Cliff May over at FDD:
GREAT EXPECTATIONS: Bernard Lewis, the foremost living scholar of the Islamic world, writes that Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden and other Islamist empire builders had long expected that defeating America
would be comparatively simple and easy. This perception was certainly encouraged and so it seemed, confirmed by the American response to a whole series of attacks -- on the World Trade Center in New York and on U.S. troops in Mogadishu in 1993, on the U.S. military office in Riyadh in 1995, on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000 -- all of which evoked only angry words, sometimes accompanied by the dispatch of expensive missiles to remote and uninhabited places. ...
The response to 9/11, so completely out of accord with previous American practice, came as a shock, and it is noteworthy that there has been no successful attack on American soil since then. The U.S. actions in Afghanistan and in Iraq indicated that there had been a major change in the U.S., and that some revision of their assessment, and of the policies based on that assessment, was necessary.
More recent developments, and notably the public discourse inside the U.S., are persuading increasing numbers of Islamist radicals that their first assessment was correct after all, and that they need only to press a little harder to achieve final victory. It is not yet clear whether they are right or wrong in this view. If they are right, the consequences -- both for Islam and for America -- will be deep, wide and lasting.
The full essay is here.