The "Cut & paste" section of today's Australian has a tantalising excerpt from a piece by David Bell in Sunday's Los Angeles Times on "Putting 9/11 into perspective". It's well worth going to the Times site for the full version.

Bell's message is that the apocalyptic rhetoric of America's response to terrorism since 2001 has been grossly out of proportion to the actual threat. Although, as he says, al-Qaeda are "hate-filled fanatics", "desire is not the same thing as capacity": an enemy can be implacable, but still not dangerous enough to require the sort of total mobilisation of say World War II.