on U.S. territory and facilities abroad by showing that al-Qaeda’s strategy fails.
Of course, why should revolutionary Islamist groups attack the United States directly in order to stage revolutions at home when their very goal–staging revolutions at home that can oust U.S. influence from the Middle East–is being helped by that same United States? You don’t have to rob someone if the victims hand over the money willingly. And these groups can attack the United States in every other way–stirring up anti-Americanism; hitting at U.S. interests, influence and allies–thus laying the basis for bigger offensives from a stronger situation in the future.
In short, this American policy creates a huge strategic threat which ultimately would be far more costly, involving not hundreds of terrorists but tens of millions of people living under radical Islamist rule. Having a dozen Middle Eastern states under radical Islamist rule is not good for U.S. interests.
Ultimately, when they are strong enough it is reasonable to expect that their confidence and attacks would escalate. Moreover, Islamist victories inspire more people to accept that ideology and join the global jihad.
As an illustration of the level of current threat, let’s examine major terrorist plots targeting New York City alone. All of the material used is taken from official New York City police statements. Suppose we were to add such attacks in the rest of the country to this list or minor plots in New York. How long would the list be?