Source> The Economist.
AFTER 11 years spent waging war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq, almost $1.5 trillion in direct costs and hundreds of thousands of lives lost, the Western public feels it has learned a hard lesson. It is more convinced than ever that even the best-intentioned foreign intervention is bound to bog its armies down in endless wars fighting invisible enemies to help ungrateful locals.
Echoes of Afghanistan rang loud earlier this month when French forces swooped on advancing columns of Islamists threatening the Saharan state of Mali. And they were heard again, a few days later, when a unit of bearded, gun-toting jihadists from the “Signed-in-Blood Battalion” seized a gas plant and slaughtered dozens of foreigners in next-door Algeria—more than in any single Islamist terror attack since the bombing of a Bali nightclub in 2002. Here, it seemed, was the next front of the global war on terror and also a desert quagmire to entrap vainglorious Western leaders.