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Two New York City firefighters look toward One World Trade Center through the open ceiling of the Oculus at the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, New York, Sept. 11, 2018 (AP photo by Craig Ruttle).

Is Al-Qaida Winning?

Friday, Sept. 14, 2018

The anniversary of 9/11 has become an annual opportunity for soul-searching, for Americans to take stock of where they stand not only in the ongoing conflict with violent jihadism but more broadly as a nation. One thing stood out this year: Americans are more pessimistic about the struggle against al-Qaida and its offshoots than at any time since Sept. 11, 2001.

In a sense, this is understandable. The United States is still mired in Afghanistan and Iraq with no sign of victory. Jihadism persists in many parts of the Islamic world and is even spreading to new regions. It continues to attract recruits. In fact, al-Qaida may be stronger now than ever. Domestically, the United States is bitterly divided by hyperpartisanship, political tribalism and an escalating culture war. Since 9/11, the United States has spent an estimated $2.8 trillion on counterterrorism, adding to the massive federal budget deficit. And there is no end in sight. ...

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