Every generation produces its share of zealots and malcontents, but ours is unique in the degree to which it has empowered them with new technology. It isn’t just the possibilities presented to extremists by new methods of mass murder, but the tools that allow them to communicate securely among cells and broadcast their atrocities to an impressionable world. After a decade of steady progress, the joint force and intelligence community have gradually ground down al Qaeda — culminating in the destruction of Osama bin Laden himself last May — but our leaders have not formulated a complete answer to the challenge posed by terrorism. The terrorists have too many options, and democracies are too susceptible to their tactics. Will we be any more ready when the lights go out for a month, or computer viruses are replaced by real ones engineered in biotech labs? Not unless we fill in the gaps in our counter-terror strategy. I have written an essay on this subject for AOL Defense that includes suggestions about how we can be better prepared, which you can find here.
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