I've encountered a broad-based resistance to the idea that the terrorists are less than Moriarty-like evil geniuses ever since 9/11. Despite their many mistakes and miscalculations and failures their 9/11 efforts are described as "brilliant," their timing "perfect," their resources "limitless," and yadda yadda yadda.
These guys are fuckups. Rich, vicious fuckups, but fuckups nonetheless.
Look, it's embarrassing to be sucker-punched by the village idiot, but that's what happened. It's much more embarrassing to be caught complaining that he was able to sucker-punch you because he was Einstein, when he's more like the evil twin of Dudley Moore's Arthur.
On the Left it seems that people are acting this way because they want the evil to be suitably vast to justify our engaging in yet another war against a bunch of primitive goatherders. On the Right they want the evil to be suitably vast to justify ripping apart our civil liberties and diverting as much tax money as possible to war-justifiable pet projects. All around nobody wants to admit we were sucker-punched by the village idiot.
There is no reason for a bit of fluff like Weekend Scientist to have ever been printed out, or to have been kept instead of immediately thrown away, by anybody who had the least meaningful understanding of what he was reading. Either their resources are pitifully inadequate to deal with the volume of research they've collected, or their understanding is so poor that they didn't understand the uselessness of the piece. A group which has methodically made every conceivable source of pleasure illegal certainly wasn't keeping it around for the laughs.
I have also heard some justifications for the reporters. Maybe they were cynical, maybe they were dazed into oblivion by the magnitude of the disaster they were experiencing, but whatever the reason they produced a really, really, unforgivably bad piece of journalism.
I'm sure, given their banning of satellite dishes and radios, that the portal to the deep and mysterious Internet was carefully guarded, that only the most trusted and fanatical lieutenants were allowed to risk pollution by its Western bias. Maybe they didn't get around to reading what they downloaded, maybe they didn't understand it; but either way their efforts were pitiful and fruitless. Someone conversant with Western literature could have pointed them to Howard Morland and Richard Rhodes, but anyone that conversant with our literature would undoubtably be among the newly headless at the Kabul soccer stadium.
Same for the decadent and frivolous Flight Simulator, perhaps researched by a suitably puritanical screener and judged not worthwhile for the field lieutenants like Atta, who were actually learning to fly like real pilots -- a skill none of them really needed.
It's important not to underestimate your enemy, but it's also important not to overestimate him lest you find yourself pounding nails with dynamite. The Taliban, like the Japanese in WWII, will insist to the end that they have a chance and that God and valor will overcome decadent pansies with any "superior" weapon system. It only remains to be seen if some of them will be shocked into admitting the obvious, as the Japanese were, before the last are hunted down and killed.
I can haz blog!