The Washington Post reports that terrorist threats inside the U.S. seem to be receding:
Reports of credible terrorist threats against the United States are at their lowest level since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to U.S. intelligence officials and federal and state law enforcement authorities.
The intelligence community’s daily threat assessment, developed after the terrorist attacks to keep policymakers informed, currently lists, on average, 25 to 50 percent fewer threats against domestic targets than it typically did over the past two years, said one senior counterterrorism official.
A broad cross section of counterterrorism officials believes al Qaeda and like-minded groups, in part frustrated by increased U.S. security measures, are focusing instead on Americans deployed in Iraq, where the groups operate with relative impunity, and on Europe.
It’s a little hard for me to credit our homeland security effort with that much effectiveness, but on the other hand, a lot goes on that we don’t know about. I hope.
Along those lines, the New York Times has a long piece by Peter Maass on Iraqi commando forces manned largely by Sunnis who once served Saddam. They sound extremely effective. Maass obviously respects them, while at the same time decrying their occasional roughness. The paradigm shift described in this paragraph, which we’re seeing more and more in the press, is a good omen:
The template for Iraq today is not Vietnam, to which it has often been compared, but El Salvador, where a right-wing government backed by the United States fought a leftist insurgency in a 12-year war beginning in 1980. The cost was high — more than 70,000 people were killed, most of them civilians, in a country with a population of just six million. Most of the killing and torturing was done by the army and the right-wing death squads affiliated with it…As part of President Reagan’s policy of supporting anti-Communist forces, hundreds of millions of dollars in United States aid was funneled to the Salvadoran Army, and a team of 55 Special Forces advisers, led for several years by Jim Steele [who is now working with the Iraqi commandos], trained front-line battalions that were accused of significant human rights abuses.
El Salvador was one of the wars that the left could never forgive the Reagan administration for winning. What is being prepared now–as a fall-back position, really–is the theme that the United States won in Iraq, but we “cheated” by being tough on a gang of crazed mass murderers.