A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Measuring al-Qaeda: The Metrics of Terror


On 11 September 2001, three hijacked airplanes crashed into key strategic and symbolic targets in the United States: two into the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. A fourth one that was en route to Washington DC, crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In response, the Bush Administration launched the Global War on Terror (GWoT) by bombing Afghanistan in order to target al-Qaeda (AQ) and its Taliban hosts. By 2003 the military campaign had expanded to include Iraq, which was not only portrayed as harbouring and supporting AQ but, through machinations of astonishing discursive duplicity, also threatening the United States and its allies with weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Yet despite multiple assertions that AQ and its allies were on the run and the United States (US) making gains in the GWoT, in 2003 then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld questioned if the US was winning or losing the war on terror, asserting: ‘Today, we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror.’

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Singh, Rashmi. 2012. "Measuring al-Qaeda: The Metrics of Terror." In Knowing Al-Qaeda: The Epistemology of Terrorism, eds. Christina Hellmich and Andreas Behnke. Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing. https://books.google.com/books?id=EL5Uh4yaggsC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false

START Author(s):