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This is not to portray Osama bin Laden as simply a Haqqani puppet. Rather, he was a terrorist entrepreneur of extraordinary ambition.Bin Laden shared the old Soviet idea of using terrorism as tool to undermine America’s global influence, but he dared something that even the Kremlin left undreamed—taking the fight directly to America on a large scale.
Even the Hart-Rudman commission largely missed the building threat.
Hart-Rudman was concerned less about a global wave of transnational terrorism than the risk of a handful of terrorists obtaining chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons—weapons of mass destruction.
The high water mark of terrorist attacks against Americans remains the late 1980s.
Fueled by Kremlin funding, most of the attacks came on foreign soil: Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.
Congressional hearings on terrorism became as numerous as new Taylor Swift boyfriends are now.
When the Soviet Union collapsed and the checks stopped coming, transnational terrorism threats quickly trended down.
The rise of bin Laden and America’s half-hearted effort to stop him in the 1990s are well-documented in the 9/11 commission report.
It makes for grim reading—like an inevitable unfolding of a Greek tragedy.
They learned in America that this name [i.e., God] is larger than them.
Bin Laden reasoned that punishing attacks on the United States, would eventually lead the U. to withdraw from the world, leaving space for an Islamist movement to reestablish the historical Caliphate.