Osama bin Laden’s death marks the end of a 10-year-long manhunt. In the years since 9/11, there has been much debate about how the United States should deal with Osama bin Laden and the threat of terrorism. Democracy has been in the thick of those debates since our first issue in 2006. Below is a sampling of our best pieces on bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and 9/11 and its consequences:
America 2021: The Military and the World
Our largest threat: Pakistan. Our alliances: reshuffled by demographics. Terrorism: on the wane (maybe). New frontier for conflict: the Arctic cirlce. Four experts discuss.
The Defense Roundtable
Issue #17, Summer 2010
One reason terrorism has gone down in our perception is that we haven’t had a major terrorism incident since 9/11. We have had some minor ones. Objectively speaking, terrorism tends to be just a nuisance, unless it involves a weapon of mass destruction. But the psychological impact of it, particularly of an attack in the lower 48, can still be immense.
Word on the Street
What Osama bin Laden and George W. Bush get wrong about Muslims.
Issue #9, Summer 2008
Since September 11, the vast diversity of Islam and of mainstream moderate Muslims has been obscured by a murderous minority. Sadly, many in the West take bin Laden’s claims for granted. The result is that the over-militaristic American response has alienated the moderate Muslim majority and reinforced a belief that the war against global terrorism is really a war against Islam.
Fight Al Qaeda
Issue #6, Fall 2007
The successful elimination in Anbar province of Al Qaeda forces suggests one approach-persuading, empowering, and bribing tribal leaders to do the work for you. Of course, like a game of whack-a-mole, Al Qaeda fighters have now migrated to other provinces such as Diyala. Applying the Anbar model to fight Al Qaeda in other parts of the country is a promising strategy, particularly since it uses relatively few U.S. troops to leverage larger local forces.
Restore Trust in America’s Leadership
Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay
Issue #6, Fall 2007
Containing and ultimately defeating the jihadist threat will require a mix of strategies. Notwithstanding the Iraq debacle, Washington will occasionally need to use military force to take out jihadi cells training in the mountains of Afghanistan or the wilds of Somalia. But because the next jihadist plot could come just as easily from a neighborhood in Hamburg or Harrisburg, it will be more important for Washington to improve other counterterrorism efforts.
A Matter of Pride
Why we can’t buy off the next Osama bin Laden.
Peter Bergen and Michael Lind
Issue #3, Winter 2007
The key factor, then, is not whether a group is stateless or controls a state, but whether or not it is promoting a revolutionary ideology that justifies both terrorism and interstate war to promote its goals. If today’s militant Islamism is understood in these terms-as a revolutionary ideology whose adherents seek to gain state power and exercise it to realize their vision-then it can be viewed as the latest in a series of revolutionary political doctrines of the past few centuries, which included radical Jacobin liberalism, anarchism, communism, and fascism and other forms of radical nationalism.
The Seeds of Victory Gardens
The years since September 11 have been the ultimate test of a generation’s resolve. How are we doing so far?
Issue #1, Summer 2006
In 2001, Americans were victims of a vicious attack perpetrated by those committed to stopping the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world. Immediately after, we seemed ready to take part in a massive response. But we have not, at least not in any way analogous to the scale of the efforts of previous generations.