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We knew the truth about al Quaeda when they failed to follow up 9/11 with additional strikes. It's hard to even imagine the impact of a few random truck bombs in that pressure-cooker fall of 2001, but while imagination fails on specificity, the term "The Great Freakout" comes to mind. This was a "war" that was over the day it begun, and has served primarily as a political justification for everything from the invasion of Iraq to corporate-friendly modifications to longstanding copyright law.

Also, Panetta and crew are playing a game without having to acknowledge the rules. Sometimes al Quaeda is a specific organization, sometimes it's anyone we don't like who happens to be Muslim, and other times it's just the idea of violent resistance to the American global agenda. If we kill these 20 guys, that will take care of al Quaeda, but the unarguable fact will remain that six indoctrinated and motivated kids with access to some funds and weapons will always represent the threat we're spending a quarter of a billion dollars a year to counter.

It seems as if everybody in the game is learning as it evolves except the US...


Would be nice if the national security state, HSA, and related legislation were all dialed back to fit the Panetta-esque rhetoric. Watch what they DO, not what they SAY.



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