Does anybody seriously think that wiping out Bin Ladin's camps in Afghanistan is going to do anything to reduce the likelihood of suicide attacks in America and Europe?
Lots of people seem to.
Mostly, I think, we desperately want to believe it will be over once we deal with bin Laden. The Pew Charitable Trust did a survey last week that said the 7 in 10 Americans were showing signs of depression and one in three were having trouble concentrating on their day-to-day lives. We are not used to being this afraid and at the same time not seeming to be able to do something about it. Maintaining the illusion that dealing with bin Laden will cure the problem is a comforting illusion. And a lot of people need that illusion, right now. Going forward, we need to deal with realities. I doubt that we will.
Down here in Gainesville, Florida, the reality of organizations like al Qaeda haven't really sunk in yet. (And may never). A lot of the people I know are still looking at this (or maybe feeling emotionally about this), like these groups are like the gangs that plague the inner city. Throw enough police at them, offer free clinics and urban renewal and they'll go away. And it sort of worked. The gangs moved to another area, the politicians could point to reduced crime in the old area as "proof" that it worked and lament about the breakdown of law and order in a new part of town to which the gangs had relocated. And there is never a realization of the common causes.
I don't think we understand what drives the terrorists groups. It's much more comforting to think of them as psychotics and criminals without considering the critical importance of their religious beliefs in what they have done. That starts to get close to home as we have our own, home grown fanatics that we don't want to label as terrorists.