Where do Osama & Co. stand today? They're not welcome in a single Arab country. The Saudi royals not only cut off their funding, but cracked down hard within the kingdom. A few countries, such as Yemen, tolerate radicals out in the boonies - but they won't let al Qaeda in. Osama's reps couldn't even get extended-stay rooms in Somalia, beyond the borders of the Arab world.
And the Arab in the (dirty) street is chastened. Instead of delivering a triumph, al Qaeda brought disaster, killing far more Arabs through violence and strife than Israel has killed in all its wars. Nobody in the Arab world's buying al Qaeda shares at yesterday's premium - and only a last few suckers are buying at all.
Guess what? We won.
The partisan hacks who insisted that Iraq was a distraction from fighting al Qaeda have missed the situation's irony: Things are getting worse in Afghanistan and Pakistan not because our attention was elsewhere, but because al Qaeda has been driven from the Arab world, with nowhere else to go.
Al Qaeda isn't fighting to revive the Caliphate these days. It's fighting for its life.
Unwelcome even in Sudan or Syria, the Islamist fanatics have retreated to remote mountain villages and compounds on the Pakistani side of the Afghan border. That means Afghanistan's going to remain a difficult challenge for years to come - not a mission-impossible, but an aggravating one.