Beyond the Cusp

September 25, 2013

Nairobi Proof al Qaeda not as Dead as President Obama Claimed

With al-Shabaab striking the Westgate Mall in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi the world was reminded that al-Qaeda still has the ability to strike targets and murder those they consider to be infidels contrary to the pronouncements made by President Obama who had announced the end of al-Qaeda. We have to give some limited credit to President Obama as he was talking about al-Qaeda being defeated in the areas where the United States military had been fighting them over the past decade and here he was partially correct. Al-Qaeda has been driven from Afghanistan for the time being and had been defeated and sent scurrying from Iraq but even these claims will only hold for a brief period. Unfortunately for President Obama, going forward now that the President has failed to negotiate a reserve military presence for the United States which would have had the ability to effectively prevent the reentry of al-Qaeda into the areas where so much effort, time, lives and treasure was invested by the United States, his claim will prove to only have a temporary validity and we will soon witness the return of al-Qaeda in both venues. We are already witnessing increasing violence in both Afghanistan and Iraq though much of the mainstream media in the United States tends to try and ignore these apparent failures of policy.

 

The assault on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi was horrific in lives lost, property destroyed, confidence shaken and future implications of the possibility of more attacks of a similar nature becoming something we need to address. The lesson that needs to be taken from Nairobi is that authorities, especially intelligence agencies, need to be constantly on alert and expecting an attack at any time. This means that they cannot stop for one moment from being on heightened state of alertness and constantly keeping their eyes, ears and electronic surveillance all at a high level as such attacks will find any time when your guard has been allowed to relax. It is as has been stated by almost every expert and politicians (and we try never to confuse the two) when they talk after events such as we just witnessed and they excuse their being unprepared by reminding the people that where the terrorists only have to succeed once in many attempts while the authorities must get it correct every single time every day and night throughout the year and that it is a thankless never-ending task of immense proportions. I would never think to argue that point and would agree. The task of preventing a terror success if it works is something we never hear about, or at least should never hear about their successes as to brag over a single success only serves to give away some hints as to the sources and abilities of our protectors and redoubles the effort of the terrorists to strike us even harder, and we really do not need to encourage them, do we? The best anti-terror intelligence agency is the one you never hear about and who never needs to explain what went wrong. That is asking for a very high level of expertise and dedication and those who are on the front lines of this war, and it is a war, should receive our gratitude though they neither expect such nor would acknowledge it as those in this fight need to remain nameless. They are also the people who are feeling the failure over the lives lost at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi very personally and have likely gone over their data and efforts looking for what it was they missed in order to assure themselves, not just the rest of us, that they will never miss such a sign ever again.

 

Having served in the military I am familiar with and have known some of the men and women who are members of the ready fast response teams. These units take turns on a rotation being the tip of the spear on alert status where they do not leave their deployment station and have their gear ready to deploy anyplace within their command at a moment’s notice. These brave souls will try to smile and make light of the pressure and the tension they feel when on station, especially if there has been reason for heightened alertness, and that happens far more often than we in the citizenry will ever be allowed to know. In the current world I cannot even begin to imagine what it is for those who are holding the watch over our safety knowing that at any moment they may be called upon to act realizing that their actions will very likely make a critical difference in the eventual results. This must be even more difficult after the failure in responding to the battle in Benghazi. Whether it was those on alerts fault or the fault of somebody high in the chain of command, such things do not matter when you realize that you might have made the difference and because you were not permitted some may have died. That is the worst you can make these service members go through for they prepare and train and they know that others depend on them just as they at times must depend on others. The question is where will the next terror strike come, will they be prevented, and if not will first responders arrive in time to save the lives of many of the innocents, because that is why they train, to serve and save lives. Despite what Hollywood paints in so many of their movies that the soldier’s job is to kill the enemy, that is not their first and most important job. Their primary job and the one that gives them their ultimate pride is that of saving lives and keeping the innocent safe and alive at the end of the mission. It is about guarding more than anything else.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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