Just so much natural fertilizer
One of the major tenets of the "less safe" meme is that our presence in the Middle East only "encourages" more people to join al-Qaida and other hate groups. Here are a few points these doom-and-gloom merchants don't seem to understand.
Prior to the successful second attack on the World Trade Center and President Bush's response of destroying the Taliban, al Qaida had free reign in Afghanistan, and virtually unending supplies of money. We know where most of that money came from. With the help of other nations, we've shut down more than half the pipelines, and significantly strangled the islamofascist financial support system.
While the Taliban were in power, bin Laden could train jihadis freely, openly, and with the active support of the local government. Since the defeat of the Taliban, the training camps have been moved, then moved again, and now are being moved once more. With each move, the training programs taught at those camps is degraded, the best instructors are being killed or captured, and their training manuals captured.
That last act, capturing and interpreting the terror training manuals, provides the West with the best of all intelligence - how the terror cells under bin Laden were set up, how they did their surveillance, how they prepared for an attack, how they paid their cell members, and how they executed their attacks. That intelligence can be used to great advantage to prepare against such attacks, and to protect vulnerable, and now known, types of targets. It's been this intelligence coup that has been the central reason for arrest after arrest throughout the Western world.
There are no statistics on how many islamofascists have been killed, but it's considered to be six or seven times the number of Allied deaths, at a minimum. It takes years to train quality leadership, whether it's in our military, or al-Qaida's terror organization. Leadership is, and always has been, the key to success in any operation. Al-Qaida is losing its most effective operators at a rate it's not capable of sustaining. The "best and brightest" are either dead or running for their lives. The people in "middle management" positions in terrorist organizations are nowhere near the quality of the leadership even two years ago. There's less and less of a chance to train new leaders, as the training camps for such leadership are prime targets. Just as the Soviet Union bled Hitler's Wehrmacht dry of effective leadership, especially at the junior officer and NCO level, so is the United States and its allies doing the same thing to jihadi groups worldwide.
Finally, taking the war to Iraq was a brilliant tactical and strategic victory for the United States. With US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, the islamofascists MUST concentrate their efforts against them there. The Coalition must be driven from the Middle East at all costs, or the entire terrorist operation will begin to collapse from within. They cannot afford to lose support from any single group or population, nor can they afford to allow the enjoyment of a truly democratic government take hold among the ordinary people. That, even more than killing the islamofascist leadership, will suck the power from these shadow groups, and reduce their capacity to operate effectively even on their "home turf".
With the absolutely essential commitment of the majority of the islamofascists against the US and Coalition forces in Iraq, there are fewer jihadis to conduct operations elsewhere. The fact that the US is quietly killing islamofascists in huge numbers - and not broadcasting those numbers, as we did in Vietnam - builds doubt in the minds of would-be jihadis. There is growing evidence before their very eyes that they are NOT "winning the battle", much less winning the war. No one wants to be on the losing side.
Every step taken by the Coalition to improve living conditions in both Iraq and Afghanistan is a nail in the coffin of the jihad movement. The fact that we can still build roads, build schools, repair and re-open hospitals, bring the power grid not only back to where it was before the first Gulf war but to a level never experienced before, are all key points that say to anyone with half a brain that the jihad movement in Iraq is failing in even keeping the Coalition busy defending itself. The failure of the Taliban not only to stop the election in Afghanistan, but their utter failure to conduct even one successful attack tells the average jihadi that the Taliban are a mostly spent force, and his only role will be as cannon fodder in a losing effort. It's obvious that God (Allah) has turned His back on the islamofascists. While any Muslim cleric would decry that as heresy, it's GOT to be percolating through the brains of any potential jihadi.
We know that George Bush has made mistakes in pursuing the War on Terrorism. We don't "know" that his failures have encouraged more Muslims to join the jihad movement, or if it has, that the increased numbers of jihadis hasn't been countered by the numbers of islamofascists killed and/or captured. There are still trouble spots that may take another year, possibly two to crush, if the leadership is there to ensure it. That depends on who the US elects as president on November 2nd. A Kerry win would certainly cause the jihadis around the world to breathe a sigh of relief. A Bush victory would take the heart out of a fairly substantial portion of the terrorist movement.
All the talk about how our invading Iraq has only "strengthened" the islamofascist movement is just that - talk. The truth is, the Coalition's activities in Iraq may be the defining moment in the war against terrorism - the tipping point where the number of dying jihadis exceeds the numbers of recruits. Any other evaluation of what's taking place in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the Middle East is just a lot of donkey droppings.