Austin Bay on today’s battleground

The World is Al Qaeda’s Battlefield

Remember that this is a World War. I know that we may quibble over the number, I prefer ‘IV’ myself, but this is a war being fought by most nations in most places. World-wide it is.

A small plaza now occupies the site of the destroyed U.S. embassy in Nairobi. I visited it in September 2002. The Kenyan government dedicated the park and its monumental arch to the 212 Kenyan citizens and 12 Americans murdered there.

Nairobi is a noisy madhouse of a city, but that park is a place of insistent solemnity. I remember seeing a man and woman sitting on a park bench, their heads bowed as if they were in church. My Kenyan driver reminded me that glass and brick debris from the blast injured another 2,000 Kenyans. “We were their targets, too,” he said.

American and Western embassies have now become fortresses. They have to be, because our enemies make them front-line targets. Credit the U.S. State Department and the Department of Defense with the extraordinary improvement in embassy security we’ve seen since 1998.

Notice that it’s not since the invasion of Iraq that the fortress-ization of US embassies occurred. It’s not since the invasion of Afghanistan. It’s not since 9/11.

And I’d bet that more than modest improvements were made to US embassy security after November 4th, 1979.

This war has been going on for some time. Everywhere.