Marc A. Thiessen
The Los Angeles Times
February 16, 2009
Editor’s note: Former George Bush speechwriter who likes to hang out at the CFR says we have to worry about the dead Osama bin Laden, not that bankers.
We’re bombarded with bad news — the credit markets could freeze, millions more could lose their jobs, and today’s recession could turn into a depression. But the danger we aren’t hearing about could outweigh them all: the increased risk of a catastrophic terrorist attack.
A careful study of Osama bin Laden’s videos, letters and Internet statements makes clear that Al Qaeda’s goal is more than to terrorize Americans or to drive us out of the Middle East. Bin Laden believes that Al Qaeda can bring about the economic collapse of the United States — and to achieve this goal, he has adopted a strategy of targeting America’s financial centers and economic infrastructure.
Bin Laden cites the 9/11 attacks as proof that this strategy can succeed. In a November 2004 videotape broadcast on Al Jazeera, he boasted that Al Qaeda spent $500,000 on the event, while America lost, “according to the lowest estimate, $500 billion … meaning that every dollar of Al Qaeda defeated a million dollars [of America] … besides the loss of a huge number of jobs.”
“America is a superpower, with enormous military strength and vast economic power,” he concluded, “but all this is built on foundations of straw. So it is possible to target those foundations and focus on their weakest points, which, even if you strike only one-tenth of them, then the whole edifice will totter and sway.”
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