The Atlantic

How Al-Qaeda Benefits From America's Political Divisions

If the United States wishes to defeat Osama bin Laden's heirs and the toxic potency of their message, it needs to recommit to its most basic values.
Source: Andrew Kelly / Reuters

As someone who has dedicated years to fighting terrorism, both before and after 9/11, I find the anniversary of the attacks a moment for reflection. Amid the tragedy, 9/11 prompted heartening displays of unity. At home, left and right joined hands—literally, in the case of the members of Congress who came together to sing “God Bless America” on the Capitol steps. Social cohesiveness is one of the best predictors of a society’s resilience to terrorism; and our sense of common purpose and shared values in the weeks after the attacks helped preserve our commitment to free speech and the rule of law in the

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