Judging by recent bungled bombing attempts it would seem as if terrorist organizations are scraping the bottom of the barrel and maybe have run out of reasonably intelligent terrorist bombers. Of course “reasonably intelligent” and “terrorist bomber” don’t necessarily go hand in hand. The attempt by Faisal Shahzad to bomb Times Square and run, failed miserably. Even the “run” part of the equation didn’t work too well. Add the botched job by another terrorist in Detroit on Christmas Day and you have the makings of some either weak links in the terrorist chain or some pretty dumb folks.
“Clearly overall Al-Qaeda is facing a quality control problem as they exhort individuals to carry out violence and recruit some of these individuals,” said Brian Jenkins, a terrorist expert who recently completed a study for the Rand Corporation on the make up of terrorists in custody. “They are not necessarily going to get the most qualified people and I’m not sure what qualifies a terrorist, one does not have to have a high SAT score to be a terrorist.”
In Jenkins study of those placed in custody he points out since 9-11 most were high school drop outs or had entry level jobs at best, 16 had some university education, 11 had military training, 24 had training in terrorist camps and 16 had previous criminal records.
“They got their training on the street basically,” added Jenkins.
It would seem some of the targets of Jihadist recruiting don’t think dozens of virgins in the afterlife is worth giving up life on earth anymore. The number of suicide bombings seems to be less and in the United States (aside from the terror of 9-11) we’ve really not seen suicide bombers like in Iraq and Afghanistan or Pakistan. Even the first WTC bombers stayed alive and were caught when they returned to pick up the deposit on their Ryder Truck. Life in America could readily turn a prospective terrorist away from suicide certainly. The Great Satan as the Ayatollah Khomeini declared the USA, does offer a lot of fun and unique possibilities to a young man making his way in the world. Still there is a continuing wave of recruiting going on.
“The real problem for us is these extremist ideas and the people they are recruiting now either natural born or naturalized Americans,” said Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) who heads up the congressional terrorism committee dealing with Internet security. “In just the past year since President Obama took office we have killed 600 terrorists yet those Al-Qaeda who still exist are able to recruit more people, especially on the Internet.”
The good news is while they continue to try they continue to fail to succeed at their ultimate mission; death and destruction. The bad news is they continue to try and continue to cause panic and havoc among the population. Some would say in doing the latter they are completing their task and reaching their goals.
Another difference is these new terrorists have broken the terrorist code of not talking. In fact they are blabbing quicker and more often suggesting a lack of commitment to the cause as well as to their leaders. The FBI used a little known rule in the Miranda Rights to get information out of Shahzad called “the public safety exception to Miranda.”
“In this case ‘public safety’ would mean he had other confederates out there who information was out there about them and they could commit more attacks,” said CBS legal consultant Andrew Cohen on KNX News radio in Los Angeles. “After he was Mirandized he evidently just kept talking and giving information.”
The bottom line might be the terrorists have tried for nearly a decade to get the US out of the Middle East by using suicide bombers and terrorist tactics but the US remains in more places than when the war began. If Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are having more difficulty finding recruits, whether home grown in the USA or from the region in question, it may be because the US has resolved to stay the course. The US is still there despite the terrorism.