I hope Friedman is wrong
According to Thomas Friedman, the war temporarily diverted the terrorists, since they thought they could defeat us on their own home ground. Now that they've failed in Iraq, though, Friedman believes that they're going to renew their efforts here:
I fear that we may now be entering the most dangerous period since 9/11. Why? Because I've always believed that one of the most important reasons there has been no new terrorist attack in America has to do with the U.S. invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not only that the Bush administration has taken the fight to the enemy, but that the enemy has welcomed that fight. To the extent that the Baathists and Jihadists have a coordinated strategy, their first priority, I think, is to defeat American forces in the heart of their world. Because if they can defeat America in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world, it will have so much more resonance than setting off a car bomb in Las Vegas - especially now that 9/11 has set the terrorism bar so high in terms of effect. If the Jihadists can defeat us in the heart of their world, and force us from Iraq, it will have a huge impact on the Arab street and shake every pro-American Arab regime. The Jihadists have always understood that Iraq is the ballgame. Iraq is the big one. Winning there is what really advances their agendas. The reason things may be getting more dangerous now is that the formation of a freely elected government in Iraq may signal that the Baathist-Jihadist insurgency is being gradually defeated. The U.S. may even be able to withdraw some troops. And there is nothing worse for the Baathists and Jihadists than to be defeated in the heart of their world - and, even more so, to be defeated in the heart of their world by other Arabs and Muslims who are repudiating the Jihadists' vision and tactics. I fear that when and if the Jihadists conclude that they have been defeated in the heart of their world, they will be sorely tempted to throw a Hail Mary pass. That is, they may want to launch a spectacular, headline-grabbing act of terrorism in America that tries to mask, and compensate for, just how defeated they have become at home. In short, the more the Jihadists lose in Iraq, the more likely they are to use their rump forces to try something really crazy in America to make up for it. So let's stay the course in Iraq, but stay extra-vigilant at home.My hope is that the terrorists have been so fragmented that they no longer have the ability to assemble the money, technological skills and manpower necessary to launch a major US-based assault. Ironically enough, if they really have been so shrunk down that they can resort to nothing more than a few small scale attacks, Bush's aggressive tactics will indeed have reduced them to the law enforcement problem that Kerry envisioned.