Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Saturday, July 23, 2011

When al Qaeda Is Defeated, Can We Have Our Liberties Back?

Last week brought the unsurprising news that the Transportation Security Administration had terrorized yet another 6-year-old with a humiliating pat-down. Dog bites man, federal agent gropes child — we're getting all too accustomed to this sort of thing in post-9/11 America.

Meanwhile, even the administration's top terror warriors are starting to admit that al Qaeda is a spent force. Two weeks ago, in his first public comments after moving from Langley to the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta noted that al Qaeda's defeat was "within reach."

When we kill or round up some 10 to 20 remaining senior operatives, Panetta said, we'll "really cripple al Qaeda as a threat to this country." In fact, the al Qaeda threat has looked anything but robust for some time now.

Last summer, al Qaeda's online journal Inspire, a sort of Soldier of Fortune magazine for wannabe jihadis, suggested using "a tractor or farm vehicle in an attack outfitted with blades or swords as a fearsome killing machine" — perfect for "mowing down the enemies of Allah."

Among the treasure trove of materials seized from the Abbottabad compound was a missive from Osama bin Laden himself, condemning that scheme as "indiscriminate slaughter" — an odd objection, coming from a mass murderer.

Yet somehow, the terrorist mastermind missed the more obvious objection: The plan is utterly screwball — an embarrassment — the dumbest scheme since ... well, since al Qaeda operative Iyman Faris' 2002 plan to cut down the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch. As I've said before, sometimes you get the sense that these guys aren't the sharpest scimitars in the shed.

We may be winning, but don't dare imagine that "victory" will take the form of a restoration of lost liberties. (more)