I recently watched The Power of Nightmares: The Shadows in the Cave, a BBC documentary. Some of its findings are contested, but I consider it startling even if only half of it is true:
- It may be that al-Qaeda is no more formal an organization than the average businessperson’s professional network.
- The “dirty” part of dirty bombs apparently causes virtually no harm.
- Counter-terrorism prosecutors have used lack of criminal activity as evidence of “sleepers” and claim to have found secret messages in ordinary-looking home videos and doodles.
I’m not sure if I agree with the documentary’s emphasis on neoconservatists being the driving force behind American counter-terrorism. Regardless of the political philosophy, I recall the first 12-18 months of reactions following 9/11 were widely supported across all parts of society.