* ""A remarkable and laudable work.... In a narrative that somehow manages to be both concise and comprehensive, the author lays out the multiple battlefields and competing strategies of both al Qaeda and the United States.... Gartenstein-Ross brings his rational voice to an irrational world, proposing a set of operating principles to a security-policy machine that has inoculated itself against the very concept."" (Foreign Policy
""Gartenstein-Ross' evaluation of al-Qaeda's strategy, means, and intentions is without equal, as is his analysis of America's missteps during the War on Terror.) (Small Wars Journal)
""Urgent without being alarmist and eminently readable, Bin Laden's Legacy is a testament to Gartenstein-Ross's deep knowledge of his field and his capacity to cut through feeble arguments to lay out only the most salient evidence. His legal training combines neatly with his moderate, academic approach to produce arguments so logical that they seem obvious at first glance; only later does the reader realize this is a fresh read on the past 10 years of counterterrorism efforts. (NDU Press Blog)
From the Inside Flap
Despite the death of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda remains a significant threat because bin Laden's strategy for combating the United Statessapping its economic and military strength while expanding the battlefield on which America has to fightlives on. In fact, this strategy has evolved over the past decade, it's working, and because U.S. planners never took the time to understand it, many of our responses have actually helped al Qaeda achieve its goals while undermining our own.
In Bin Laden's Legacy, counterterrorism expert Daveed Gartenstein-Ross explains why al Qaeda's "death by a thousand cuts" strategy has been effective. He shows how such well-publicized plots as the "underwear bomber" and printer cartridge bombs achieved their primary goals, despite being foiled. He notes how we have played into al Qaeda's hands with two costly, unpopular wars and by setting up an expensive homeland security bureaucracy that has difficulty dealing with a nimble, adaptive foe. He explains how many of our antiterrorism efforts are inefficient by design, suffer from a lack of coordination between the government and an array of contractors, and lack any obvious means to evaluate the return on our enormous investment in them. He explores how domestic politicization of the terrorist threat has skewed U.S. priorities, led to the misallocation of counterterrorism resources, and created flawed counterterrorism paradigms and bad policies. Meanwhile, public morale has been weakened by measures ranging from color-coded terror alerts to invasive, full-body searches in airports.
If bin Laden's death is to truly represent a turning point in the war on terror, it won't be due just to his importance to al Qaeda. It will be because his death allowed the United States to reevaluate its paradigms for protecting itself from and defeating this adversary. But to do so, it is first necessary to understand the key errors that the country has made along the way and why these mistakes occurred. Gartenstein-Ross shows what we've done wrong, then proposes a practical plan to start doing right.
For if we mistakenly believe that bin Laden's death signifies the end of al Qaeda's threat, or that it vindicates our previous policies, bin Laden may well experience even greater success in death than he ever did while among us.
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