The cost of building and transporting the Yemen mail bombs? A mere $4,200, a figure that points to the start of a new era of small-scale, cheap attacks—a sort of death by a thousand cuts—according to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Writing in its English online magazine, Inspire, the group says it's forsaking attacks on the level of 9/11 in favor of smaller-scale attacks like the mail bombs, which it dubbed Operation Hemorrhage.
"To bring down America we do not need to strike big," the editors write. With the "security phobia that is sweeping America, it is more feasible to stage smaller attacks that involve less players and less time to launch." Of the cargo attacks, the AP reports that the target was economic: "We knew that cargo planes are staffed by only a pilot and a co-pilot, so our objective was not to cause maximum casualties but to cause maximum losses to the American economy."