On the bin Laden anniversary

This will be a short post as I had something planned but then Paul Pillar just wrote something much better.

I’m a bit dubious about using anniversary dates to predict terrorist attacks.  There may have been a time when those sorts of things mattered and perhaps they still do to a particular subset of terrorists but too often dates are just a crutch to appear to talk knowingly about terrorism.

Excessive public focus on terrorist anniversaries is if they want to interpret terrorists’ targets and tactics as well as their timing, all of which are more the product of tactical opportunities than of strategic grand designs.

Besides, for most terrorists (religious, nationalists, etc.) they have centuries of potential dates to pick from if they want to lend their attack the air of precedence and history.

So, sure, something could happen on May 2rd but the same can be said of Memorial Day, the 4th of July, the day Mohammed is believed to have ascended into heaven or any other day.  Let’s not all freak ourselves out.  Ok?


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