Two years ago, Navy SEALs dispatched Osama Bin Laden in a spectacular raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The notion at the time was that the jihadists were done for, with Al Qaeda decapitated and its operations soon to be decimated.
But as I argued in my book (released in 2009), bringing Bin Laden to justice was essential but would be far from sufficient to thwart what we call the Islamic totalitarian movement, the cause of those seeking Islamic domination worldwide. The basic reason is that Al Qaeda is just one part of the movement, and Bin Laden was just one leader. If we conceptualize the forces we oppose as just Al Qaeda, or just the Taliban, or just random losers, etc., we fail to recognize that our enemy is moved by ideas and a common goal.
It remains to be seen whether the Boston bombers had contacts with jihadist enablers or groups; perhaps yes, perhaps no. But the fact remains that even without Bin Laden, the pernicious ideas fueling the jihad remain potent and continue to empower attacks against us.