Al Qaeda weaker, but still a threat: ... Al Qaeda's independent cell structure, as well as its global roots, means the threat of further attacks on the West remains a distinct possibility, with or without its inspirational or military leaders.
Al Qaeda's self-reliant cliques, for instance, can still raise money through credit-card fraud and other scams. At the same time, the US's routing of the last Al Qaeda redoubt in Afghanistan, in the moonscape of Tora Bora, may spark new resolve among young followers in other countries.
And this, of course, is one part that most people don't want to think about. The government is thinking about it, of course, but doesn't want to say anything because why stir things up when it's all going so well? And let's face it: telling people, "By the way, we've crippled them, but there are a lot of independent cells and rogues out there, and in the near term, we're likely to have a LOT of lower-level attacks here and there," is not only the sort of thing that people absolutely don't want to hear (and probably wouldn't listen to), but it's debatable how much good it would do to for the administration to say such a thing out loud. Yes, it's realistic, and establishing realistic expectations would be a good thing, but what, precisely, could most of us actually do about it? Add to that Ridge's propensity for Chicken Little-like, "The sky is falling! The terrorists may attack any minute now!" announcements, and you can understand why dealing with the issue may be a little difficult.
12/19/2001: vive la france
12/19/2001: princess, redux
12/19/2001: yemen and rumsfeld
12/18/2001: you're NOT in the army now
12/18/2001: interesting donation
12/18/2001: shame on winn dixie, indeed
12/18/2001: saudi princess
12/17/2001: new resolve
12/17/2001: a victim of the attack ... yeah, right
12/17/2001: polluters ho!