August 4, 2013
Talking with CNN’s State of the Union Sunday morning host Candy Crowley, Senator Lindsey Graham said “these al Qaeda types are really on steroids thinking we’re weaker and they’re stronger” after the Benghazi attack.
Graham’s remarks are at odds with a number of reports indicating al-Qaeda is a shadow of its former self.
“If we look carefully and objectively at the evolution of the al Qaeda brand over the past 12 years, what is clear is a pattern of al Qaeda (or some quasi-organized group acting in its name) pushing into a vacuum, overplaying its hand, and retreating back into the bush when it meets resistance,” RAND reported in February after the Benghazi attack. “In Iraq, in Yemen, in Somalia, and now in Algeria, al Qaeda wannabes and copycats, even those truly committed to bin Laden’s global jihad, have repeatedly made the same mistakes and have sown the seeds of their own eventual destruction.”
Many people believe, however, at the risk of being chalked up as conspiracy theorists, that al-Qaeda in fact does not exist as an organization or a threat.
The former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons before his death that “al-Qaeda” is not a terrorist organization but a database of international mujaheddin and arms smugglers used by the CIA and Saudis to send guerrillas, arms, and money into Soviet-occupied Afghanistan.
“The terrorist group al-Qaeda in fact does not exist,” writes Mark Perkel. “It was made up in January of 2001 in order to prosecute Osama bin Laden in his absence. In order to prosecute bin Laden there had to be an organization like the Mafia for which he was a part of. Under the law if such an organization exists then the head of the organization can be prosecuted under the law. So in order to bring the prosecution they made up the organization and called it al-Qaeda. But the organization is fiction. It doesn’t exist. It’s all a huge fraud.”
This was convincingly demonstrated in the BBC documentary, The Power of Nightmares.
“The idea which is critical to the FBI’s prosecution that bin Laden ran a coherent organization with operatives and cells all around the world of which you could be a member is a myth,” said Power of Nightmares contributor Jason Burke. “There is no Al Qaeda organization. There is no international network with a leader, with cadres who will unquestioningly obey orders, with tentacles that stretch out to sleeper cells in America, in Africa, in Europe. That idea of a coherent, structured terrorist network with an organized capability simply does not exist.”
“Al Qaeda is not an organization. Al Qaeda is a way of working,” declared British Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair.
It is also, for Lindsey Graham and his sidekick, Arizona Senator John McCain, a way to periodically remind the American people that there is a war on terror in progress — and there will be for generations to come if they have anything to say about it.