A few thoughts about the attempted bombing:
- If this is the best that Al Qaeda can do, isn’t that a good thing? I mean this seriously: they managed to get one confused loser to carry out this attack, and it was apparently planned by the same people that managed the New Coke roll out. Compared to 9/11 or Bali or Madrid or even London (which I think is different since the terrorist apparently were entirely homegrown, unlike the other attacks, and that gave them some serious advantages) it was a pathetic attempt that failed pathetically. That seems to suggest an organization on the wane.
- Can we please, please stop panicking? The attack failed. It was probably destined to fail, depending on the people in the plane to be completely helpless and on a bomb that was meant to burn rather than explode. We can never be perfectly safe, and unless someone can point to a specific test or process that failed that would have prevented the attacker from getting on the plane, any extra security is just mindless theater and the world has enough of that. Instead of wasting money on more theater, lets spend that money on better luggage screening, air marshals an intelligence.
- Why is the TSA getting grief for this? The flight came form Amsterdam, so isn’t any screening failure theirs?
- The safe haven theory appears to be dead as a useful means of fighting terrorism. It was always a bit tenuous — the 9/11 attackers planned and trained in Germany and the US after all — but the last few years have killed it. Occupying Iraq and Afghanistan has done pretty much nothing to prevent the training and planning of attacks. They just moved, apparently to Yemen. And if we indulge Lieberman’s militaristic fantasies and occupy Yemen, they will move somewhere else. With today’s technology, small groups of people can do an immense amount of damage without needing an immense amount of infrastructure. Trying to deny them safe havens makes no sense because they don’t need safe havens. It makes much more sense on concentrating on intelligence and denying them recruits and the sympathy of their target populace — something occupying countries does not help.