Let’s review. From the first WTC attack (1993) to the last (2001), the US was attacked by Al Qaeda (counting the Towers) at least six times. Except for the last time, after each attack, our response was non-existent to perfunctory. And, again, except for the last response, each response only served to embolden Al Qaeda to make another, ever more spectacular attack. Its leader even said so.
However, in all fairness, it seems that Al Qaeda attacks when there is a response and when there isn’t; when the response is large-scale or small; when they have “provocation” and when they don’t. Why? Because their religion commands them to convert the infidel by the “sword.” The only time they don’t attack is when their numbers have been diminished, by whatever means that they become so.
But why ask why? Since we know that these people will attack the infidel regardless of what we do, the only question we should be asking ourselves is what we should be doing to keep Al Qaeda from attacking us unrepentant infidels, assuming that both converting and dying are off of the negotiation table.
We should go with what works.