The difference between death tolls for September 11th, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina.
A great natural disaster, such as the Earthquakes and Fires in San Francisco in 1906, would likely have an official death toll lowballed, while a terrorist or state-enemy strike would likely have it exaggerated.
Bad leaders will incite the citizens to hate the enemy. Some people say that terms like "haj" (for an Iraqi) and "gook" (for a Viet Namese) are part of racism. In the US Civil War, a war not fought for race or even religious differences, epithets for the enemy existed. It is enemyism (my term).
One can't fight back against a storm. There is no victory over a hurricane or blizzard. At best, lives will be spared, but there will always be the need to rebuild, and "our side" can never "win."
Not so with al-Qaeda or the Nazis. Part of the difficulty with al-Qaeda is that the government, in part, chose wisely to focus the definition of, and hate for, al-Qaeda narrowly. Things were simpler when it was a nation, or even a party abbreviation (Nazis = NDSAP). There is no convenient shorthand for al-Qaeda that doesn't exclude other chosen enemies of the United States like Hamas or Hezbollah.
What are they? If America is a global superpower, the de facto hegemon, then they are rebels. Of course many members of the French Resistance to the Vichy government would have accepted suicide missions. Many did. And many prayed to their god as they went.