Within days of the DNT's publishing my piece ridiculing media coverage of al-Qaida's search for a new leader (http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/201511/group/opinion/), the global terrorist network did in fact make a somewhat official-sounding announcement naming Ayman al-Zawahiri as Osama bin Laden's successor. Thanks, assholes.
Here's why I'm glad to be wrong, though: I still think the old al-Qaida, at the height of its mojo, would have made its announcement via some sort of attack - not a blogpost on some cyber backwater. That they didn't have something cued up may offer some insight into how dysfunctional and diminished they have become. Without a plot at the ready, and the media constantly chirping about whether they were still relevant, they decided to feed the beast what it wanted in the most truly American fashion: a lame press release. So perhaps we aren't merely projecting our values on to al-Qaida, but actually instilling them. To turn a popular punchline about making concessions to terrorists around: "If we have to issue a press release to stay relevant, then the Americans have already won."