During the 1990’s, the U.S. had been attacked by Islamic terrorists in increasing frequency:
1993 – The first world trade center attack
1996 – The attack upon the barracks in Saudi Arabia
1998 – The twin embassy attacks
The twin embassy attacks finally forced a counterattack. President Clinton’s reaction to the twin embassy bombings in 1998 was to throw a dozen cruise missiles at Afghanistan and into Sudan. This can be seen as not having been very effective:
The targets in Sudan turned out to be something else. (At least this is the verdict that I have seen)
Attacks upon the U.S. continued to increase in severity and frequency.
2000 – The U.S.S. Cole
2001 – 9/11/01
I consider the attack upon the U.S.S. Cole to be a much larger incident because it is very difficult to hit naval units without having conventional weapons and methodology. The very nature of naval units both at sea and in port make them very difficult targets in irregular warfare. Note how no naval units were hit during the Vietnam war, yet that war was far larger than any irregular war that the U.S. has been involved in since. Even in both Gulf War conflicts, naval units were not even threatened.
Please note that after 9/11/01, the U.S. has yet to be hit directly again. It has been 7 and ½ years since 9/11. The previous pattern would suggest that we should have been hit at least three or four more times, particularly if the 11 months between the last two attacks is any indicator. Something changed the pattern of events. Our enemy’s capabilities were directed elsewhere.
Barack Obama is a counterpuncher. He will not initiate any strategic action in order to draw our enemy’s attention away from us onto our military. He will take action, but that action will be to hit back tactically after any direct assaults. To do otherwise is to risk a much larger war. He is averse to taking such risks. Despite his best efforts, eventually this will occur and all we will have gained is time. Once again, a major problem is that time is NOT on our side.