a Washington Post story
that seems strangely buried news in this holiday week. Seems there's only one more number-two al-Qaeda leader for us to kill.
The leadership ranks of the main al-Qaeda terrorist network, once expansive enough to supervise the plot for Sept. 11, 2001, have been reduced to just two figures whose demise would mean the group's defeat, U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials said.
Ayman al-Zawahiri and his second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, are the last remaining "high-value" targets of the CIA's drone campaign against al-Qaeda in Pakistan, U.S. officials said, although lower-level fighters and other insurgent groups remain a focus of Predator surveillance and strikes. [...]
"We have rendered the organization that brought us 9/11 operationally ineffective," a senior U.S. counterterrorism official said. Asked what exists of al-Qaeda's leadership group beyond the top two positions, the official said: "Not very much. Not any of the world-class terrorists they once had."
Hurray! you say. Let's get out of Afghanistan, roll back the PATRIOT Act, shrink the Department of Homeland Security, and disband quasi-legal counter-terrorism units like the one operating out of the NYPD.
Fat chance. As Drum says:
Pretty much the entire rest of the piece is devoted to 'U.S. officials' telling us that (a) none of this really matters, (a) al-Qaeda remains an enormous threat, and (c) we can't afford any kind of reduction in our overseas military presence. So don't let this get your hopes up.
So much for that peace dividend.
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