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Al-Qaeda Unlikely to Have The Capacity to Mount “Retaliatory” Terrorist Attack

By Matthew Yglesias  

"Al-Qaeda Unlikely to Have The Capacity to Mount “Retaliatory” Terrorist Attack"

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Something I really don’t understand is the apparently widespread fear that the United States is likely to suffer a retaliatory terrorist attack now that Osama bin Laden’s been killed.

To me, the main thing we’ve learned about terrorism since 9/11 is that almost nobody living in the United States of America or any country from which you can travel to the USA without a visa (Canada, Western Europe, etc) actually wants to mount a terrorist attack. We’ve done a lot of homeland security since 9/11, but it’s obviously imperfect. You never see a terrorist detonate a bomb in an airport security line, you don’t see terrorists shooting up shopping malls, rogue drivers don’t plow their cars into crowds of pedestrians, etc. There are clearly lots of people eager to fight the United States in Afghanistan and other places, but those people either don’t want to come here or else they can’t. The idea that there’s some sleeper cell waiting for the right moment to strike was very plausible in September 2001, less so in October 2001, even less so in October 2002, and less and less and less and less plausible with every passing year.

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