When Al Qaeda destroyed the twin towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001--nearly eight years ago--most Americans, like President George W. Bush, wanted Osama bin-Ladin dead or alive.
Now he barely matters. Al Qaeda has not only reconstituted itself but jihadism in all its heinous forms is a gathering storm in countries around the world. How bad has it become? When a radical Islamic group tried to assassinate the President of a country--Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia--it registered as barely a blip on our national consciousness. News that insurgent group Shahab is removing gold and silver teeth because people have broken religious law in Marka, Somalia, slipped by unnoticed, a minor story from a minor country.
Jihad will not permit dentures.
Teeth were also an issue for Al Qaeda in Fallujah, Iraq, CNN is reporting on the two-year ordeal of a six-year-old boy kidnapped by Al Qaeda: "They beat me with a shovel, they pulled my teeth out with pliers, they would go like this and pull it."
Taliban suicide bombers attacked Afghan government buildings near Kabul Monday, leaving two policeman dead. In Yemen, Shiite rebels led by Abdul-Malik al-Houthi control parts of Saada Province. In Kuwait, Al Qaeda had a special celebration planned for Ramadan until the country's interior ministry uncovered the plot.
"The state security has uncovered a terrorist network following Al Qaeda," the Kuwait interior ministry said, "and includes six [Kuwaiti] citizens who have planned to carry out a plan to bomb Arifjan Camp, the state security building and other important facilities."
Over the last two years in Pakistan, meanwhile, there have been three separate and largely unreported attacks on nuclear facilities: one on the nuclear missile storage facility at Sargodha (November 1, 2007); another by a suicide bomber on the nuclear airbase at Kamra (December 10, 2007); and yet a third when Pakistani Taliban suicide bombers detonated at the Wah armament complex, one of the country's main nuclear weapons assembly facilities (August 20, 2008). In India, along the border with Pakistan, Indian border patrol kills three Islamic militants this week.
Not even tiny Mauritania can escape the reach of worldwide jihad. Three people were killed Saturday night when a suicide bomber blew himself up near the French embassy in Nouakchott.
"There is an emerging terrorism at home," Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz, the country's President, said just days before the incident. "Like every country, we have young people who are sometimes led astray, who find themselves sometimes caught in a big net. They are then recruited, trained and sometimes turn against their own country. We must fight this phenomenon, in a joint effort with other partner countries."
In the West, four jihadists are on trial for terrorism in Germany, while our own homegrown jihad includes a family plot just uncovered in North Carolina.
Reports of these incidents and investigations all came to light within the last ten days. Al Qaeda is not only reconstituted but it is stronger than ever. Since 9/11, over 100 jihadists plots have been uncovered within the United States alone, according to Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, speaking on my "Con Games" radio show.
After eight years without a successful jihadist attack, the United States is on borrowed time.