The terrorists have not "ended" their war, no matter how badly the politicians want to claim the war is over. There is only one way that one side of a war can end it, of their own accord; surrender. There is only one basic goal that must be recognized to win a war; War must take the necessary steps to remove the enemy's will to fight. It appears that the enemy is closer to that goal, despite their heavier losses, than are we.
"There is only way you can be guaranteed peace, and you can have it in a second. That is to surrender." Ronald Reagan, decades before he became President, during the era that politicians were purporting that cutting Our Defenses, and talking the enemy to death was the "right path." Negotiations in weakness did not end the Cold War, and it has not ended the Terrorists' War on Us. Reagan's buildup of Military Strength did bring the Cold War to an end.
While politicians and police slap each other on the back for their "successes" in Boston, they also continue with their calls to cut defense, and to militarize the police. One resident in the search area described the situation as a "police state." And indeed, one of the goals of terrorism is to induce the government to tighten its grip on civilians, while simultaneously demonstrating the lack of effectiveness of the "security blanket" of the government, until the civilians are fed up. The police cannot protect you. That is not their job. Their job is to arrest criminals that have already committed the crimes.
While the first 7 seven years of the War on Terrorism saw a few modest intrusions on our lives, the last 5 of "Overseas Contingency Operations" have seen (TSA) state sponsored sexual assaults and pornographic xrays at the airports, a government which deems your 3 month old email as theirs to read without a warrant, and require new cell phones to update their location to within a few yards.
"Mr Obama and his intelligence community know the threat from al-Qaeda affiliates, but have chosen to downplay it to the US public." Peter Foster, UK Telegraph
The Administration's policies are not one of ignorance, not anymore. They are policies of stubborn partisanship, and party platform to change the very nature of the US Military, from one prepared for war, to one that is utilized only as part of a coalition in peace-keeping operations. Bill Clinton and Eric Shinseki openly espoused that fundamental shift in the 90's, when the world believed we had entered a new era of peace, but the fact of Islamist Terrorism has hampered this Administration from being as straightforward about its goals. It couches the shift in saying that we will pin our defenses on allies given our best equipment, while stripping our own ranks of its Troops and latest equipment.
Islamist terrorists are not just Al-Qaeda. Indeed, islamism is not just terrorism. Islamist terrorists include Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Quds Force (Iran), Boko Haram, al-Shabab, and many, many others. Yet, partisan supporters of the politician in chief would have us believe that various regional commands of Al-Qaeda aren't even part of Al-Qaeda. While at times they proclaim the core element of the former headquarters of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been defeated, they deny that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, or Al-Qaeda in the Islamic West (Maghreb) are the same organization. And yet, reports continue to point out that Al-Qaeda is still active in Afghanistan, and still strong in Pakistan.
Josef Biden has stated both that the Taliban have always been the enemy, and that they are not the enemy, but the Taliban are some of the most fundamental of Islamists, and some of the most atrocious of terrorists, superceded perhaps by the Chechens, in the department of atrociousness.
Islamism is stronger now than it has ever been. It has grown and spread and taken over governments in the last 3 years, through "Arab Spring." The battle lines which had shrunk in 2008, have expanded greatly since 2010. Mubarrak had "contained" Islamists in Egypt for decades. Bashir had pulled back from open support of Islamist terrorists in the Sudan, when he saw the 2001 results in Afghanistan. His final efforts in Darfur were finally ended. Saudi Arabia had quieted and Yemen was slowed. The tide in Iraq had shifted.
Today, Islamism rules Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, and is fighting for Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, Mali, and Libya. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Turkey are trending towards, not away from Islamism. And while political Islamism espouses the use of tyranny, rather than openly supporting terrorism, to achieve its goal of establishing the caliphate, of conversion of ALL to Islam, it remains diametrically opposed to Freedom, and the Rights of Citizenship, of Human Rights themselves.
The brutality of Islamists towards religious freedom can be seen in the imprisonment (and death penalties in many cases) of ex-Muslims converted to Christianity in Iran, in Egypt, and in Pakistan. Riots have been seen in Kabul, Afghanistan, over the existence of Bibles written in Dari. All Islamism is political, though it does not all use terrorism as its means. It prefers tyranny. In fact, the goal of Islamist terrorism is to attain the reins of government, so that its tyranny can be more complete. The great migration of religiously oppressed from Tunisia, Egypt, and Somalia are testament to this. And many of those religiously oppressed, like the Bahai of Iran, are Muslims.
For the Coptic Christians in Egypt, the distinction between the fire bombs and explosives of Islamist terrorists during the Mubarrak era and the attacks of Islamist tyrannical government forces under Mosri, is the distinction of lost hope. It is the distinction of being opposed by the government to supported and enforced by the government. While Mubarrak never took the measures Bashir Assad did in wiping off the map, and face of the earth, an entire town for supporting the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, he did keep illegal, though ineffectively suppressed, the organization which called for the brutal oppression of Human Rights.
The Boston attack should serve as a reminder that Islamist Terrorists have not "ended" the war, but so should have the Little Rock, and Fort Hood attacks. In each of these, the terrorists succeeded in killing unarmed Americans, but these are not the only reminders that the terrorists have not lost their will to fight. The panty bomber, the Times Square bomber, the Wrigley Field bomber, the Christmas Tree bomber in Seattle, and many, many more attempted attacks have been downplayed as "lone wolves" or forgotten due to the failures of the enemy to execute the attacks.
Like so many of these others, the Chechen Islamist brothers will likely be played off as "self-islamized, home grown, lone wolves," but the Islamization of those with US passports or greencards is not a new factor in this war. It has long been known that Islamists were trying (and succeeding) to convert violent criminals in our jails. Adam Gadahn, of California, was already a ranking member of Al-Qaeda on 9/11, and the "American Taliban" was captured on the battlefield in the early days of the War in Afghanistan in 2001. It was only a few years ago, that 7 gang-bangers went on a rampage in Oakland, CA in the name of Islamism, after their conversions. The government has known for a decade that the strategy of the enemy was that the first wave of terrorists would be Saudi, the second wave others, and the third stage of attacks carried out by those with US passports and green cards.
A stereo-typical terrorist cell has 4-6 members. It is purposely de-centralized. Tamleran was known to the FBI. He was reported to them by a foreign country, probably Russia, as a potential terrorist. He likely had religious leaders, and terrorist directors, at the Mosque partially paid for by governments in Massachusetts. His Islamization did not occur in a vacuum, and his Uncle has clearly stated that the attack was a dishonor to the family and to all Chechens. But the Chechens were in Afghanistan in 2001, and they are still there in 2013, in lesser numbers, but more often across the border in Pakistan.
While I will agree with Jonn, at This Aint Hell, that Obama was not directly responsible for the Boston Attacks, I must also recognize some of the points made by the UK Telegraph, that the Administration's attempts to claim the War on Terrorism is over, that Al-Qaeda is defeated, has led, partially, to the complacency of the people.
And while "Blame Bush" is overplayed, he didn't quite get it right when he only told the American people to go about their lives. In no way, should he have espoused that the people live their lives in fear, but he should have found a way to give the people a meaningful purpose in the War against Terrorists. He had the foresight to know that this war would not be over quickly, that it would take decades to win, and the humility to recognize that he must change his party platform on "nation building," but in some way, the American People needed to be engaged in the efforts, as were the People, in WWII. That doesn't mean recycling metal, and food rations, or even higher taxes, but it should mean a heightened sense of Situational Awareness.
Neither Bush nor Obama can be blamed for idiots walking around with eyes glued to their iPods, but both should have told the American People to be aware of those around them, to recognize terrorists and criminals. Instead of demonizing Warriors as PTSD afflicted for their heightened sense of awareness after having seen the evil in this world, they should have sponsored people having an awareness of what's around them. They should have reminded the Nation that being aware was not the same as being afraid, that instead that knowing their environs was an innoculation to fear.
The Office of the President, has a mandate to preside over the government, and to lead the Nation, to explain to the People "why" a war is in their interests, and how they can help win it. It is not enough for him to say I'll do what I want, what I believe, because I won the election, particularly not in these times, where we choose from the less bad choice, rather than those we truly believe prepared for the Office. It is not enough for the President to understand the importance of fighting terrorists there, so we don't see American Civilians murdered here. It is his duty to explain that "why" to the American People, so they understand it, particularly when his partisan opponents see the lack of explaination as the means to undermine him, and the Nation, for political purposes of attaining power. And not giving that "why" was Bush's failure.