Friday, September 25, 2009

The plots thicken

By Capt. Fogg

I don't know why, but since the Vietnam era, the hawkish types seem to have preferred the world "embolden" to the more conventional "encourage." It may be simply that we prefer not to use the word "courage" when talking about our enemies, but figuring that one out is beyond any area of expertise I might pretend to. None the less, the Cheneyesque assumption that Obama, by being Obama, the liberal/fascist/Commie/Muslim born in Kenya and Indonesia will spur or "embolden" Islamic enemies to attack us to a greater extent than the refulgent presidency of George W. Bush did, is sure to be in the news again.

The last few days have seen the arrest of people involved in credible bomb plots, including the attempt to blow up a skyscraper in Dallas, Texas. Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 19-year-old illegal immigrant from Jordan was arrested after he dialed a number on his cell phone that he had been duped by Federal Agents into believing would detonate a large bomb. He had been under close surveillance for some time.

This follows on the heels of the arrest of Denver resident Najibullah Zazi as part of another bomb conspiracy that had advance to the point of assembling the chemical components. Both of these plots were foiled by what seems to be good police work and not anything resulting from the massive powers given to the president by the infamous Patriot Act.

It would be hard to justify the opinion that the 2001 attack was a one-shot deal not to be repeated and it's been a no brainer to predict that the next attack wouldn't involve hijacking airplanes. Although Zazi may have received training in Pakistan and Smadi claims to be a "soldier of bin Laden," these plots may have less to do with anything hatched at the top levels of some central organization than with the more diverse worldwide culture of anti-Western hatred. It's hard to say these attempts wouldn't have happened if Afghanistan had been cleansed of the Taliban or Qaeda training camps. Of course the threat remains vanishingly small to any individual but it's important to note that Smadi wanted to blow up Wells Fargo as a blow to our banking system -- and it would have been.

But again, the FBI seems to have done its job and without waterboards or Transylvanian castle dungeons or reading the mail of the Quaker churches and without bombing any country back to the dark ages and this makes the idea that Obama has disabled our ability to deal with terrorists less of a credible talking point.

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

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