I’ve already written of the new liberal complacency about terrorism: “Clutching at Straws: The So-Called ‘Weakness’ of Al Qeada.”

The old liberal complacency--which was really anti-Cheney, anti-Bush dogma--pretended that there was no real terror about which to be perturbed in the first place. The word “terror” itself was purged from the vernacular, not least by candidate Obama in his race for the presidency. If you have “terror” in your vocabulary, you have to know how to deal with it, how to defeat it. Well, the president has had his moment of truth in the eleventh month, 27 days short of his first anniversary in the White House. And “terror” in its worst meanings has been restored to the official lexicon. At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the Pentagon and all of the national security agencies’ strategists and tacticians are now engaged in designing one or more wars on terror.

But there remain many acolytes of Barack Obama in campaign garb who have not yet accommodated the sheer fact of the disaster that has overwhelmed their candidate at the end of the first year of his presidency.

It is now official for fashionable liberalism that Al Qaeda has been technologically weakened and that its dispersion across many maps is actually an index of its decline. This is not only “clutching at straws,” but, worse, self-deception.

Steve Coll, president of the (Soros-banked) New America Foundation, has conferred his sanction on this phantasmal view in the latest issue of The New Yorker, and he has done so by culling notoriously unreliable Muslim public-opinion polls and garbling Obama’s own grim epiphanies. I don’t pretend to be privy to the president’s inner thoughts. Of one thing, however, I am certain. The president wishes more for himself (and his administration) than Coll wishes on him. Which is this: “May his curriculum always consist of near-misses.”