I read here
that more and more, government and military officials are starting to contribute "Al Qaeda-like" attacks to Al Qaeda. In many cases, the group responsible may have been an offshoot, an affiliate or just a copycat. I guess for some it's more expedient to just stamp "Al Qaeda" on the problem and move on. But it's not that easy.
While the story admits there are problems-
If you start referring to all the al Qaeda affiliated groups, and the franchise operations, surrogates, wannabes, it becomes much more difficult to explain how you're going to defeat it, and number two, to admit that you might not really know who's doing what and why
-it only gives a military POV. I can understand why a general would see the need not to dice up the enemy into little sub-groups during a briefing.
What about the non-military ramifications? All terrorists are not affiliated with Al Qaeda; to link every attack in this manner undermines intelligence gathering and gives the public a false perception of what's really going on.
But it's not like this hasn't been happening for awhile now. Bush and Pals linked Saddam to bin Laden, which is like the Avengers linking Dr. Doom to Magneto. The Bush Administration has made this conflict a "war on terror" as opposed to "a war against Al Qaeda," which made invading various countries easier to accept. And recruiters use video games to get the Nintendo/Playstation/Xbox Generation enticed about signing up. Everything's getting murky.
Now, the very bad guys Bush swore he would "smoke out" are being lumped with God-knows-who. And yes, they're all dangerous. But this conflict started out with us trying to find and destroy the group who took four airplanes and used them as weapons to kill Americans.
That goal, that objective, has undergone a lot of changes since then. And now it looks like the "who" isn't even important anymore.
Update [2005-7-27 15:55:46 by Omen]:: With the revelation of the name change -it's no longer going to be the "Global War On Terror"- I suspect things will get even murkier.