Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

The dispatch is from Reuters. And the dateline is Wonderland. Flush with success in turning Iran away from nukes and Syria away from Tehran, the administration seems to be setting its sights on turning Hezbollah away from Hezbollah. If this is truly the goal of the administration, look for an another spectacular humiliation. No, worse: It will be a spectacular self-abasement. After all, there’s no evidence that the Lebanese terror fraternity is looking to become mild and modest.

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I take it is a relief that, aside from its rhetorical pandering to the civil libertarian absolutists who can’t seem to grasp that Muslim terror networks are in a worldwide war with the United States and its remaining allies, the Obama administration is actually extending the life of the Bush presidency in its defense against jihad. Eli Lake, who is among the most discerning journalists on the intelligence beat, has written an analysis in Reason on where—or, rather, how little—the Obami have deviated from Bush guidelines. When it comes to the legal framework for confronting terrorism, President

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The Sheriff

For the better part of an hour, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been kicked back in the front cabin of Coast Guard One, the small but handsomely appointed plane on which she travels, chatting easily about the challenges of running the third-largest Cabinet department. En route back to Washington after three days of nonstop meetings in Mexico City--a whirlwind visit made more challenging by the fact that Napolitano broke her right ankle playing tennis last month and is still hobbling around on crutches--the secretary is in wind-down mode.

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The Bush Defense

Last night at a Cambridge dinner party, someone posited that the country would soon witness what she called “a Bush revival.” Another person at the table suggested that it had already begun. Now, 02138 would be just about the last zip code where such a phenomenon might be noticed. So I take this postulate seriously, very seriously. But, frankly, I haven’t seen a single poll confirming this--although there may have been some.

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Turf Warrior

In the shadow of the intelligence failure that culminated with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab lighting an explosive aboard a Detroit-bound flight, the titular head of the U.S. intelligence community was busy fighting another war. For months, in fact, Admiral Dennis C. Blair, the director of national intelligence (DNI), had been waging an epic bureaucratic offensive. His job had been created in the wake of September 11 to foster cooperation and accountability among the 16 agencies sifting through the mounds of inbound data about threats to U.S. interests.

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Jon Chait did me a good deed in rebutting Matthew Yglesias' canard calling me a racist. But the blogoleft has been so deprived of facts that it is left to fight its battles by resorting to epithets, of which "racist" is the most common.

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The Butt Bomb

In the wake of the failed bombing attempt by Nigerian Al Qaeda operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, airport security experts are wringing their hands over how to stop the next underwear bomber. X-ray machines don’t detect the type of explosive, known as PETN, that Abdulmutallab carried. Only a careful pat-down around Abdulmutallab’s crotch, where the explosive had been sewn into his undies, would have detected his deadly cargo. But Abdulmutallab’s al Qaeda handlers knew that pat-downs are rare and that social mores make highly intrusive, crotch-fondling searches almost unheard of.

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President Obama used the terms "terrorism" and "terrorist" six times in his weekly address to the nation. I don't know how long it has actually been since he’s uttered those words. But my memory is that it's been a very long time. By using them, however, he was able to make, as it were, structural corrections, talking about Al Qaeda as "a network of violence and hatred" strung out "from East Africa to Southeast Asia, from Europe to the Persian Gulf." I don't know why he didn't include America in this litany.

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Just a Thought...

The only bright spot in the cases of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian who tried to blow up that Christmas Day flight, and the five men who went to Pakistan to receive terrorist training, was that members of the wannabe-terrorists' families approached authorities because of their children's behavior. As an ever-larger percentage of right-wing commentators demand that Abdulmutallab be water-boarded or worse, it does seem worth asking whether parents will offer their children up to law enforcement if they--the parents--believe their kids will be tortured.

Joe Klein, who spent a lot of print trying more or less to exonerate Dr. Major Nidal Malik Hasan by dint of his being a nutcase, has been curiously silent about Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. In fact, there's been a certain shyness among the whole left-wing blogosphere (and among Democrats, generally) about the skivvies terrorist. There is no place for these journalists to hide and no logic, however dubious, with which they can transfer the guilt to us.

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