With the current all-encompassing economic crisis continuing to unfold and the situation in Iraq holding steady, its easy to fixate on domestic issues. But taking a step back from the economic mess that is currently sucking up all the political and media oxygen, it is important to remain focused on Al Qaeda's desire to destroy us and the previous well timed opportunism of their attacks.
The September 11 attacks took place during our last recession, as the tech bubble was collapsing. I don't doubt that Al-Qaeda would have attacked us at some point regardless, but I do believe that the timing of our economic difficulties influenced the timing of their attack. And I hate to say it, but the psychological damage from the 9-11 attacks was probably at least somewhat successful in exacerbating the economic downturn.
The 3-11 attacks in Spain were also astutely timed to maximize Al Qaeda's goal of knocking the Aznar government out of power and ending the Spanish Government's support of operations in Iraq.
The bombing of the Al-Askari(Golden Dome)Mosque in Iraq in February 2006 was a tragically successful Al Qaeda operation that unleashed massive sectarian violence and effectively negated whatever progress had been made with the free elections that had taken place in Iraq and the formation of an independent government.
Say what you want about Al Qaeda, but they are not stupid. They know how to time their attacks to do maximum political damage. With our economic struggles now far worse than they were in 2000, imagine the real and psychological damage that an Al Qaeda "spectacular" attack would do to our economy. There are two scenarios that I fear most- a WMD attack on a major American city, killing tens, if not hundreds of thousands, or equally bad on a more targeted level, assassinating President Obama with the hopes of destroying national moral and forever poisoning race relations. Obviously either of those scenarios would be horrific in even a robust economy, but can you imagine how much worse the current perilous economic situation would become if either of those events took place?
I actually have relatively high confidence in the FBI, Homeland Security and the Secret Service, but I have a real concern that in this time of Presidential transition and with the extensive efforts underway to deal with overwhelming economic problems, there could be a lack of focus on dealing with Al Qaeda- at the very time it would be most attractive for them to strike us. Hopefully my fears are unfounded.