What is the next move for the terrorists?

Most of this post will be opinion based on my analysis of events. However, due to the subject matter, I thought it would be moved to GD anyway so here it is.

If you were the terrorists, what would your next move be? The huge question in that regard is this…how well do they understand our society and our potential reaction to events generated by them?

If they are able to learn from the past and are paying attention, the smart thing for them is to do absolutely nothing at this point. Right now our increasingly adversarial political environment is carrying their water for them. The area where many of them are being held and interrogated is being questioned and undermined. Many in our country are questioning our military committment in Iraq. Every mistake or negative piece of news is slavered over by most of our national press. As a result, the support for the war on terror is waning daily. If you were a terrorist, why in the world would you upset the apple cart now?

Many good points have already been raised in a recent thread about the probable results of another terror attack on American soil. Some of the anticipated results include an increased level of support for military action and the war in general. The societal and intellectual marginalization of those who can’t or won’t deal with the fact that we are in a daily battle with a group of people who are trying to kill as many of us as they can was also anticipated.

Of course if the terrorists are politically unaware and only concerned with the “jihad dujour” they will attack at pretty much anytime. Of course it would be easier for them to just sit back and let us do the job for them.


I presume ‘The Terrorists’ refers to Al Qaeda and sympathetic islamist groups? If so, they carry on doing what they’re doing now - carrying out periodic attacks. Madrid, Istanbul, Bali, Morocco,…

You’re assuming that America is the only target. It is not. Obviously, any attack on American soil would be viewed as a great victory in some quarters. But it doesn’t mean they’ll devote all their energies to this. For a parallel - bombing mainland Briatin was a rare achievement for the IRA, one which got them worldwide coverage. This didn’t stop them carrying out simple shootings & car bombings within N Ireland, which went comparitively unnoticed.

If I were a terrorist I would launch a major attack as soon as practicable, in the hopes that it would induce more knee-jerk economy-crippling pointless security measures. Possible targets would include Railways and Shopping malls, which are lightly defended.

Thinking globally in terms of jihad and Islamism I would be putting my efforts into overthrowing the Saudis and gaining control of all that Oil.

OK, simple observation - if a terrorist group currently were capable of launching a small-scale suicide attack in America, why haven’t they? The absence of such an attack seems to me to point towards no such terrorists being in such a position.

Oh, sure, they might be lying low and waiting to coordinate a hundred attacks in a hundred cities all at once. But this would not correspond to anything any group have even attempted before…even hijacking a few planes used the airlines’ own timetabling.

Diversify. Your analysis :

is largely correct IMO, but that won’t last. Assuming their intermediate goal is to force the US/West out of the ME totally, as a step toward the final triumph of Islam, They need to do one of two things:

  1. Cause enough casualties to make the US pull out of Iraq and to destabilize the elected regime. Make Iraq a total basket case, to the point where people start saying it was better off under Saddam.

  2. Hit London hard, and connect it to support for the US. Drive a wedge, make it US vs. The World. Moreover, a big-time attack on London would create we-could-be-next fear in the rest of Europe and the US; whereas hitting the US directly would just get moderate Americans pissed off.

They’ve been trying 1 for the last year and it doesn’t seem to be working. I’d advise 2.

And this:

Don’t need hundreds. Hit one mall a week before Thanksgiving, and another a few days later, and you’d cost the US economy billions.

You’re assuming that they’re following the stock markets and the pension funds closely. And you’re assuming that the US economy couldn’t cope with the hit of the loss of a few billion - how much was lost after 9/11, yet it still stayed the richest country by a mile?

Oh, I agree it wouldn’t have a long-term economic impact; but I was just pointing out that it doesn’t take “hundreds” to have a significant impact.

‘Significant impact’ in fiscal terms is simply not the same as a significant effect of fear or of effect on everyday life. The latter, pretty much by definition, is the intention of terrorists. If they wanted to attack financial systems, their talented Saudis would have been pursuing careers on Wall Street and in London & Hong Kong. They wouldn’t have been messing about with flight simulators.

A financial disaster, although quantifiably much worse in every way than just about any terrorist attack, doesn’t have the same effect.

There are plenty of targets…the oil refinery system or the electrical grid for economic impact or attacks at malls or other public places to instill terror. But why hasn’t it happened yet?

That would work if the war in Iraq was a popularity contest. It doesn’t do anything to meet their primary objective of having us leave the Middle East.

Our last knee-jerk response was to invade one terrorist controlled country and another that just SOUNDED like it might have terrorists.

Which specific “it” are you referring to?

Wait, if the terrorists goal is to wreak havoc upon the war on terror, why did they attack us in the first place? They had already achieved their goal: there was no war on terror!

Perhaps you misunderstand their purpose. However, it sounds like your OP is trying to equate disagreement with our methods and debate in the country with carrying out the goals of the terrorists. Surely, you don’t mean to say that those of us who disagree with the current administration are doing the work of the terrorists, or even worse, in league with them?

I disagree with the OP logic. If, as many have said, Bush in power is the terrorist’s wet dream, the last thing they want is a reasonably level headed leader in the White House. With Bush’s popularity fading, another attack now would get America’s blood-lust boiling again, lend support to a Bush-like leader, and probably push the US further down the dismal road they’re going down.

Why wouldn’t they attack?

If they had the technical expertise, I’m sure they’d love to poison the nation’s milk supply. with botulinum toxin. It’s got that “no one could have ever imagined” feel to it.

I’m not going that far, no. But I am saying that some of the more extreme anti-war and anti-Bush folks are doing things that are undermining the effort whether they intend to or not.

For some, the desire to hurt Bush or to score partisan political points seems to outweigh the common sense approach of presenting a united front to our enemy.

I really feel that they were not prepared for our post 9/11 response. To them, all we had done for the past twenty years is present weakness. We would withdraw when things got tough (Beiruit, Somalia), lob a few cruise missiles at factories or empty camps or in general just roll over (the first WTC attack, the Cole attack). It may have come as a surprise to them when we struck back. Now, they may be hesitating because as I have said before, some of their work is being done for them and they don’t want to inflame (and unite) the country again.

Is there such an entity as “the terrorists”, some discrete grouping that is A but not B? That starts getting pretty murky. Presumably, the Chechnyan jihadists count? Or no? What about the Baathist dead-enders, presumably bent on returning Saddam to power? Are they in some way identical, even though their goals and inspirations are entirely secular? Or does such a group even exist?

It has suited the political goals of some groups to pretend that a group, “the terrorists”, exists and that struggling against them is the “war on terror”. I’m not having any.

I know one thing. If I were leading a terrorist cell in America I will not do suicide bombings because I know the moment we do that the US Government will put every Arab and muslim on camps and that will halt future plans of terror. You know they will. 9/11 was a one time thing but obviously suicide bombings aren’t so the U.S. gov solution to stop it would be to round up every arab/muslim in the country and put them in camps to keep an eye on em. 2005 or not…it will & can happen if suicide bombings occurs.

It is one thing to do suicide bombings in Iraq because its a muslim/arab country where you couldn’t differentiate between you and your neighbor but in America that is not the case.

Iraq is a bad place to be in because terrorists from all over the world at the current time don’t need to be in the U.S. to kill Americans. They can do so in Iraq. Talk about open season for them.

Now if i were a terrorist and I need to attack the U.S.A now… I’d go ways that would affect the U.S. economy like maybe attack movie theaters, resorts, etc. Anything that would halt tourism. Or go hardcore and plan a massive every terrorist cell-wide in America to attack the whitehouse in foot on a do or die mission!