Seventy per cent of Afghans surveyed see poverty and unemployment as the major cause of the conflict in their country, according to new research by international aid agency Oxfam and a group of Afghan organisations. Ordinary Afghans blame government weakness and corruption as the second most important factor behind the fighting, with the Taliban coming third, followed by interference by neighboring countries.
Al Qaeda today no longer poses a direct national security threat to the United States itself, but rather poses a second-order threat in which the worst case scenario would be an al Qaeda-trained or -inspired terrorist managing to pull off an attack on the scale of something in between the 1993 Trade Center attack, which killed six, and the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995, which killed 168.
Most Americans have this whole Fort Hood massacre all wrong. Maj. Nidal M. Hassan was not a terrorist. And he wasn’t a mass murderer. And he may not even have been a coward. Maj. Hassan was an enemy combatant.
The general obviously doesn’t have Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire on his bedside table. Gibbon wrote flatly that the introduction of foreigners “into Roman armies became every day more universal, more necessary and more fatal.”