One Day In The Next Ten Years

Jeffrey Goldberg comments on the diminishing, but still lethal, threat of al Qaeda: yesterday's Aspen panel on nuclear non-proliferation, the general consensus was that there's a reasonably high likelihood that a nuclear device will be detonated in an American city, New York or Washington most likely, at some point in the next ten years. And the experts on the panel, John Holdren and Joe Cirincione among them, are not exactly attached to the Bush Administration worldview. After such an attack, we'll look back -- those of us still around, obviously -- on our efforts to combat al Qaeda and judge them inadequate to the task, just as we look back now on the Clinton Administration's pre-9/11 preparations (and the Bush Administration's, as well) as thoroughly inadequate. So I suppose I'm convinced of two things simultaneously: Al Qaeda is fairly weak, and not very popular at all, and that this might not matter as much as people think.