But US Vice President Joe Biden is living in a fantasy world when he says, as he did yesterday, that "Their deaths are potentially devastating blows to Al-Qaeda Iraq." There has never been any evidence that killing jihadist leaders actually weakens the resolve or physical strength of their followers. In August last year, Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban leader, was killed by an American drone strike. And yet, the Taliban's influence grows still stronger in that country, and they are just as murderous as ever. Why? Because, as I wrote at the time of Mehsud's death:
The Islamic ideology of the group has been completely ignored by all opposing factions, thus ensuring that no effective method has been devised to deal with its spread and implications. This was demonstrated on the BBC news tonight when a studio "expert" claimed that the Taliban's goal was to "make Pakistan an ungovernable country", as if they were just a bunch of teenage anarchists - completely ignoring the Islamic form of governance the group actually want to implement in the country.
The mujahideen of al-Qaeda and the Taliban are not our enemies because they are just "evil men" intent on mindless destruction; they are our enemies because they have chosen to put themselves in ideological (as well as physical) conflict with the West. This ideology is their driving force, and it cannot die with the corporeal body of one man, or two, or a hundred. Attempts to deliberately deny or ignore the ideology of our enemies are thus quite obviously self-defeating.
In short, it is all very well killing terrorists, but unless something is done to kill their ideology, more will simply rise to replace them. As we suffer through the monotonous UK "election" campaign, it is worth noting that the only party that seems to understand this, and which has addressed it in any serious way (apart from the racist BNP), is UKIP, and for that reason, among many others, they will be getting my vote on May 6th.