Radical Islamists Have Won

By TJ Edwards

Radical Islamist Osama bin Laden gave his soldiers the perfect playbook on how to succeed in war on a shoestring budget — wear down the opponent economically through fear, a strategy of a thousand cuts by inciting lone wolves to strike out on their own to create intermittent terror.

That strategy of driving up security costs was never more apparent than New Year’s 2015 when the United States pushed its law-enforcement capabilities to the limit to ferret out terrorist plots and protect several entertainment events, and terrorist-vulnerable European nations shut down their New Year’s festivities and mounted a similar sweep for suspected terrorists.

The economic cost of protection against what are mostly phantom threats designed to generate fear is incalculable. The object of radical Islamists is to generate and maintain fear, obligating all law enforcement and military resources to combat what for the most part are just rumblings about supposed terror activities. It makes no difference if the threat is real or not, it is the fear generated by the threat that counts. When the fear wanes because of the absence of terror, then terror is used to re-instill fear.

Bin Laden, the spirit of al-Qaeda and the spiritual grandfather of the Islamic State (ISIS), crafted the framework for victory as he honed it during the 10-year war in Afghanistan with the Soviet Union in the 1980s. That war bankrupted the Soviet Union and led to its dissolution in 1991.

Since then, and particularly since the destruction of major economic target World Trade Center in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, a key factor of bin Laden’s anti-American strategy has been economic — a bleed-until-bankruptcy tactic bin Laden gloated over in his assertion that the attacks only cost the Islamists $500,000 while the resulting economic loss to the United States was more than $500 billion.

Bin Laden may be dead but his ideological offspring, particularly ISIS, continue to apply his economic strategy of using lone wolves and self-starters to propel the radical Islamist ideology. A $20-trillion national debt, generated in large part by the quest for national security, is testament to that fact.

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