Wednesday, August 31, 2016 at 7:07 AM

Groundhog-Day Killing of Yet Another Terrorist Leader? Please, Spare Us.

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

31ISIS-hp-jumbo-v2It’s been a while since I felt constrained to pooh-pooh “Breaking News” about the killing of a “high-value” terrorist. But this I could not resist:

The Islamic State’s spokesman and overseer of external terrorist operations, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, was killed in the Syrian province of Aleppo, the group’s news outlet reported on Tuesday…

Accounts from arrested members of the Islamic State confirmed Mr. Adnani’s role as an operational leader as well. He oversaw the group’s external operations division, responsible for recruiting operatives around the world and instigating or organizing them to carry out attacks that have included Paris, Brussels and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

(New York Times, August 30, 2016)

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 6.53.16 PM

Listening to anchors report this news today, you’d never know that:

  • Killing Taliban leader Mullah Omar did not stop the Taliban from terrorizing all, and reclaiming large parts of, Afghanistan.
  • Killing al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden did not stop al-Qaeda from spawning its demon child ISIS.
  • Killing ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi will not stop ISIS from terrorizing the world in ways even bin-Laden could not have envisioned in his most diabolical dreams.

aIn truth, news anchors hailing this latest killing are like sports commentators hailing a spectacular touchdown by one team even though the other team retains an insurmountable lead. Nothing demonstrates this quite like these same anchors reporting just yesterday on hundreds of passengers running out of the terminal onto the tarmac at LAX – all in a panic after they were spooked by sounds and rumors of an ISIS-style terrorist attack.

Of course, these kinds of terror-driven mass panic are becoming commonplace. Moreover, they clearly belie claims that we are winning the “War on Terror”. This is especially so when they are viewed in the context of all of the other ways terrorists have forced us to change our way of life.

I have written many commentaries denouncing political chest thumping and media cheerleading about winning this war, including “From New York to London, Islamists are Terrorizing Us to Death,” July 2, 2007, and “NYC Terror Alert Was a Hoax; But This Whole War on Terror Is a Big Joke,” October 13, 2005.

Alas, it is all too self-evident that my cynicism has been vindicated. Specifically, though, here is how I began pleading over a decade ago for the media to stop hailing the killing of terrorist leaders in “Please, Spare Us the al-Qaeda Obituaries!” December 5, 2005.


Yesterday, news anchors across America stumbled over the name of Abu Hamza Rabia as they reported, triumphantly, a “successful hit” on yet another al-Qaeda chief of operations.

Frankly, why this still rates as “BREAKING NEWS” escapes me. After all, we hear reports every other week now about the assassination or capture of some obscure Muslim – who was allegedly a top al-Qaeda terrorist or the No.1 assistant to Osama bin Laden’s no. 3 lieutenant.

More to the point, I doubt Americans feel any safer today knowing that the name of Abu Hamza Rabia or Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or Abu Faraj Farj al-Liby ( has been eliminated from the most wanted list of al-Qaeda terrorists.


Again, nobody can deny that the killing of every terrorist leader has only ever meant one thing: a matryoshka-like replacement hell-bent on inciting/inspiring even more terror. Which makes the spectacle of both the United States and Russia claiming credit for killing this one as laughable as it is shameful.

Enough said?

Related commentaries:
From London to NY
NYC terror alert
Spare us

* This commentary was originally published yesterday, Tuesday, at 6:53 p.m.

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