America understands that, had Bin Laden been killed or captured on September 12 2001, America would still have faced a protracted war on terror no less extensive than it has since endured. Dealing with the al Qaeda leader is a worthy goal, but hardly the end of the conflict.
Ultimately, September 11 represented neither a superior military capability on the part of the terrorists when assaulting the American homeland, nor immunity to its staunchest defenses. Rather, it was the predictable result of an insidious and plotting enemy who understands that its quarry has, primarily in the spiritual sense grown weak, and over time became vulnerable.
It was not the strength of the Islamists, but frailties within the fabric of the nation, that must be recognized as its primary vulnerability to attack. Mortal enemies of the American ideal have existed since its founding. But not until the current age could they operate as they have in their efforts to destroy the nation while openly demanding sympathy and compliance.
Thus, the ongoing danger to America must be addressed on numerous fronts, not the least of which is within the domestic culture. For it is there that crucial incursions can be made, from which larger and more encompassing attacks can eventually be staged.