The New York Times on the over-hyped threat of al Qaeda.
[T]he politically charged clamor has lumped together disparate cases and obscured the fact that the enemies on American soil in 2009, rather than a single powerful and sophisticated juggernaut, were a scattered, uncoordinated group of amateurs who displayed more fervor than skill.
By the numbers:
Exactly 14 of the approximately 14,000 murders in the United States last year resulted from allegedly jihadist attacks: 13 people shot at Fort Hood in Texas in November and one at a military recruiting station in Little Rock, Ark., in June.
Even Captian Underpants is overblown: [More...]
“Sending one guy on one plane is a huge step down,” [former assistant director of the Central Intelligence Agency Mark ] Lowenthal said. “They’re less capable, even if they’re still lethal. They’re not able to carry out the intense planning they once did.”
And on al-Qaeda:
Audrey Kurth Cronin of the National War College said Qaeda affiliates borrow the name to enhance their appeal but are usually more interested in local goals than in the global jihad proclaimed by Mr. bin Laden.
“The proper response is to stop calling all these plots ‘Al Qaeda,’ ” Ms. Cronin said. “We’re inadvertently building up the brand.”