Wretchard, over at Belmont Club, makes a point so good, I am embarrassed I did not see it myself. (OK I was busy yesterday) After a transcript of the bin Laden tape he says:
It is important to notice what he has stopped saying in this speech. He has stopped talking about the restoration of the Global Caliphate. There is no more mention of the return of Andalusia. There is no more anticipation that Islam will sweep the world. He is no longer boasting that Americans run at the slightest wounds; that they are more cowardly than the Russians. He is not talking about future operations to swathe the world in fire but dwelling on past glories. He is basically saying if you leave us alone we will leave you alone. Though it is couched in his customary orbicular phraseology he is basically asking for time out.
It is a very good observation. In all of his other rants, he speaks of our demise but in this one he just wants to be left alone. On the surface it suggests that we (ie Bush) have been effective.
The two caveats I’d add is that this tape was considerably shorter than his usual diatribes so maybe he just stuck to the point and second, maybe even he is realizing that if he threatens us too dramatically, Bush wins in a walk.
Still, it is an interesting observation.