Why Haven’t There Been more Car Bombings?

Posted on May 03, 2010

It is still unclear who is responsible for the attempted car bombing in Times Square, but the attack raises an interesting question: Why has al Qaeda failed to carry out scores of car bombings, assassinations, and other smaller-scale attacks in the United States in the years since 9/11?

Such attacks are highly effective in terrorizing large populations. We saw a few years ago how a man and a teenage boy terrorized the entire Washington area with a series of sniper attacks. It would be easy for al Qaeda to carry out similar attacks in Washington, New York, and other cities in the United States—assassinating political leaders, or setting off IEDs and car bombs in major metropolitan areas. Yet thus far al Qaeda not taken this route. Why?

One possible explanation is that the severity of the 9/11 attacks has worked in our favor. In striking the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, al Qaeda set an extremely high bar for itself. If it were now to begin launching small-scale attacks, it would be seen in the jihadist world as a sign of weakness—a concession that they could not pull off spectacular attacks on the scale of 9/11. In this sense, resorting to car bombs could do more damage to al Qaeda’s reputation than the attacks themselves would do to America.

This is likely why most of the foiled attacks in recent years—from the 2006 plot to blow up seven passenger planes over the Atlantic to the 2009 Christmas Day attack (which could have killed thousands if the plane crashed into downtown Detroit, as planned)—that are believed to have been ordered by al Qaeda leadership have been spectacular in nature.

What They're Saying

An important book Rquotest
Senator John Cornyn
Absolutely superb! Rquotest
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey
One of the most important books of the year. Courting Disaster is a must-must-read. Rquotest
Michelle Malkin (michellemalkin.com)
A terrific and important book Rquotest
Debra Burlingame, (sister of AA Flight 77 pilot Charles Burlingame)
[Thiessen is] the most forceful, serious and articulate new spokesman for hardliners around – one who can back up his opinions with facts that can influence the debate. Rquotest
William Safire
In Courting Disaster, Marc Thiessen sets the record straight. Rquotest
Donald Rumsfeld
You Must Read Courting Disaster. Rquotest
Former CIA Director Mike Hayden
If you want to know what really happened … at the CIA interrogation sites or at Guantanamo Bay, you simply must read this book Rquotest
Dick Cheney

Twitter

RT @JedediahBila: Lamb has as much trouble using the word "terrorists" as Obama does. rquo
Posted on Twitter almost 5 years ago
RT @michellemalkin: MT @dangerroom: State Department: We Monitored Libya Attack 'In Almost Real-Time' (So why'd they blame protesters?) ... rquo
Posted on Twitter almost 5 years ago
RT @RedState: Donald Rumsfeld: Obama’s Handling Of Libya “Embarrassing” http://t.co/Vtbkf26e #TCOT #RS rquo
Posted on Twitter almost 5 years ago

Updates

Sign up to receive email updates from Marc Thiessen

Search

Other Projects

oval office writers