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Informed Comment : 11/01/2004 – 11/30/2004

Al-Qaeda has ambitions beyond just blowing a few things up, no matter how horribly. […]

George W. Bush has never been able to see clearly the nature of this threat, which experts call asymmetrical. This word is a fancy way of saying that small groups can now accomplish things that only states used to be able to. Bush is trapped in Cold War thinking, where all major threats derive from other states, from other countries. His first thought after September 11 was that Iraq was behind it.

Bush invaded Iraq and occupied it rather than finishing off al-Qaeda and putting Afghanistan on a proper footing. He has most of the fighting units of the US military bogged down in a quagmire. His adventure in Iraq, which had nothing to do with September 11, has the potential for destabilizing the oil-rich Persian Gulf for some time to come, producing high petroleum prices, high gasoline prices, and risking a major economic downturn for the US and the world.