The war on terror

Published on January 13, 2011   ·   No Comments

Trillion-dollar target

The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict Between America and al-Qaeda. By Peter Bergen. Free Press; 496 pages; $28. To be published in Britain in February by Simon & Schuster as “The Longest War: America and al-Qaeda Since 9/11”; £17.99. Buy from,

HISTORIANS may well wonder one day at the fuss America’s rulers made over a few thousand Islamist fanatics. They will certainly look unkindly on some of the steps taken against them.

America has not suffered a major terrorist incident within its borders since the September 11th attacks almost a decade ago. But it has spent over a trillion dollars on two inglorious wars, in which thousands have perished. It has insulted some of its oldest allies, tortured its enemies and helped inspire a surge in Islamist militancy in many countries. America’s armed forces, though still supreme, are weary and in need of reinvestment. Osama bin Laden is still at large and his former hosts, the Taliban, are running riot. The war on terror, as it was wrongly called, has been damaging to America and the world.

To read “The Longest War” by Peter Bergen, an American journalist and al-Qaeda watcher, is to be amazed afresh at how badly America has handled the affair.


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