A top White House official said Sunday that Osama bin Laden’s latest video message showed that the al Qaida terrorist mastermind was “impotent.” Frances Townsend, President Bush’s homeland security advisor, said bin Laden is “a man on the run” whose only make threats. “This is about the best he can do,” Townsend said.

“The new bin Laden videotape is a great disappointment,” said James S. Robbins in National Review Online. “No new threats, no new deals, just a new beard, if it is even real.” He claims the “real terrorism” is global warming, and that the U.S. is making its own people suffer under credit-card and mortgage debt. “Please.”

Experts have sounded off on everything from the color of Osama’s beard to his opinion on the U.S. housing market, said USA Today in an editorial. But the tape, released Friday to mark tomorrow’s anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, had undeniable significance. It was “a reminder of unfinished business.”

Six years ago, “we saw people rushing into the World Trade Center site to search for survivors and recover bodies,” said Leonard Pitts Jr. in The Seattle Times (free registration). President Bush vowed to bring in bin Laden “dead or alive.” Now we’re all so distracted by “a war of choice that had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks” that “we don’t think about bin Laden much these days.” Maybe we should try a little harder to remember the day the “skyscrapers fell.”