Yes, Al Qaeda Is Mobile

David Frum points to the core incoherence of US anti-terrorism policy:

Q: Wait a minute. You just mentioned Somalia as a place where al Qaeda operates. If Libya breaks apart, could al Qaeda find a home there?

A: Yes indeed. When Iraq descended into civil war, local Sunni radicals organized themselves into an al Qaeda of Iraq. Many Libyans traveled to Iraq to fight with them, against the Americans. So yes, the potential is there.

Q: That would be a big, big problem, wouldn’t it?

A: You mean to have al Qaeda terror cells operating in a huge, disorganized territory a short boat ride across the Mediterranean from Italy? Yes, that qualifies as a huge problem.

Q: Is it possible that we have defined our strategic problem incorrectly? President Obama has put 100,000 Americans into Afghanistan in order to deny al Qaeda a base in that one country. But maybe our strategic problem is to deny al Qaeda a base in any country?

A: You could put it like that.

Q: Which would mean that concentrating so much American force in one place and such a remote place risks missing larger and nearer dangers in places like Libya and Yemen?

A: The usual answer to that is “We can walk and chew gum at the same time.”

Q: Is that a good analogy?

A: No.