Bin Laden's way: Illegitimate and without honor 

RSIS, a widely respected think tank in South Asia, tracks terrorist trends as closely and effectively as any group outside of government intelligence services. Nur Aziemah Azman and Nur Irfani Sarip, two RSIS analysts, report that since al Qaeda confirmed the death of Osama bin Laden, “Arabic jihadi cyber forums have… been flooded with condolences, laments, eulogies as well as threats of attacks to avenge the fallen leader."

Particularly, unnerving is an online "reader" poll at one extremist web site where 80 percent of respondents declared that "reprisals" were the right response to the raid on bin Laden's compound.

This should not surprise us. In a part of the world where "honor" is equated with "power," the first impulse of violent Islamist extremists would be, predictably, revenge. Yet it is also hard to see how the act of SEAL Team Six alone actually raises the threat level to the United States. After all, terrorists’ zeal to strike the U.S. homeland has never abated.  We’ve uncovered at least 39 attempted terrorist plots aimed at the U.S. since 9-11, as well as successful attacks like the Fort Hood shooting.

Azman and Sarip argue that, to combat "terrorism chat" that forments violence against us, we must win the "war of ideas" by emphasizing deradicalization. But that campaign cannot focus only on showing that bin Laden's way was an illegitimate interpretation of Islam.  We must also demonstrate that his was has been abject failure. Al Qaeda has suffered one humiliating defeat after another. Al Qaeda's cause is one without honor.

--James Jay Carafano is director of The Heritage Foundation's Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies and a columnist for The Examiner.

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