Al-Qaeda is Not Our Only Threat

I knew Mitt Romney was going to take heat for his remarks regarding Bin Laden. I did not know that it was fellow Republicans who would be the first to attack him. Senator McCain has now said that he sees Romney as Naive about the terrorist leader. For discussion purposes, lets look at Romney’s remarks in context:

[Romney] Said the country would be safer by only “a small percentage” and would see “a very insignificant increase in safety” if al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was caught because another terrorist would rise to power. “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person,” Romney said.

Every person in this country would like to capture Bin Laden, but Romney’s right. Osama Bin Laden is one terrorist leader in a much larger network of Islamic Extremists. Capturing Bin Laden would be one victory, but the overall impact on the greater terrorist movement would be small. While it couldtemporarily damage Al-Qaeda, there are already others ready to take over, many of whom already have a larger role in planning attacks than Bin Laden himself. Do we really believe that catching Bin Laden would stop the Al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq or Saudi Arabia? We didn’t even stop Al-Qaeda in Iraq when we killed their leader. Osama Bin Laden is not Hitler. When Hitler killed himself, the Nazi movement was, for all practical purposes, dead. Islamofacisim is not the same.

The idea that Bin Laden is our only enemy is foolish, if not dangerous. There are dozens of other terrorist networks, some of them are not even the same religious sect as Al-Qaeda. For these groups, which include Hezbollah, the death of Bin Laden would mean nothing. It would have no effect.

As much as we want to catch Bin Laden, there are other dangers. While we should not stop looking for Bin Laden, we should avoid dumping millions of dollars and thousands of more troops into the hunt. These resources are better served protecting our borders, ports, and airports, and taking on other dangerous threats such as Iran and Syria.

If we do catch Bin Laden, it will be because of intgelligence gathered while making connections with Afgan and Pakistani tribes, or through Al-Qaeda based informants. These operations require good intelligence and good relations with locals, not millions upon millions of dollars and thousands more men who would be more useful standing gaurd in the United States. Everyone wants to find Bin Laden, but there are more pressing threats, and Romney’s got a very valid point.

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