This is something I wasn't sufficiently aware of:

The Special Forces are also using some new techniques in tracking and targeting. Commanders won't talk about these new methods except in generalities, but one area of intelligence that's visible to everyone is the collection of biometric data. At a border post on the Iraq-Iran frontier, I saw an Iranian putting a finger to an electronic fingerprint device. At the Torkham Gate crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, U.S. officers told me they are monitoring Taliban insurgents using new systems known as BATs (for biometric automated toolset) and HIIDEs (for handheld interagency identity detection).

These intelligence tools are shifting the balance of fear -- making it more dangerous to join al-Qaeda, stay in its safe houses or meet with its operatives.

If technology can help police against terror without a large presence of occupying forces, perhaps the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq can find a feasible way forward. But I wouldn't bet on it.