Remember what the pre-9-11 Al Quaeda grand strategic diagnosis of their 'problem set' was: Corrupt, and un-Islamic enough regimes in the Sunni Arab Muslim core, notably Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council were being propped up by the 'Far Enemy" of the United States and its allies. The far enemy's support allowed the near enemies, to hold onto power by backing them to the hilt with security assistance, economic integration and diplomatic cover. Fighting the near enemy without severing the critical far enemy support was counter-productive and suicidal as the experience of Egyptian Islamist groups demonstrated numerous times. Therefore the goal of AQ was to bleed the far enemy so that the far enemy could no longer prop up the near enemies. We've wasted trillions in Iraq, wasting a trillion in Afghanistan, fractured the only group, the ICU, that has had any success in exercising a limited monopoly of force in Somalia, thereby necessitating increased naval patrols instead of cutting deals to solve piracy from the land, destabilizing Pakistan and pissing off a lot of people who normally would be quite inhospitable to AQ's core message and vision.Newshoggers
COIN is an excellent application of leeches to a hemophiliac.