So the total cost for Bin Laden’s war against the US is now hovering around $6 trillion. He accomplished exactly what he said he planned: enmeshed the US in a war in the Middle East and a war in Afghanistan.
Superpowers fall because their economies crumble, not because theyâ€™re beaten on the battlefield. For another, superpowers are so allergic to losing that theyâ€™ll bankrupt themselves trying to conquer a mass of rocks and sand.
One need look no further than Inspire, the English-language magazine of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP), the group’s Yemen affiliate. A special issue of the publication released in November 2010 commemorated a plot that managed to place pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN) bombs inside printer cartridges that were flown on FedEx and UPS planes. The issue outlined the great disparity between what the plot cost the terrorists and what it cost their enemies — a $4,200 price tag for AQAP versus, in the magazine’s estimation, a cost of “billions of dollars in new security measures” for America and other Western countries.