Fareed Zakaria in Newsweek argues that al-Qaeda and other Islamic radical groups are losing ground and becoming desperate. I don’t disagree with that assessment. But I believe that Zakaria goes too far when he says, “By now surely it is clear that Al Qaeda can produce videotapes but not terrorism. In fact, their poorly produced tapes, threatening spectacular attacks, are becoming a joke, much like Saddam Hussein’s promises to fight ‘the mother of all battles.'”
Zakaria’s unsubstantiated claim that al Qaeda is clearly incapable of terrorism against the west, coupled with his unwillingness to give any credit to President Bush for al Qaeda’s diminished capacity (he seems to attribute the phenomenon to an unexplained surge in the will power of Arab moderates), makes Zakaria’s piece difficult to take seriously. But we may be hearing more along these lines as the election year roles on. Clearly, John Kerry can’t go as far as Zakaris in dismissing al Qaeda, lest he be contradicted by events. But the mainstream media never worries about that prospect, and thus is free to peddle an exaggerated version of Kerry’s claim that the threat posed by terrorism is exaggerated.
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