October 6, 2008 8:44AM

A Sullivan Reader on Terrorism Strategy

A provocative post by Andrew Sullivan highlights how the strategy of terrorism is to bleed its victims, and how it might be working. Sullivan quotes a reader at length:

Seven years after 9/11, we are seeing Al Qaeda's long-term goal being realized: the destabilization and economic collapse of the United States. Even as it's happening, the people who supported it all along want to continue facilitating our own long-term disintegration by clinging to simplistic concepts of traditional military victory and defeat. In this sense, they are possibly the most myopic, least strategic thinkers in the history of this nation.

It's exaggeration to say that the United States is destabilized and in economic collapse, and I don't think it's entirely fair to say that our leaders are that simplistic. But we're quite a bit worse off economically than we could have been had we responded strategically to terrorism rather than just reacting. And many national leaders still do need to take the strategic logic of terrorism - goading us into overreaction - to heart, and act (or refrain from acting) accordingly.