President Obama has dialed back his earlier optimistic assessment of global efforts to defeat al Qaeda. Instead of nearing defeat, the terrorist group is planting new roots in North Africa and the Middle East.
While running for re-election two years ago, Mr. Obama suggested the war against al Qaeda was nearly won. U.S. counterterrorism efforts against the group led by Osama bin Ladenhad produced results, he said during his nomination speech on Sept. 6, 2012.
"A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat and Osama bin Laden is dead," the president told cheering Democrats.
In his fifth State of the Union address to Congress on Tuesday, Mr. Obama offered a pessimistic analysis in a five-sentence mention of al Qaeda.