The west can't defeat Al Qaeda, while pobably true, provides the intellectual justification for perpetual war. The whole thing has now devolved to a classic chicken or the egg question, as all such squabbles eventually do. Was the west's massive security apparatus created in response to the Al Qaeda terrorist threat, or was Al Qaeda born in response to the existential threat of the west's imperial war machine? Depends on who you ask, but this is now a perpetual conflict that by definition can never be resolved, absent one side or the other admitting total defeat. If bin Laden actually exists and he is who we say he is, his strategy was absolutely brilliant, as his Lillipution army has hamstrung the US war machine for ten years now with no end even remotely in sight, slowly bankrupting the US in the process. Of course one could easily surmise - as I do - that the whole thing (or significant parts of it at least) was a fictional creation of MOMCOM a la Wag the Dog to justify perpetual war for the good of MOMCOM and the detriment of just about everyone else.I'd watch for Obama to miss withdrawal goals in Afghanistan, which will be partially papered over by privatizing most of positions (Hey what do you know, the revolving door has finally filtered all the way down to the line troop level! Talk about equal opportunity!). At some point he'll give a speech about how combat operations are now over and we've won the war on the ground and only a "token" number of security forces will remain behind, "token" being loosely defined as 50-100K personnel, although getting an official exact number will be damn near impossible. Same as it ever was.