Does "we fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here” actually work?

As we have seen, it only takes a couple people to pull off some pretty terrible terror attacks. How does “fighting them over there” prevent that?

Sigh… Here we go again…

Al-Qaeda has basically ceased to exist at the strategic and operational level. There are still some groups that self-identify as “Al-Qaida,” but on the whole their strategic leadership was destroyed and they no longer function as an extended network. The same could be said of ISIS, which no longer controls much physical territory and has transformed itself into a clandestine insurgency. ISIS no longer has any safe haven where they can control terrain, train, and organize for attacks. You no longer see them publishing fancy magazines or recruiting internationally. Now they are almost exclusively focused on staying relevant at the tactical level … In effect, focused on just surviving and pitching their organization to small rural villages.

The practical effect of all this is that terrorist attacks are increasingly unsophisticated. It used to be that Al-Qaeda would devote lots of resources to planning and executing sophisticated “spectacular” attacks like bombing public buildings or warships. We don’t see that happening any more. Instead, we see ISIS propaganda urging people to do whatever they can with whatever they have laying around. Instead of trying to recruit individuals into the organization, they urge self-radicalized people to commit random shootings, stabbings, and car crashes on their own initiative. This is a sign of weakness. Their message is “somebody please do something,” no matter how small in scale or unsophisticated in scope.

As much as it is tragic for the victims involved, the fact is that Islamic terrorism in the West is extremely rare and small-scale. Domestic mass shootings and racists kill far more Americans than Islamic terrorists. The terrorists we do encounter (eg the Tsarnevs, or Nidal Hassan) are self-motivated amateurs and not exactly criminal masterminds.

The other major benefit of fighting them “over there” is that we get to see their TTPs play out in a foreign theater rather than our own. Right now the major innovations are taking place with modified commercial drones. It is much better to encounter their new tactics and devices overseas, than to be surprised by these same attacks in our homelands.

And lastly, I’d just say that I would much rather fight terrorist insurgencies in the Middle East than allow them to assemble into nation-states (eg Afghanistan and the so-called Islamic State) that we have to deal with later.

It seems to work on Trump supporters.

I sorry but I can’t take this. Your whole post is military industrialist complex propaganda that you are spewing and trying to pass off as fact. You are just using the standard Neocon/Neoliberal BS talking points. You sound like Cheney or Rumsfeld.

It’s this kind of thinking that has brought to where we are now, near 20 years after 9/11 started it.

This line of thinking is why things are like this now.

And once again so we don’t forget here is what Rumsfeld said was Bin Laden’s bunker.

It looks like a comic book because it was. Total B.S., just like 9/11 and the so-call war on terrorism.

Also keep in mind the construction required to build on this scale would have been picked up by satellite imagery. The captions mention diverting streams for hydro-electric power.

You would have been able to see that on your desktop with Microsoft TerraServer, which what regular people could access back then before Google earth. The military would have full high res images of that even then.

They used this kind BS to cow the public into believing a highly organized group was attacking us, but it was all a lie. That image was on the news and published in every newspaper at the time.

…But that was their message back when they were far larger and more powerful than Al-Qaeda as well. It’s not desperation; it’s a very clever strategy - there’s no way to fight terrorism effectively if the only warning signs are “Is a Muslim” and “Owns a car or gun”.

I take it you consider that “we fight them over there…” doesn’t work, that Al Qaeda and Daech/ISIS are as strong as ever, that Islamic terrorism in the West is on the rise, etc. What do you recommend as an alternative strategy?

Ehhhh… Islamic terrorism in the west was never more than a blip on the radar. You get a few incidents here and there, a few attempts here and there, but I don’t see any grand pattern - maybe the attacks have been less flashy, but they’ve been more successful (building, smuggling, and using a bomb is difficult; buying and using a gun is easy; driving a car into a crowd of people is so easy even an Incel can figure it out), but in overall frequency I don’t see any particular pattern. The sample size is small and noisy, basically, and I’m honestly not sure how the correlation is between terrorist attacks in the west and the strength of those groups is.

I think that canard is circular logic. I’d have to ask this: If we didn’t go abroad to “fight them over there”, is it a sure thing that they will come over here? Can’t prove a negative I know, but it certainly seems to require some reaching to believe it.

It worked well for the UK and USA in WW2.

It’s done far more damage to America and its interests than they could ever have done without our help, and well as aided their cause. It might kill individual terrorists (along with a far larger number of innocents) and damage organizations but ultimately those are expendable; our actions make their cause stronger and destroy their enemies.

And in WWI.

We can sure “fight 'em over there” in countless ways w/o putting large numbers of boots on the ground. Doing that only provides them convenient targets.

Various alt-histories notwithstanding, I doubt the US was in any danger of actual invasion. So there wasn’t going to be any ‘fighting over here’, unless Britain losing caused Canada to declare war on us.

Although I guess we did actually fight ‘over here’, as Japan occupied a couple of the Aleutian islands (I wouldn’t count our Pacific island possessions that they overran).