Austin Bay

The London Times quoted an unnamed U.S. official as saying: "As targets present themselves and are identified, they become more and more at risk. Just like in Pakistan, there will be steps taken to deal with it."

U.S. presidential campaign rhetoric to the contrary, the United States is constantly stalking al-Qaida. We hear about it occasionally, with Air Force gunship strikes in Somalia and CIA-operated Predator unmanned aerial vehicles firing missiles in Afghanistan. The Sukkariyah raid is a more explicit statement that al-Qaida remains in the bull's-eye.

It has taken a lot of effort to shrink al-Qaida's shade. People provide the kind of intelligence it takes to make the case for a cross-border raid into an allegedly neutral country.

Again, campaign rhetoric to the contrary, the change in Iraq's political environment has seeded this improvement in intelligence. Iraq offers a new political choice -- democracy -- in the Arab Muslim Middle East, a region where choice has been limited to either tyranny or terrorism.

Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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